Adam Dibble, vice president of environmental solutions for Profile Products and recipient of the 2023 IECA Sustained Contributor award, did not know that careers in the erosion control industry even existed when he finished college — especially for a business major with an interest in sports marketing. After several positions that allowed him to hone his marketing skills while working for Nike, the national office of his college fraternity, Sigma Pi, and for the Institute of Real Estate Management, he joined the team at Profile.
“I started as a marketing manager in the sports field division, which was perfect with my sports background,” said Dibble, who played multiple sports in high school and received a tennis scholarship to attend Ferris State. “When an opportunity opened up in our erosion control division, which is now known as environmental solutions, I gravitated to it as a way to continue my professional development.”
At the time, Dibble saw the job as a good career move to a rapidly growing part of the business. In addition to expanding his opportunities and allowing him to learn more about the industry, he discovered a greater interest in protecting the environment. “I’ve always been passionate about marketing and business, but I discovered that working in an area that improves the environment is equally exciting,” said Dibble. “Whether it is constructing a dog park, improving a local waterway or creating venues at the Sochi Olympics, the fact that we are working with products that protect the environment and ensure clean water, creates a great deal of satisfaction in the work.”
Dibble worked his way up in the company and quickly moved from his marketing manager position into senior positions leading the marketing, inside sales, business development and Biotic Soil Media program. Profile Products supports professional development, so as his responsibilities broadened, he sought additional, industry-specific education. In 2014 he became a Certified Erosion Sediment and Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI), and in 2018, he became a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC).
“I realized early on in my career that because I did not study environmental science I was at a knowledge disadvantage when creating marketing strategies,” said Dibble. “My mentor, Marc Theisen, suggested certification in relevant areas to give me real-world knowledge that would add credibility to my marketing programs.”
One of the pleasantly surprising aspects of learning more about the erosion control industry at a deeper level, was the realization that he had contributions to make beyond his role at Profile. “Originally, I pursued certifications for what I could get out of the education, but I learned how much I could bring to the industry and give back,” said Dibble. “Because I came into the industry with a different perspective, I have no biases and can ask questions that challenge the status quo.” Those questions can lead to improved processes, products and solutions, he added.
Dibble joined IECA in 2009 and served on several committees before election to the board of directors. He served as the 2019–2021 IECA Region One Board President.
During his term as president, efforts to reunite IECA culminated to create one international organization rather than a segmented association comprised of Region One and the Australasia area.
“It made sense to operate as one international association because we have a lot to learn from each other,” said Dibble. “One of the original reasons to split the organization was related to costs of travel for meetings and conferences, but now technology allows us to offer online experiences to overcome the expense of travel when it is an issue.”
As the youngest person to serve as president of IECA, Dibble is focused on attracting a wide range of ages into the industry and the association. “We want young professionals in our industry, but we were prohibiting them from gaining professional and leadership experience because of the years of membership requirements for service on the board of directors,” he said. “I understand the intent of the previous requirement that a professional had to have five years of experience in the industry before serving, but our decision to change to three years of experience opens leadership opportunities to more people.”
Attracting young professionals is easier when leadership is comprised of a range of years of experience, said Dibble. While it might be easier for someone at the beginning of their career to relate to someone in their 30s and 40s, it is also beneficial to interact with professionals who have led the industry through changes over the past decades, he added. “Mentoring and educating other members of all ages is an excellent way to give back to the industry.”
The pace of change in the industry is challenging, said Dibble. In addition to efforts to mitigate risks to wildlife and continued concerns of microplastics with rolled erosion control products, there has also been a change in the perception of soil lost via erosion. “Soil loss from erosion used be treated as passive pollution, but now is being recognized as a precious resource and critical for successful vegetation. Increased use of soil testing and technologies like biotic soil have changed the focus from merely replacing lost soil to customizing the soil to ensure growth of vegetation to minimize erosion,” he said. “Technology has also improved erosion control products to have less of an effect on the environment and allowing customized solutions for each project.”
On a personal note, when Dibble is not at work for Profile Products, IECA or the many other organizations in which he is involved, he can be found traveling or enjoying a variety of sports — snowmobiling, boating (on his boat “The Kids”) or golfing. He enjoys these activities with his wife Stephanie and three St. Bernards, which are ages 9, 7 and 1.5 years old. He is also an avid University of Michigan fan and a Detroit Lions season ticket holder.
While his career is in an industry that he knew nothing about in college, Dibble sums up his decision to work in the erosion control industry by saying, “I moved into environmental solutions for more career opportunities but stayed for my passion
for the environment and the culture I found.”
Fast Facts: Adam Dibble
Years in erosion control: 14
Academic: B.S. in management and marketing from Ferris State University.
Professional certifications: CESSWI and CPESC
Volunteer/leadership: Chair of the CPESC Committee, VP Great Lakes Chapter of IECA
Awards and Recognitions: IECA Sustained Contributor (2023), IECA 4 Under 40 professional (2020), 2018 Sigma Pi Fraternity Young Professional Achievement Award, IECA Outstanding Professional (2017) and Stormwater Solutions Rising Star (2016).