About Darden Engineering

Licensed in both North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, Darden Engineering is uniquely positioned and experienced enough to assist clients with a wide array of projects and ideas.

In 1998 John C Darden Jr. made the transition from constructing buildings to designing them. Past experience as owner of John C Darden Building Company gave John a unique perspective in creating engineered plans. This point of view allowed him a level of understanding that some building design planners lack. His knowledge that designed plans can crash head first into real world limitations made being flexible a priority. 

Almost two decades later the Darden Engineering team focuses on tailoring the building design process to our client’s needs. The priority of flexibility from when John began Darden Engineering transformed into satisfying our clients each and every time we do business. This attitude towards complete client satisfaction is why a significant portion of our clientele are referrals or repeat clients.

Our Team

John Darden Jr. P.E.

Principal Engineer/ Owner

John C. Darden, Jr, founded Darden Engineering Services (DES) over two decades ago in 1998.  Back then it was a small one-man show run out of his garage in Statesville.  In the last 20 years, John has grown his team significantly and opened a new 12,000-square-foot multi-office building in Mooresville.  

John was born and raised in Farmville, NC.  He attended and graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering.  In addition to his North & South Carolina engineering license, John served as President of the Iredell County Home Builders Association in the mid-90s while working as a general contractor prior to opening DES.  He also received the award of “Builder Of The Year” in 1994.

John is now semi-retired and in his free time he enjoys traveling, bicycling, and spending time with his grandchildren.

John Darden III P.E.

Principal Engineer/ Owner

John C. Darden, III began working at Darden Engineering Services during the summers while in high school and then college.  He came to work full-time at DES in 2008 as an Engineer-In-Training before passing his PE (professional engineering licensure) with a concentration on structural engineering in 2011.  John is licensed in both North & South Carolina, as well as in Georgia.  

John’s primary specialization lies in commercial foundation & design work, foundation design for pre-engineered steel buildings, residential foundation design & framing plan preparation for permits & construction, and engineering for existing structures.

John was born and raised in Statesville, NC.  He attended and graduated from North Carolina State Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering.  He now lives in Mooresville and enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids.

Candice Bankhead

Office Manager

Candice joined the team in July of 2007 as the Receptionist/Administrative Assistance.  In 2010 she became the Office Manager responsible for the overall coordination of a broad range of services/resources that allow the organization to operate efficiently.  Generally, Candice is the “Go To” figure in the office.

Candice completed her Business Administration degree with honors in 2013, as well as an Associate in Applied Science, while simultaneously earning her Human Resources and Business Management certificate.

Candice was born and raised in Mooresville, NC.  She lives with her husband and two daughters and they enjoy family time and jigsaw puzzles.

Tony Moose

Staff Engineer

Tony Moose, Jr., started with the company in 2004 after completing his Applied Sciences degrees in Manufacturing Engineering and Technical Drafting.  Prior to working for Darden Engineering Services, Tony’s background was in manufacturing and mechanics. 

At Darden Engineering Tony is our marine specialist focusing on all things water-based such as marinas, residential & commercial docks, piers, dredging plans, and more.  Tony is responsible for the design and creation of over 1500 docks in and around Lake Norman, Lake James, Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake.  In 2013 Tony even designed the Nascar Coke Zero Everything Island for the Coke Zero 400, located at Lake Lloyd in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway.   

Tony was born and raised in Mooresville.  He enjoys anything car related and is a self-described “car junkie”.  If he’s not driving cars, he’s fixing them, going to car shows, or planning vacations around upcoming car events.

Mitchell Moose

Engineering Technician

Mitchell (Mitch) Moose has served primarily in the field with Darden Engineering Services (DES) going on three years.  In another life, before being employed with Darden Engineering, he worked with other engineers modifying trucks for Fontaine Modification in the Research and Development department which included changing chassis configurations to allow for different equipment to be installed.

At DES Mitch is responsible for FHA/HUD compliance inspections, manufactured home foundation inspections for conventional loans, steel-framed billboards, custom mobile exhibits, and business signage.  To break this down further he aids the other engineers on projects by collecting information from the job site.  Also, he provides structure inspection for clients’ projects to help determine the scope of the project and provide repair information or design structural applications for the project.  Mitch provides structural inspection for realtors for FHA foundation certification on manufactured homes as well as any addition added on to the structure.  Lastly, he performs footing, foundation, and framing inspections for new residential homes as well as commercial projects.  

Mitch is a product of both Mooresville and Statesville.  When not working at DES, Mitch enjoys all things car-related.  With his extensive background in the automotive technologies field, he placed second in the Ford Triple-A competition in the automotive program.  He also enjoys painting, welding and fabricating sheet metal and steel components. 

Michael Jones, P.E.

Senior Engineer

Our Senior Engineer, Michael Jones, is originally from Chicago, Illinois; however, he lived in Tinley Park, IL for the last +/- 30 years.  Michael studied at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to obtain his BS in Civil and Material Engineering.

Michael has been an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Environmental and Water Resource Institute (EWRI) since +/- 2010 and was a member of the Illinois Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM) since 2019.  Within those organizations, he received several certificates for professional development activities and volunteering.  He also volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America for ten years and coached youth sports for about 15 years.

Michael spent about 4 years in the mechanical engineering and steel fabrication industry and roughly 15 years in Civil and Municipal Engineering.  His technical expertise is stormwater management and soil erosion and sedimentation control (SESC).  The bulk of Michael’s experience has come from the private land development industry working on residential, commercial, and industrial developments; as well as managing capital improvement projects for municipalities and county agencies.

Michael moved to Mooresville in 2020 with his wife and four children.  The Jones’ have enjoyed the mild weather and outdoor activities that the Lake Norman area has to offer.

Jeremy Brady

Staff Engineer

Jeremy Brady is a North Carolina native, originally growing up in western Iredell county.  He attended Mitchell Community College where he learned multiple engineering software products.

Jeremy has a varied background having specialized in the fabrication of sheet metal, welding, the design of dock systems, the design of multi-million dollar paint systems, and the operation of myriad heavy equipment.  It is precisely this diverse background that has made him a great problem solver.  As Jeremy puts it, “I like to think I’m good at problem-solving. I have always found a solution to make things work smoothly and more efficiently. Whether its on designing something or out in the field.  I also look forward to learning more about how things are engineered.”

Jeremy currently lives in the Lake Norman area with his wife and two daughters.  Outside of the office, Jeremy’s interests include snowboarding, golfing and woodworking.

Melissa Merritt-Darden


Melissa Merritt-Darden left the world of HOA management and joined the family engineering business in 2017. With over 10 years of experience at an executive level, Melissa’s primary focuses are day-to-day operations, human resources, ongoing education for all team members, and the financials for DES.

Melissa graduated with a BA in Literature from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an MA in Liberal Studies from Georgetown. These degrees are utilized daily with effective and efficient communication, dabbling in marketing/business development, and the ability to write articles, blog posts, press releases, etc. for Darden Engineering.

Melissa lives with her husband and three kids (two girls and one boy) in Mooresville. In her spare time, she enjoys crocheting, reading, writing, all things horror/sci-fi, and anything related to movie trivia.

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