Ten Minnesota engineering firms engineered a successful cash drive that raised nearly $300,000 for Minnesota charities over the holiday season.

During the holiday season, the engineering firms put competition aside and raised more than $280,000 for local charities in 2018, increasing the total annual contributions of the Engineering CEOs of Minnesota (ECEOM) Food Drive to more than $1.3 million.

"Competition is fierce in our industry," said CEO Bret Weiss of Minneapolis-based WSB & Associates, the design and consulting firm. "I'm proud that our firms share a commitment to improving and supporting our communities. The ECEOM annual food drive is a special opportunity to focus our competitive spirits on raising money to give to those in need."

Founded by Weiss, ECEOM represents engineering firms across the state and focuses on creating opportunities for collaboration, idea sharing and camaraderie. 2018 marked ECEOM's seventh year hosting a food drive during the holiday season. It's as a way to unite competing firms around a common goal: giving back to the communities they serve and call home.

Each company raises money from their employees during the months of November and December and decides which charities they will support. Firms competing in the 2018 food drive were AET; Alliant; Barr; Bolton & Menk; LHB; SEH; SRF Consulting Group, Inc.; TKDA; Wenck; and WSB.

A total of 38 local charities were supported since 2012, including Second Harvest Heartland.

"We are immensely grateful for our long partnership with WSB," said Marsha Shotley, chief philanthropy officer at Second Harvest Heartland. "With the support of WSB's food and fund drives, we are able to distribute even more fresh produce, lean proteins and dairy to families experiencing hunger in Minnesota."

Total donations have increased nearly every year since the ECEOM food drive was started, from $107,213 in 2012 to $287,512 in 2018.