What’s So Special about 60 Years?

Anniversaries and other milestones can be a time for reflection….to look at where you’ve been and where you are going. When we planned our events and activities to honor Reid Middleton’s 60th Anniversary milestone, even in our byline, “Celebrating the Past, Building the Future,” we recognized the value and significance both in achieving this anniversary and in driving our destiny for the next 60 years.  This year, each of our directors has blogged about their area of practice both in a 60-year perspective as well as their vision of the future.  As for me, I want to share what I consider special about 60 years.

For one thing, a 60-year consulting engineering firm is uncommon. Rare. I find it strikingly similar, in fact, to the attributes of the 60th anniversary gemstone – the diamond.

Rare (def: of an event, condition or situation not occurring very often)

In 1953, a man with integrity and deep desire to design civil works (Jim Reid) started up a business by developing a client base and leading a team of like-minded professionals. This alone was not rare, but the firm that has endured for 60 years building and expanding on these principles through war, technological advances, leadership transition, and economic upheaval is not common. Understanding what is important in working with clients and running a business are attributes that are based on our founding principles and proven through their execution. In a client survey conducted in 2010, one architect client commented, “Great people to work with.  (They) probably understand what an architect is thinking of quicker than many other consultants.”  A rare trait.

Strong (def: able to withstand great force or pressure)

The recent recession was a force that most had not predicted nor planned for, and Reid Middleton experienced the pain along with many other firms.  This wasn’t the first recession the firm had dealt with over 60 years, and it likely won’t be the last. Preserving the company’s financial health and thereby ensuring its existence into the future is a primary goal of our leadership. There have been some tough decisions over the years, but the firm remains healthy and is growing. Proving this strength, we opened a new office in Hawaii last summer, to support key clients and serve the broader Pacific Region.

Reid Middleton’s Structural Engineering Group sends off Lance Lum to open our Hawaii office in 2012

Brilliant (def: 1. very bright and radiant, 2. exceptionally clever or talented)

Reid Middleton has exceptionally clever and talented people. Another comment from a public agency during our recent Client Survey stated, “… is the best municipal engineer I’ve worked with. He consistently under-promises and over-delivers, and has always delivered his projects under budget and on-time. He is also a great listener and realizes that we don’t always want or need a lot of detailed work and keeps his team focused on the owner’s big picture (very helpful).”  There are hundreds of similar quotes that demonstrate the value this team of bright professionals has brought to our client’s projects.

Multi-faceted (def: having many facets or aspects)

Reid Middleton began with a municipal civil engineering practice, serving our first client – the City of Edmonds. Today, our multidisciplinary practice includes civil, surveying, airport, waterfront, transportation, and structural practices in three offices serving multiple markets and hundreds of clients – including the City of Edmonds! This diversity of client and service mix that has been built over the past 60 years sets the stage for meeting future multi-faceted client expectations.

Enduring (def: continuing or long-lasting)

Looking back, again, to 1953 and Jim Reid, the principles that he along with LeRoy Middleton and other early leaders established include integrity, hard work, professionalism, and service. These principles created the chemistry that continues to guide the firm today. A port authority commented in our Client Survey, “Reid Middleton is very well organized and respected amongst the maritime community. They bring a long history of successful waterfront projects to the table aiding to good decisions and plans.” This attribute, Enduring, is the most distinctive quality. It is about showing up every day and doing the right thing, over and over again, for 60 years. The longevity of our employees is remarkable; one has worked here for 47 years!

I have been here five years and feel honored, often humbled, by things that I hear when talking to people about Reid Middleton. There is a richness of history over the course of 60 years that is not shared by many other firms. I also looked at other 60th anniversaries, and it is fun to see whose company we keep! Some are icons, some are passé, but all share the honor of celebrating a 60-year milestone that demonstrates the attributes of a diamond. Special.

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