12 Days to Christmas (Engineer’s Edition)
In celebration of the holiday spirit, we thought we’d do a “12 days of Christmas” riff, but introduce you to the principles our firm lives by. We asked our team for the 12 words that best described our culture.
Day 12, CURIOSITY Helps Us Be Better
We wanted to start with the word that we think embodies the spirit of engineering, CURIOSITY. Without a healthy curiosity, we’d still be living in caves somewhere in France. However, engineers, past and present, have always wanted more; not just for themselves, but for the people around them.
Curiosity is the driving force of human ingenuity. It’s what we can thank for the hammer, as well as for the modern suspension bridge. No tool, big or small, was invented without someone, somewhere asking “what if…?”
Day 11, COMMUNITY Gives Us a Purpose
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? In a literal sense, it does. However, what that question asks us is, if no one’s around to see, hear, or enjoy something, what’s it matter?
COMMUNITY is the thing that gives us purpose. We want our work to be heard, and the people that hear us the most are our community members, who benefit from the work we do. If we’re not working for a better, more enriching future for our friends, family, and neighbors, then we’re not working for a greater purpose.
Day 10, AUTHENTICITY Sets Us Apart
Our projects are complicated. That means, along the way, there’s plenty of room for mistakes. AUTHENTICITY drives us to speak up, own up, and show up when it matters. When you work with us, you know what you’re getting is honest. That carries into all of our relationships; our plans, our clients, and our teammates are all the result of an honest, fearless commitment to authenticity.
We think authenticity is adjacent to credibility.
Day 9, GENEROSITY Lets Us Share Our Success
If you have, then you should give. It’s that simple. We want everyone to enjoy the fruits of our labors. When we can, we dedicate our extra resources to people that need them. Whether that’s our time, money, or simply our advice, we get a thrill in sharing our success with the people around us. This is a group effort, so you need to treat it that way!
GENEROSITY isn’t simply meant to embody a line item on our tax paperwork. It’s about kindness to everyone. We believe you should treat everyone the way you’d want to be treated, and we think very highly of ourselves!
Day 8, CREATIVITY Enriches Us & the People We Work For
Sure, we love rulers, a good old-fashioned blueprint, and don’t get us started on the metric system. However, we’re here to dispel that left brain/right brain myth. As engineers, we engage both. Without CREATIVITY we’d be nowhere. We need to look at our work like it’s art, or it’ll be artless.
We want our projects to have a heart and soul. That means putting every bit of yourself into it. We love what we do, and we put all of that love into it. We hope you’ll notice.
Day 7, HOSPITALITY Is Part of Our Culture
HOSPITALITY is everything. When we invite you over to one of our offices to take a look around, you better believe we mean it! We’ll pull out all the stops and make you feel at home. Most of all, we want you to feel like a part of our team.
Why is hospitality so important? It lets you be part of something more meaningful than just you. When we all feel at home in this world, we’re all that much happier.
Day 6, MINDFULNESS Gives Our Work Staying Power
What is the difference between a paint-by-numbers and a Monet? Obvious characteristics aside, one person was simply following a formula, and the other person was putting every ounce of thought into what they were working on.
MINDFULNESS is what creates meaningful work, even in engineering. Sure, there are a lot of calculations and algorithms that we live by, but the essence of our productivity comes from the thoughtfulness that goes into our problem-solving. Every problem has multiple solutions; there’s the easy and temporary, the extremely expensive and practical one, and the elegant one. Mindfulness is elegance.
Day 5, EXCELLENCE Is Something We Pursue at All Cost
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance summarizes it best. The author, Robert Pirsig, spends a great amount of time trying to describe the concept of quality from a philosophical point of view:
“Care and Quality are internal and external aspects of the same thing. A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who’s bound to have some characteristic of quality.”
When we work with excellent people, invest in excellent tools, and work with excellent clients, then we can’t help but produce excellent work. We want excellence to be found in every fiber of our firm.
Day 4, PRECISION Keeps Us in the Game
You can’t have creativity without PRECISION. Just as many cartoonists can draw a still life just as well as they can draw a cartoon character, you have to understand the rules before you break them. Precision is just that; adherence to a set of rules. To improvise, you must first know that you are being precise.
Our precision allows us freedom, as much as that might seem to be backward. Once you understand the rigid nature of our work, you know when you can be flexible. Precision, for that reason, is the foundation for every decision we make.
Day 3, GROWTH Happens Naturally When You Do It Right
When you do things right, you can’t help but grow your ranks. We’ve been in this industry for decades, so we’re no strangers to the ebb and flow of the work. However, if you think of GROWTH as a consequence of productivity, and not a rule of nature, then you’ll find that it happens organically.
What’s most important is utilizing that natural growth by investing in the type of people that will help sustain you. We aren’t simply worried about filling chairs, but in investing in quality team members, present and future.
Day 2, DIVERSITY Means Our Doors Are Always Open to Anyone
Winston Churchill once said, “Diversity is the one true thing that we all have in common.” We think he’s on to something there. DIVERSITY is a natural part of the world, and not something you should shy away from. To us, diversity also means having an open mind and investing in the perspectives of people from all walks of life.
If you approach something the same way every time, then you risk ignoring better and more profound solutions to your challenges. When we bring in different minds, we all benefit from a loosening of our prejudices and assumptions.
Day 1, TRUST is Something We’ve Built Since Day 1
We would have gone nowhere fast if it wasn’t for the TRUST we’ve built. Our clients trust our work and trust the decisions we make on their behalf. Part of engineering is faith; believe it or not. Many of our clients have to trust that we know what we’re doing. To us, trust is an exponential force; you start with a little, and that little bit will snowball until you have a lot.
Yet, exponential forces can move backward just as quickly as they’ve moved forward. If we violate our client’s trust, then we’d quickly ruin what we’ve built over the years. With that said, we’re not asking you to give us a chance; we’re asking you to look at our impeccable track record and make an educated decision from there. That’s what trust has gotten us.