The adage says, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And it’s true. However, every old dog was once a young dog and I’m no exception to that. Though we do get set in our ways as we age, it seems the things we learned when young stay with us for a lifetime. Before I started KEA Engineers in 1984, I worked for a petrochemical engineering firm for 8 years. The company, C. F. Braun, was started by Carl Braun, a first-generation engineer and entrepreneur from Germany. In his quest to create the finest of engineering firms, he built work traits he valued into the company culture. Many of these were extremely rigid rules, by any measure. For example, all the offices had beautiful wooden blinds on the windows, but we were not allowed to even change the angle of the blades, let alone raise them. The intent was to create a look of uniformity from the outside. Most of the employees would chuckle quietly about the absurdity of these rules. Admittedly, I joined in on the chuckles, but quietly appreciated Braun’s sense of discipline, composure and commitment to excellence. I may have laughed, but I made mental notes of the qualities that I valued.The cultural trait that stuck with me the most from my C.F. Braun days, and which I have practiced in my 33-plus years at KEA, has been an emphatic appreciation of our employees. KEA has worked hard to provide a comfortable, pleasant and friendly work atmosphere. We enjoy state-of-the-art engineering software and hardware, as well as comfortable and aesthetically pleasing work environment. Next May, we are excited to announce we will be moving to an even nicer and larger office. As for benefits, though we are a small company by many measures, we are often more generous than many very large companies. We believe that our employees should be well taken care of in retirement and in their health. We have, in the past, distributed more than the required minimum to the 401K plan. We take pride that, collectively, we have worked hard to develop a culture of professionalism, excellence and integrity. With all that said, it’s clear that the women and men of KEA are our greatest asset. The work they do, the care they take, and the commitment they have to our firm, makes us what we are. They are not only the backbone, but the arms and the legs of our company. This team of professionals have families, large and small, and many obligations outside of the hours they work here at KEA. Life can be a challenge – a never-ending balance between work, family, play, rest, and rejuvenation. Work is a big chunk of the time in this balancing act called life. Yet our employees – rain or shine, blizzard or breeze –come to work, put their shoulder to the wheel and push it forward. For that, this old dog is eternally grateful.
Thank you to the women and men of KEA. Happy Thanksgiving!