In honor of WSB’s 27th year in business, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our past and share a few thoughts.
In October 1995, the founders of WSB made the decision to form a new type of engineering firm. It is funny that 27 years seems like a long time ago, but also seems like just yesterday that we walked into our first office with a vision of what could be. Over the course of our journey, the number of staff, clients and partners that inspired, encouraged, and challenged us over the years are too many to mention. Throughout the almost three decades of WSB, we’ve learned, changed, adapted and advanced. This takes courage and conviction from so many.
I’m often looking forward, but on this day I reflect on the past. Today, we focus on the successes and joys and celebrate our anniversary as a company. Building strong relationships with our colleagues helps us get through the trying times and work through challenges to better serve our clients. I am grateful for our talented team at WSB who seize opportunities to advance ideas and help us lead the industry.
Together with our clients, we have the unique opportunity to shape the future. We’re grateful for the partners we’ve had throughout our tenure, both the clients we’ve had from the very beginning and the ones that are new to WSB. It’s through these partnerships that we’re able to work together to solve the infrastructure challenges of our communities. I believe that if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together!
On behalf of all of us at WSB, thank you for taking this journey with us over the last 27 years. We are incredibly proud and thankful.
Bret Weiss, president and CEO of WSB, was elected by the Minnesota Chamber to lead their Board of Directors as their 2021-22 Chair. The announcement was made official Nov. 18 at the Minnesota Chamber’s 2021 Economic Summit at the Omni Vikings Lake Hotel.
Weiss joined the Minnesota Chamber in 2010 to broaden WSB’s reach in the business community. Since, then he’s been heavily involved in the Chamber’s programs. He has served on the Board of Directors since 2017 and has been a member of the Foundation Board since 2019. He has also played an instrumental role in the Chamber’s Leadership Minnesota and Leaders Lab programs.
“The Chamber is a powerful connection point for Minnesota’s business community,” said Weiss. “We have a singular focus on improving the business environment to allow all businesses to be successful. My priorities over the next year are to work with our Board to grow opportunities for all employers, employees and entrepreneurs. We will concentrate on building connections across all businesses to enhance the impact we can have on Minnesota communities. I am honored to represent the business community and the Chamber as Board Chair.”
The Minnesota Chamber is a statewide organization representing more than 6,300 businesses of all types and sizes – and more than a half a million employers – through Minnesota. The Board is volunteer-based and represents businesses of all types and sizes across Minnesota. Weiss credits the Chamber for helping him think differently about business and strengthening WSB’s connections with the business community outside of the AEC industry.
Bret Weiss, WSB’s President and CEO, was presented the 2020 President’s Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies – Minnesota Chapter (ACEC MN).
Weiss’ involvement in ACEC MN extends beyond their annual membership program. His extensive background in engineering and leadership in the Minnesota business community has created many opportunities for a strong partnership to be forged. Weiss is committed to the advancement of infrastructure to support our communities and it’s through a commitment to strong partnerships and collaboration that this work is possible.
The President’s Award recognizes an individual annually who has made a significant contribution to ACEC MN’s organization.
As we forge ahead into the new year, we also acknowledge and reflect on our past accomplishments.
Here are our best nine moments and industry wins of 2019.
9.Diversifying our industry through Opportunity+. Opportunity+ is part of a larger diversity and inclusion initiative centered around recruiting, welcoming, supporting, retaining and building a diverse workforce.
8.WSB Career Cards. WSB recently launched a series of collectible career cards to introduce young boys and girls to the extraordinary world of engineering and STEM career possibilities.
October 4, 2019 marks WSB’s 24th year of business. Every year on our firm’s anniversary, I reflect on WSB’s journey. Recently, I was in New York City at a conference and was reminiscing on the past 24 years and thinking about the future. While in New York, I saw the musical Hamilton again and began to understand why I’m drawn to it. One of the early songs in Hamilton is called “My Shot.” Alexander Hamilton sings about his place in history and how he is not going to throw away the opportunity that he has been given. He says that he is like his country, “young, scrappy and hungry.” That description is a good way to describe WSB founders Ron Bray, Pete Willenbring, Don Sterna and myself 24 years ago. In terms of firm age and staff, that description remains true in 2019. We have grown from seven staff in one oversized office in 1995 to more than 500 staff in 12 offices throughout four states today. Our secret sauce has always been our attitude of hunger and scrappiness – now reflected in our WSB Way values that remind us to be bold, authentic, passionate, optimistic and visionary.
As four founders on the verge of something new, we didn’t throw away our shot and we continue to work every day to provide opportunities to our staff so they can take their shot in a supportive and collaborative environment. Now 24 years later, I am more inspired by our team and have more passion and fire to be the best that we can be. Our industry is changing at a pace that we haven’t seen before, and we must be at the forefront of that change. I’m amazed when successful companies choose to relax and rest on past successes. Nothing is promised to us and without continued improvement and change, those companies will not exist in the future. From technology, productivity, sustainability to diversity, there is much more to do, and I believe that we are well-positioned to continue to lead. In recent years, we’ve been improving quality, expanding our offerings to new markets and service areas, and focusing on hiring and developing an amazing team. I am so thankful for our staff and clients who have helped build WSB and I am excited for our future successes as we begin to celebrate our 25th year in 2020.
In the musical, Hamilton’s wife says that he writes like he is running out of time. I can appreciate that feeling as we race to be our best. WSB is still a young company and there is much more ahead of us. My advice to our staff is to keep their heads up and watch for opportunities. Don’t make assumptions or preplan your career. You might miss out on something wonderful that you couldn’t have imagined. We have lived by that philosophy over the past 24 years and I know that our 25th year will be no different.
Today, we take time to celebrate the success we have had for 24 years, and after we will look to the future and move forward with passion, optimism and a bold vision to be the most authentic firm we can be. As Alexander Hamilton says, “That would be enough!”
Denver, Colorado – Fast-growing
Minneapolis-based consulting and design firm WSB opened a new Denver office
this week at 5660 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. in Greenwood Village. The new office
will allow WSB to recruit and retain additional talent to serve clients in the
Denver area. WSB, which provides engineering, planning, environmental, traffic
analysis, landscape architecture, survey, and construction services for the
public and private sectors, has been rapidly growing in the Denver area over
the last year.
been expanding our capabilities in the Colorado market over the past year and
this new office marks our commitment to growing our services and team,” said
WSB President and CEO Bret Weiss. “Clients throughout Colorado have access to
the same full-service experience, advanced technology and industry-leading
expertise offered through WSB.”
Denver office is WSB’s second location in Colorado. The firm has had a
dedicated Utility and Pipeline team in Westminster since earlier this year. WSB
began expanding in Colorado through the acquisition of Legacy Engineering,
Inc., a Denver-based land development engineering services firm. The new
3,400-square-foot office includes room for the current 11-person Denver team to
expand up to 17 people.
is growing a new family here in Colorado,” said Jim Mill, principal and Denver
office lead. “The new office reflects WSB’s culture and we are excited to share
this with more people in this market. A
brick-and-mortar location adds some permanence to our Colorado operations and
is attractive both for our team members and clients.”
in Minneapolis, WSB is the fourth-largest engineering firm in the Twin Cities.
When it was founded in 1995, the company had five staff, one office and three
different services areas. Today, the company offers services in more than 25
areas, employs more than 450 people and has expanded its markets beyond
Minnesota with 12 offices across four different states.
Fall is here which means the Minnesota golf season is ending and winter is on its way. I am not a winter sport guy, so this season gives me a chance to evaluate our year and start planning for 2019 and the new services and markets that we are going to pursue. This has been a challenging year on many levels. Choosing to grow, expand, and improve does not happen easily and yet it’s necessary to the sustainability of any organization.
We continue to mourn the loss of Vern Hedquist, a valued staff member who was killed earlier this fall on a job site. We know that this loss is much more difficult for his wife, Cindy, and his family. Finding solutions to design and manage projects while facing the reality of construction zone dangers with the increasing number of inattentive drivers is never far from our minds. We have been buoyed by the kind support from you and all our friends in the industry. Thank you for showing how much you care. My coach Lou Holtz always said, “People want to know that you care.” That care came through in a very strong way. One of the things that we know all too well is that life doesn’t stop for anyone.
In October we celebrated our 23rd anniversary and have accomplished a lot this year thanks to our clients. It is so helpful to have clients that are willing to partner with us to find new ways to deliver solutions. We have a strong entrepreneurial culture which fuels our passion for innovation and curiosity. We have developed new software applications that are being used by real estate and alternative energy developers throughout the country. Our pipeline group now reaches across the country and continues to grow and develop. We hope it’s clear that we never shy away from trying something new and we don’t back down from a challenge. Please continue to challenge us.
We recently rebranded. We know that changing a logo or mark doesn’t inherently change a company. In our case, we were searching to align who we are as a company with our mark and messaging. We are a bold company with a vision to find ways to improve our industry. This is expressed with passion and energy and for the sake of our staff, we needed a change. Who we are has not changed, but how we express it has. We will continue to improve our processes, quality, and solutions as we move into 2019.
I want to share one final quote that I love, and typifies our staff at WSB. “It is not simply the brightest who have the best ideas; it is those who are the best at harvesting them from others. It is not only the most determined who drive change; it is those who most fully engage with like-minded people. And it is not wealth or prestige that best motivates people; It is respect and help from your peers.” – Alex “Sandy” Pentland, Director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory