By Kevin Chadwick
On June 25, 2023, FSi celebrated our 38th anniversary. I have been with the firm for 18 of those years, and in the first few months as the Managing Principal, I’ve been thinking a lot about the road we took to get here.
More than a decade ago, Rob Danforth and Michael Eshelman decided that they wanted FSi Engineers to continue into the future, long after they retired. The first time I was a part of the conversation was way back in May of 2012. They shared their vision of expanding the team of leader/owners and began to plan for their eventual retirement. I became one of the first new owners, along with my colleague and fellow Principal, Ben Roush.
Shortly after that time, we won the contract for a Boeing paint hangar in Charleston, SC, which remains one of our flagship projects to this day due to its innovative design. Rob and I spent many hours together, flying back and forth, and talking about the future of FSi.
As our visions for the company grew, the plan for a smooth transition of leadership also began to take form. Since 2012, the leadership team has grown from Rob and Michael to 11 Directors, Associates, Senior Associates, Associate Principals, and Principals, most of whom have come from staff who have made their careers at FSi. As I look around at our leadership meetings, I am as proud of the team we’ve built as I am of the company we continue to build together.
We have accomplished a lot since 2012. We have grown from 18 people to the 46 (and counting) that we have today. We have expanded our services to include electrical, commissioning, energy modeling, and net zero design. We removed red-list materials from our specifications wherever we could find a green alternative. We opened offices in Baltimore and Spokane. We have created a company culture that is based on communication and coaching with the help of a business coach and ongoing training for all of our staff members.
We strive to live our values by putting effort into our ILFI Just label, signing and following the National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA) Pledge and the MEP 2040 climate commitment. These things quantify our actions and help us to hold ourselves accountable, a key part of our company culture. We have also established a DEI committee that meets regularly to inform our policies as they are written and updated. We do these things to make sure we are always being who we say we are; not perfect, but always growing toward our Vision, Values, and Purpose.
I could go on longer about the things that make me proud to lead this company, but marketing tells me to keep it around 500 words. So, I’ll wrap it up with thanks to FSi staff, past and present, who make this such a great place to work. Thank you to our AEC colleagues. And most of all, thank you also to our clients. We are honored that you place your trust in us to bring your projects to life. We look forward to serving you for the next 38 years and beyond.