Wednesday, February 28, 2018
BLOG: Pearl Anniversaries - Celebrating 30 Years at CPL|
While Dan Duprey, P.E., was interviewing at Clark Engineers back in 1988, Andrew Goodermote, AIA, was doing the very same at Patterson Mossien. The two companies would eventually merge and evolve to become Clark Patterson Lee (CPL). Goodermote and Duprey, along with Tom Swift, P.E., and Maureen Nalewalski, would find themselves at the same place 30 years later.
Now comprised of 350 professionals, the firm has grown substantially through the decades.
“When I first started here, it was important to me that I wasn’t just another number in a sea of employees. I really wanted the president to know my name,” said Nalewalski. “What’s cool about CPL today is that even as a firm with over 300 people, I don’t think anyone feels just like a number.”
Duprey and Goodermote said they have similar feelings about the company culture, remembering how much time coworkers used to spend together in their early days. Traditions like company softball leagues and enjoying a few beers after work continue, as coworkers begin to feel like a little more than team members.
“A firm like this becomes your family,” said Nalewalski. “And sure, like with any family, you go through ups and downs, but at the end of the day, the highs always outweighed the lows. My overall experience has always been positive.”
Nalewalski remembers impactful project work in addition to fond memories, including working on the Genesee County Water Supply program.
“I was part of the project team for this one in the late 90's, back when it was just an idea. Since then, there’s been two major phases completed, both of which helped provide reliable sources of high-quality water to the community for years to come. Really substantial projects like that always leave a footprint on you,” she said.
Her counterparts remember their favorite projects over the years.
“I designed wastewater treatment plants in Cuba, NY and Bolivar, NY and have since been back to do a bunch of different upgrades for both,” said Swift.
He explained that he and Tom McElheny, P.E. also pursued the Town of Cuba’s Sewer District No. 5 Sewer project near Cuba Lake for a long time. “It’s those long-term clients that tend to stick with you and leave an impact,” he said.
“It’s truly been a great place to work,” said Swift.
Additionally, Nalewalski, Swift, and Duprey all have fond memories of the Mill Seat Landfill project from their first decade at CPL. Although it was a lot of work, the payoff was worth the overtime.
“It just goes to show you that even the more challenging projects can end up being the most fun and rewarding,” said Nalewalski.
Duprey served as the QA/QC Engineer for the Mill Seat project, wearing a different hat than his usual roads and bridges engineering role. “It was fun and different,” he said, noting that the time out in the field and late nights with coworkers were memories he hasn’t forgotten.
Now, Duprey wears yet another hat: President & Chief Operating Officer.
“As a board member, my role is to help make everyone else in the company successful,” he said. Duprey spends his time helping to grow the practices of Principals throughout the company, and being a champion for CPL’s intentional culture.
“When you walk in the door in the morning, it should feel like you’re walking into your own house,” he said, adding that camaraderie and collaboration were the keys to a successful, inviting culture.
Goodermote says his role has changed as well.
“When I started, my goal was to become an architect,” said Goodermote. “Now, I am an architect, and my goal is to develop my practice.”
Goodermote said what’s changed the most in 30 years has been the growth of the company. The rest is still the same. “I’m still creating buildings that will be here forever,” he said.
“My first project was the St. John Fisher Library. I was told to put the brick back on the building,” Goodermote said. He looks back on the project warmly, accrediting his current success to the lessons he learned then. This project helped him prove that if he was given a task, the boss would know it would get done, he said.
Aside from being an architect, Goodermote has unofficially absorbed the role of a mentor to young architects, constantly challenging interns and new hires alike with his mantra “don’t think you know what you know.”
College teaches students how to think and how to process, he said, but experience teaches you how to be an architect. He challenges new people to understand how perception affects reality, and to be aware constantly of this.
“Each office has their own culture,” added Duprey. From two offices to 13 offices, being part of CPL is truly being part of something much bigger. “Have an awareness that not everyone has the same perspective.”
“And look out for each other,” said Goodermote.
After watching the company evolve since his beginning, Goodermote says he still believes there is room to grow.
“I can see myself here for another 20 years,” he said, adding the only thing that would stop him is winning the lottery and fishing all day.
Certainly, 30 years of experience warrants a bit of wisdom for those team members who haven’t been alive for 30 years yet:
“Take pride in what you’re doing, no matter how big or small,” Nalewalski urges. “Everything we do has an impact on something or someone.”
“It’s so important to be open-minded,” said Swift. “There’s never just one solution to a problem or only one way of getting things done.”
“Dress the way you want to be respected,” said Goodermote, adding that people should represent themselves as who they want to be, not who they could be.
And, Duprey closes with the Golden Rule and a bit of inspiration:
“Always treat people how you want to be treated, and whatever your career aspirations are, take the bull by the horns and go for it!” he said. “If you want it, go get it.”
Amanda Koneski is a Marketing Coordinator with extensive experience in creating content for websites, social media, brochures and mailings; designing digital and print advertising materials; assisting in script writing, planning, and directing for radio and TV commercials; and organizing events. Amanda's everyday focus on marketing includes proposal coordination, social media management and quality content creation. Her hobbies include kayaking, hiking, decorating and campaigning for United Way.
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