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History of Speedie & Associates, Inc.

Jim Speedie originally came to Phoenix, Arizona in 1977 in order to open a branch office for a consulting engineering firm based in Detroit, Michigan, headed by Hugo Halpert. Halpert & Associates was an active, growing firm, with a number of very talented young engineers, several of which later went on to form NTH Consultants, a well known Michigan-based engineering firm.

In 1977, Sky Harbor Airport had only two small terminals, the freeway system consisted of only I-17, and the Valley of the Sun had a population of only 500,000 people. At the time, it would have been difficult to imagine the explosive growth that the Valley would experience over the next 25 years. Jim began to build a small team of dedicated and hard-working individuals, and instilled in each of them the philosophy of customer service which remains the essence of the firm today. The firm specialized in geotechnical engineering, construction inspection and materials testing, laboratory testing, and civil design and surveying. The early projects consisted of large shopping malls, including its first project, Paradise Valley Mall.

Jim & Henrietta Speedie

This was a challenging period for Arizona, the economy, and the firm. When the decision was made by Halpert in early 1980 to close the branch office. Jim and Henrietta Speedie saw potential that others didn’t, and remained committed to the Arizona market.

As a result, they bought the assets associated with the local operation and formed Speedie & Associates in July of 1980. With a small group of 13 loyal employees, and ten clients, the new firm embarked on what would be a demanding and rewarding path.

One such challenge was the economic and construction downturn of 1988 to 1992. Many lessons were learned during this period, including how to maximize efficiency, practice economy, and to mutually sacrifice, all with the common goals of improving client satisfaction and building the customer base.

The firm has expanded and fine-tuned it’s range of services over the years, to meet the needs of their clients and be responsive to the market, including the addition of environmental engineering services in 1986, and the discontinuation of civil engineering and surveying services in 1992. In addition, the firm has been a pioneer in the utilization of new technology within its technical and administrative processes, in response to changes in test methodology, and to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Through the years, the true potential of the firm became evident, with key individuals becoming vital leaders, seeking new areas of revenue and growth, and developing focus and intensity. Each area was supported by knowledgeable and loyal staff, and by the year 2000, the firm had grown to over 100 employees, operating out of three Arizona offices, serving thousands of clients.

After twenty years of ownership, in February of 2001 Jim and Henrietta Speedie sold their remaining majority interest in Speedie & Associates, Inc. to the four key division managers who had been instrumental in the firm’s growth since it’s inception: Gregg Creaser P.E., Brett Creaser P.E., Don Cornelison P.E., and Steven Griess P.E.

After acquiring the firm from the Speedies, the four partners working hand-in-hand with key business development and management staff and a large group of dedicated employees continued to grow the firm and build its reputation by working on an ever-expanding roster of project types, sizes and complexities for an increasingly diverse client base.  By 2008, the firm had grown to 160 employees, based in four Arizona offices.

As the economic storm began to appear on the horizon, the firm’s ownership and management recognized that an immediate and proactive shift in business development focus and effort would be necessary to survive the downturn - along with a little painful belt-tightening.  Due to this foresight, and sacrifice, the firm successfully met the challenge, and by late-2011 was back to an employee roster of 125, based in three Arizona offices.

On August 21, 2011, the firm lost partner Steve Griess.  While Steve’s most recent area of official responsibility related to the management of our Environmental Services Department, he filled many other positions and roles during his long tenure with the firm. Steve was very much an essential part of the firm’s growth and success, and will always be an integral part of its legacy. 


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