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.
One such challenge was the economic and construction downturn of 1988 to 1992. Lessons learned during this period included how to maximize efficiency, practice economy, and mutual sacrifice, all with the common goals of improving client satisfaction and building the customer base.
Over the years, the firm has expanded and fine-tuned its range of services to meet the needs of its 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. Also, 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 with a focus on maximizing efficiency and customer satisfaction.
With the achievement of the 20-year milestone, the real potential of the firm became evident: key individuals becoming vital leaders, continually 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.
2001 brought about change that would usher in a new era for the firm. 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 division managers. Each had been instrumental in the firm's growth since its 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 continued working hand-in-hand with business development and management staff, and a large group of dedicated employees to grow the firm and build upon its reputation by working on an ever-expanding roster of project types complexities for an increasingly diverse client base. By 2008, the firm had grown to 160 employees within four Arizona offices.
As a new 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. The partners' foresight and sacrifice helped the firm meet the challenge. By late-2011, the firm was back to an employee roster of 125 and maintaining offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson, Arizona.
On August 21, 2011, the firm lost a 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 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.