During his 54-year tenure at Strand Associates, Inc. in Madison, Ted Richards had an opportunity to shape the firm he helped grow from six employees when he started to more than 400 today.
From hiring and developing talent and providing opportunities for growth, the one constant was the unyielding commitment to client satisfaction.
So, as Richards steps down as Chief Executive Officer of the full-service firm at which he has worked since 1963, he is more excited and confident, as ever, in the future of the civil engineering consulting firm.
“The future is so bright at Strand,” he said. “If only I could be 44 again [his age when he was named president and CEO of the firm in 1984]. Strand is poised for growth and is on such solid footing. The leadership is steeped in our culture, which was built and refined over time.”
“We will never replace Ted Richards here,” said Strand President and CEO Phil Budde. “Ted is a one-of-a-kind leader, a true professional, who guided our company through decades of growth and today we are the second largest engineering firm in Wisconsin. We will continue to carry out the vision that Ted set forth, to build on the professional, caring culture that was created here.”
Budde has expanded his leadership role as Strand’s new CEO, just the fourth in the company’s 70-plus year history. He will continue as the firm’s president as well.
“I have the utmost faith in Phil to continue to lead and guide Strand,” said Richards. “Phil understands the firm’s culture — he was vital in building it — and has proven his abilities over the years as we have evolved into the firm we are today. I know the firm is in great hands.”
“I am truly honored, and humbled, to have been elected as CEO of Strand,” said Budde. “I will do my best to make sure the mission, vision and values of the firm, the cornerstones on which our company is built, remain strong as we look to get even better.”
Strand made several additional personnel moves.
Matt Richards was elected executive vice president and will remain corporate secretary. In addition, he will be more involved in business development.
“Matt continues to take on more responsibility, but he is also creating opportunities for leaders in the firm to grow as well,” said Budde. “Developing our future leaders is important as we carry out our growth plans for the next 10 to 15 years.”
Three new senior vice presidents were announced: Shawn Cannon, Mike Felker, and Paula Schultz. Cannon and Scott Stearns, who serves as discipline coordinator for wastewater in the Madison office, will join Budde, Matt Richards and Felker on the firm’s Executive Committee. Budde, Matt Richards, Schultz, Cannon, Jeff Kronser and Roddy Williams serve on the Strand Board of Directors. Ted Richards remains as chairman of the board.
Both Richards, Felker and Kronser are UW–Platteville graduates.
“These moves are designed to position our firm for continued growth and to expand leadership opportunities throughout the firm,” said Budde. “Our number one goal is to carry out our mission: We are dedicated to helping our clients succeed through excellence in engineering. We have built incredible relationships with our clients and that will continue as we start our eighth decade of business. We look ahead with great optimism and excitement.”
Strand has 11 offices located in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. The company is ranked 178th out of the Top 500 Design Firms in the USA by Engineering News-Record.