Stanley Consultants, Inc., started modestly in 1913 as a one-man operation focused on civil engineering and drainage projects in the eastern Iowa town of Muscatine.
Steadily and with well-calculated growth, it has become a leading provider of engineering, environmental, and construction services nationally and internationally. Now the firm, known to be a pioneer in the engineering industry, has reached another milestone: its 100th anniversary – a rarity in the industry, sparking reflection on its successes and fueling momentum for its bright future. To mark the milestone, the firm’s employees (referred to as members) are performing community service around the world to show their appreciation to the communities and clients that have supported the firm for a century.
In addition to its headquarters in Muscatine, Iowa, Stanley Consultants now has 30 locations including domestic offices in Des Moines, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, West Palm Beach, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Baton Rouge, and Austin, and international offices in Kuwait, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, India, and the United Arab Emirates. The firm has successfully completed more than 24,000 engagements in all 50 states, several U.S. territories, and in 103 countries. Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine ranks it 72 among the nation’s top 500 design firms.
President and CEO Gayle Roberts attributes the company’s stability, in part, to the longevity of its leaders (just five presidents in 100 years), and the loyalty of its members, many of whom have spent their entire career with the company. The firm has nine times been named by AARP as one of the “Best Companies for Workers Over 50.”
“100 years is a very significant mark. Few consulting engineering firms have a history as long as ours. More often than not, they fade away or are acquired by other firms,” said Richard H. Stanley, chair emeritus of Stanley Consultants. “Our continuity demonstrates that we have been able to manage leadership and ownership transitions while holding firm to fundamental values of excellence in client service and recognition that our people are our most important asset.”
Over the years, the firm set its own course within the industry, creating a culture of belonging where there are members, not employees; offering a member stock ownership program decades before it became the norm; standardizing engineering quality and client service methods; and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit resulting in international expansion in the 50s and continued diversification of its capabilities.
The legacy started with the work of entrepreneur Charles Young, who in 1932 was joined by C. Maxwell Stanley. The firm was then renamed Young and Stanley, Inc. The business grew, and its reach began to stretch geographically. Mr. Young retired in 1938, and in 1939, the company became known as Stanley Engineering Company.
A turning point was the firm’s involvement in the U.S. rural electrification program, which began in the 1930s. Gregs G. Thomopulos, Stanley Consultants’ Chairman of the Board, said the firm’s contributions in this arena led to the development of its power generation design capabilities.
The company entered the international field in 1957, opening an office in Monrovia, Liberia. “At the time it was unthinkable for a small Iowa engineering firm to operate internationally,” said Thomopulos. “International work provided opportunities for our members to be involved in extremely interesting and challenging engineering opportunities. And the level of change that it made in the lives of people overseas was monumental.” There has been significant diversification of services since that time, driven by client needs. The firm now ranks 138 among the top design firms internationally.
With rural electrification, state roads and highways, sanitary systems, and running water in demand, C. Maxwell Stanley pioneered quality service methods for the company’s clients. These, combined with unparalleled service practices, were recorded in his book, “The Consulting Engineer,” published in 1961. It became the foremost sourcebook for engineers. That same year, the firm became one of the first in the industry to become member-owned. Richard Stanley noted, “From the very early days, we have identified our employees as members and encouraged ownership through the purchase of shares in the company.”
In 1966, the company name was changed to Stanley Consultants, Inc., to better reflect the growing number of services provided. Architects, economists, construction managers, and planners were added to provide a multi-disciplinary cadre of experts.
Stanley Consultants expanded to the Southwest in 1983 and to the Southeast in 1985. Today the firm is 1,000 members strong. With a focus on energy, water, transportation, and the environment, the firm serves public and private clients through offices located across the world.
Projects exemplary of Stanley Consultants’ capabilities include the world’s largest integrated district cooling plant in Qatar; program management services for Task Force Guardian to restore New Orleans’ flood protection system; the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in Algeria; leading transportation design projects, including accelerated bridge construction; and significant power projects in transmission, distribution and generation plants.
In looking back on the company’s rich legacy, Thomopulos said, “what makes me proud is that whenever someone learns that I work for Stanley Consultants, what always follows is, ‘great company, great reputation, great integrity.’ You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Stanley Consultants provides program management, planning, engineering, environmental and construction services worldwide. Recognized for its commitment to client service and a passion to make a difference, Stanley Consultants brings global knowledge, experience and capabilities to serve clients in the energy, water, transportation and Federal markets. Since 1913, Stanley Consultants has successfully completed more than 25,000 engagements in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and in 103 countries. For more information on Stanley Consultants, please visit www.stanleyconsultants.com.
Stanley Consultants is a pioneering firm in the consulting engineering industry. Opening as a one-man operation in 1913, the firm now has offices in multiple locations worldwide including Des Moines, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, West Palm Beach, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Baton Rouge, Austin, Kuwait, Jamaica, India, Puerto Rico and Qatar.