ORIGIN: Starting the Conversation

2020 – what a year!

01.05.21 by Tom Hendrick
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Happy New Year, everyone!

I think we’re looking forward to the start of a new year now more than ever. We all want to put the pandemic and everything else that happened in 2020 behind us. But it’s still a great time to celebrate Wallace Engineering’s accomplishments and highlights from 2020.

Our first quarter started strong and hopeful with the touch of a bittersweet note. Tom Wallace, our founder and former President/CEO/Chairman of the Board, sold his last percentages of Wallace stock to current shareholders, ending his 38-plus years as an owner of Wallace Engineering. Tom has stayed on our staff, working full time until March and on an as-needed basis since. He’s still involved in company events, and we’re proud to continue with the spirit and culture that he started nearly 40 years ago.

In January, we reviewed our charitable giving guidelines and changed them to allow each office to support their program-of-choice. Our employees chose to support Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics Colorado, Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City, Restore OKC, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In February, Wallace Engineering obtained an Oklahoma certificate of authorization for surveying and we began offering in-house surveying services with Lee Martin leading these efforts. The much-needed expansion in our Tulsa office for our civil group also began construction in February.

And, then…March.

In March, as we all know, COVID-19 hit and the world changed. Approximately 90 percent of our employees began working from home, with a few members of each office remaining to address daily operations. Thanks to our IT crew’s fabulous work, most everyone at home was able to connect with what they needed almost immediately. It was inspiring to see how everyone adapted – and continue to adapt – to these changes.

Late Spring brought around several additions. April brought the completion of our construction of the civil space expansion in Tulsa, just in time to start filling it up! In early May, Nicole Watts and Lindsey Johnson joined our firm, and Trey Wilson did as well a couple of months later. Howell & Vancuren also moved into our Tulsa office in May, adding six additional people. They joined us as official Wallace employees on January 1, allowing us to offer landscape architecture in our suite of services.

June saw nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and a renewed light on race relations in the United States. On behalf of Wallace Engineering, I issued a statement on racial equality and justice for all. This included letting our employees know we are committed to making Wallace Engineering a great place to work for all people. Our core purpose as a company is to make lives better. If we truly strive to be a great place to work, we must continue to prove it and we must continue to improve it. Our employees and communities deserve this and our culture demands it.

In September, Wallace Engineering hosted a conversation with Mr. Hannibal Johnson, a Tulsa attorney, historian and author, in a virtual question-and-answer session on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and race relations in these times. It was an informative and enlightening session from which we all took many lessons.

In closing, I want everyone to know that our Wallace team did a great job adapting this year and staying safe, and we will continue to do so into 2021 and until the pandemic is behind us. I hope we will all look back on 2020 as a year we learned to appreciate everything we have. I also hope we all have more gratitude now than we did when 2020 began. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. Not only can gratitude increase everyone’s personal experience, but it can enhance their professional lives as well. May we all continue to have gratitude in 2021!


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