ORIGIN: Starting the Conversation

40 Acts of Service: Making Lives Better Through Community Involvement

01.12.22 by Krista Looney
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Happy 2022! What’s your New Year’s resolution?

A bit cliche? Maybe. But you can’t deny that a new year equates to a fresh start, making it a great time to take a hard look at yourself and your goals. 

At Wallace, we’ve always had a simple goal: to make lives better. Our 2022 New Year’s resolution may not have changed, but flipping the calendar is a chance to step back and take a renewed look at our goal. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what we accomplished last year and look forward to who we want to be and what we want to achieve in the new year.

In June 2021, we started a campaign for “40 Acts of Service” as a way to celebrate Wallace Engineering’s 40th anniversary and transition to Wallace Design Collective. We’ve always prided ourselves in providing our clients with high quality service, but making lives better purely through our job isn’t what defines us. At Wallace, we want “making lives better” to extend beyond our core services and into our communities.

So far, we’re 32 acts of service in! Here are five ways Wallace has been stepping out of the office to help make lives better in our communities. Cheers to 2022 and to continuing to achieve our goal!

1. Volunteering at fundraisers or community events

You’ve probably experienced the fun of participating in a fundraising event - a 5K raising money for a local animal shelter, a dinner auction with proceeds going to after school programs, or a casino night benefiting cancer research. So many fun events for great causes! However, these events don’t just happen. They require an army of volunteers to help give the participants an enjoyable experience.

At Wallace, we know that volunteering at an event like this is always time well spent, especially when it’s benefitting a cause you believe in. Not only does helping out feel great, but you get the added bonus of getting out and networking with your community.

Spotlight on: Atlanta office

Event: UGA Ed Hoard Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting First Tee - Metro Atlanta

Description: First Tee is a youth development organization that uses golf to teach kids life skills like discipline, confidence, and resilience. This annual golf tournament raises money for scholarships to help graduates of the First Tee program attend the University of Georgia. Wallace Principal Sarah Appleton, PE, volunteered for the day, helping out with administrative tasks and logistics for the golf tournament.

“I think it is important to give back to the communities and the profession that have given so much to all of us. And selfishly, the joy you get out of spending a day volunteering is different than the joy of a normal work day. There is something about helping others that lifts your spirits.”

2. Sponsoring employee participation in fundraiser events

The only thing better than volunteering to help out at a fundraiser event is participating in one! Wallace encourages employee participation in community fundraiser events by sponsoring entry fees for races, galas, and more. These events are always for great causes, and it also encourages out-of-the-office bonding with the work family that you spend so much time with but maybe hardly know. It’s a win all around! 

Spotlight on: Kansas City office

Event: Brew to Brew Run benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF)

Description: A contingent of beer fans and running enthusiasts from our Kansas City office had a blast in this 40-mile relay race with proceeds donated to CFF, the world’s leader in search of a Cystic Fibrosis cure. Team members took turns running legs of the race while remaining members caravanned between exchange points. Participants stopped at local breweries along the way and were treated to an after party at the end. Wallace Principal Darcey Schumacher, PE, enjoys beer and running, but she says her favorite part of the race was definitely the camaraderie she built with her office mates as they hopped between relay points.

“[Participating in community events] is great for team building and connecting with each other outside of the office…It fosters a great culture. We want people to feel they are part of something bigger - not just the day to day work.” 

3. Sharing STEM with kids

There are few things more important or satisfying than helping kids learn and discover their potential. At Wallace, we have several employees who enjoy sharing STEM opportunities with kids. Whether it’s exploring bridge design with high school students through Engineers’ Alliance for the Arts, participating in organizations such as The STEAM Engine, or volunteering to talk about what we do at various summer or after school programs, we love opening kids’ eyes to possibilities in STEM and sparking their curiosity.

Spotlight on: Oklahoma City office

Event: Restore OKC and Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Oklahoma Summer Camp

Description: During this camp, kids ranging from 5-13 got to learn about and try their hand at various STEM professions. Skylar Calhoun, PE, helped teach the campers about structural engineering - what structural engineers do and what they consider when designing structures. Then, the kids got a chance to explore structural engineering principles with their own Jenga sets.

“It was really fun. I think what helped bring it alive was having the kids be able to physically tinker with the Jenga set - see what things caused the Jenga set to fall down and how each structural member plays a role. Just getting those ideas across was really exciting. Plus, I enjoyed being able to share my personal experience with them…There were a lot of kids of color, and they were able to see someone like themselves doing something they may not have thought of.” 

4. Supporting local businesses 

Sometimes it’s the simple, often-overlooked acts that can make a big difference. Ordering food from local restaurants for company events is a surprisingly easy (and tasty!) way that Wallace supports the community. We want our office neighborhoods to continue to be thriving communities where our friends and neighbors can live and work.

Spotlight on: Tulsa office

Event: Ordering local - Take 2: A Resonance Cafe

Description: Liz Franklin is the linchpin for organizing Tulsa office events, and her first instinct is always to keep it local. Lately, for lunch meetings or other office events, she’s enjoyed ordering delicious catering from Take 2: A Resonance Cafe, a non-profit restaurant that provides job opportunities and skills training for women recently released from prison.

“Chains are always going to be around, mom-and-pop places are not. The more that I can use them and keep them in business, the more it helps the community. I like helping our downtown neighbors!” 

5. Encouraging community involvement through 8 hours of paid volunteer time

Wallace's leadership decided the best way to show employees that the company cares about individuals and their personal causes was to provide eight hours of paid volunteer time. This encourages giving back while allowing employees the freedom to do it how they see fit and for a cause they care about.

Sarah Appleton thinks the unique joy that comes with community involvement is something everyone should experience, and she appreciates that Wallace is dedicated to helping make this happen.

“I think it is essential for us to constantly be giving back to the community and profession.  We exist to make lives better and this is a small way that we can do that…I appreciate the value that Wallace puts on community involvement, including allowing employees an additional eight hours of PTO in order to volunteer in their communities - whatever is closest to their hearts.”

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Krista Looney

Structural Engineer

Ms. Looney has over nine years of experience in the field of structural engineering. Krista has performed structural assessments, inspections and roof evaluations on structures across the United States. She has also performed rapid assessments of and designed repairs for structures damaged by high winds, earthquakes and other natural phenomena. She has been a licensed engineer since 2015.

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