ORIGIN: Starting the Conversation

Wallace Lifers 

06.29.22 by Kyle Haskett
No Comments

According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, about 47 million people have left their jobs since the pandemic in search of new employment opportunities. I am an engineer and not an economist so maybe that’s normal, but 47 million people quitting shocked me, considering it was including a global pandemic. According to Pew Research, the top three reasons people quit their jobs in 2021 were, 1) too low pay, 2) no advancement opportunities, and 3) not feeling respected at work.  Some are calling this shake-up in the labor market the Great Resignation, as the nation’s “quit rate” reached a 20-year high recently.

With all this movement in the workforce, I got to wondering about the people who aren’t changing employment – notably, those at Wallace. 

Tom Wallace founded this company just over 41 years ago. Since that time, we have seen a number of employees join the firm and really put down roots:

  • 12 employees with 30+ years at Wallace
  • 17 employees with 20+ years at Wallace
  • 48 employees with 10+ years at Wallace

For a company with 200+ employees, having 77 long-tenured employees makes quite a statement.

I thought I would check in with what I like to think of as our “Wallace Lifers” to get their take on what got them here and what has driven them to stay with the same company for so long. 

I think one of the more interesting questions for a long-time employee is, “What brought you to Wallace?” Every one of the long-tenures replied with some form of a friend connection. The most common answer was, “I have a friend who was working at Wallace and they spoke very highly of it.” Lise Kifer, who heads our legal department and has been at Wallace for 24 years, joined Wallace to take a “cushy job in accounting” from her friend Tom Wallace. Tom promised it “wouldn’t be time consuming or stressful and would allow her time to study” since she was getting ready for law school. Well…it turns out the job wasn’t nearly as relaxing as Tom promised, but Lise stuck it out and is still here!

While connections and chance opportunities may have brought them here, what is it about Wallace that has helped keep our employees for so long? As I am not a gifted writer or particularly loquacious, I asked our long-tenured employees outright, “Why have you stayed at Wallace?”

The culture of a company is very important to keeping employees happy and engaged. Many of the Wallace Lifers noted they felt Wallace provided opportunities that they could only have gotten here. Some of those opportunities include company advancements, work-life balance, and a designated parking space downtown. I think a perfect example of these opportunities is the blog you are reading now. Imagine letting two trained engineers take on writing a blog; I can’t think there are too many companies that would have jumped on that idea, not to mention give them the awesome support Krista and I have received.

According to Hank Lau, a BIM tech in our OKC office with 19 years of tenure, “The culture has always felt comfortable, accepting, empathetic, yet discerning, much like the qualities from a loving and supportive family.” Hank continued, “There is always a level of support within our network to help you overcome, learn, grow, and continue building character.”

Dena Dye in our accounting department with 34 years at Wallace appreciates Wallace’s work-life balance, noting, “Wallace is unique in the way it strives to ‘Make Lives Better,’ not only for our clients but also for our employees.”

Lisa Arnold, a BIM tech with 18 years at Wallace said, “I’ve stayed for the people.” I told Lisa I wouldn’t quote her, but I love the direct honesty of that answer.

Jana Monforte, the co-founder of our marketing department with 30 years at Wallace said, “Our CMO has allowed me the freedom to be myself, the freedom to learn and grow, the freedom to contribute my ideas and the freedom to turn those ideas into realities to support our firm’s growth.”

Darren Burns, a civil principal with 27 years at Wallace said, “Wallace is my place. Wallace provides opportunities. It has the culture you want in a workplace. We do work that matters. You have fun and support here and you get to work with great people at Wallace.”

When I applied to Wallace, I was looking for a place where I could learn, and a place where I could work on different types of structures, and with materials so I could pass my PE exams. Wallace is an expert in everything, so I knew that if I ever ran into a situation that felt out of my depth, I could just go and ask our resident expert.

I will echo these sentiments with why I have stayed at Wallace the past 11 years. I believe in this firm and our core purpose to “Make Lives Better”. I believe in our core values; responsiveness, flexibility, quality, and creativity. 

If you or someone you know is interested in joining us at Wallace, please click Join Wallace for more info.

There are no comments.

Leave a Reply

Kyle Haskett, PE


Kyle received both his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and Master of Science in Civil Engineering-Structural Emphasis from the University of Oklahoma. He is…

View Profile
Back to top
close modal

Join Our Team!

Are you passionate about the AEC industry? Do you want to use your talents with a group of the greatest engineers, landscape architects, technicians and support personnel in the industry? You've found the right place. Wallace is unique in the way we strive to make lives better for our clients, communities and employees. And we believe we have more fun doing our job than just about anyone else! The art of possibility. Discover it at Wallace.

Learn More