The Foundation for Success
John E. Olsson establishes John E. Olsson Professional Engineering in Lincoln, Nebraska's Sharp Building, with him as the sole employee. The company's first project is a plat of a cemetery for J. Township in Seward County for a fee of $56. Gross income that first year is $4,000.
Max Burroughs joins the firm in 1958, adding structural and architectural expertise to the service offerings. In 1960, Charles Thomsen joins the firm, adding mechanical and electrical engineering services to the mix. Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen merges with Clark & Enersen Architects in 1962 to form Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen. The firm now employs 30 and offers architectural, civil, sanitary, mechanical, structural, and municipal engineering services.
Enersen, Olsson, Burroughs & Thomsen's civil and municipal engineering departments leave the group to form John E. Olsson & Associates with 90 projects and eight employees. The new firm establishes headquarters on the 17th floor of the First National Bank Building in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. The firm teamed with Black & Veatch on the Theresa Street wastewater treatment plant project in Lincoln.
Becoming Olsson Associates
John E. Olsson & Associates becomes Olsson Associates with 22 employees.
Carl Bodensteiner named president.
Corporate headquarters moves to the 6th floor of the NBC Center in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. Olsson Associates now employs 34.
Olsson Associates opens an office in Grand Island, Nebraska. Electrical and mechanical engineering services are added, and the firm grows to 47 employees and 419 projects. The firm was selected for the Ashland water treatment plant project.
Olsson Associates begins the 4.5-day work week. Both computers are networked.
Roger Severin named president. Another regional office opens in Holdrege, Nebraska. Olsson Associates now employs 75 and services 467 projects.
Olsson Associates' headquarters relocates to 1111 Lincoln Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska, and establishes Olsson Environmental Sciences. The firm boasts 105 employees and 734 projects.
For the first time, Olsson is listed on Engineering News Record's Top 500 design firms. The firm celebrates 40 years with 135 employees and offices in Lincoln, Grand Island, and Holdrege. John E. Olsson is honored with UNL College of Engineering and Technology's Outstanding Alumnus Award.
Olsson Associates opens an office in Omaha, Nebraska. The Antelope Valley MIS project is won in Lincoln, marking the firm's largest project to date.
At 152 employees, Olsson Associates opens an office in Kansas City, Missouri.
Acquisitions and Growth
Olsson opens an office in Phoenix, Arizona. The Kansas City office doubles in size with the acquisition of BES and new staff members. Olsson Associates and Olsson Environmental Sciences open the holding company, OEI, Inc. The firm grows to 214 employees and is recognized as the fastest growing company in the city of Lincoln.
Olsson acquires SEC to start Denver operations. Olsson employs 271 and handles 973 projects.
Olsson opens a Siouxland office in South Sioux City, Nebraska. The Glendale West Area Regional Center project in Arizona is won. The firm establishes an Employee Stock Ownership Program.
UNL's College of Engineering and Technology recognizes Olsson Associates with the Distinguished Corporate Service Award for its service to the college.
Olsson opens a Scottsbluff, Nebraska office and services 1,360 projects firmwide. The firm has 368 employees and 29 teams. Olsson is recognized by CE News as a best place to work.
Olsson opens a Minneapolis-area office and expands to 415 employees. Olsson moves up 40 places on the Engineering News Record's Top 500 to #232.
Olsson Associates celebrates its 50th year. Olsson moves to #193 on Engineering News-Record's Top 500 and employs more than 600. The firm opens offices in Tucson, Arizona, and Hastings, Nebraska.
Olsson has 17 offices, 47 teams, and 700 employees. Offices open in Sarpy County, Nebraska, and Manhattan, Kansas. Chip Corcoran is named chief operating officer, Brad Strittmatter is named executive vice president, and Roger Severin remains CEO/chairman of the Board.
The firm's practice groups are restructured into nine areas and leaders are selected. In December, Olsson acquired The Acacia Group, a Tucson-based landscape architecture and urban design firm.
Offices open in Des Moines, Iowa; Joplin, Missouri; and Chandler, Arizona. In October, Olsson acquires Stevenson Land Surveying Services in Holdrege, Nebraska. In December, Olsson acquires Cordilleran Compliance Services, a Colorado environmental consulting firm specializing in the oil and gas industry with 40 employees.
In March, Olsson's Omaha office relocates to a new building in Aksarben Village. The firm opens a field office in Olathe, Kansas.
In October, Brad Strittmatter is named president. Olsson's leadership team also includes newly named senior vice presidents: John S. Olsson, Randy Kaster, and Ryan Beckman. Melissa Newton is named senior vice president of business operations. Roger Severin, the firm's chief executive officer, begins to transition out of the firm's day-to-day operations, focusing on long-term strategic efforts and pursuing non-traditional projects for the firm.
In June, Olsson acquires Scott Consulting Engineers (SCE), a Springfield, Mo., firm and its 20 employees. In November, Olsson's Springfield employees move into SCE's building. In December, Lakewood employees move to the Golden office, consolidating Denver metro operations under one roof.
Olsson's big project wins this year include several Kansas City-area transit projects, funded with stimulus program dollars; Fiber to the Home projects in Nebraska; and the West Haymarket infrastructure project around Lincoln's new downtown arena. Jeff Jenkins joins the firm as chief financial officer.
Olsson celebrates 55 years in business with 600 employees in more than 20 offices.
An F-5 tornado hit Joplin in May, and Olsson Associates made donations of items, blood, and cash to help with recovery efforts. Employees also were called upon to help Mercy Hospital Systems as a local hospital was destroyed. An Olsson team helped with the design of the temporary hospital facilities and with the replacement hospital as well.
Olsson Associates announces a gift commitment of $260,000 over the next 10 years to support faculty members, students, academic programs, and facilities at the University of Nebraska's College of Engineering.
In July, the firm's leadership team makes some adjustments. Jeff Ford is added as the senior vice president of technical operations and joins the Operations Team (OT). Other OT members include Brad Strittmatter, president; John Olsson, senior vice president of public infrastructure and community engagement; Ryan Beckman, senior vice president of sales and new business; Melissa Newton, senior vice president of business operations; and Jeff Jenkins, CFO.
The firm begins operations in Loveland, Colorado; and Oklahoma City. Olsson ends the year with 25 offices, 60 teams, and 700 employees.
In August, the Lincoln office of 200 employees relocates to a new building in the West Haymarket. In November, Olsson acquires Ochsner Hare & Hare, a Kansas City planning and landscape architecture design firm with 10 employees. The firm ends the year with 877 employees.
Mr. Olsson passes away on January 28.
In early February, the Olsson Associates Foundation launches, focused on community, education, and environment. In June, Olsson is awarded federal approval for commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, among the first in the Midwest. The Mercy Hospital project in Joplin, Missouri was selected for Engineering News-Record's 2015 Best Project Award in its ENR Midwest magazine.
The firm opens a field office in Greeley, Colorado; the Sarpy County, Nebraska office relocates. Olsson Associates closes out the year with 928 employees in 26 offices.
The firm celebrates 60 years in March.