Sain Associates Through 40 Years: The 80s

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012

Do you recognize the guy leaning back in the chair on the left? It’s Joe Meads in one of our first CAD work stations!

In August, 2012, Sain Associates celebrates its 40th anniversary! What started as a small company in 1972, has grown and changed significantly over the years. We thought it would be fun to go back through each of our four decades and reminisce about what has made Sain such a great company over the years AND look toward the future. Read about the 70s here.

The 80s were a time of change. A name change, location change, significant changes in technology and a new, big client.

Manual drafting.

In 1987, the name of the firm was changed from Charles H. Sain Associates to Sain Associates under the leadership of then President, Randy Sain.

Our office landscape also started to transform with the addition of PCs, photocopiers and fax machines. “Typing” was a term of the past as we moved into the future with “word processing.” Letters were still dictated, but the recording devices were getting smaller and smaller. One thing you did not see around the office were cell phones. They were still rare and very expensive.

It wasn’t rare to see big hair, mullets, puffed sleeves, stirrup pants, acid washed jeans, Wayfarer sunglasses and knit square end ties though.

Do you spy any typical 80s fashions in this fun staff picture?

Despite some of these unfortunate styles that were very typical of the 80s, Sain moved ahead with new technology. For most of the decade, we continued to prepare engineering drawings by hand. But near the end of the 80s, we purchased our first Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) computers – Intergraph InterAct workstations. They were huge workstations with built-in digitizing surfaces and a dual screen monitors. Since they were so expensive, we only had two machines and two designers to use them. One of those designers, Joe Moon, is still with the firm today as our IT manager.

In the 1980s, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. built hundreds of stores throughout the eastern United States. Sain Associates did site engineering and survey work for projects in states from Maine to Florida and from the east coast to Indiana and Colorado. During this time period, we worked on Wal-Mart projects through the introduction of the Supercenter, Sam’s Club and Murphy Oil. We’ve designed sites for distribution warehouses, urban redevelopment sites and greenfield sites.

Our new home: Sain Centre

While we started the decade off in the same Benson Building in downtown Homewood, the business had grown so much by the end of the decade that we needed new office space.  We moved to Sain Centre, which is still our home today.

We were the largest tenant in the building and the space provided lots of room for us to expand. The firm was able to start looking for new services to supplement our site engineering and survey base. At the end of 1992, Sain added transportation services to its portfolio with the hiring of Jim Meads.

More about those new transportation services next week when we explore the 90s.

Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.

1 Comment

  1. Sain Associates Through 40 Years: The 2000s |
    September 17, 2012

    […] has made Sain such a great company over the years AND look toward the future. Read about the 70s, 80s and […]

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