Why We Love Sain

By: Caroline Young

In 1972, Hack Sain founded Sain Associates, and in our training room, we have a framed shadow box of Hack’s old design instruments. Although these tools are now relics, they reflect our history and remind us of how much we have evolved.

Just as engineering has moved forward, incorporating better technology, our firm has continued to grow and change—this year alone we have added six new employees. During this season of growth, it’s important that we also reflect on who we are, and since our inception, we have been a company that values our employees.

Our firm has made a concerted effort to create a community where everyone is included. Nathan Currie, a Project Manager in our Birmingham office, says, “Sain’s welcoming culture starts at the top with our leadership. For instance, Jim always has an open door policy, loves to collaborate when making decisions, and is quick to ask how you’re doing, even on a personal level. That openness and emphasis on relationships really sets a positive tone.”

Creating this positive work environment also means fostering open communication, which is why we started the annual Strategic Planning Retreat. Every October, Sain sends the principals and a few employees to Weiss Lake to create the company’s annual goals. The firm intentionally seeks input from all employees to foster innovation and encourage open communication.

We want to support our employees, so we invest in their career growth. During the year, employees participate in career discussions with their managers, planning out what they want to accomplish for the year. For instance, this year Sain supported three employees who sat and passed their PE exam. Sain also offers monthly lunch and learns for in-house training on topics like due diligence, communication, and innovative design or construction techniques. We also send our employees to conferences for additional development.

Our current employees and managers are the best ambassadors of who we are as a company. Stacy Huffman, an Accountant in our Birmingham office, remarks, “Managers give you the space to do your job but help when you need it. It’s a respectful and collaborative environment.” On the team level, employees help each other with questions and support each other. We also collaborate across departments on projects.

Most of all, we make time to celebrate with each other. We celebrate important events like birthdays, wedding showers, baby showers, and holiday events. Recently, employees competed in an annual Chili Cook-off, where the reigning champ Matt Stoops couldn’t be toppled, and a Halloween Costume Contest, won by Eric Wood as Mr. Rogers. These events are great ways to bring us together throughout the year.

For almost fifty years, we have fostered this community, evolving who we are but also remembering our core tenets. We look forward to having more people join the team to expand our community.

We are hiring. If you know a civil engineer who is looking for a great place to work, pass the word along about Sain Associates.

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