50 Years of Building Relationships

Sain Associates is more than engineers, project managers, and consultants – we are relationship builders who strive to solve our clients’ problems. As Sain Associates celebrates its 50th anniversary, I can’t help but feel gratitude for the blessings and relationships that have developed over the last five decades. Our business has survived highs and lows, and we owe many thanks to our clients for their support.

During my first four years with Sain, I was introduced to many cities, including Irondale, Mountain Brook, Jasper, Prattville, Vestavia Hills, Birmingham, and Pell City. In my eighth year with Sain, I’ve developed relationships with these clients and am aware of specific needs or pain points that they might encounter. Familiarity is a good thing, and it can lead to long-standing relationships built on trust and understanding.

Our founder, Charles “Hack” Sain, instilled engineering and project management wisdom to our team, and we coined the lessons as “Hackerisms.” One “Hackerism” included the difference between private and public sector work. In public sector work, Mr. Sain would explain that when a city or county official chooses us for a job, they are evaluated in their position on how well we do our job.

In other words, the most important thing to a city or county official is that we do our job well, on time, and to the expected level of satisfaction. In contrast, private sector clients are more interested in how fast we get their permits and how we communicate with them. Regardless of either sector, we hope to deliver a reputation of integrity, professionalism, and consistency.  

As I have led Sain’s CE&I team, there have been seasons of turnover for city mayors, public works directors, or city engineers. Sain has helped maintain some continuity during those times of transition and has served as city engineer for several cities for many years. Rather than hiring their own full-time employee, who must be a jack of all trades in engineering, these smaller cities benefit by having a multi-disciplined engineering firm at their disposal through an oncall contract. We have a dedicated person designated as the city engineer, but that person can call on our many teams: Traffic, Infrastructure, Survey, Civil, CE&I, and GIS. 

Developing client relationships take time, but they can yield strong friendships. You overcome the initial hump of unknown expectations and procedures as you get to know someone. With time, you understand the client’s preferences and serve the organization better. Sain is proud of our many long-term client relationships, and we look forward to the future partnerships we develop over the next 50 years.