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Success through diversity

Financial managers know the importance of diversification in an investment portfolio to smooth out the inevitable bumps in the road to success. Successful companies embrace this same concept when selecting their target markets and recruiting a qualified work force, a practice of particular importance when that company's business focuses upon guiding construction projects in the cyclical land development industry.

The long-term success of companies in the building industry is often based on their ability to retain qualified and innovative personnel and maintain superior business practices. Companies with current technical diversity in staff, products and location are generally more able to transition resources among service sectors and markets experiencing the ebb and flow of economic conditions; this allows successful operations to continue even during downturns in one or more of a company's market sectors.

One San Diego-based company that has embraced the concept of healthy diversification is Rick Engineering Co. For more than 52 years, our company has strategized to guarantee a seasoned, diversified work force, offering a multitude of services and operating in multiple geographic locations. This good business sense has favorably served both our clients and our firm by providing broad-based planning, design and engineering services located "under one roof" and capable of maintaining stability for clients in an otherwise volatile environment.

When we opened our doors in 1955, Rick Engineering Co. offered planning and engineering services. Shortly thereafter, surveying and aerial mapping services were added. Today Rick Engineering offers an extensive list of services that include civil engineering, planning, surveying, photogrammetry, transportation and traffic engineering, water resource engineering, storm water quality services, landscape architecture, urban design, redevelopment, specialized computer services, GIS services, legal support, construction services and creative services. Our company provides these services throughout the Southwest, with offices in San Diego, Riverside, Orange, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, Sacramento, Phoenix and Tucson.

But Rick Engineering is more than a planning, design and engineering entity. Since its inception, we have continuously been actively engaged in the support of schools, colleges, industry and professional organizations, community and charitable groups to provide encouragement and opportunities to the localities in which we live and work. Both as a company and through the individual efforts of our employees, each year we donate thousands of dollars and hours in community service. We believe these efforts have equal value to the many technical services upon which our clients have come to rely, and we think that the diverse perspectives, experience and background of our staff lead to enhanced innovation in our business practices.

With so many services and skills available over such a wide geographical area, Rick Engineering has the ability to allocate resources efficiently and effectively to meet clients' needs. Project demands often require shifting resources to critical priorities; with regular cross-training programs and closely managed communication systems, we can reassign resources quickly, assuring timely response that can save weeks or even months of delay in critical project schedules.

Over more than five decades, we have come to understand that project managers who know the importance of diverse resources are successful project managers. And we also know that successful project mangers make for successful projects that lead to profitable bottom lines -- even in turbulent times.

Submitted by Steve McPartland, PE, associate principal of Rick Engineering Co.

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