Schneider Makes History
Schneider & Associates Structural Engineers was founded in 1999 by Ron Schneider. After 10 years of working for a large national Architectural Engineering (AE) firm in Tucson, and then joining a Scottsdale consulting structural firm, Ron decided to venture into the engineering consulting world with the help from family, friends and colleagues.
Ron began as a Principal running a branch office in Tucson, Arizona, for a Scottsdale, Arizona-based firm. According to Ron, “there was great business opportunity in Tucson and the economy was just getting going.”
Kitchen Table Start Up
Ron knew he needed help launching this branch office venture, so he called his former colleague Victor Pralle. Like most new start-ups, they began at the kitchen table.
It wasn’t long before Ron learned that some of his architect friends from the past AE firm had also started a Tucson branch office for a Bay area architectural firm. Ron and Victor moved into shared office space with the architects. Soon after, this Bay area AE firm along with the Tucson branch was acquired by HDR. The Tucson branch office became HDR’s first Arizona office.
Success did not come so quickly for Ron and Victor. The office was extremely busy working on projects sent down from Scottsdale, but there was little time to develop new business in Tucson. Management from Scottsdale sent Ron another senior engineer and additional staff to help with the workload and local marketing. After a year and a half, expenses outweighed the income. The Scottsdale firm cancelled the operation in Tucson.
Ron knew it wouldn’t be long before the operation would be shut down completely. Looking for ways to keep what was started in Tucson going, Ron did his homework, explored other opportunities, and continuously networked. He called upon a gentleman named Tom Wallace, a successful engineer out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, for whom a past colleague was working.
Ron pitched the idea of starting a Tucson branch office for Wallace Engineering. After hearing about the work Ron was doing in Tucson, Tom candidly told Ron he should start his own firm. This was just the encouragement Ron needed.
Launching Schneider & Associates Structural Engineers
Ron established Schneider & Associates Structural Engineers. Ron’s next step was putting the business operation together. Ron’s father-in-law, an attorney, set up the business operation and established a relationship with an accountant. Julie, formerly a graphic designer, created the logo and printed the marketing materials.
Ron then approached the Scottsdale firm with three goals: to take over the work in Tucson, to secure permission to use their standards, and to buy out most of the equipment for $3,000. The Scottsdale firm agreed, and Schneider & Associates Structural Engineers was up and running.
The firm opened with five employees: Ron, Victor, Janelle Perry, the receptionist, and a drafter. On a Sunday afternoon at the end of the first week, Victor and Ron were working in the office when the drafter arrived and informed them he had found another job and was picking up his things. Needless to say, Ron and Victor were shocked by the announcement. This was not how they had anticipated their opening week would end; however, Ron now realizes that it was important to share the company vision he had with all employees.
Growth and Success
The Ventana Medical Campus project, which was on hold, came back to life. Ron recruited Jeff Robertson to help with the project. Jeff was clearly on board with Ron’s vision and the future of the company.
As a whole, they were able to bring in large volumes of work; and the business did very well over the next few years.
With success, comes growth. Ron decided to expand the business. The expansion of the business included the addition of a new Principal, William Dzurick, P.E. The business continued to grow.
North to Alaska…and Phoenix
Schneider was approached by a native-owned civil engineering company out of Anchorage Alaska about a reciprocal agreement to cross-market each other’s services in Tucson and Alaska.
Ron, who never shied away from an interesting business proposition or a great adventure, asked Jeff Robertson to accompany him on a business development mission in Alaska. After a few days of knocking on doors, they quickly determined there was great opportunity for Schneider in Alaska. Jeff Robertson and his family moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 2003 and opened the second Schneider & Associates Structural Engineers office. Although Jeff has retired from the firm, the Alaska office has become a leading structural engineering firm in Alaska and continues to thrive.
By 2007, the economy was doing well; and the A/E/C industry was back on track. The timing was right for Schneider to open their third office in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix office relocated to Scottsdale, just a short distance from the original Phoenix office. In 2017, Schneider opened their fourth office in Cary, North Carolina—a part of the Raleigh/Durham Triangle area. Also in 2017, the Phoenix office relocated to Scottsdale, just a short distance from the original Phoenix office.
Schneider Structural Engineers Is Born
As business continued to develop and new service lines were added, Schneider’s leadership team decided to rebrand the company name in 2011. The firm came be known as Schneider Structural Engineers.
Schneider Structural Engineers strives to continuously evolve and improve the company, their employees, and their communities. SSE now employs over 30 engineers and support staff to meet the diversity and challenges of an expanding client base.