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The commemoration of WJE’s fiftieth anniversary provides an opportunity
to celebrate our accomplishments and reflect on the firm’s history and
growth, and to consider the extraordinary possibilities that lie ahead.
As 2006 draws to a close, a substantial upgrade and consolidation of the
Northbrook campus is nearing completion. The new headquarters stands
as a testimony to the company’s commitment to its future, and to the
next generation of extraordinary employees.
In May of 2006, all current staff and a number of distinguished past
employees gathered in downtown Chicago to commemorate the fiftieth
anniversary of WJE’s founding. The three-day conference opened with
a private event hosted by the Museum of Science and Industry and the
screening of a film on the storied history of the firm. During the next two
days of Conference 2006, the 430 attendees participated in many technical
presentations and theWorld of WJE (WOW!) exhibition, featuring
twenty-nine booths displaying the various services and areas of technical
expertise that the company provides. The fifty most significant projects
presented in this book were first announced and displayed at a special
conference exhibit.
As we reflect upon the most significant projects of our first fifty years,
WJE continues to undertake new and challenging assignments. Among
the noteworthy and demanding assignments received this year are the
investigation of the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial,
a 350-foot-tall granite and concrete column on an island in Lake Erie;
the restoration of the marble facades of the New York Public Library;
and the seismic assessment and strengthening of Congregation Sherith
Israel in San Francisco. In August 2006, the firm was retained by the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts to undertake a comprehensive safety
audit of the Central Artery/Tunnel project in Boston, also known as the
Big Dig. More than sixty WJE employees participated in the first phase
of the investigation, which was successfully completed within the
ambitious ninety-day timeframe required by the client.
In the midst of these and many other significant assignments, the
company mourned the loss of Jack Janney, who passed away on
October 9, 2006, at the age of eighty-two. Jack will be remembered
as the founder of the firm, but it is his pioneering vision and commitment
to excellence that will be his strongest legacy. On October 17, the company
was saddened to learn that Peg Janney had also passed away. Peg played
a vital, yet largely unsung, role in the development of the firm: she was
WJE’s first technician, first accountant, first administrative assistant, and
first human resources manager.
Since its founding in 1956, WJE has grown from a one-man consulting
engineering company to an interdisciplinary corporation with more
than 400 employees in nineteen offices nationwide, undertaking more
than 6,000 projects a year. These impressive statistics would not be
possible without WJE’s exceptional staff of dedicated professionals. The
character, commitment, expertise, and enthusiasm of WJE’s employees
have made the company a success in decades past, and will continue
to do so in the future.
As we embark upon our next half-century, WJE continues to advance
the nature of its practice by providing innovative solutions to particularly
complex problems and by continuing to make important contributions
to the profession. Each new assignment has the potential to be another
one of the firm’s most significant projects, and we look forward with
keen anticipation to those future challenges and unique opportunities.
Look i ng Forward : The F i f t i eth Ann i ver sar y and the Future
WJE 50 Years