1981–1990 : Branch i ng Out
In 1981, Jack Wiss unexpectedly passed away, leavingWJE to mourn
the loss of “Mr. Wiss.”A nationally known engineer with expertise in
structural vibrations, soil dynamics, and acoustic engineering, Jack Wiss
was also noted as being the most formal of the three founding partners.
Mr. Wiss showed great respect for his colleagues, and great respect was
given in return.
Despite this loss, the company embarked on what would be a period of
significant expansion during the 1980s—both in terms of the breadth of
WJE’s expertise and the number of office locations established around the
country. By 1984, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates had five branch offices,
with new offices established in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, in 1981;
Denver, Colorado, in 1982; and Dallas, Texas, in 1983. By the end of the
decade, five more branches opened, including offices in Austin, Texas, in
1984; Seattle, Washington, and Chicago, Illinois, in 1986; Washington, D.C.,
in 1989; and Atlanta, Georgia, in 1990.
Also in 1984, WJE acquired Erlin, Hime Associates (EHA), a materials
science and testing firm located in Northbrook, Illinois, which brought
in-house petrographic and chemical analysis capabilities to the firm.
(Bill Hime is pictured at left.) Shortly thereafter, a building next to the
Northbrook headquarters was purchased. “Annex II”became the new
home of the EHA division of WJE as well as the firm’s original materials
During the 1980s, the company expanded its services in architectural
work as well. The investigation of building facades and roofing systems,
as well as historic preservation, became strong components of WJE’s
portfolio during the 1980s. WJE engineers, architects, and materials
scientists worked together to investigate problems and provide solutions
for the repair and restoration of many different contemporary and
historic structures nationwide.
In 1989, United States Gypsum Corporation decided to sell off its WJE
division andWiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., became an employee
owned company. This change was enthusiastically supported by the
growing staff. By the time the first company-wide conference was held
in 1989, WJE had a total of approximately 200 employees working on
approximately 3,000 projects per year, with annual billings surpassing
As the decade of the 1990s began, theWJE Difficult Access Team
performed its first inspection of a building facade using rappelling
Jack Wiss passed away.
The Princeton Junction, New Jersey, branch
The Denver, Colorado, branch office opened.
The Dallas, Texas, branch office opened.
WJE acquired Erlin, Hime Associates (EHA);
the Austin, Texas, branch office opened.
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first
woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
MTV broadcast its first music video.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
was dedicated in Washington, D.C.
The first MacIntosh Apple computer
went on sale.
President Reagan and Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev met to improve
relations between their countries.