On Monday of this week, I received some dreaded news!!! It was my turn to write the Newsletter….UGH, it always seems to come along during the busiest week when everything is crazy, and a million things are going on. Usually, I have an idea of what I am going to write about, which always seems to be me complaining about college graduates or some new regulation that is raising my blood pressure. This week I was at a loss. I know everyone needs a break from my complaining or drone videos of our newest project, so I decided to take a step back. With Christmas coming (or whatever holiday you chose to celebrate this time of year), it is always a good time to step back and reflect. This past May, we celebrated our 20th year in business, and I want to take a moment and reflect on all that I am truly thankful for these past 20+ years. For those that don’t know, I grew up in East Fallowfield outside of Coatesville. I graduated High School in 1988, and after my first year at Drexel, I went into the Yellow Pages and called Hunt Engineering in Malvern and was hired for the Summer as a surveyor. While I enjoyed working there, unfortunately for them, I delivered plans to a firm in Exton called Edward B. Walsh and Associates, Inc. and knew right away I wanted to work there. After significant harassing of Barry Walsh, I convinced him to hire me for Christmas break and luckily was brought back for all of my Drexel Co-ops and ultimately full time! And so, first and foremost, I am very thankful for Barry Walsh, PE, and especially Ted Gacomis, PE, for giving me my first opportunity in this business and for the countless hours of teaching I received from Ted. Every single time I walked into Ted’s office, no matter how busy he was, he stopped what he was doing, sat back, let me lay my plan on his desk and answered my questions, and taught me more and more about engineering, what a great environment to work and learn in! And if that wasn’t enough, I got to work on projects for and alongside Jack Loew, Eli Kahn, Tim Townes, and Craig Hough. I felt like I was a celebrity. Being in my early 20’s and learning from these guys was so great. Now I was learning not only civil engineering but also about site layout, construction costs, value engineering as well as architecture. My first client to have on my own to work with was John Drury, who became my father in law and one of my biggest supporters. Working with him and John E. Good, Esq on projects all over West Chester, I now found myself handling Township meetings myself and learning from one of the smoothest and most savvy attorneys I have ever known, not to mention 2 of the most fun people I have ever worked with. The John and John show as I liked to refer to them taught me so much, and looking back, I was still just a kid. So thankful for the faith they had in me at 24 years old. These eight people shaped a huge part of my early career, and no question started me down a path that led to having my own firm today. The year was 1995 (out of college for two years), and along comes one of my longest and best clients of all time Tom Bentley. When I left engineering to work for Bentley Homes, my experience and learning went into high gear! Tom gave me an amazing opportunity to learn and grow, and I was only 25 years old and learning residential real estate development. Few can say they have been given such amazing opportunities to learn in this business, and for all of this, I am so grateful. Alright, lets fast forward to 1999 when DL Howell was started. There are hundreds of people that I am thankful for getting us through these last 20 years, but I want to especially recognize several in particular.
First, our clients:
Thank you, Tom Bentley, and all of your crew for placing trust in me for so long and teaching so much about residential community design.
Thank you to Eli Kahn for so many years of so many creative, cutting edge projects that you entrusted with us and being a friend for all of these years.
Thank you to all of NV Homes and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of such large impactful communities in Chester County.
Thank you to John Lynch for keeping us on our toes and teaching us that we CAN find another high gear when needed.
Thank you to Mark Bedwell and the Bedwell Companies for always thinking of us and giving us opportunities.
Thank you to all of our clients who so loyally work with us and entrust us with your projects.
Thank you to all of the site contractors who get to implement and interpret our plans, including Lyons and Hohl, Brubacher, Schlouch, Kreider, and B and J Excavating. You all make us look good, and we appreciate not only working together but also you catching our mistakes before pipe goes in the ground or asphalt goes down!!
Thank you to ALL of the attorneys we work with and for including Brian Nagle, Kristin Camp, Patrick Mckenna, Sigmund Fleck, Ross Unruh, Alyson Zarro, Jon Jordan, Mike Shiring, Debbie Shulski and Lindsey Dunn. A special thank you to John Jaros, Lou Colagreco, and Mark Kaplin.
Thank you to all of my engineering colleagues and Township Engineers we work with. I realize we are usually at each other’s throats all year long, but I still enjoy it.
Thank you to Chris Godshall at Meridian Bank and everyone at Meridian Bank. Please remember this Newsletter when the next recession hits.
Thank you to Orsatti-Stuart…..Joe and Patrick, you are two of my favorite people to work with.
Thank you to Ed Theurkauf for reading every single newsletter we send out AND commenting on it.
And lastly, thank you to the entire team at DL HOWELL and HOWELL KLINE…. We are only as strong as our team!!!
I think we unintentionally take for granted all of the great people we work with every day. In many ways, they are like family and it sure seems like we spend more time with them then we do our real families, especially when we are out until 11 pm at a Planning Commission Meeting. I often stop and look around at all of the holiday parties this time of year to take in all of these great people and am glad I have this chance to thank as many as I can remember at 11:27 pm on a Thursday night. Have a great Holiday and New Year and see you in 2020.
Denny L. Howell, II PE