Earlier this month, Cripe was recognized by the Indiana Chamber as one of the Best Places to Work in the state. This is the 9th year we’ve received this honor, in addition to being inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2018.

After our annual Chili Cookoff earlier this week, it’s not hard to see why our employees enjoy working here so much. There were a record number of entries this year and the usual amount of competition; each department claiming that they were going to win.

Chili cookoff hopefuls

In the end, Civil Engineering produced 5 out of the 6 winners, but that’s neither here nor there.

If you’d like to try out our winning recipes the traditional category winner was Mother’s Chili and the vegetarian winner was Some O’ This Some O’ That Vegetarian Chili.

Our winners: Susan and Jennifer

So what’s the recipe for being included in the Indiana Chamber’s Best Places to Work list?

Gather employees and utilize clients as judges of the cookoff. It’s an opportunity to move the discussions away from projects to family life, hobbies, and other common interests.

We want our clients to know not only the team with whom they’re working, but also the company as a whole. Our judges were included in not only taste testing and choosing a 2019 winner, but also spending time with team members they already knew and being introduced to countless others.

The hardworking judges

Without our wide array of clients and the relationships we nurture with them, Cripe would not be the employer that it is. Building strong relationships and communication is the foundation of what we do with our clients at Cripe. We find that this allows us to best serve both our clients and employees. There are rarely mixed messages or crossed wires when both Cripe employees and clients feel as though they can reach out and be heard not only by teammates, but by friends.

From the beginning of any client relationship or new project, Cripe employees make two commitments. One is the Client Service Commitment which is a promise from the project managers to the client. We promise to communicate regularly, be a client advocate, and to adhere to extremely high professional standards throughout the process.

The other model is the Cripe Way Commitment. This lays out what clients can expect from the process including scheduling and quality control among many other aspects.

We place great importance on “breaking bread” with clients and inviting them to be a part of our employee gatherings. It adds another dimension to the client relationship and brings a level of comfortability when working on projects.

On the outside, the designation of being one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana seems like it is solely about the company, but that’s just not the case with Cripe. Without the clients we work with and their willingness to be a part of our team (even at a Chili Cookoff) it would be difficult to be included as a Best Place to Work in Indiana.

It’s January 32nd here at Cripe and this morning we kicked off our Cripe Huddles.

Just kidding! We know there’s no such thing as January 32nd, but due to the inclement weather this week we were unable to host the Cripe Huddle on the last Wednesday of the month like we intended. So, we’re pretending today is still January.

Even with the best corporate communications, there is always room for growth. Cripe Huddles sprang from the belief that it is important to gather as a group as often as possible. We love to get together and share ideas and the Cripe Huddles are one more way that we can do that on a regular basis.

Employees from every department gather for the inaugural Cripe Huddle.

Inspired by TedTalks, these Huddles are short, but packed with valuable information. Cripe employees are busy! But everyone can spare fifteen minutes to learn something and to be involved in a company that takes its corporate culture so seriously.

While the first huddle was headed up by Kara Hensley, Vice President of Talent + Brand, and Cathy Erwin, Vice President of Finance, that won’t be the norm. These huddles will be a forum for employees at all levels to stand before their colleagues and share what they’ve been working on and knowledge they’ve acquired.

This morning, the Cripe Huddle consisted of three five-minute sessions. Employees got an overview of what they can expect from these huddles, an overview of 2019’s sales and revenue goals for the company, and the recruitment goals for the company.

Cripe employees are busy, so timekeeping was taken very seriously!

On January 9, 2018, it was announced that Cripe had become an employee owned company. Lifelong learning has always been important at Cripe and with the announcement that employees have become owners – it became more important than ever.

These Huddles will be a way to continue with the transparency that has long been a staple of the Cripe culture as well as to encourage the different departments to interact and share what they have been learning and about the various projects happening across departments.

Cripe has never been complacent and the Cripe Huddles very clearly convey that the company has no intention of settling into routines that have always worked. At Cripe, employees across all departments and levels of experiences are constantly “Teaching the Why.”

At Cripe, we are open to new ways of doing and thinking. This is true across departments and project processes, as well as our corporate culture. In everything done at Cripe, there is always a strong commitment to our employees and their professional growth.

Companies cannot grow and attract top talent without an open-mindedness and willingness to try new things and Cripe knows this.

Creating a work environment that feels like a team is a value that permeates throughout the entire company. All voices need to be heard whether that is in regards to a department specific project or an opinion on how Cripe can continue to evolve its company culture and keep employees engaged and excited.

In 2018, Cripe was named as one of the “Best Places to Work in Indiana” for the 8th time and was also inducted into the Best Places to Work in Indiana Hall of Fame. There are many reasons for being included in this list, but a top factor is the open-mindedness throughout Cripe as well as the ever evolving and growing culture component, as evidenced by the Cripe Huddles.

2019 will be a year of growth in many factors for Cripe. Stay tuned to our social media channels to see all that we accomplish, learn, and experience this year!

Girls on the Run (GOTR) of Central Indiana serves girls in 3rd through 8th grade across Central Indiana. Currently, we offer sites in Boone, Clinton, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, and Tippecanoe Counties. Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Last spring, I was a coach for 17 girls who were in 3rd-5th grade at College Wood Elementary school. My role is to serve as a role model and mentor for the girls who are participants in the GOTR program. The 20-lesson Girls on the Run curriculum combines training for a 5K (3.1 miles) running event with lessons that inspire girls to become independent thinkers, enhance their problem solving skills and make healthy decisions. The 5k running event happens twice a year (fall and spring) and is open to the public. As a certified GOTR coach, I teach the lessons into three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. I am excited to volunteer as a coach for this life-changing, non-profit program and for future involvement. I know as a coach I acquired so much from these girls and I am looking forward to continuing my volunteer work for this non-profit organization.







Girls on the Run is to inspire

Encouragement and confidence is a require.

Coaching to achieve the life goal

Through you can gain control.

The mind can wonder but stay on track.

Just know that we have your back.


The first couple of weeks, we tend to learn

Respect, listen, and taking our turn.

Plugging in our GOTR cords

Positive attitude is what we’re looking towards.

It starts with yourself, but I am here

To guide you to understand what not to fear.


Next steps we take is counting on our team

To look out for each other and build our self-esteem.

Seeing the lessons of bullying and gossiping come into place

We teach the girls to handle the problem with grace.

Stop, Breathe, Listen, and Respond.

With any disruptions in our lives, we can all correspond.


Thinking positively takes time and training

Writing letters to ourselves and others helps us feel amazing.

We all are unique and gifted

Let’s show the world how to be lifted.

There is so much love and kindness that can be exposed

It starts with us to be transposed.

Our GOTR team got closer with a spontaneous hunt

The coaches came up with a picture list upfront.

Running around to capture the best of our time

To finish the list with a smile was not a huge climb.

Each girl has something to hold onto throughout these weeks

Hoping they can incorporate the fun, teamwork techniques.


Importance of giving back is something we stimulate

Gathering t-shirts, ribbons, and markers to accumulate.

All on their own, the girls came up with a design

To make handmade dog collars for its’ neckline.

Braids to bandanas to colorful beads … quite a variety

I dropped them off at a local humane society.


The day has come, let’s put on our shoes

Saturday morning to spark the fuse.

We made it to our goal to finish this race

As a coach, I remind them to run a consistent pace.

Knowing that they will be all just fine

Happy to see every girl crossing the line.

By:  Jaclyn Altstadt

Cripe always enjoys hosting the 8th graders of The Oaks Academy for our annual Math Matters program. On Wednesday May 10, 2017, we hosted our 9th annual Math Matters program for The Oaks Academy 8th graders. Thirty-two students and two teachers gathered in the conference room to learn about surveying, civil engineering, and architecture. Within these fields math is used every day, so we bring the students in to get them excited about our industry and Cripe. The bright-eyed students listened attentively to each speaker and asked great questions, showing their interest.

As a Talent + Brand Intern on my second day of work, I was still confused about the work of surveyors, civil engineers, and architects. I knew the basics, but helping with Math Matters allowed me to understand what Cripe does. One of the biggest takeaways: computers are very helpful, but they aren’t everything. The 8th graders were tasked with creating a Shepherd’s Shelter out of sugar cubes focusing on protecting the Shepherd from the weather elements at different times of the year. The students had to account for different sun angles and wind patterns. They really enjoyed the activity, and some even ate the sugar cubes.

Cripe looks forward to this program every year. We continue to host this program to help students keep an open mind about careers with math. It was refreshing to see kids that were eager to learn and excited to be at Cripe.








Hannah Rosenberger is a Talent + Brand Intern. She is a rising senior at IUPUI working toward a major in Human Resource Management and a minor in Spanish.

Old National Bank teamed up with a charity

hoping by the end it will bring prosperity.

Center for Leadership Development has been chosen

to be the inaugural for Indy’s explosion.

100 Men Who Cook became the event

auction and music was also present.


CLD strengthens the community

students are provided with selections of opportunity.

Learning to feel inspired and help others in need

pursue career goals and achievements to succeed.

On a mission for a promising future

looking forward to their own adventure.


Parading in with an apron and a hat

100 men who can cook, just look at that.

Dismissed for dinner, it’s so unreal

getting served by chefs their home cooked meal.

Drop some change for your favorite dish

proceeds will help the charity flourish.


Chief Dennis and Mike are Cripe’s contenders

wraps are prepared by their sous chef vendors.

Selling out of their samples, if it’s to be

Networking with people, it’s up to me.

Overall raised $205,000, we want to mention

So proud to contribute at this convention.

Written By:  Jaclyn Altstadt | Civil Design Associate

IMG_0551 IMG_0556

“From the beginning a canopy was envisioned as part of the project. We felt the soft light from a translucent fabric was unique for JMH and consistent with the hospital’s desire to create a new brand statement using quality architecture. We’re delighted by the reaction to the design and appreciate the support of the hospital and the community.” Sam Miller, RA, NCARB, LEED AP Senior Project Manager

Most architects and contractors will tell you that a pretty space will improve one’s mood, but did you know aesthetics in a medical space can facilitate healing?

According to John Hopkins University, aesthetic neglect can lead to increased anxiety in patients, interrupting a smooth recovery. That’s why when it comes to the Johnson Memorial Greenwood, Keystone Construction and Cripe are looking at the big picture. Although the medical team will directly treat the patients, we want the design to indirectly promote wellness.

Patients will experience the most interesting design feature before they walk through the door at Johnson Memorial Greenwood: a massive, lightweight, fabric canopy.

Fabric canopies are calming because the membrane takes a graceful, free-form shape, softening the appearance of an otherwise angular, sterile hospital environment.

“The new canopy adds an intriguing element to the building’s design and greatly enhances the curb appeal of the new Johnson Memorial Hospital structure,” Keystone Construction Project Director Bob Crowder said. “When lit at night, the canopy catches your eye from a half mile away in either direction; a feature that most buildings would like to have.”

The canopy, designed by Cripe, is as innovative as it is beautiful.

“Fabric has come a long way with the help of top-coat technology,” Eide Industries’ Matt Aulbach explained. “The TX30 fabric from Serge Ferrari is the latest example of an economic membrane solution with a 30 year life expectancy.”

Eide Industries is building the tension structure in-house from 3D CAD models and shop drawings, then assembling it on-site. The height of the canopy ranges from 13’-6” to 24’-0”, and the width ranges from 11’-3” to 38’-9”.

When it comes to Johnson Memorial Greenwood, efficiency isn’t the only thing on our checklist. We put the extra cost and time into structures that assist in patient care, yet meet the financial and operational goals of our clients.

Originally Posted by Keystone Construction Corp

By:  Sam Miller, RA, NCARB, LEED AP | Senior Project Manager

Sam MillerCreating architecture involves balancing many variables.  Design professionals hold all this lightly, meditating on what to bring forward and what to leave behind.  We can think of design as living inside a container of sorts, a set of boundaries – limits on what we may do.  These take many forms: a structural material can only span so far.  Finishes are beautiful, but flammable, a hazard unless mitigated by a sprinkler system.  A client has a limited budget.  In short, boundaries are essential and real.  This is design’s first question: what is needed and where are the limits?

A wise colleague and I explored the importance of boundaries almost 20 years ago during a dialogue about what we believed constituted high quality design.  Without boundaries, design usually spirals into chaos.  Creating and managing a quality design process demands an understanding of boundaries and the sense to know and keep track of changes as we go along.  Quality design process is the heart of a successful practice.

So what happens?  The strategic view is to imagine design as a continuing series of inquiries:  we seek an understanding of a project’s limits, its boundaries.  We gather information, synthesize a solution, and present ideas for feedback.  The solution can be part of the whole or a full vision of the architecture.  Once we have comments (new information) the evolving design takes up this information and the loop begins anew.  Building furniture provides a good analogue: rough wood is shaped, cut, finished and assembled into the final product.  Before the wood worker begins, he or she knows what is intended: perhaps a dining room table of a certain size, finish, and features.  These are the boundaries, part of the program for the project.  We are obliged to put a conceptual fence around a design problem whether the work is creating a potting shed or a mixed use high rise.

One of the traditional saws in architectural practice is the idea of scope, quality and cost.  There’s also time or schedule, intellectual capital, and available resources in staff, skill, creativity, and technology.  Beyond the intellectual or administrative work of design, there is the very real world of construction: can a local builder provide the skill to install a particular building system?  Will a material choice hold up over time and meet the needs of an Owner?

Over the years we have learned that as complexity increases, a certain level of unpredictability enters, then lingers.  Strange, unexpected events derail what seems straightforward.  Moving decisively from question to answer gets more complicated and difficult.  An answer to a question has four answers and not one.  Or no answer at all.  Research yields more threads to chase down.

We use the word “friction” with our clients to share the variety of uncertainties presented during design.  Friction in the process takes differing forms.  In any given project the design team not only answers to the client, but the requirements of building codes, climate, site, local jurisdictional requirements for zoning or utilities, specialized review requirements depending on the project, plus the impact of financing.  Each of these affects design.

Here is an example of principles and boundaries in a project for a client in southern Indiana.  The image below is the first notion of how to express the architecture in a manner that supports the client’s mission and communal image: modern, forward looking, innovative.

Johnson Memorial MOB - Original

First design concept from June of 2015

The vocabulary for the building was inspired by the architecture of the client’s existing facilities and the program for a 12,000 square foot medical office building with room for two future tenants on a suburban site.  Boundaries included a carefully reviewed budget process, detailed design review with the Owner’s leadership team, a relatively tight site, oversight by the State Department of Health and so on.  Below is the final rendering, a close approximation of the final appearance of the building, now under construction.

Johnson Memorial Health

Johnson Memorial Health  final design now under construction

Although aspects of the appearance are shifted and morphed, the basic shape of the design has held: a distinctive canopy to easily identify the entrance, a strong overall visual image to delight the eye, a thoughtful composition of materials.  This consistency is part of using boundaries as a methodology to steady a design concept for the duration of the process.

Two Words…….Purposeful Design

Today’s landscape in the healthcare market is quite the contrast from years ago.  The reduced reimbursements and increased patient population from the affordable care act has prompted two words to dominate the environment – “Purposeful Design”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) sets limits on the amount that can be charged in various situations and ties Medicare reimbursement levels to performance.

If an organization wants a bigger slice of market then they need to offer more beds, more operating rooms, more outpatient and ambulatory facilities and more medical office space. But to maximize profit margins, they need to keep costs to a minimum.

The way to balance the opposing goals of growth is to renovate existing facilities to be purposeful design whenever possible, and when expansion is necessary, to carry it out in ways that minimize expense and maximize the efficiency of physicians, nurses and medical staff.  A better way of saying it – we have to get more out of less.

Let’s take a look at big piece of the equation – medical equipment.  As the 3rd largest investment of an organization, next to staff and the operational costs of the facility, medical equipment is the focal point for discussion.  Medical equipment planners no longer have the luxury of equipping at the Taj Mahal – no expense spared level – with the latest and greatest widget or gadget just to exceed the ever demanding needs of the physician or staff.  We must embrace the process of providing a solution that encompasses operational efficiency.

Developing a process of “choosing by advantage” we have allowed ourselves to be the center point of ongoing discussions.  Equipment selection should take into account and include the following:

  1. Clinical Staff – Develop and understanding of functionality needed. Facilitating these conversations to provide the product that best fits the clinical objective.  No longer can you provide the Cadillac when the Kia will fit just fine.
  1. Biomedical Engineering – Create a working relationship that takes into account the serviceability, lifespan and the hospital standardizations while selecting equipment. If we are going to plan it…..better be sure they can support it.
  2. Facility Maintenance – Discuss and determine ongoing maintenance concerns and objectives. Accommodating the long term plan of the facility often times leads to more gainful life of the medical equipment.
  1. Supply Chain Management – Leverage the purchasing power. Whether it’s a single facility or an extensive network, utilize the power multiple vendors and bids to obtain pricing that works.  Although it’s not the only criteria, pricing is still a major component.
  1. Design and Construction – As the design unfolds, its critical to consider utilization of equipment in process improvement. Proper work flow analysis and through-put modeling can achieve the right item for the proper situation.
  1. The Patient – Improving patient outcomes has been, and always will be the objective. Utilizing Patient focus groups develops a culture of understanding and engagement of the patient.  The patients input are as valuable as all other components.

Integrating all parties in the decision making process not only provides a purposeful design solution that reduces costs and space, but provides an outcome that contains the “buy-in” of all.

When planning equipment for your next facility “purposeful design” is not only an option – it’s the Cripe Way.

Written By:  Dale Vogel, Senior Healthcare Project Manager

Technology and Progress in Architecture

By: Sam Miller, Senior Project Manager in the Architecture Department






In architectural practice we may come to believe that every new technology represents an improvement, real or imagined, over work from the past. Common sense suggests this is true without further inquiry, but a more fine grained look into the past and real life work reveals some interesting oppositions to this notion.    One of the tensions within design is the desire to experiment with new materials and building systems to further the artistic and functional potentials of our work.  Choices about materials and technologies used over time is a result of the interaction of skill, location, cost and creativity.  Some technologies are lost due to shifts in how building materials are produced.

Below is a photo of the water fountain in the main lobby of Louis Sullivan’s Peoples Savings & Loan Bank in Sidney, Ohio.

Sam's picture








Photo by Sam Miller


The green material forming the water fountain’s top is glazed terra cotta, popular in the late 19th and early 20th Century.  For ornamental detail, the material was perfect for a designer like Sullivan.  However, times have changed.  The use of terra cotta now is almost non-existent save for a small number of historical restorations in any given year and only a few manufacturers remain. The material is very expensive, only used sparingly, if at all, by designers.

Many ancient materials remain in continuous use today and have been improved via technology. Brick is an example:  current use of brick is ubiquitous in modern construction and the material effectively comes in nearly unlimited color, texture and size.  Also, materials are adapted to mimic others and provide superior durability at often lower cost.  For example, architectural precast concrete sometimes takes the place of limestone.  Precast concrete is often touted for greater durability and lower price.  The size of pieces needed, size of structure, detail, and lead time play into the design team’s choices as well.

The question we often ask ourselves in day to day practice is: How does a particular technology improve what we do? There’s movement across the entire spectrum of building materials, a relentless development of more, newer, better.  This is not always the case.  A well-made, durable material always remains just that.  And, like it or not, there’s almost inevitably a close correlation between quality and cost.  Broader questions push the design professional into thinking about quality in a broad context:  what does this do for my client?  How does it represent her institution or brand?  How does a material or system choice support the broad goals of a design concept, the needs of a community?

More often than not a single theme or organizing idea emerges from our design reveries. We discover resonance in an idea we choose to present to the client.  This is where the rubber meets the road:  If the client is pleased, the pieces begin to fall into place.  The process is seldom neat, but the steady collection of form and substance around a good design theme with a balance between technology, old or new, and respect for the financial boundaries of a client yields results that get built.  At a minimum we hope our clients are delighted.  In a larger context, if our work serves our clients and the broad public comes to appreciate the value of quality design, the results point to the thoughtful use of various technologies.  The evolution of building materials is fascinating, a continuing cycle of slow advancement in some cases and explosive innovation in others.

TopleOn Transitions

By:  Will Tople | Civil Design Associate

You will choose a college based on its reputation. You will major in engineering based on the fact that your father did it, and so did his.

No matter what you do, you’ll have no idea what you are about to get into.

You will have a crisis your sophomore year because you hate your major. You will want to change everything about yourself. You won’t—something about that major appealed to you to begin with. You’ll continue. You will pick up minors in the things you love, like writing and acting.

Towards the end of your senior year, you will begin to pull your hair out. You will think this is how people go bald. You’ll research Rogaine, half-joking, half-not.

You will apply to, literally, a hundred jobs. You will hear back—with some luck—to 1% of them. No matter how many internships you had—no matter how good your grades are—your friends will start getting offers long before you do. You will hate them, but you will also find inspiration in them.

You will check your inbox everyday. Then hourly. You will finally hear back from more places.

You’ll interview for a firm that makes your feel comfortable. You’ll be yourself in the interview. You’ll get an offer. Your friends will hate you, but you will inspire them too.

By necessity, you will learn how to wake up in the morning. That means you will stop watching Netflix until 1 in the morning.

You will learn to pack your lunches like you did in high school. You will run out of lunchmeat on Wednesday night because you are too tired to make anything but a sandwich for dinners too.

You will wait in line at the grocery store to get more lunchmeat and someone will ask you, “What do you do?” In fact, you will get asked, “What do you do?” a lot these days. You will think of an answer that makes your job sound cooler than it actually is because most people don’t know what an engineer does. In the end, you will tell these people that if they walk on it, drive on it, or flush it, you have probably designed something similar to it.

You will learn how to cook, if not but to impress somebody.

You will lose contact with a lot of friends. You will gain even more. You will go out to drinks on the weekends. You will buy tickets to football games. You will attend plays, or concerts, or mixers because you can finally afford these things.

You will love your job most days. You will be annoyed on the others. You will open up at work and make more friends. If you’re lucky, these friends will be like you. They will be able to talk like you and joke with you. They will make getting up in the morning worthwhile.

You’ll go back to school to visit for the weekend. You will finally realize what it means when your parents say, “I feel old.”

You will get bills. You will find financial responsibility because you have to now. You will realize how dreadful student loans are. You will think you are drowning for a while, and will search for a life preserver. You’ll be broke but will find out that you can still manage. You’ll start to worry about your retirement fund, even at this age. The car you have been driving since high school will die in the middle of a busy road during rush hour. You’ll pull more hair our searching for a new one. You’ll realize all of these lunchmeat sandwiches aren’t helping your ever-growing gut. You will spend your nights at the gym. You will forget to call your mother on Wednesday night, like you always did, and she won’t like it. You will have to make emergency trips to the hospital that you can’t afford.

A lot of the things will go wrong.

And you will realize this is just your first year out of school. And you will realize you have so many more to figure these things out.