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It’s been almost a year since we’ve had in-person, in-office gatherings with our coworkers and quarter one is usually a time when we’re gathering and celebrating a ton at Cripe. We gather for a pancake lunch, chili cookoff, St. Patrick’s Day, and March Madness just to name a few.

If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that we can still have fun and celebrate in the midst of COVID-19. It just takes some ingenuity and creative thinking.

Luckily, our Talent + Brand team has creativity in spades!

At the beginning of quarter one, every single employee received a box of fun which held all things necessary to hold a close to normal three months of festivities!

In February, we kicked off celebrations with our annual pancake lunch to celebrate Fat Tuesday. Each employee received pancake batter mix and a Mardi Gras mask and beads to get in the mood! Once the pancakes were made, we all joined together on Zoom to share secrets to making the best pancakes, Lent challenges (we have someone who isn’t going to go to the grocery store or out to eat until the food in their house is gone), and an all-around good time!

We had some new additions, as we’ve been working at home with new “co-workers” for the past year, but it was good to see how much some of the Cripe kiddos have grown as well as some furry faces who were just drooling over the delicious breakfast foods.

A signature feature of our Fat Tuesday pancake lunch is the King Cake. Don’t think it didn’t happen just because we weren’t together in our office. A few lucky winners had the word “baby” written on the bottom of their pancake mix and won gift cards!

The following week has been our chili cookoff for a very long time. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to host our normal crew of judges and competitors, but employees were treated to chili fixings and once again we got together virtually to enjoy the fellowship of our coworkers.

In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, employees were given scratch-off lottery tickets to try their luck. We haven’t heard of any big winners yet, but maybe the 17th is the actual lucky day!

This year has been unique and difficult in many ways, but in other ways it has only caused us to grow stronger, more resilient, and to realize the importance of connection. At Cripe, we’re not letting this pandemic get in the way of our celebrations and the fun we have as a group. We’ll keep getting together however we can to enjoy each other’s company and keep the hope up that we’ll be together in our office for all of these celebrations next year!

Cripe was recently named as one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana. This 16th annual program was created by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the participating employers in Indiana with the leading workplace cultures. The list is made up of 125 companies.

“We have many tremendous employers in the state, so it’s great to see more and more companies take part in this effort to evaluate their workplace cultures and gain the recognition they deserve,” says Indiana Chamber President, Kevin Brinegar. “These companies consistently demonstrate to their employees how much they value their contributions.”

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

– Be a for-profit, not-for-profit business or government entity;

– Be a publicly or privately held business;

– Have a facility in Indiana;

– Have at least 15 employees working in Indiana;

– Be in business a minimum of 1 year.

“With the extreme and unexpected challenges of 2020… Company culture went far beyond the official benefits and perks to worker safety and taking job flexibility to levels that most couldn’t have imagined. All the employers honored should be especially proud to be on the list this year.”

Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Places to Work in Indiana. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final rankings. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in Indiana, analyzed the data, and determined the final rankings.

The final rankings will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday, May 6, 2021, and then published in the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine after the event.

For more information on the Best Places to Work in Indiana program, visit www.BestPlacestoWorkIN.com.

Another annual event has come and gone looking a little differently than it did last year. Founder’s Day is hugely important at Cripe, but 2020 made us get creative with how we celebrated the birthday of our Founder, Paul I. Cripe.

Last year, we merged our Day of Service with Founder’s Day to create a day full of philanthropy and team building.

Like so many events in 2020, Founder’s Day was virtual this year, but that does not mean it was any less impactful or fun. Going virtual also meant that we were able to learn more lessons than we might have learned otherwise.

A huge lesson that Founder’s Day in 2020 taught us, is that above all else we must always persevere. Just because there were obstacles, did not mean that we were going to cancel the event or miss an opportunity to gather as an entire company.

No. Instead of giving up, we went to the drawing board and came up with some unique ways to celebrate.

Members of our senior leadership team dropped off goody boxes to employees’ homes (masked up and six feet apart of course). The boxes contained snacks to enjoy during the virtual celebration, some new branded gear for everyone and much more!

 

We recognized new hires, promotions, retirements, and those who had phased into their vested employee-ownership. 2020 may have slowed some things down, but we were able to grow as a firm and welcomed many new faces and congratulated our colleagues for their hard work and achievements. The directors of architecture, civil engineering and land surveying gave updates on the efforts of our different service lines and encouraged us to keep working hard through the end of 2020 and beyond!

Another recognition was the winner of the Ila M. Badger Community Service Award.

Cripe does not give out many awards throughout the year, so the Ila M. Badger Community Service Award is very important to the firm and highly anticipated. It is awarded to an employee who has done exceptional work within our community to make it a better place. Our winner this year, Christy Villas, was surprised at her home with a check from the Cripe Charitable Foundation that she can give to a community service organization of her choosing.

 

 

Last year, on our Day of Service we volunteered as a company with Million Meal Movement. This year, it wasn’t possible to gather with that many people, but two new initiatives, introduced by Fred Green, were created to ensure that our philanthropy efforts continue to make an impact.

The first was the rollout of eight additional hours that each employee will receive beginning in 2021 in order to volunteer. Employees will be able to take paid time off to pursue philanthropic and community service initiatives of their choosing. This will allow Cripe employees to make an impact in our communities even if we are still unable to gather as a large group and complete a Day of Service together, though of course we hope that isn’t the case.

The other initiative came in the goody boxes that were dropped off to employees. During the Founder’s Day program, everyone was told to remove the envelope labeled “Pay it Forward 2020” and open it at the same time.

Inside was $40. Employees were instructed to use that money to pay it forward in any way they saw fit. It could be through a cash donation to a cause they care about, using the money at a locally owned business to help keep them operating through this difficult time, or anything else Cripe employees might judge to benefit their communities.

Many of our employees have already “Paid It Forward” and below are just a few examples:

  • Giving extra tips to food and grocery delivery drivers
  • Donating to Wheeler Mission
  • Donating to cosmetologists and other service workers who have been affected by quarantine regulations
  • Donating to Gleaners Food Bank and other food pantries
  • Donating to girls sports groups
  • Purchasing cold weather clothing items and donating them to PourHouse
  • Supplying pet food and other necessities for animal shelters
  • Purchasing gifts for children in the foster care system who are not currently placed in a home
  • Giving it to their children who then decided to donate it to Make-A-Wish
  • Donating to Angel Tree so a young boy could have sports equipment for Christmas
  • Donating through a church to help purchase a gift basket for two sisters in the ICU
  • Purchasing a Christmas gift for their mentee who doesn’t usually receive anything
  • Donating the money, along with a sink and other tools and supplies, to a local family who needed a bathroom renovation completed, but didn’t have the means
  • Purchased grocery gift cards for local families in need
  • Secretly purchasing an ice cream treat for a young family with a handicapped member

Many of our colleagues are keeping their Pay It Forward money handy, knowing that they will be called to use it in a way they hadn’t expected or hadn’t planned out, such as at a restaurant or in line to buy groceries.

Even though we couldn’t gather and work on one large community service project as we have in year’s past or participate in Founder’s Day festivities in person, Cripe was still able to make a big impact on our community and celebrate the achievements of the past year!

A lot has changed in a very short amount of time for all of us. Businesses around the country have had to do some major maneuvering to keep the health of the employees and clients as the very top priority.

At Cripe, that’s no different. After over a year of extensive research, testing and implementation, we can say that our employees have the ability to work from anywhere. With all the COVID-19 guidelines going into place, that remote capability has never been more important.

Outside of the technology, another thing that Cripe is continuing to utilize is our proven project management skills. Being physically away from our teams and unable to meet with our clients in person has provided new challenges, but it is definitely a challenge we are up for.

We have the methodology – the Cripe Way –  in place to get us through this current challenge and many others, but it is not just a methodology we use when there are extenuating circumstances. This is a way of doing things that we use every single day and have since 1937 when our founder, Paul I. Cripe, created his core principles.

The Cripe Way stems from Mr. Cripe’s deep belief in Accountability. Over the years, especially with recent staff, it has been turned into an entire project management code of conduct and promise to our clients that we will get any job done with communication and efficiency.

Mr. Cripe may not have expected for his core principle of Accountability to be utilized during a time like the one we are living in now, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The beauty of the Cripe Way is that it works all the time, no matter what is going on in the office or the world at large, as we are learning now.

Above all else, the Cripe Way stresses the importance of planning, communication and meetings with clients so that we know exactly what our clients need , schedules to keep everyone and budgets on track, quality control along the way to ensure efficiency and understanding not only our client’s businesses, but their perspectives as well. The only thing that has changed are our meeting spaces and perhaps managing how to work with partners, children and pets, but those things are no match for the Cripe Way and the project management skills Cripe employees have been sharpening for the last 83 years.

We don’t only use these skills externally, but internally as well. We’ve been keeping connected with our colleagues through virtual meetings and sharing tips and tricks for the unique challenges that working from home can pose. From technology tips to potty training to setting up effective workspaces we’ve shared it all!

The Cripe Way allows room for us to feel like a family. These aren’t cold rules that are only intended for projects, they allow our team to act as a family to one another and to those outside our team who are also working through a wide range of unique situations during this uncertain time.

While many things have changed, some have not. You can still find our field survey team out and about in Indianapolis and surrounding areas putting the Cripe Way to good use as they continue to tend to essential business outside while all is quiet.

This time has been challenging for most people, but Cripe is using foundations that were put in place over 80 years ago to continue to serve our clients, partners and colleagues to continue to not only get the job done, but to get it done with the same excellent project management skills that our clients and partners have come to know and rely on over the years.

1937 seems like a long time ago and it really was. Cripe had a simple beginning as a survey firm. It was not the firm of 2020 that it is now, providing architecture and civil engineering in addition to the original survey services. And those services just skim the surface. We’ve expanded into medical equipment planning, real estate services, interior design work and so much more.

83 years may seem like a long time, but we haven’t stopped moving and growing and expanding into new services and market sectors. Over those 83 years we’ve done projects from airports to college campuses to parks to hospitals. We’re not stopping there either. In the last few years, we’ve increased our focus on re-purposing previously standing spaces and sustainability.

 

Don’t be alarmed when you see that Cripe has been in business since 1937. It doesn’t mean our business practices are stagnant. Our employees and leadership are constantly learning and bettering themselves as architects, engineers and surveyors. Continuing to educate ourselves is so important and continuing to enhance our practices with new technology has made us the firm we are today and the firm we are continuing to grow into.

The foundation of our company laid out by Paul I. Cripe is still strong underneath the new practices we’ve utilized. To this day, our company culture revolves around the principles laid down by our founder.

Mr. Cripe understood that to holistically serve our clients, delivering innovative design solutions was not the whole picture. He believed a firm must embody the core values of Accountability, Integrity and Community Service. This valued blueprint brought into being The Cripe Way (Accountability), Cripe Leadership Model (Integrity) and Cripe Charitable Foundation (Community Service).

Every team member knows the story of the watch. In the early years, Mr. Cripe pawned his prized pocket watch to meet payroll. The watch – a living reminder of true servant leadership and accountability– sits in our CEO’s office today. When Mr. Cripe said, “If It is to be; it’s up to me” – he meant it – and so do we.

What does this mean for you? Whether you are a client, a partner firm, a community partner or anyone else know that our celebrated project management skills that were set down from the beginning and sharpened over time will get the results you want. Our staff, comprised of lifelong learners, will get the job done no matter what obstacles, known or unknown, come their way.

We understand that we are part of a community bigger than ourselves. We give our very best to each project, knowing that it will enhance the community whether it is a college campus, skate park or medical office building. We also know how important it is to give back to those communities in which we work, live and play. As a company we participate in many philanthropic events a year, going so far as to dedicate one whole day a year as our Day of Service. In addition, we do a Giving Tree holiday drive that benefits a family in our community and our interns choose a philanthropic organization and organize events and fundraisers to benefit that organization over the summer they spend at Cripe.

It doesn’t stop there. Cripe employees are so active in the community on their own that we host an award ceremony to recognize the change these employees are enacting in their communities and it’s always hard for the committee to choose just one winner each year.

83 years is a very long time. But we’re not frozen in time at Cripe. Each and every one of those years has brought us to new heights in the design services we offer and our community impact. We couldn’t get to those heights if it weren’t for the very solid foundation laid down in 1937 by Paul I. Cripe. Here’s to the next 83!