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!
- Advocate – noun – a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
synonyms: champion · upholder · supporter · backer · promoter · proponent
At Cripe, we take the above definition very seriously. First and foremost, we are client advocates. With new and returning clients, we learn their unique stories, histories and needs for each and every project. We do this whether we’ve worked with that client on multiple projects or if it’s the very first one. We don’t have cookie cutter responses that fit every client.
Through our project management model, the Cripe Way, we schedule meetings throughout the entire process because we know that needs can change. Communication channels are always open between Cripe and the client.
We are advocates for our clients by maintaining positive working relationships with our elected officials and community agencies. Cripe not only believes in relationships with our clients, but also with other entities that can make the processes smoother for our clients and ourselves.
Recently, we were contacted by a past client to assist with solving a civil engineering project problem. For context, this past client already had an architect, civil engineer, and surveyor. In other words, there was no immediate motivation to help solve their problem. However, because of our belief in advocating for our clients past, present, and future, we used our network and positive relationship with the local utility department to assist this past client and were able to reach a solution that assisted them and ultimately advanced their project.
We are advocates for our clients in that we maintain positive relationships with our subcontractors, allied professionals and even our competitors.
Another recent example would be being contacted by a client to submit a proposal for a project that we could not assist them with at the time. We referred the client to a competing firm who was able to submit a proposal and complete the work. In the broader view of things, this was a win. Similarly, we have been contacted on more than one occasion to quietly support strategic partners with survey, civil and architectural services while being sensitive to their client relationship.
We are advocates for our community and clients in the causes we support. We like to support those groups that support our community. A few examples include the Cripe Hob Nob Policy Intern Scholarship we give in partnership with the Indy Chamber and our CEO’s involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Not only have we done work for the latter organization, but our CEO and other members of our staff have participated in the program as mentors.
At Cripe, as Employee Owners, our advocacy extends to our teammates, which is illustrated from our culture and a firm belief that in taking care of our people we provide the best service to our clients.
Our vision statement says it all, Cripe is an award-winning Indiana MBE multidisciplinary design firm. We are problem solvers, servant leaders and client advocates. We listen to understand in order to consistently deliver high quality design solutions.
February 20, 2020 was a big day for Cripe CEO, Al Oak.
In addition to being recognized by Purdue University’s School of Engineering as this year’s Distinguished Civil Engineering Alum, he was also recognized by Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City of Indianapolis for his contributions to the business and philanthropic communities.
According to Mayor Joe, February 20th is now Alex D. Oak Day in the city of Indianapolis.
Oak had the pleasure of celebrating both of his most recent achievements with fellow staff from Cripe and ECO2 Technologies as well as former classmates and fraternity brothers from his days at Purdue’s School of Engineering.