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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!

There is a story in our office that every employee knows.

It’s the story of the pocket watch. Our founder, Paul I. Cripe, was a man of integrity and placed that value as the backbone of his company. He knew that he couldn’t expect his employees to do things he wasn’t willing to do and he couldn’t expect them to produce their best work if he wasn’t willing to do the same.

Cripe was founded in 1937 and even if you’re not a history buff, you know those were hard times for our nation economically. Our founder wasn’t exempt from these hard times.

There were several instances where the money just wasn’t there to handle payroll and so Mr. Cripe would take his beloved pocket watch and pawn it so that he could pay his employees. He would later go buy it back when money came into the company, but it wasn’t a onetime occurrence. He repeated that cycle several times to ensure that not only his company, but his employees were able to survive through economic hardship.

83 years ago, Paul I. Cripe taught us what it meant to be a true servant leader and to be accountable to an enterprise he started and the people he had hired. we carry that with us today.

In our office, we talk often about the pocket watch. It now sits in our CEO’s office as a reminder to all who see it that they work for a company that, from the executives all the way down to our newest entry level hires, walks the walk.

For our clients and our partners, it means that we carry the quote “If it’s to be; it’s up to me” into every project and meeting. Cripe employees aren’t going to wait for someone else to take charge or to do the work. They are going to take responsibility on a personal level to do the very best job they can do for every project on which they work. They know that they must be accountable to their clients, partners and colleagues and that it starts with them.

Nearly every one of our values has stemmed from this mentality of accountability. We pride ourselves on a project management system, the Cripe Way, that prioritizes taking charge and being in communication with clients and partners. Communication is a great way to remain accountable. Our employees know that it is crucial to remain on top of ever changing client wants and needs as well as external requirements. They’re not going to sit back and let information come to them. If they did that, they might miss something crucial. No. They’re going to be proactive and get the information and answers they need to ensure that our clients and partners have as seamless an experience as possible with Cripe.

 

Many things have changed over the 83 years since Cripe was founded, but many have not. Our company’s dedication to integrity and accountability have remained steadfast throughout the decades. Those values paired with our dedication to being on the cutting edge is what has allowed us to continue on in much the same way over the past few months, despite our uncertain times. Our workspaces and officemates have changed since we’re been remote, but our way of doing things, the very values that were set forth so many years ago, have not.

Accountability is a mindset, not a skillset and we thank Mr. Cripe for instilling that mentality into his company so many years ago.

  1. 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.