Category: Culture

Posts related to the company’s culture and vision for the future.

Employee Spotlight: Catie Hall

Catie Hall Senior Marketing Coordinator and Definitely Not A Veterinarian

1.  What drew you to Hoyle, Tanner?
I actually always wanted to work at an engineering company. Both my parents were very technically-gifted, so I think I wanted to measure up in some way since I got a degree in journalism. At a time when I was looking for a job, this position popped up on my radar and I was eager to join!
2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?
I’ve learned that peace and challenge can co-exist. Hoyle, Tanner has a great culture and can feel like home – but it also encourages you to grow along with it. I’ve been up against very difficult deadlines but have still appreciated all the growth I’ve been able to experience here!
3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner?
It used to be Christmas time because of the cheery energy and competition for Christmas decorations. But now I don’t think I have a favorite Hoyle, Tanner season – I like them all so long as the people around me are striving to be the best versions of themselves and adding to our culture.
4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on?
I’m lucky right now to be working on the rebranding effort with the rest of my marketing team. It’s so interesting to witness the growth and change that’s taking place before us. I’ve seen people adopt new logos – but I’ve never seen the process of creating one. So neat!
5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?
It’s warm enough to keep the window open and not shiver, and that’s a nice change.
6. How many different states have you lived in?
Just Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. But fun fact, I’ve lived in Vermont three different times after moving out of state!
7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
Nothing else matters except pizza and chocolate. I would eat pizza of all varieties followed by a dessert of some chocolate thing and I would be okay with that if it was my forever.
8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?
I don’t have a pet right now, but do I look at adoptable dogs online all the time? You bet. Do I want to get a pug puppy and name it Claudia? Sure do.
9. What are three things still left on your bucket list
1. Write a Book
2. Get a Dog
3. Visit Alaska. Specifically Juneau (where the book “A Wolf Called Romeo” was written)

10. What characteristic do you admire most in others?
I don’t know that there’s just one, and I don’t know that it would apply to everyone the same way. Honesty from one person might sound cruel whereas from another person, might be the best thing. I will say I really appreciate kindness and clarity from people, but there must be genuineness underlying it. I also appreciate curiosity.
11. How old is the oldest item in your closet?
My parents and grandparents have given me so many old items over the years. I have furniture from my great grandmother that’s probably 80 years old? I have a tiny hat my parents gave me to wear when I was a baby, too.
12. Words to live by? Favorite Quote?
“Do less, be more.”
I love this quote. It’s a call to slow down and realize that just because you “do a bunch of things” doesn’t mean you “are a bunch of things.” I think we get swept up in tying our identity to our to-do lists and our activities and not enough in just appreciating the core of who we are without the distractions.

13. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A veterinarian! I held that dream close to my heart until I had to dissect a cat every day for a month in high school biology. That dream died with that cat.
14. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?
Honestly, probably just “nope” till I was back on the ground.

Sorting nearly 6,000 Pounds of Food for the NH Food Bank

The Mission

The New Hampshire Food Bank is the only operating food bank in the state, consistently supplying more than 400 hunger relief agencies with non-perishable food items, fresh produce and meats. Every year, millions of pounds of food and meals are collected and distributed to families in our communities by the generous volunteers and staff at the facility. This year, our marketing department participated in one of the many volunteering opportunities the food bank offers in a program called Fresh Rescue.

Fresh Rescue involves sorting through the thousands of pounds of meats and assorted packaged foods that are donated to the facility by supermarkets to be distributed to food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, senior centers and more across the state of New Hampshire. It is a huge, organized operation that we are lucky to have been a part of – if only for a short while.

Our Experience

Armed with clean gloves and what to toss flashcards, we dove into the dozens of boxes of frozen meats brought out for us on pallets with a forklift. Spoiled meats, torn packaging and unsealed containers were chucked into a throw-out box, while everything else was categorized and combined into boxes, weighed and stacked for distribution.

In just three hours, our small team was able to sort through 5,464 total pounds of frozen items. We threw away 1,764 pounds, leaving 3,700 pounds of foods to be categorized. That filled 121 distribution boxes, which equaled 3,083 meals to be shipped to people in need!

Volunteering in our communities is highly encouraged at Hoyle, Tanner and we were happy to give back! Special thanks to Nicole Dutka and the Fresh Rescue team for coordinating and making it a memorable experience for our group.

Employee Spotlight: Chris Singer

Chris Singer Airport Engineer and Horticulture Enthusiast

1.  What drew you to Hoyle, Tanner?
The network of offices throughout New England and the luck that there was a branch right next to my school, the University of Central Florida.
2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?
My CAD skills have drastically improved over those that I developed in college.
3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner?
The summer because the majority of the projects start construction.
4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on?
I just started as an engineer in January so I have not designed much yet, but I am excited to work out in the field this spring and summer.
5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?
One of the pineapples that I’m growing has started to sprout, so only another couple of months to wait.
6. How many different states have you lived in?
Just two, Florida and New Hampshire.
7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
I would choose apple cinnamon waffles (with real maple syrup), home fries, and both brisket and pork breakfast tacos.
8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?
I have two dogs; a 6-year-old pitbull mix named Burton after the snowboard company.  I just got a standard poodle puppy named Oliver, and that name just sounded good with Burton.
9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?
Concord has a smaller population than the University of Central Florida, where I just graduated from.  
10. What are three things still left on your bucket list
1. Thru-hike the Appalachian Trail
2. Go Skiing in the Alps
3. Own a farm or an orchard

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island.
I’m probably overthinking this but,
1. A solar desalination unit (which does not exist)
2. A fishing net
3. A dog for company

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?
Motivation, it is easy to settle into a routine but disrupting it is hard to convince yourself to do.
13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?
My first pair of Birkenstocks that I got 10 or 12 years ago, only the straps are still original.
14. Words to live by? Favorite Quote?
Not really a favorite quote but one that has stuck with me for many years is by Kurt Vonnegut; “We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap”.
15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Lots of different things but most of them revolved around animals.
16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?
I have gone skydiving from 16,000 feet and mostly thought about how I was mad that it doesn’t give you that feeling of your stomach rising in your chest like really fast rollercoasters do. I could also see the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) because I went skydiving in Titusville, FL.

How One Woman Proudly Made Her Career at Hoyle, Tanner – From Entry-Level Assistant to Director of Human Resources

Judy Donovan Hann began her career at Hoyle, Tanner nearly 29 years ago when her children were 1, 3, and 5 years old starting in 1992 as a part-time, entry-level marketing assistant. After two years, the executive assistant position opened, and the President and CEO chose her to fill the role. Years later, she was promoted to become the Executive Administrator. Because her degree from Boston College included a concentration in personnel management, she was always interested in the company’s staffing side. Over the years she assisted the Human Resources Manager and learned more about the company’s human resources functions by being tasked with additional responsibilities. In 2017 she became the Human Resources Manager, and in 2018 Judy made her most significant jump yet: Vice President and election to the Board of Directors.

With support from her coworkers, Judy continued to grow in her career while raising her now-grown children, Max, Rye, and Emily. “This company really understands the importance of family and I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for that, not just for me but for all the parents and caregivers who work for Hoyle, Tanner.”

She added “Moving up in the company means a lot to me because it shows that the leadership has faith in me. I came up from humble beginnings at the company, I’ve gone through the ranks, and they respect my abilities and the perspective I have.”

Judy has seen a lot of positive changes over the years. She is especially excited about the strides we have made recently to utilize technology that Human Resources had never used before. Having this technology has allowed the firm to streamline many processes and make HR more user-friendly. It’s an ever-changing work in progress and one she is very proud to be part of.

Her main priority is (and always will be) the employees. She sees employees on their first day and the connection continues throughout their career at Hoyle, Tanner, even when they don’t see her. Director of Engineering Operations Matthew Low, PE says of Judy, “We are really fortunate to have a professional like Judy on our team, she puts the human in human resources. She is a staunch advocate for our employees and works tirelessly every day to make sure that the company balances business success with the needs of our team. I really hope that our team members know that Judy cares so much about each of them – because she really does.”

“I love being able to work with people at all levels and to help make their experience working here as positive as mine has been,” she said. “I will always advocate for the employees, and I want everyone to know we are thinking about them. The focus is on them. Every one of us is part of what Hoyle, Tanner is now, and we are all part of where we are going. Those aren’t just empty words; those are the beliefs held by the firm’s leadership, right to the very top. That’s why I am still here. I’m proud, and consider myself lucky, to be a part of the company.”

Judy’s career spans nearly three decades and counting. Her positions and responsibilities may have changed, but her employee-centric mantras will always remain the same.

Career Reflections: Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in STEM

6 images in a blue box with various female engineers working and text says Celebrating Women in STEM Careers

Every February 11th, we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in STEM. This day comes with the reminder that young girls are not always encouraged to pursue careers in math and science-centric fields, but we’re here to remind everyone that these careers are open to anyone who is bold enough to challenge stereotypes that could otherwise keep them away.

We asked a few of the amazing women who work at Hoyle, Tanner what they would tell their younger selves about becoming an engineer. Their advice:


Marisa DiBiaso is a Senior Civil Engineer and has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 8 years. She specializes in land development and site design work. If she could speak to her younger self, she’d advocate for reaching out to others sooner:

“I would tell my younger self to seek out more mentors for guidance on different skillsets and general career advice. There are a lot of people that enjoy mentoring, and I’ve benefitted from some really great mentors over the course of my career. I wish I had connected with more people sooner. I’d also tell myself that while working hard and doing quality work are really important, you shouldn’t need to work harder than everyone else to be respected. Finally, speak up and ask questions. Sometimes we are afraid of revealing that we don’t understand something, but often times asking a good question can show you are engaged and thinking ahead. You aren’t expected to know everything!”


Emily Belisle is an entry-level Civil Engineer who is in her first year of employment with Hoyle, Tanner (and worked with another firm previously). Her answer puts the career into perspective:

“I would tell my younger self that becoming an engineer is no harder than becoming anything else. As long as it is what you want to do, it’ll be worth it.”


Payton Borza has been working in our Florida office for 6 years as an Airport Engineer. If she could talk to her younger self, it wouldn’t have anything to do with being female or male – instead, it would have to do with following your own inner calling.

“There are so many different types of engineers and different fields you can choose! Spend time thinking about which ones interest you the most.”


Suzy Sheppard one of our talented Senior Airport Engineers and has built her career in her 25 years at Hoyle, Tanner. To her younger self, she’d encourage patience:

“Growing up I believed that all my career goals would be achieved by 30. Engineering is a dynamic field that is always changing and there’s always something new and exciting to discover. I would tell my younger self to prepare for a lifetime of learning and growing. You may reach your intended goals at 30 or you may not, but there are always new goals to be made.”


Katelyn Welch has been building her career at Hoyle, Tanner for the past 6 years as a Structural Engineer, designing bridges and working on construction sites. Her advice is not one of regrets but one of welcomed lessons.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Engineering is a career where you learn just as much from your mistakes as your successes.”


Rychel Gibson has been an Environmental Engineer at Hoyle, Tanner for 5 years, building on her career with projects in asset management and water purity. To her younger self, she’d encourage bravery.

“Don’t be intimidated. You have the brains and the drive. You can do this.”


Monika Ingalls is a Civil Engineer who has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 2 years working in our Burlington, Vermont office. She would warn her younger self not to sweat the small stuff.

“I would tell my younger self to remember to stay focused on my goals and to not worry about inconsequential matters. I would also say to not worry so much about being the only girl in the room because the world is changing and more women are joining the workforce every year!  And lastly, I would remind myself to pay attention in structural analysis more often!”


Nicole Crawford has been an Airport Engineer at Hoyle, Tanner for 7 years where she’s not only been doing calculations, but has also been a mentor to others. Her advice comes with a gentle instruction.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You have your own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the most important thing you will learn is how to evaluate them for yourself.  Improve where you need to but advocate for yourself using your strengths….and trust me, you have some. Don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t click.”


If we can learn anything from these women, it’s not to shy away from a challenge, and not to be intimidated by a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics!

Employee Spotlight: Kevin Preston

Kevin Preston, CADD Technician and White Mountain Hiker

1.  What drew you to Hoyle, Tanner?
I wanted to work in a smaller company environment than the one I was previously in, allowing more room for professional growth.
2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?
The importance of communication.  I’ve never been the greatest communicator, personally and professionally, but I do try to get better at it all the time.
3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner?
I can’t say any time of year really stands out specifically over another, but I do enjoy seeing what everyone comes up with for decorations during Christmas.
4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on?
I’m working on a large project for a state agency. I have a soft spot for the larger projects and being able to say I worked on it every time I drive by would be pretty neat.
5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?
I received approval from a mortgagee to begin a search for a new home!
6. How many different states have you lived in?
Only New Hampshire! Although I was born in Massachusetts, oddly enough.
7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
Shepherd’s pie
8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?
I have a 2-year-old Bernedoodle dog named Jackson. I named him after Mount Jackson in the White Mountains, one of the first 4,000-foot mountains I ever climbed.
9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?
I grew up in Bow, NH… Nothing fun or interesting comes to mind!
10. What are three things still left on your bucket list
1. Visit England, specifically take a trip to Anfield where Liverpool FC play.
2. See the Northern Lights.
3. Climb Mount Whitney in California, the tallest peak in the lower 48.

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island.
1. A lighter
2. A tarp
3. Fishing equipment (practical enough)

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?
Empathy
13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?
14 years old?  I moved into my current condo about a year and a half ago, many things disappeared in the move but there is a pair of soccer cleats from high school still kicking (no pun intended…) around in there!
14. Words to live by? Favorite Quote?
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It’s simple, but many problems could be alleviated by simply remembering it.
15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A professional soccer player.
16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?
Which cord is the parachute?

From Groundbreaking to Ribbon Cutting: An Internship with Hoyle, Tanner

Over the past three months, I have had the pleasure of being part of the Hoyle, Tanner team, primarily in the Bridges & Structures group. I have gotten to see and experience a variety of different projects at all stages, and I am grateful for this opportunity and everything I learned along the way.

Projects in Derry

The first half of my internship experience was spent in Derry, New Hampshire replacing a bridge with structurally deficient culverts on this box culvert project. Here I performed Resident Project Representative (RPR) services and observed construction from start to finish – when the excavator broke ground to when the bridge was reopened to traffic. It was very rewarding to see the full project life-cycle and be there to walk the bridge. Every day in the field there was a new step and process for me to learn and see for the first time. Being on site opened my eyes to how many people are involved in the entirety of a project. Now I better understand the client, contractor, and engineer’s roles in making a project successful. For example, Hoyle, Tanner, the contractor, and the Town worked together to make field changes as needed.

Working on this project also introduced me to new engineering computer programs such as Bluebeam, MicroStation, and Mathcad that allowed me to edit drawings, review check sets and create other engineering documents. User efficiency greatly improved from the first days of using a program compared to after a couple of months.

Projects in Bedford

The last half of my internship has been spent in Bedford, New Hampshire where I took on day-to-day inspections of a gas main project. My duty there was to make sure the trench is properly backfilled and compacted and make sure everything goes according to plan. This role was rewarding because it allowed me to work more independently. I frequently communicated with the client on day-to-day progress and was the bridge of communication to the site.

At Hoyle, Tanner I was welcomed with open arms (virtually) and felt like I belonged. I am thankful my supervisor emphasized spending as much time in the field as I could because the experience taught me valuable lessons. I enjoyed the team environment and how my questions were encouraged by everyone. This opportunity brought me new experience and knowledge, and has increased my interest in field work. I’d like to personally thank Matthew Low, PE for providing me with this opportunity, Josif Bicja, PE for showing me what it takes to be a great engineer, and Katie Welch, EIT for guiding me along the way.

Derry, NH Box Culvert Replacement Project

What about that Tuition Reimbursement Program?

Colorful diamond graphic with photos of participants

One of the benefits of being a Hoyle, Tanner employee is the tuition reimbursement program. Eligible employees may begin participation in the program six months after their hire date. Cost of tuition, books and required course materials are reimbursed based upon final grades.

The purpose of tuition reimbursement is to “encourage employees, through financial assistance, to further their education in courses that will be of benefit to both the Employee and the Company,” as it states in the company policy.

This year, we’ve collected responses from six employees who have or are taking advantage of this policy. We asked them what it has been like to have the financial support to continue their education.

It has been a confidence booster that is for sure,” says Deb Coon, administrative assistant for our bridge department and environmental coordinator. “I have a lot more confidence in myself than I had in the past. The other thing is I feel it has sharpened my analytical skills.  Being in school and having to constantly learn and study new things has had a trickle down effect to work. It has changed the way I read and absorb information which in turn has resulted in me doing a better job at what I do. Without the reimbursement plan I’m not sure I would have gone back at all. Having the reimbursement plan was a big part of my decision to pursue this degree.” 

“I had always wanted to start my master’s and one day I just felt like it was time,” says Nahal Namazi, accountant. “Having this program available to me has made me very grateful and was a major reason for deciding to continue my education. It allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and start something that would benefit me and Hoyle, Tanner.”

“I completed my Master’s in Business Administration – Organizational Management in May of 2019,” says Rychel Gibson, PE, environmental engineer. “The reimbursement program allowed me to take courses in rapid succession as opposed to spreading them out when I could afford them. It made it much easier to complete the program and move on.

“My coursework gave me a much deeper knowledge base on the business side of engineering. It’s already given me the ability to understand why some decisions are made for the company and it will allow me to be more effective moving forward in my career and being able to make decisions that will be best for myself, my clients, and the company.”

We also interviewed Director of Engineering Operations Matthew Low, PE, Land Development Engineer Marisa DiBiaso, PE and Transportation Engineer Audrey Beaulac, PE to get their perspectives. Check out the video below!

A New Technology for Covered Bridge Inspections

Drone image of Kingsley Covered Bridge

The Unsung Beauty of Covered Bridges

Covered bridges, to me, were the quintessential structures of the 19th century, and to this day, can still inspire awe. These are bridges that were often built from trees cut locally, hand-hewn, brought to the site by livestock and assembled without modern machinery. When completed, you have a sort of house of cards; a wooden plank deck spanning a stream or raging river, walls reaching up from its sides containing many vertical and diagonal wooden members, a roof covering the expanse containing even more diagonal members, all held together with mortise and tenon joints and wooden pegs. This is a mongrel of bridge construction that has a beauty to it like no other, blending in with its surroundings as if it were always there, the backdrop for postcards, calendars and many personal moments shared between friends and loved ones. Sadly, most of these bridges have gone into the pages of history – neglected beyond repair, victims of mother nature, casualties of vandals, replaced with modern structures or simply forgotten. Those that still exist are revered and protected passionately by those who still believe in their relevance and their beauty. They do however require regular inspections and maintenance to ensure they can meet the needs of the communities they serve.

Those that still exist are revered and protected passionately by those who still believe in their relevance and their beauty. They do however require regular inspections and maintenance to ensure they can meet the needs of the communities they serve.

Inspections are Challenging for these Structures

Over the years, I have had the awesome opportunity to inspect many of these beautiful works of craftsmanship. These inspections are laborious in nature, requiring multiple days for a thorough inspection, getting covered in dirt and dust from crawling around the hard-to-reach spaces. It’s vital to know the size and condition of as many members as can be seen and reached, recording all that is found – dimensional losses, an array of structural deficiencies including but not limited to cracks, splits, checks, insect infestation and rot to name a few. The tape measure, extension ladder, headlamp and digital camera are tools of the trade. But what about inspecting the places that are more difficult or impossible to get to because of the length and height of these structures or the geography they span?  Simply put, you get what you can, as good as you can, and the rest is filled in with existing plans and many, many digital photos. The camera is your best friend when inspecting and is an invaluable resource. But even so, photos can be deceiving – awkward angles, poor lighting and size distortion, cause confusion as to what is truly being captured. As for inspecting floor systems, getting underneath is the only way to go, either by rigging, rope climbing or even by boat if the height above the water makes it feasible.

When the Standard Inspection Options Aren’t Adequate

Recently I traveled to Clarendon, Vermont with Josif Bicja, PE to inspect the Kingsley Covered Bridge for a scoping report to determine the feasibility of multiple rehabilitation options. This is an historic 119-foot-long, single span, town lattice bridge spanning the Mill River flowing 35 feet below. The Kingsley Covered Bridge poses the same issues as any other covered bridge inspection, but in addition, because of the height above the stream, it makes it difficult if not impossible to get a good visual of the floor system and siding. A rigging company could have been hired to provide access to inspect the floor system through the use of bridge trackers or bucket boats which will get you up close to get that good visual, or the bridge could have been climbed, but these options are not economically feasible for a scoping study. The options you are left with is to don a pair of waders, carefully walk out into the water with your clipboard and camera and capture what you can. If the water is not passable, you stand on the shore and do your best to get the information you need.

There is a better way. The drone. Those sci-fi looking machines, with their distinguishable propeller sound that are used widely in law enforcement, the military and with private enthusiasts alike, have been making their way into other useful applications. Over the past few years, engineering companies like Hoyle, Tanner have seen the value of drones for public relations documents, project marketing, 3D visualizations, traffic studies, and now bridge inspections. The height of this bridge over the Mill River made it a perfect candidate to fly a drone and test its capabilities in this capacity. Drones have safety features that will not allow them to fly close to aerial obstructions, like trees and overhead utilities, or fly in strong winds such as updrafts under a bridge, which are both prevalent at this site. The safety features would have to be turned off for the drone to perform its inspection well, which meant that the steady hand of an experienced pilot would be essential.

For the underside of the bridge, it flew a few feet from the structure providing the ability to clearly see the members that make up the floor framing, including joint locations and condition. Then the drone was flown along the sides of the bridge and along the roofline, capturing a similar up-close visual of the vertical siding and metal roof conditions that we normally would not have been able to see.

Patrick Sharrow, AAE from our Burlington, Vermont office drove down and met us on-site on the morning of our second day inspecting the bridge. It took Patrick just a few moments to familiarize himself with the structure and geography of the site, understand what we needed the drone to capture and determine the best launching spots for the drone. Looking at the handheld monitor, Josif was able to give instructions as to where he needed the drone to fly,  while I acted as spotter to make sure the drone kept a safe distance from any aerial obstructions and Patrick executed the flight. For the underside of the bridge, it flew a few feet from the structure providing the ability to clearly see the members that make up the floor framing, including joint locations and condition. Then the drone was flown along the sides of the bridge and along the roofline, capturing a similar up-close visual of the vertical siding and metal roof conditions that we normally would not have been able to see. The videos captured of these hard-to-get-to portions of this bridge will allow for better recommendations for the multiple rehabilitation options, leading to more accurate costs for the client. We then took the drone to a higher elevation and flew a few hundred feet upstream down towards the bridge, giving a bird’s eye view of Mill Stream. Patrick flew it at different elevations and angles capturing fantastic footage of the morphology of the stream and a greater scope of how this bridge is situated on the site. Portions of these videos could be used in public information meetings to help educate the public and as tools for Hoyle, Tanner.

Day-to-Day Needs of the Community Combined with Aesthetic Nostalgia

In less than an hour, we were able to gather more information about this structure than we would have been able to because of the site restrictions this bridge poses. The best part is that all players in the game benefit from this. The design team will have the ability to make more accurate rehabilitation recommendations. The client will have the advantage of receiving more accurate cost estimates for each rehabilitation option. The public will receive the best rehabilitated structure option, marrying together the day-to-day needs of the community and the aesthetic nostalgia it provides to all.

What it means to be the Safety Coordinator at a Small Company

Photo of David Langlais in construction hat and safety vest with article title

We sat down with David Langlais, PE to ask him what it’s like to be on the Safety Committee for a small company. David has worked in the construction field and has also been the Safety Committee Chair before becoming its official coordinator. We asked him what it was like to grow in this position and what it means to him.

What does it mean to be the safety coordinator for a business?

In New Hampshire, each Safety Committee within a company is supposed to appoint a person who is going to have current knowledge on safety trends, expectations, et cetera for a company. At Hoyle, Tanner, we call that person the Safety Coordinator. So, I have to have the training, keep up-to-date on policies and procedures in states where we do business, and keep up-to-date with OSHA.

Why do you see a need for this role?

The need is there because we put people out in the field; that’s our biggest risk area. The most dangerous person is the “casual site-visitor” who doesn’t know the changes in the field; is not that familiar with the contractor; not used to sites. We’re standing next to traffic, next to heavy equipment, we’re out in the woods by ourselves near animals and insects and poisonous plants. These are the types of things employees may not think about when they go out in the field.

You’ve been the safety committee chairperson and you’ve really championed and been the voice for safety in our company – bringing it more to the forefront of peoples’ minds. What started you on that path?

Way back – 2009 or 2010, I was on one of the NHDOT construction projects on the I-93 corridor. Someone had questioned the safety vest I was wearing and made a comment about it not being the right type. I think at that point I brought it to the attention of Woody Wilson [one of our most senior Resident Project Representatives], I think, and asked him about it. The person on the site who commented on my vest wasn’t known for being the most serious person, so I couldn’t really tell. Then I looked into more about the vests and how there are different types of safety vests – there are different types for being in the woods, being in traffic. So really it was a collection of things that happened that got me scratching my head, and wondering what are we really training safety-wise here and what should we be aware of that we’re not?

In September of 2014 I was invited to not only join the Safety Committee, but also be the Chair. At that point the committee hadn’t met in 2 years. I believe the Board of Directors and specifically Frank Wells had recommended that I chair the committee because of my construction background, and to bring life back into the committee.

What are some of the things you’ve accomplished?

  1. As a committee, we basically reformatted the whole way we think about safety in the company. We follow all the rules set forth in Lab 600 from the NH Bureau of Labor, which stem from RSA-281-A:64. The State requires that we have a “Joint Loss Management Committee”, and we call ours the Safety Committee (you can rename it).
  2. We’ve reinvigorated the committee – We didn’t have a real presence within the company before. Once we looked at how we’re supposed to organize it based on Lab 600, we saw we had a lot of things we weren’t doing. We discovered we needed a Health & Safety Manual – we didn’t have one, or one that we could find. We had some of the elements but nothing to the level of what we’ve developed. That’s been the biggest thing we’ve accomplished.
  3. We’ve also made sure field personnel are represented. They are our biggest risk and we need to make sure they have the right equipment and training to do their job safely.
  4. We assisted the Benefits Committee in developing the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Benefit Program, which reimburses employees for certain PPE items that are not required to be provided by the company. 

What are the ultimate goals or principles you’re working towards?

Our ultimate goal is to ensure safety is a part of our everyday lives within the company. The next thing we want to roll out are job hazard analysis sheets. The purpose is to anticipate hazards in the field and be prepared for them before you go out there. That way, we get people trained and get them the tools they need to anticipate safety concerns and be prepared to mitigate them. And not just the full-time field personnel. The hazard analysis sheets apply to everyone – young engineers on bridges. Roadside investigations for preliminary design. Joanne [an environmental coordinator] flagging wetlands. Anyone who leaves the office and goes into the “field” wherever that may be.

The other goal is to incorporate safety into how we plan and estimate our projects – like we do for Quality Assurance / Quality Control. Integrate it into our process.

Given the current situation with COVID, how has your role changed – or how has it not changed?

I’ve become busier [laughs]. We get updated stuff on COVID every day. Trying to keep ahead of what the requirements are is a challenge. I get a lot of info in Massachusetts being that I’m active in ACEC-MA in their Health and Safety Forum (co-chair).

Abbie Goodman [Executive Director of ACEC-MA] called me on Friday with some questions regarding what Massachusetts is implementing for construction for COVID. I also talked to Abbie [on Monday] morning. Basically, the information about COVID trickles down from the governor to our clients to us and our consultant peers. They want to continue with construction – it’s listed as an essential service- but we also have to follow CDC guidelines. Each state also has different rules with regard to construction. In Vermont, construction is not considered essential unless it’s directly related to helping with the virus. Some contractors are not allowed to leave states now if they live in Vermont but work in New Hampshire, which is an issue we’ve been dealing with.

And who’s essential and who’s not? And if we’re essential, which rules do we follow? Those are the kinds of things we’ve been thinking about. Especially now, with construction season upon us.

Are you mostly worrying about construction safety during COVID, or everything at once?

For me, it’s construction stuff because the company COVID-19 team is worrying about the other pieces. How do we build confidence in our employees that their environment is safer than they think? How do we verify that our field personnel are okay before they go out in the field? Also, as I said before, it’s different between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Massachusetts set out rules specifically addressing going out into the field during this pandemic, but New Hampshire said it’s up to each business to police themselves. So unless NHDOT comes out with something that says “here’s how you have to arrive to our site,” we’re still working on this.

Is the company doing anything different (aside from working from home) now that we’re in this situation?

We’re handling it the way the CDC recommends.

What does your day-to-day look like right now?

I’m managing a couple of projects but aside from that I’m getting interrupted by COVID-related information. Every few days new information comes in. So right now, it’s a matter of trying to see what the latest and greatest is so we can make sure we’re following it and that our employees are prepared for it.

Is there anything that intimidates or overwhelms you about being safety coordinator?

I would say that I embrace the position. I’d say if anything, I’d like to have more training and have safety more prominent in our company. Part of that has to do with the size of our company. I communicate with peers in ACEC who have much larger companies, so their initiatives dwarf what we do. Their top safety personnel have different backgrounds. So that part gets a little overwhelming. Or not overwhelming, but I wish we were there. Don’t get me wrong, we’re safe, and we’re doing what we need to for state compliance, and we put smart people in the field. We don’t do a lot of labor-related, safety-type stuff. We don’t have field crews that do labor which makes it a lot easier (like drilling crews or survey crews) – more of that background than office background. Some of that can be more difficult to manage. So, no, I’m not overwhelmed by my role as much as I am of the information that I’d like to put out.

Why you do keep showing up for this role, personally?

I think part of it goes back to the training aspect. The person who’s designated by the committee to be the coordinator has to have a certain level of training. When this originally came up, I received OSHA training for construction safety. So really, I’m the most trained person in the company when it comes to this. And again, we’re not quite where I’d like us to be, and no one else currently has the training to take my place. I’m happy to do it, and I push for it because I feel like I’ve got more work to do in this role.

Would you call yourself a safety enthusiast?

I would say I’ve grown into being a safety enthusiast. I was recognized as having the experience and then the question was, do I have the willingness? And the answer was yes. So now there are aspects of safety I’m very enthusiastic about. I think the toughest part [about being asked to make it more active] is balancing the focus between office personnel and field personnel. So, I’ve found that I rely on other committee members to worry about office personnel, and I worry about the field personnel.

This role has also helped me to not take my construction and my safety background for granted. And I think that’s something we kind of did as a company; we trusted field employees to have the safety knowledge. The full-time ones probably did, but it’s really the part-timers who are more concerning. What’s their experience? What’s their knowledge? Are they aware of their surroundings?

Has your enthusiasm encouraged anyone else? If not enthusiasm, what would it be?

Absolutely. If not mine, then the committee’s. The fact that we were able to gather people to work on the manual and the people who have stayed on the committee. We’ve rotated in and out a few people. We’ve got our quarterly Bee Safe newsletter; we’ve been participating in health and safety week in August which is something we didn’t do before but it’ll be our second or third year this year. I’ve conducted a couple trainings now; I’d like to do more. Gotten more people trained in the OSHA 10-hour course which is big. It’s something we’re trying to get field personnel to have. Building in small procedures and practices – yeah it’s definitely paying off. Not as fast as I’d like, but it’s one of the challenges of being a small business.

Questions about safety? Want to learn from the best? Reach out to David Langlais, PE.

A Tribute to Our Roots

Hoyle, Tanner founders gathering around a document signing

As we begin our 47th year in business, we pay tribute to our founders who exemplified courage, resilience, commitment and innovation while building the solid foundation from which the company operates today.

Doug Hoyle was a lot of different things — a graduate of Brown University, a Korean War veteran, a licensed pilot, an avid skier, motor sport enthusiast and co-founder of a company that still bears his name. Although his list of personal accomplishments is long, throughout his career, his key interest remained the same: to be recognized as Chief Engineer. In 1973, Doug Hoyle along with John Tanner and Bill Thomas founded the engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc. and opened an office in the Ammon Terminal building at Manchester Airport. This marked the beginning of what now has become a very successful 46-year history in the civil engineering business.

Together, the original team of three built Hoyle, Tanner from the ground up; their individual beliefs, experiences, talents and business strategies complemented each other nicely.

Doug would take the lead for the company in the field of environmental engineering. Doug understood that by utilizing the availability of funding from the federally-sponsored Clean Water Act of the1960s, water quality could be significantly improved, and this was to be especially relevant to the many municipalities in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. This work would become an important source of repeat business for the company, as well as establishing a reputation for high quality engineering in environmental services.

John Tanner also recognized the importance of a reliable source of funding for projects. His interest was in public transportation; he utilized the federally-funded Airport Development Aid Program which assisted airports by providing funds to finance capital improvements and maintenance projects. John led the way in this effort and was instrumental in building a national reputation for Hoyle, Tanner within the aviation industry. Unlike the other two founders, Bill Thomas was not an engineer but an experienced and insightful businessman who played a crucial role in business development, serving as the face of the company, and playing an instrumental role in important business decisions that affected Hoyle, Tanner’s future. Their personalities interwove together perfectly.

Doug Hoyle, a man of unwavering honesty and integrity, was a competent and traditional professional who made rational and calculated decisions. His pride was not in the name on the door but instead in his duty as Chief Engineer.

John Tanner was a gifted manager and a natural leader. John was always forward-thinking with big ideas and an ability to listen to a room full of people and distill a complex discussion to its core elements.

Bill Thomas was very personable; a natural conversationalist at ease in any social or business situation. Bill possessed the sound judgement and insights that would help to establish the firm’s culture and guide the company through future technological changes.

Together, the founders created a company culture of customer-driven quality and professionalism that is still very much in evidence at Hoyle, Tanner today. For 46 years, the company has been resilient and adaptive, embracing challenges and taking measured risks that are in the best interest of both our clients and our employees. Engineering is a continuously evolving industry. Hoyle, Tanner’s ability to adapt, anticipate these changes and persevere is something that has been with us since we first started in 1973 and that will continue to see us through our 100th year in business.

Founders black and white photo with names

This piece was written by Grace Mulleavey and Frank Wells.

Volunteers: Making a Difference for our Children

Manchester Police ACERT Teddy Bear drive

Here at Hoyle, Tanner, we are continually impressed by the dedication and hard work of our employees – not just in the office, but in the community.

One of the benefits of working at Hoyle, Tanner is the volunteer program: Employees can spend 8 paid hours at a charity or cause they care about. Since the beginning of 2019, we have had 11 employees volunteer time at many different organizations; total volunteered hours are up to 50 that are documented.

But it’s not just this year that our employees have been exemplary citizens in their communities. In 2017, we had 22 employees volunteer or donate to more than 15 causes. In 2018, we documented 148.5 hours that people spent volunteering at organizations outside of the office per the volunteer time benefit.

Over the past months, a great concentration of our volunteering efforts has gone towards helping children. From kindergarten to college, our employees have worked with children and students on varying levels. Below is a snapshot of all the ways Hoyle, Tanner employees have helped our youth this year:
Hoyle, Tanner employees pictured with students in various volunteer efforts

  • Nicole Crawford worked with a group of UNH students to expose them to engineering on an airport project. Aside from providing students with hands-on experience before they graduate, this project highlighted one of New Hampshire’s largest recent aviation infrastructure projects and gave them some insight into working on complicated, multi-disciplined, and customer-focused airfield projects.
  • Audrey Beaulac, PE, CPSWQ and Matthew Low, PE went to Middle School at Parkside in Manchester to listen to an inspired group of 7th graders present their projects on stormwater treatment. The projects were focused on improving water quality around their school knowing that the school’s parking and recreational areas will be upgraded this summer based upon Hoyle, Tanner’s recent design.
  • Bow High School has a program that allows students a day out of the classroom to job shadow. Kyle visited our headquarters on May 23 to job shadow each of our technical disciplines in the engineering industry. He had the opportunity to meet with eight different engineers to learn about their day-to-day work.
  • After a public plea by the local police department, Hoyle, Tanner employees donated teddy bears to the Manchester NH Police Department. Officers keep the stuffed animals in their cars so that when the Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team (ACERT) respond to difficult situations, they can give children something to comfort them.
  • On April 24, Dave Langlais, PE, volunteered at the Sophomore Career Expo at Tyngsboro High School. He spoke to students about the different types of jobs that are available in the engineering industry. Dave then illustrated his own personal career path, training programs, and education as well as how he has become a respected, well-liked leader of our Massachusetts office.
    • On March 14, Dave Langlais served as the 5th grade judge for the school-wide science fair where the students present projects that they have worked on over the past couple of months. They are judged on use of the scientific method, presentation, originality, and knowledge and understanding of the research they did to support their project. Projects covered a wide variety of topics including corrosion, teeth, kinetic energy, evaporation, Vitamin C, and fertilizer to name just a few.
  • On March 22, one of our junior aviation engineers, Taylor Kirk, visited his former high school. Biddeford Regional Center of Technology -Engineering & Architectural Design welcomed him back as he spoke with engineering and architectural design students. Taylor presented exciting aviation projects he has worked on over the past year to inspire students to take an interest in aviation engineering.

We are committed to bettering our communities through volunteering. We are proud of our employees for their interest and guidance as we secure a brighter future for younger generations.

Social Media for Everyone

Recently, I had the opportunity to share my understanding of various social media platforms and the benefits that municipalities can derive through their use at the New Hampshire Public Works Association‘s March Technical Meeting. Various public works directors were in attendance and joining the conversation about the different platforms available and how they could potentially implement social media platforms in their municipalities to further their community engagement and outreach efforts.

I was joined during the questions and answers portion of the presentation by Public Works Directors Scott Kinmond (of the Town of Moultonborough) and Kürt Blomquist  (of the City of Keene). Each shared their experience with various social media platforms through a public works perspective and offered the benefits their departments have seen through social media implementation.

The presentation is available for download below and additional contact information can be found at the end of the presentation video.

Learning Continued

Like many other companies, Hoyle, Tanner remains committed to the ongoing education of its employees. One of the great benefits offered to full-time employees is the Education Cost Reimbursement, which encourages the employee, through financial assistance, to further their education. The dedication to this program started at its conception in 1999, and continues to offer many of our employees the advantage of personal and professional development.Everyone furthers their education for different reasons, and here is what the assistance has meant to some of its participants:

“I joined Hoyle, Tanner after earning a broad Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree, and this programinspired me to earn my Master’s Degree. Taking specialized classes in my field has helped me tremendously in my professional and technical development. Hoyle, Tanner is a company that understands the benefits of having a well-educated staff.”            Joe Ripley

“Hoyle, Tanner’s education reimbursement program allowed me to complete a Masters of Business Administration degree at a reasonable pace while still working full time.  The classes have been invaluable in better understanding the business side of the engineering services we provide.”           – Sean James

“Hoyle, Tanner’s tuition reimbursement program allowed me to pursue my BSCE degree at night while still working full time.  As a Resident Engineer, this allows me to better serve our clients in the field by giving me a better fundamental understanding of the engineering process.”          – Shawn Reynolds

“I have been working towards the completion of my Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management over the past two years. It has been exciting to learn new skills that we are not taught in an engineering program. The greatest value has been gaining an appreciation of what our other departments necessary to run the business. As we all know, education isn’t free so [financially] offsetting any part of the costs is a huge benefit while raising a family, and one of the reasons that coming back to Hoyle, Tanner was very appealing. I am grateful and excited to be part of a company that supports professional development and encourages employees to better themselves.“         – Jason Ayotte

“When I joined Hoyle, Tanner I was working full-time while going to school full-time. I only had a few classes left to complete my Bachelor’s Degree, and this program allowed me to complete those classes without applying for additional student loans. The improved skills and capabilities I developed during those final classes have been implemented throughout my work throughout the company.”           – Nichole Davis

As our vision statement affirms, “We continue to build a corporate culture that honors and values the individuality and strengths of our team members and our clients.” To find out more about our benefits or to apply to an open position visit our Careers Page!

To Blog or Not to Blog… This is Your Answer

Recently, we have found ourselves asking the questions of whether or not to blog; who would be interested in what we have to say; and would we have “followers”? An idea was posed to incorporate a more personal touch to our social media stream on Facebook allowing our fans to see the more compassionate, community-engaged side of our company. The first step in this process has been to incorporate an employee spotlight that has little to do with what the employee actually works on and more about WHO they are.

Well the response we got on our first post about Jeff Collins spoke volumes to us, showing us that our clients/contacts/fans/followers (whatever you want to label them as) wants to get to know the more personal side. Reaching more than 651 people (and counting) with that post made us realize that there is more to each and every one of our employees, more than just bridges or treatment facilities, etc. and that all of you want to really know us, which is what makes us different. Hoyle, Tanner is the company it is because of our clients, employees, and communities! Welcome to our blog, we can’t wait for you to get to know us better and for us to get to know you all.