According to Jean Carr, co-founder and newly appointed president and CEO at SCJ Alliance in Lacey, it’s more than the firm’s culture, people, and commitment to client success that makes the company stand out. Instead, it’s the blend of all three.
“We invest time to get to know our clients, their priorities, and their challenges,” said Carr. “The model supports client relationships spanning for decades, creating a more meaningful work environment, minimizing staff turnover, and resulting in great solutions for clients.”
Carr is the “C” in the SCJ name, and co-founders Perry Shea and Bob Jewell are the “S” and the “J.” The three launched the multidisciplinary consulting firm in May 2006, basing it in Olympia. By the end of 2006, the firm had eight dedicated staff, all of whom still are with the firm, except for one who retired.
The company now has 107 employees and also operates seven other offices, located in Seattle; Ballard; Centralia; Vancouver; Wenatchee; Spokane; and Boulder, Colo. The firm has been recognized both locally and nationally several times for growth, award-winning projects, and its workplace.
“When we started our company, we were very thoughtful about the type of workplace culture we created,” said Carr. “Because you spend so many hours with your work family, away from your home family, we wanted it to be a place we would look forward to coming to each day. It was very intentional.”
SCJ Alliance specializes in civil engineering, transportation planning and design, environmental and urban planning, landscape architecture and design, cable transit, and public outreach. All three founders still are in key leadership roles, along with several other shareholders that have joined over time.
The firm services 225-250 active clients at once, including a combination of public and private entities. Notable South Sound projects include the I-5 JBLM Vicinity Congestion Reduction Project, Chambers Creek Regional Parks Master Site Plan and Toyota of Olympia Dealership, and Tyee Drive Extension Project in Tumwater.
The culture at SCJ is defined by its core values of stewardship, freedom, compassion, trust, and integrity. Relationships with clients and colleagues are directed by these values, as are the company’s business practices.
A successful project at SCJ is defined by personal and professional satisfaction, a positive impact on the community being served, and enhanced relationships. And, despite the exceptional 36 percent growth rate achieved by SCJ in 2018, and similar projections for 2019, SCJ’s leaders expect the focus on company culture to sustain, because it is integral to the high-quality deliverables the firm provides its clients.
Even on the rare occasion when tough conversations must happen, Carr avows to the firm’s core value of integrity. “We believe in full disclosure … telling it like it is,” she said. “We know what to expect, and we want the client to know what to expect, even if it’s not what they want to hear.”