2 min read January 2022 — T&M Associates has seen massive gains in the past year and Gary Dahms, president and CEO, credits a diversified practice model, strong company culture and engaging communities for its success. “Engineers design projects that improve the quality of life of the communities they are in and we wanted to take action with that focus in mind,” Dahms told Invest:.
What have been some of the biggest successes for T&M Associates in the past year?
We are unique in our size and scope and have 10 core practices that have driven our success through the pandemic. We are diverse in relation to the services we offer our clients. Our larger core practices are water resources, environmental, transportation, real estate development and municipal services. Our five emerging practices include construction management, electrical and automation, health and safety, natural hazards and MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing). Typically, in the past, the biggest win in each practice would be $200,000 to $300,000 for a single project. This was the first year where every practice won at least $750,000 and many of our practices had $3 million or $4 million projects awarded. We intentionally strategized to take on bigger, more complex projects and have seen positive results across the board.
What strategies has T&M Associates implemented to recruit and retain great talent?
Employees today are looking for more than just compensation, which is always competitive. Job seekers are far more interested in knowing what a company believes in and the environment they are entering. We have always had a high retention rate because we have a very good culture. With over 350 employees, we sustain an inclusive, collaborative and respectful environment. Last year, we were ranked as one of the best places to work in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Central Pennsylvania, which demonstrates our ability to hire and retain employees.
Another initiative we undertook last year was creating a T&M Associates Foundation. Our mission is to improve quality of life through acts of kindness, charitable outreach, educational programs, and social support in the T&M family and the communities in which we live, work and play. The nonprofit is invested in STEM education. It supports students from every age group and focuses on making education more accessible and effective for different people and communities. We provide scholarships, sponsorships, classroom presentations, and site visits. We are also big on volunteerism, whether it is beachfront cleanups, Habitat for Humanity, lunch programs or park revitalizations.
T&M is focused on attracting and maintaining a diverse workforce and fostering a culture of inclusion to help gain perspective and drive innovation for T&M’s clients in creating sustainable communities. Three years ago, we established a DEI committee that could align and adjust to the increasingly changing workforce and meet regularly to ensure T&M’s forward momentum in supporting a culture aligned with T&M’s Core Values.
How has T&M Associates navigated the supply chain issues of the past year?
We are impacted indirectly. Our business is people and designing, so we are not as involved with materials. However, when we are designing projects and anticipating schedules for our clients, we have to look at where those materials are coming from. This means planning carefully for lead time and if there are alternatives in the design process that we can employ to provide the best opportunity for the projects to come in on time and on budget for our clients. In that way, the supply chain issues are a global engineering problem as well. I hear about all the ports that are backed up because they cannot process the unloading of cargo quickly enough. This is a dual problem. Number one, the ports not having enough capacity and number two, limited transportation network (ie. not enough trucks and rail to get those products delivered). A lot of the money coming from the federal infrastructure bill is going to port expansion and transportation hubs, so I am optimistic that it will help mitigate some of these supply chain challenges.
What is your outlook for T&M Associates over the next two to three years?
I see tremendous growth, especially in the sectors where we practice. I think we will see more opportunities in real estate as a byproduct. When moving products out of port, companies will need warehouses and distribution centers; I see a lot of business opportunities there. Our five-year strategic plan was put in place right before the pandemic, so we are excited to continue carrying out our core practices that have historically driven our growth. We are also going to invest in strategic hiring and acquisition. Additionally, we will continue our commitment to work with schools to grow a local talent pipeline and partner with more firms to grow our footprint.
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