by John Chambers, PG, LSP
Why would a firm that supports a hybrid workplace open three new offices? It would seem like an inherently bad business decision to pay for more real estate while encouraging your employees to work from whatever location suits them best. And yet that is exactly what we have done here at Fuss & O’Neill, opening three new offices in the last year.
In June of 2022, we opened an office in New Haven on the historic New Haven Green. Part of the reason for opening the New Haven office was to better serve our shoreline clients, but the location was also better for many of our employees. Several employees have opted to select New Haven as their new home base. And they have formed quite the fun team, having recently challenged themselves to some escape rooms (within walking distance of the office) and held a crockpot challenge. The New Haven office, when not challenging each other to games and activities, works together to offer services related to compliance, remediation, hazardous building materials, structural engineering, redevelopment, site/civil engineering, water and natural resources, and traffic/transportation. As this is a growing office strategically located to help our clients in southern Connecticut and New York, New Haven is also home to many colleges and universities, which offers great opportunities for future hiring.
Towards the end of 2022, we opened an office in Schenectady, NY, which expands a geographical market. Our new Schenectady office forms a loose triangle when mapped against our Springfield, MA and White River Junction, VT offices, creating a strong base from which to offer our diverse services. We have already started working with some new municipalities and educational facilities within this tri-state wedge, and we are excited to both further those relationships and develop new relationships. Additionally, as our Schenectady office is home to several of our talented landscape architects and designers, this location offers a great central spot for in-person collaboration. Landscape design is a highly collaborative profession that often balances form and function. If our landscape architects and designers need some solo focus time, they can work from their own homes. But if they need to bring their creativity together, the Schenectady office, with its open and sunlit interior, is an inspirational space to design collectively.
At the start of 2023, Fuss & O’Neill relocated our Boston office. We have been in Boston for a couple of years now, but we had outgrown our current space. So we moved down the street and selected a space with plenty of room to grow. This was a very strategic decision in that we have experienced an expanding client base and have seen a desire from our employees to work in the City of Boston (many relocating to that office). Our employees’ responses to this office location have been very enthusiastic. They are a close-knit group that likes to spend time together outside the office as well, going to Red Sox games, taking cruises, and visit breweries together. The City of Boston experienced a major shutdown during the pandemic, and I think that maybe that separation is what is driving the desire to be together. Additionally, similar to New Haven, Boston and the surrounding areas are home to a plethora of colleges and universities. As there is currently a shortage of engineers to fill open positions throughout the industry, a company has to position itself where their future employee base wants to be.
While it may seem counterintuitive to expand when the news daily reports on a looming recession and we are encouraging a hybrid workforce, we have seen nothing but reward from our investment in new office space. Our employees are happier and our clients are closer. Adapt or perish is the key to longevity, and as we near our 100th year in business, we’re going to continue to trust in that motto.
About the Author
John Chambers, PG, LSP is Fuss & O’Neill’s Executive Vice President of Operations. John joined Fuss & O’Neill in 1999, focusing on community redevelopment and brownfield redevelopment projects. In his current position, John fosters coordination and cohesion among regions, has created opportunities for internal career advancement, and leads acquisitive growth initiatives.