James A. Fox, PE, CEO and Chairman

Message from the CEO

We started 2015, our 70th anniversary year, recognizing that we needed an increased focus on our business strategy and implementation tactics – and once again we responded. I am pleased to report that the results were good, and OBG’s position for the future is strong.

Through the year, we demonstrated our resiliency as we successfully completed purposeful changes within our organization and leadership and implemented both a strategic acquisition and divestiture. We saw positive top line results, and welcomed a return to more profitable performance through the implementation of focused branding, targeting, and sales initiatives, high-quality project performance, and prudent management of operating expenses. We continued to build a strong brand experience with our clients, and we remained dedicated to investing in our growth strategy, our people, and our communities.

We remained pragmatic as we positioned OBG for growth, recognizing the challenges of an uneven economic recovery and the pressures of our competitive landscape – an environment marked by persistent competition and consolidation pressures on small and mid-sized firms. Although OBG has prided itself on its fiercely autonomous ways and organic growth strategy, 2015 marked the implementation of a strategic approach to acquisitions and partnerships that will accelerate our growth. As a prime example, OBG welcomed Schuyler Engineering, now key to fortifying our growth strategy in New York. We will further strengthen our brand and geographic growth through additional purposeful acquisitions and partnerships.

Our milestone year was also distinguished by an exciting refresh to our brand. Now as OBG, we launched a progressive website presenting a story that honors our past and inspires our future. This refresh brings out our There’s a way culture and drive for innovative solutions and enhances our brand experience through a focus on what matters most to our clients. In addition, we continued to enhance our enterprise resource planning system and laid the foundation for a new client relationship management system and enterprise collaboration tools.

2015 also marked the fifth year we completed our “checking our progress and adaptive changes” (COPAC™) planning cycle and recognized progress toward our strategic objectives. We reviewed the progress in our four objectives and challenged the progress in our growth strategy. This led to an affirmation of the need to improve our implementation through stronger engagement of our people. As a result, we are focused in 2016 on better connecting with our people as we continue to acclimate OBG to an ever-changing competitive landscape.


OBG made a difference in 2015, working with diverse clients and challenging projects. In advanced manufacturing, we designed and constructed a state-of-the-art process equipment test facility that is enabling an industrial manufacturing client to meet growing production demands. In energy, we provided innovative power design solutions to make a NYC-area community more resilient during extreme weather events. In environment, we continued to make progress in the restoration of what was once one of the nation’s most polluted lakes. And in water, we managed the construction of one of the world’s largest biosolids-to-energy recovery facilities.

Our annual client satisfaction survey resulted in another strong and clear response indicative of high satisfaction with our people and creative solutions, as well as thoughtful considerations of where we can continue to enhance our brand experience. Within this report, you will see snapshots of meaningful experiences celebrating 70 years alongside our clients, focusing on both client appreciation and client recognition of the innovative and integrated solutions delivered by our talented people.


We recognize that our people and our culture are a true differentiator for OBG. Our biennial employee satisfaction survey was marked by our highest participation rate to date with valuable feedback that is already helping to enhance the OBG employee experience and culture. We also recognized a need to improve opportunities for our people to engage in OBG’s strategy and business planning to better connect career development opportunities. An effective people engagement platform is essential to our growth.


We continued to enhance the connectivity of our strategic philanthropy program with our branding initiatives and focused on supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, wellness, and philanthropic endeavors that are important to our employees, clients, and communities. Concurrently, we strengthened our safety culture through programs and activities that continue to illuminate OBG’s belief that all safety incidents are preventable.


I am pleased to report that we largely met our expected financial performance in 2015, and we have resumed progress toward our sustainable financial growth objectives. This growth will be fueled through continued focus on our clients and people and success in our branding, targeting, and sales performance, acquisitions, and partnerships.

Our achievements in 2015 clearly embody the strengths that have defined OBG for the past seven decades – character, resilience, and persistence to succeed. The Company is poised for growth in 2016 through engagement with our people and our steadfast focus on implementation. The best years for OBG are still ahead.

- James A. Fox, PE, CEO and Chairman

Client Satisfaction


OBG had multiple Client Appreciation Events celebrating our 70th anniversary year with clients and partners across the regions. In addition, many employees were recognized through OBG’s Client Service Award Program, which provides clients an opportunity to recognize employees for excellent service.

Celebrating OBG's milestone 70th year with clients and partners in Atlanta, GA (left), Ocean City, MD (middle), and Savannah, GA (right)
Client Service Awards for Honeywell Onondaga Lake restoration program (left) and 50 years of energy and water solutions provided to the Onondaga County Metropolitan Water Board, Syracuse, NY (right)

Corporate Social Responsibility


To support OBG’s mission of People creating a better future by making a difference each day, the Company continually strengthens its efforts of improving natural and built environments. In 2015, OBG continued to enhance the connectivity of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program with its brand and focused on supporting STEM education, safety, wellness, community development, environmental stewardship, and philanthropic endeavors that are important to its employees, clients, and communities.

OBG, together with its employees, contributed more than $270,000 and significant time and talent to support and strengthen the communities in which we live and work.
ASHRAE student steamboat challenge and STEM day, Syracuse, NY employees (left); Student mentorship and science fair, Mid-atlantic employees (middle); Reforest Northern Kentucky woodland restoration project, Cincinnati, OH employees (right)


As part of OBG’s CSR objective and commitment to developing a best-in-class safety culture, the Company improved training and leadership engagement related to its implementation of the following 2015 initiatives:

Safety Ambassadors continued to promote and enhance OBG’s safety culture through safety leadership, awareness, and engagement.

Near miss program opened a company-wide dialogue through the sharing of lessons learned to increase awareness, improve safe work procedures, and build a collective commitment to OBG’s goal of zero safety incidents.

Health, safety, and environment manual provided a foundation for employees to engage in best-practice procedures for protecting the health and safety of OBG’s people, clients, and communities.

Celebrating 1,000 days without a safety incident, Edison, NJ (left); Safety education break, Syracuse, NY (right)

Employee Satisfaction


The 14th Exceptional Employee Awards program recognized six employees who live OBG’s values, support its mission, and go above and beyond in helping the Company achieve its vision.

From left to right: Joseph Segretto, Susan Stalnaker, Yolanda Pagano, Paul Freyer, Mary Roeckel, Peter Bearkland
  • Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. Corporate Social Responsibility Award - Yolanda Pagano, ESQ, CPA, Philadelphia, PA
  • Earl F. O’Brien Leadership Award - Susan Stalnaker, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Edwin C. Tifft, Jr. Unwavering Employee Satisfaction & Spirit Award - Paul Freyer, Syracuse, NY
  • John R. Loveland Employee of the Year Award - Mary Roeckel, Philadelphia, PA
  • Russell L. Sutphen Client Satisfaction Award - Peter Bearkland, Syracuse, NY
  • Samuel W. Williams Engineering & Sustainable Financial Performance Award - Joseph Segretto, Syracuse, NY


OBG celebrated our people throughout the year and during special 70th anniversary celebrations.

Exceptional Employee Awards event, Syracuse, NY (left); 70th anniversary employee events in Atlanta, GA (top right) and Baltimore, MD (bottom right)


OBG continued to grow a culture of innovation and further the development of business relevant ideas and solutions to differentiate OBG and support growth. In 2015, OBG enhanced the connectivity of its innovation and growth strategies and implemented the following initiatives, working with employees and partnering clients and universities.

OBG held SPARK innovation competitions at four universities, connecting the innovative ideas of students with real-world industry challenges.

More than 100 students participated in four SPARK innovation competitions at Drexel University, Syracuse University, the University of Rochester, and Villanova University.

The annual i-factor competition focused on leveraging innovation to enhance OBG’s growth and challenged employees to develop custom solutions, which cross boundaries and require dedicated teams.

i-factor competition, Syracuse, NY
Funding was provided to the top four i-factor competition teams to advance their custom innovation solutions.

About OBG

Advanced Manufacturing. Energy. Environment. Water. For more than 70 years, OBG has specialized in engineering and problem solving, but the Company’s real strength is creating comprehensive, integrated solutions for its clients.

There's a way

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