Monthly Archives

June 2017

Remembering Jerry Hammerlun

By | News

An accomplished business leader — A legacy of excellence
Jerry Hammerlun began his professional journey in 1978 after completing his education at the University of Nebraska. He received two degrees – his bachelor’s degree in architecture, followed by his law degree. After 20 years in the architectural and engineering industry, he joined Huckabee in 2001 and assumed the role of President less than a year later. Jerry served numerous roles in that capacity, from managing the business finances, acting as General Counsel and running the day-to-day operations of the firm, to personally managing projects and advocating for his clients.

True to form, in 2009, Jerry passed the torch to a young leader at Huckabee and focused on a new role as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. An exceptional planner with a strategic mind and incredible foresight, he had seen challenges ahead of the 2008 recession and was instrumental in moving Huckabee into a strong financial position. As a result of his leadership, Huckabee flourished as most A/E firms struggled during the downturn. Instead of laying off staff, we grew and continued to grow, opening offices across the state, increasing our market share and increasing staff by over 85 percent. He led the firm through the most prosperous growth curve in our history.

Jerry was recognized for his outstanding leadership in 2011 when he was named CFO of the Year by the Fort Worth Business Press. His leadership also led Huckabee to be nationally recognized for six consecutive years as a Hot Firm for consistent revenue growth and ranked as a top design firm by industry organizations year after year.

After nearly 40 years in the business, Jerry’s professional achievements are impressive, but for those who knew him or worked with him, he was so much more than a list of accomplishments.

A mentor, champion and friend – A legacy of love
Jerry greeted his colleagues every day with a resounding “good morning!” You could hear it bellow across the office, announcing his presence. He always said, “there’s no substitution for enthusiasm,” and he demonstrated this daily to each of us – even in a simple greeting.

He was a wise coach and mentor to many. He believed one of his key roles as a leader was to mentor future leaders, create opportunity for others and support them each step of the way. He guided our team with wisdom, strength and candor. Jerry coined “Collective Wisdom” at Huckabee, which today is a hallmark strength of our team. He believed we are stronger together than we are individually, and he established and engrained this way of thinking into the fabric and culture of our firm.

Jerry was a man of great discipline and focus. No matter your tenure at Huckabee, you knew the “10:30 rule.” Jerry began his day at 6:00 am and focused quietly in his office on daily tasks until 10:30, asking not to be interrupted during this time. He believed preparation was the key to success, and attention to detail was the path to excellence.

He was a man of passionate conviction. Jerry believed you should shine your shoes because they represented a person’s character. He believed eating alone was a missed opportunity to build relationships. He believed you should surround yourself with people who don’t always agree with you, but challenge you to be better. He believed in taking care of others’ checkbooks – whether it was Huckabee’s or our clients’ – like they were his own.

Jerry was a servant leader. He believed in giving back to his community and volunteered countless hours to organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, Junior Achievement and The Red Cross. An unwavering Husker fan, he served on an advisory board at his alma mater and was asked last year to give the commencement address. He was also elected to the Georgetown City Council, where he worked to make lasting improvements to the city he loved. He was a person of action and encouraged others to get involved. He didn’t talk about it, he did it. If he didn’t like it, he changed it. If he believed in it, he brought it to fruition. He made a difference.

Lastly and most importantly, Jerry was a family man. A husband to Vickie for 43 years and father to two amazing children, Greg and Lindsey and their spouses, Lacey and Aaron, Jerry’s eyes would light up whenever he talked about his family. He became a grandfather seven years ago and since that time, has welcomed five more grandchildren to “Papa J’s” house and heart. His office was proudly lined with pictures of his family and artwork from his grandkids. He loved to share the latest photos he had on his phone and loved to see family photos on ours. Just like his own, Jerry loved his Huckabee family the same. He showed this best by continually investing in others and growing them in areas needed to push the firm forward. He was very much a proud father in recent days as he watched a capable and talented team take flight.

An incredible man, an incredible life – A legacy that will live on
We got a call early Saturday morning, June 17, letting us know that Jerry was gone. I sat down to craft a statement to the Huckabee team and our business partners about the unspeakably difficult news of Jerry’s passing.

It is with great sadness we must share with you that Jerry Hammerlun passed away on Saturday morning

I stared at my computer screen, my finger hovering over the period. I couldn’t press it. I couldn’t hit the period. That made it real. This couldn’t possibly be real. I couldn’t end the sentence – end his story.

As I reflected on this moment and on his life, it became clear what he would want me to say to everyone reading this today. And so, I will pick up where I left off…

It is with great sadness we must share with you that Jerry Hammerlun passed away on Saturday morning; the Huckabee team is heartbroken but united in resolve to honor the legacy of this incredible man and to move forward, serving each other like he served us – with integrity, focus and enthusiasm.

There is no need for a period. Instead, I honor Jerry with a semicolon because this isn’t the end of his story. I will keep it going. Huckabee will keep it going. We are heartbroken by this irreplaceable loss but will continue to work hard, chase excellence, stay focused and disciplined, love what we do and who we get to do it with – enthusiastically, in his honor.

Remembering Jerry Hammerlun

Services to remember and celebrate the life of Jerry Hammerlun will be held on Friday, June 23 at 2:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church at 703 South Church Street in Georgetown, Texas. A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 22 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Ramsey Funeral Home at 5600 Williams Drive in Georgetown, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Georgetown Education Foundation.

A celebration of #50more

By | News

Huckabee is midway through a yearlong commemoration of our 50th anniversary. Our team marked the occasion Saturday with an employee + family celebration, which brought together more than 300 people from across the state. The event, aptly named Huckapalooza, featured food trucks, lawn games, kids activities, dancing, a performance by Wade Bowen and Huckabee’s signature swag. It was an opportunity to celebrate together as a family and with family—something that has been important to us since day one.

For five decades, Huckabee has served Texas students, educators and communities with an exclusive focus on education. We started as a small architecture firm in West Texas and have grown into a multidiscipline A/E firm with offices in Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, as well as an educational research center in Waco at Baylor University. We’ve been around for 50 years, and we can’t help but look forward to 50 more!

#1 Best Firms to Work For

By | Industry

Huckabee was named the #1 Best Firms to Work For by Zweig Group—a ranking that recognizes outstanding work environments and company culture. Huckabee is dedicated to workplace excellence and our firm is excited to share this honor with our entire team! 

“This recognition is about our people and our shared passion for design, engineering and education. We place great emphasis on excellence in everything we do, and this means investing in our team, our offices and our culture,” said Chris Huckabee, Chief Executive Officer. 

Chris often works in the coffee bar or common areas of each office, using the time as an opportunity to engage with employees and enjoy the vibrant work environment. Over the past few years, Huckabee opened offices in live-work-play communities and transitioned to a more open, collaborative and flexible work space that better reflects the culture. Sit-to-stand desks, soft seating, technology-friendly meeting spaces, informal lounges, focus rooms and coffee bars are a few of the features employees enjoy.

“We’ve put a lot of thought into what our team needs to succeed. Each of our offices reflect our corporate culture as well as local personality. When you walk in, you know you’re in a Huckabee office,” he said.

Kim Hopper, Huckabee’s Chief Human Resources Officer believes our firm is consistently recognized as a best place to work because of our ongoing commitment to opportunity and family. “I knew from day one this was a special place. Opportunity is everywhere, and we have so many inspirational people on our team that provide ongoing mentorship to their colleagues each and every day.”

Family is key to Huckabee’s culture of excellence—whether at work or home. Our employee engagement coordinator plans culture-focused activities that bring small and large groups together in meaningful ways. An emphasis on work-life balance is also prevalent. Other programs and perks include professional development; wellness initiatives; employee-driven committees focused on culture; and great coffee.

Notably, Huckabee is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and is commemorating the occasion with several employee-focused programs, including an employee scholarship program for personalized professional development; a limited-edition flair / swag program; and a firm-wide family day and anniversary party. 

“There is so much opportunity at Huckabee for any number of professionals in the architecture, engineering, design and support fields,” said Chris. “Huckabee’s culture is the result of 50 years of practice and focus in the educational market. We are life-long learners, and we hire people who bring passion, innovation and integrity to our team. We are proud of our firm and the reputation we’ve established as a great company to work for and with.”

For more information about Huckabee’s culture or career opportunities, visit www.morethanaworkplace.com.

We are Huckabee Texas
happy hour Huckabee Texas

Zweig Group’s Best Firms to Work For honors outstanding workspaces in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, geotechnical, environmental and civil, structural, and multi-discipline engineering firms. Firms are ranked based on ability to create amazing workspaces through design, teamwork, benefits, amenities and work culture. They are scored on employee surveys and corporate evaluations. To view the full list, click here.