If you have admired the construction or remodel of a school, office or other building in Lewis or Thurston County, chances are it was the work of SCJ Alliance. The team at SCJ Alliance is known throughout both counties for their quality, expertise and customer service. Their services include civil engineering, landscape architecture and design, transportation planning and design, environmental and urban planning, and public outreach.

The team participates in many volunteer activities together, like attending the Centralia College Foundation Gala. Photo courtesy: SCJ Alliance.

The team at SCJ Alliance was recently recognized nationally for their hard work and dedication by the Zweig Group, an international architecture and engineering association. SCJ Alliance took home three awards at Zweig’s national conference in September.

SCJ Alliance came home with a Marketing Excellence award for their Intranet, an internal communication tool much like a website.

For the fifth time since 2010, the team also received Zweig’s “Hot Firms” award, which recognizes the fastest growing firms in the industry. It is based on the highest percentage revenue growth and dollar revenue growth over a three-year period.

The award that was perhaps the most meaningful to the team, however, was being named “The Best Firm to Work For,” for the fifth time since their founding.

One of the many fun team building events at SCJ Alliance is their ping pong championships. Photo courtesy: SCJ Alliance.

“The awards are a huge honor,” says Brandon Johnson, principal at SCJ Alliance. “From the beginning, our firm’s goal has been to provide high quality consulting services for our clients and a great work environment for our employees. Winning all three of these awards validates that goal.”

The Best Firm to Work For award is given based on results from an anonymous survey firm employees are asked to answer. Responses had many common themes, including commitment to employees and clients, leadership that truly cares about each employee and core values that are taken seriously and thoughtfully by leaders and coworkers. One employee said, “[SCJ] positions employees to succeed and [gives] the freedom to pursue passions.”

“By hiring highly capable people, giving them the freedom to grow and tools they need to succeed, this keeps our culture strong and allows us to constantly cast a wider net, which has played a significant role in our success,” Johnson says.

Though their work is serious, the SCJ team keeps the work environment light by having fun, including dressing up on Halloween. Photo courtesy: SCJ Alliance.

The overall feeling from the surveys is that employees feel comfortable and happy at work, which typically leads to strong work ethic and a drive to improve, resulting in overall company growth.

“SCJ is just a fun place to work,” Johnson offers. “The majority of our employees work in an office environment, which in many firms can be a monotonous 9:00 to 5:00 job. We work hard to create an office setting where we work hard, but folks also like to have fun. That starts at the top. It is not uncommon to see Perry Shea, Jean Carr or Bob Jewell (the S,C & J of SCJ) playing ping pong during the work day, belting out karaoke at company parties or engaging in light trash talk over the company’s 36 person fantasy football league. The fun interaction between our senior leadership and employees builds camaraderie you just don’t find everywhere else.?”

Employees also seemed to like the management style at SCJ Alliance, noting the focus on employee growth through team building activities, management improvement workshops and general self-improvement tools. “The firm recruits excellent talent, they make their people feel welcome and appreciated, and they reward individuals for their accomplishments,” said one employee on their survey.

Emotional intelligence runs high at the firm as well, with employees noting that, “Management has our back should we make a mistake. They understand we aren’t perfect and we learn from our failures.”

The SCJ Alliance team receiving the “Best Firm To Work For” award at the Zweig ceremony in September. Photo credit: Conor Musgrave,

“There is a direct and measureable connection between happy employees and our growth,” says Johnson. “We have a really low turnover rate and many of our staff, myself included, have grown in their roles as SCJ has grown. Our project engineers grow to be project managers, our project managers grow to be department leads and department leads grow to be principals.”

Overall, it was clear employees enjoyed their work and would recommend the place to a friend. When asked why, the majority of responses used the word “positive,” along with “fun,” and “fulfilling.”

Winning all three awards put SCJ in a small group of just nine firms nationwide to earn the 2017 Zweig Trifecta award. The whole team is proud of the achievement that was made possible by the hard work and dedication from each employee.

Headquartered in Lacey, SCJ Alliance also has offices in Centralia, Seattle, Ballard, Wenatchee and Vancouver. To learn more, visit SCJ Alliance online.

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