What CEOs Have To Say


Many of the CEOs who have commented about FOPP’s value to their firms are themselves FOPP alumni.


“Like a surprising number of engineering-firm CEOs nationwide, I am a grateful alumnus of the Fundamentals of Professional Practice program.

“Like a surprising number of engineering-firm CEOs nationwide, I am a grateful alumnus of the Fundamentals of Professional Practice program. Like others who have gone through the program—even the most recent version of it—John Bachner opened my eyes as to what it means to be a professional and to the importance of the profession of which I am proud to be a part. “When I began my FOPP experience, I wasn’t sure where I was going in my profession. I was a lot younger than I am now, of course, and was just starting my family. The reading I was required to do as part of FOPP was genuinely eye-opening. It gave me insights into the business of engineering I did not previously have, with an emphasis on professionalism in everything—an approach I had not before experienced. The research assignment I performed was the first non-technical business research I ever did, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed applying an engineering approach to business issues and coming out with a worthwhile result. “John’s harsh, role-playing comments on my writing have stuck to this day, and I am a much better writer for it. And then came the course-concluding seminar that wrapped the whole program together and helped set me in the direction that got me to where I am today. The future of what I started depends on my developing future leaders. FOPP is the first major step for those I see as rising stars. It is a genuine investment in a firm’s future. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

—Thomas W. Blackburn, CE, GE, Founder, Blackburn Consulting

“The Fundamentals of Professional Practice (FOPP) program is a valuable component of our leadership-development approach at GeoEngineers.

“The Fundamentals of Professional Practice (FOPP) program is a valuable component of our leadership-development approach at GeoEngineers. FOPP provides our emerging leaders a perspective on the profession that cannot be replicated anywhere else. It is a perspective that includes the noble nature of our work as well as the significance of our responsibilities to the firms, clients, and communities we serve. Ultimately, FOPP delivers a lasting message that the key to business success is professional excellence that starts with individual professionals making a commitment to just that.”

—Kurt R. Fraese, L.G., President and Chief Executive Officer, GeoEngineers, Inc.

“GeoConcepts Engineering has been a frequent participant in the FOPP program because FOPP provides value to our firm and is important to the growth of our staff.

“GeoConcepts Engineering has been a frequent participant in the FOPP program because FOPP provides value to our firm and is important to the growth of our staff. The value we gain from FOPP is that it improves the performance of our staff with regard to their ability to communicate, highlights and emphasizes the importance of loss prevention, and the projects completed by our FOPP participants have been incorporated into our standard operating procedures. Our belief in the FOPP program is evidenced by the fact that completion of the FOPP program is a part of the requirements for being a senior manager in our firm. Beyond this requirement, we know that individuals who complete this program are better prepared to become leaders in our organization, and are more likely to emphasize the importance of the skills learned in the FOPP program to our other staff. Our clients benefit from the investment we put in the FOPP program by creating a more empowered and capable staff who have a better understanding of the meaning of being a professional in our industry.”

—Tadeusz W. "Ted" Lewis, P.E., LEED, Principal, GeoConcepts Engineering, Inc.

“DOWL uses FOPP as a 'rite of passage' as engineers advance in the company and move from project engineer to project manager and leader of the firm.
“DOWL uses FOPP as a 'rite of passage' as engineers advance in the company and move from project engineer to project manager and leader of the firm. We have found FOPP to be a valuable educational tool for our best and brightest to learn the ropes of consulting engineering, interacting with peers from sister firms, and completing valuable real-world projects that solve issues that our firm is confronting.”

—Stewart G. Osgood, P.E., President and Chief Executive Officer, DOWL

“I entered FOPP at the onset of engaging my professional engineering and managerial responsibilities. Having just completed my four years of engineer-in-training experience and starting to run an office, I was well mentored and had a safety net.

“I entered FOPP at the onset of engaging my professional engineering and managerial responsibilities. Having just completed my four years of engineer-in-training experience and starting to run an office, I was well mentored and had a safety net. Outwardly, I was confident in my skills and a force to be reckoned with. Inwardly, I lacked employeee interaction, client communication, contract knowledge, risk management, and a variety of the other leadership skills and qualities that are critical to a successful operation. "When I convey the virtues of FOPP to our candidates whom we enroll in the program, I first acknowledge it as a defining moment in my career: An eye opener to 'the real world' of consulting, wrought with pitfalls and career- or firm-ending traps, none of which has anything to do with the technical side of engineering, testing, or environmental services. The program not only opens one's eyes to the hazards, but instills the skills and confidence to navigate through the hazards toward success. My employer at the time recognized the personal and professional growth gained from FOPP. My FOPP experience is one of the primary reasons for my promotions to where I am today: CEO. "Similar to my mentors then, as a mentor myself I place substantial value on the FOPP program and use it to bolster growing, youthful staff members on whom I pin high hopes for future leadership. We've put more than a dozen folks through the program under my tenure and, each time, we build their confidence in themselves and our confidence in them. Shareholders and managers are generally encourage to engage FOPP early in their careers. In fact, it is a prerequisite for new ownership consideration.”

—Travis Wambeke, P.E., President and Chief Executive Officer, Strata, A Professional Services Corporation

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