Colby Co. employee Corey DeWitt spent three days this summer working on a team to help install the Wall That Heals. The display is a touring wall replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which pays tribute to the more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing from the Vietnam War.
Working alongside other volunteers, Corey spent his first day helping to install more than 100 framing sections with bases and bracing. These helped to support the panels with the names on them. There are 140 panels that hold the names of all of the fallen soldiers. The wall is 370 feet long – and is ¾ the scale of the wall in D.C. Volunteers spent nearly six hours working to get the display up, with the wall on display in Sanford for four days. The wall has traveled all year, starting in California and slowly making its way across the country.
During his volunteering, Corey shared that he was able to meet and talk with several Vietnam veterans. He worked to help people find the names they were looking for along the wall, and helped them rub the names as a sign of honor and remembrance. He shared a few of the stories from his time with Colby Co. coworkers, and remarked on how struck he was by the importance of this memorial for so many.
Corey decided to use all of his volunteer hours (as part of our 1500 hour campaign) for this event. He said it was incredibly fulfilling and humbling.
We are grateful for his work and dedication, as well as the sacrifices these men and women have made.
“I got hooked on assisting Maine Needs from the first visit.”
That’s what CCE employee Christa Moulton said about her time volunteering for Maine Needs.
The nonprofit started nearly five years ago out of a volunteer’s garage – working with caseworkers, nurses, and street outreach teams to collect specific, basic items that many folks in our community were searching for.
The organization has grown tremendously and now operates out of a building in Portland. It continues to work with caseworkers, nurses, outreach teams, and teachers to help gather information about specific items that are needed in our community. Volunteers come in to help sort through donated items, and help put together requests that will go out into the community.
“Through volunteering, I learned that home insecurity is such a huge problem in our community,” Moulton said. “The needs are great for those people, and Maine Needs does an amazing job – but there is so much more that needs to be done.”
Colby Co. is proud to support its community in this way, and has donated more than 50 hours of volunteer time at Maine Needs this year.
A group of Colby Co. employees spent many Fridays this summer getting their hands dirty and learning new gardening techniques at a farm in Brunswick.
Growing to Give is a nonprofit that was founded six years ago by a group of people who wanted to provide fresh produce for people struggling with food insecurity, while also practicing climate-friendly farming techniques.
CCE employee Shannon Haley has been volunteering at the farm for two years. She says she was inspired to begin work at the farm as a way to feel connected to the community, especially after 2020. “It was a great opportunity to work in a garden when I didn’t have access to one at home,” Shannon says. “My grandmother was also a big supporter of food pantries so I was familiar with similar work.”
Shannon began inviting her coworkers to the farm as well, as a way to inspire people for the 1500 Hours Campaign. Colby Co. had several Fridays where a group of around ten employees spent their mornings on the farm – including Amanda Vogler. “It was especially neat to learn more about the people that the food goes to,” she says. “Many people receiving these foods have immigrated here from Africa, and the farm ensures that they can grow crops that help these people have a taste of home.”
Vogler, who is a certified yoga instructor, also began teaching yoga classes ahead of volunteer Fridays, for anyone volunteering at the farm.
In total, Colby Co. donated more than 100 hours to Growing to Give!
It is a designation that the leadership team continues to be honored and humbled by, especially as we celebrate our 15th year in business. “The group of professionals that we have been able to assemble is a point of pride,” CEO Sarah Emily Colby said. “Their level of talent, creativity, and commitment to customer service inspires me to keep my own bar high. We work on some incredibly complex projects and I am so impressed with their ability to put the work in, find the best solution and stay flexible throughout the process.”
To qualify as a Best Place, an anonymous survey is sent to all employees to complete. The survey has approximately 77 statements that employees respond to, along with two open-ended questions. Some of the categories it focuses on include Leadership and Planning, Work Environment, and Role Satisfaction.
Since 2008, Colby Co. has continued to grow and make its mark in Maine, New England, and throughout the country and into Canada. Now seventy employees strong, Colby Co. is noted for its commitment to technical and service excellence. The design firm specializes in architecture and mechanical, structural, electrical, fire protection, and civil engineering.
Colby Co. employees enjoyed a weekend retreat at the New England Outdoor Center in Millinocket as summer winds down.
This is our fourth annual trip to the beautiful Katahdin region. The area offers plenty of recreational activities, including white water rafting, hiking, biking, kayaking, walking, swimming, and having fun!
The weather this weekend (rain on and off, as it has been all summer!) didn’t stop employees from spending plenty of time outside, bonding with nature and each other.
We are so grateful for the work that our employees do year-round, and look forward to our pilgrimage up north every summer as a chance to relax and spend some quality time with each other outside of the office. We are already looking forward to next summer’s trip back to NEOC!
Summer is in full swing, and Colby Company has had some fun events to celebrate the season.
In June, Colby Co. invited staff and their families to the Portland Sea Dogs for a Friday night fireworks game! After enjoying some classics including hot dogs, beans, and of course, Sea Dog Biscuits, it was time to watch the game. The Sea Dogs were on fire, and won the game, and then everyone who stuck around got to see a great fireworks display. It was a wonderful way to visit with CCE families and enjoy early summer.
July brought lots of rain, but we lucked out and had a beautiful, clear night for our employee Sunset Cruise with Portland Schooner Co! CCE boarded the Wendameen, a 1912 schooner built in Maine, off the Portland Pier, and enjoyed a few hours out in Casco Bay. We were also lucky to have personal charcuterie boxes, arranged by local company Charcutemarie.
We feel lucky to live in Maine during the summer and appreciate so much of what our state has to offer!
We are excited that Heather Sustersic, a structural engineer here at Colby Co., will be representing Colby Co. at the upcoming Masonry Society’s 14th North American Masonry Conference in Omaha, Nebraska this June. Heather will be presenting twice during the conference – once on the new Appendix D to TMS 402 for GFRP bars, and again on the Existing Masonry Guidelines task group’s work to develop an existing masonry code.
This is Heather’s second time presenting at this international conference. Heather will be attending, leading the RC subcommittee and EMG task group meetings, and serving as an At-Large representative to the Board of Directors.
Heather has been a member of The Masonry Society since August 2016. We are proud of the accomplishments she is making through The Masonry Society, as well as the impact those changes make to this industry. Well done, Heather!
It’s been 15 years since Calen and Sarah Emily Colby decided to start their own engineering and design business – and in the time that they have grown to a team of 65, they have also maintained the founding company values, including that of service and giving back.
That’s why we are launching a new campaign – “15 years, 1500 hours.” From now through the rest of the year, Colby Co. is committed to spending 1500 working hours volunteering in our local community.
Colby Company already offers all employees two paid days of volunteer time – to encourage employees to find something they are passionate about and support it. However, in order to achieve our ambitious milestone, Colby Co. is offering an additional day and a half for volunteer time.
Since 2008, Colby Co. has donated more than 1700 hours worth of volunteering (including at The Opportunity Alliance, Maine Needs, South Portland Food Cupboard, Animal Welfare Society, and Sebago Lake State Park – to name a few), and hosted 2 food drives and 6 blood drives. In 2019, CCE began a relationship with The Opportunity Alliance, donating winter gear for ten of their clients through their Winter Warm Up Campaign. In 2020, TOA creatively pivoted to a different model for the WWU program, and between employee contributions and a dollar-for-dollar company match, Colby Co. has raised more than $40,000 for TOA’s Winter Warm Up Campaign.
As a way of celebrating our 15 years in business, we decided to create our “15 years, 1500 hours” campaign to help celebrate CCE’s value of community, supporting one another, and donating our time and efforts to help those in need. We are very excited (and intimated!) about this initiative.
In order to help us achieve our goal, CCE is teaming up with the United Way of Southern Maine to help connect us with many local nonprofits and opportunities to get in our volunteer hours. We are looking forward to building our budding relationship with them, and giving back to our community.
Have ideas or questions about our 1500 hour campaign, or have any interest in volunteering with us? Let us know!
The month of May marks a special milestone for Colby Company – we are celebrating 15 years in business this month.
Since its inception in 2008, Colby Co. has grown from a company of 4 people working in the Colby’s home in Lyman, Maine – to a 65+ person company with a bustling office in downtown Portland.
When asked why they decided to start their own business, the Colbys said the following:
“As I matured as an engineer and manager, I thought that I could run a design and construction management firm differently, building on the knowledge that I had gained,” Calen Colby said. “I thought that we could truly listen to our clients and give them what they needed, and that we could treat each other with kindness and respect as we worked together. One of the greatest joys of this career is when a highly functioning team gets together and brings all the best ideas forward for consideration on a project.”
Sarah Emily Colby said that while the timing of launching their business was scary, it created a unique opportunity for them as well. “Starting a business during a strong economy and then watching the economy fall into a deep recession four months later is a feeling of unease that I will never forget. Our industry was hit very hard during this time period but the silver lining is that it allowed us to hire some very talented people when we were a young company.”
Colby Company has registrations in 35 states, six Canadian Provinces, and world-wide project experience. We have provided designs for new projects and renovations with estimated construction costs ranging from $100,000 to $100,000,000. Colby Co. has served as the prime Architecture and Engineering firm for the design of building projects totaling a combined $500M+ in construction costs.
In 2020, Ben Townsend and Brian Beaulieu were added to the ownership team. Brian was the first employee at Colby Co., and Ben has been with the company since 2010. They have both grown with the company in the years that followed, and served as both engineers and project managers, before becoming part owners in 2020.
“As engineers and architects, we have one of the best jobs,” Townsend said when asked why he decided to join the leadership team. “There are no two projects that are the same and there is something to learn on every project. There is so much joy in seeing the facilities that take months and years for planning and design come to life and to be a part of that team. There is also nothing more enjoyable than seeing team members grow and to help foster an environment of continuing growth and knowledge. Being able to support the many exciting and challenging projects with our clients and working with the tremendous, creative, and bright team members at Colby Co. is a dream opportunity and job.”
So, what does the future look like for CCE? “I hope each and every one of us continues to put family first and treat each other with respect and kindness,” Beaulieu said. “That, followed by continuing to provide amazing customer service to our clients. If we focus on that, everything else will fall into place. I also hope that we continue to land exciting, challenging and creative projects that stretch all of our potential and make us enjoy coming to work each day.”
15 years later, Colby Co. remains committed to the principles it was founded on (and many phrases that any employee or friend of CCE know well): Our first priority is to keep people safe, and our second priority is to create fun, interesting designs; family comes first, always; remember to ask, “How can I help?”; always say the second thing that comes to your mind, and make sure it is kind.
CCE celebrates design, collaboration, successes of coworkers, volunteering and giving back to the community, and is a proud Maine-owned business who loves to celebrate and support other local Maine businesses. We are looking forward to seeing how our story continues in the next 15 years and beyond.