Best Places to Work alumni spotlight: Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc.

A recent video session with four generations of leadership included (left to right) current president Bill Bailey, Brian Whiston (CEO from 2005-2012), Cliff Baxter (CEO from 1995-2004) and Dan Meckes (CEO from 2013 to present). PHOTO COURTESY OF CMT

By Carey Smith

Selected as one of the best places to work in 2008 by Springfield Business Journal and United Community Bank, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. (CMT) began in 1946 with the idea that engineering could significantly improve our country’s post-war infrastructure.

Friends and civil engineers Len Crawford, Pat Murphy and Ray Tilly began CMT in the aftermath of World War II. Though the business has expanded throughout the Midwest and Southeast, it is still headquartered in Springfield with its original name. Currently, the engineering consulting firm focuses its planning, engineering, design and construction expertise in the areas of aviation, rail, environmental and wetlands services, surface transportation and municipal and civil architecture and construction, as well as leveraging technology for the benefit of its clients.

Roger Austin, senior vice president and director of marketing, notes that CMT has a rich history, including “a strong legacy of stability and longevity as a company. We look forward to what that means for the future of the company.” CMT continues to work from its strategic plan, which focuses on geographic growth and services. Since its recognition in 2008, CMT has grown from 260 employees to 370 employees and has expanded into 22 offices.

“In 2008, we were mostly in Illinois, with one office each in Missouri, Indiana and Ohio,” notes Austin. “We’ve continued to grow in the Midwest, but we’ve also expanded to the Southeast. We now have offices in Nashville, Cleveland, Lexington, Kansas City, Atlanta and three offices in Florida. For a firm that’s been around for 75 years to grow that quickly, it’s a faster pace than we’ve done in the past.”

Austin has been with the company for 34 years and attributes his long tenure to CMT’s efforts to be a company “that values people very highly and does a good job of providing opportunities for people to grow and explore their strengths and talents. It’s a company where we provide challenging and rewarding work.”

In 2018, CMT was recognized by the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE) as the “Best Large Firm To Work For.” ISPE recognizes firms that strive for continuous innovation, not only on its projects, but also on the environment created for its employees, with winners being determined by anonymous survey responses from firm employees. Retention rates at CMT above the industry average reflect employee satisfaction.

“It’s about developing our people,” says Austin, “and one of our major initiatives in our strategic plan is making CMT a great place to work. We feel we do a pretty decent job at that.”

“We’ve continued to expand services,” remarks Austin. “We’ve grown our architectural capabilities, and we’ve expanded in the area of environmental services, a new service we’re providing. Another service we’ve developed in the past few years is air service development.” In November 2020, CMT acquired KB Environmental Services, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, expanding CMT’s capabilities for air quality and noise analysis for transportation.

CMT will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2021, with events held throughout the year and culminating in a gala in the fall, bringing together employees from all its offices. Since Len Crawford served as the original CEO, CMT is now in its fifth generation of leadership. The four successors are still living and have provided a stable transition of leadership. Austin remarks, “The people who’ve led our firms are those who have grown up in the firm and know the company, and they continue to maintain the values of the company. All are just incredible leaders. They all brought their distinct talents and skills to leading the firm and helped make it a better company.”

Carey Smith is a freelance writer based in Springfield.



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