News Archives

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Trick or Chili

Ghosts, ghouls and even a Greek goddess roamed the halls at VAA’s Plymouth office on Halloween. In addition to a costume contest, our Wellness and Outreach Committee hosted a Chili Cookoff and Dessert Bakeoff for employees to show off their culinary creations.

With nearly 20 costume-clad participants in the running, it was a tight race for the 2019 costume contest. Employees also engaged in a friendly competition for the Golden Spoon and Golden Whisk awards. For a $5 donation to Fur-Ever Home Rescue, employees received an all-you-can-eat pass for chili and desserts and a vote in selecting the top three winners in both categories.


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Helping Hands for Haiti

Our Wellness and Outreach Committee organized an opportunity for VAA to participate in a Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) event. A group of volunteers hand-packed 6,480 meals for children in Haiti. Meals of raw products, dried vegetables and minerals were sealed and prepped for shipping.

Visit FMSC’s website to learn about volunteer opportunities for individuals and organizations to help feed those in need.


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Paddling with Purpose

Volunteers and paddlers recently gathered at Hidden Falls Regional Park to participate in the 9th annual Great River Race (Race to Close the Achievement Gap). The race funds the Canoemobile Minnesota outdoor education program, addressing the achievement gap in local schools and reaching 15,000 kids annually. The program connects youths with outdoor experiences and learning activities that cultivate environmental stewardship and appreciation of the natural world.

The Great River Race features 26 teams in cedar Voyageur canoes paddling a stretch of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers around Pike Island.

For the third year, VAA sponsored a boat and several staff members plus friends and spouses participated in the race as rowers. VAA’s team came in first place (also for the third year in a row). The friendly competition is part of the fun, says Dave Olheiser, VAA Partner / Sr. Mechanical Engineer and race participant. Other members of the A/E/C industry are longstanding event sponsors / participants and taking part in the race alongside them is a great way to give back while enjoying the outdoors.

“It motivates VAA to work hard when participating with a great company like Ryan Companies to raise money for a great cause,” Olheiser says.

This year’s Great River Race surpassed its $100,000 fundraising goal with the help of 29 sponsors and dozens of volunteers. The race is a joint venture between Wilderness Inquiry, a local nonprofit that connects people of all ages and backgrounds to the natural world through shared outdoor experiences; the National Park Service; the McKnight Foundation and other partners.


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Engineering the Next Generation

VAA hosted several high school students at its Minneapolis office for a job shadow experience. The firm’s technical staff provided an in-depth look at a multidiscipline soybean processing plant and answered students’ questions about engineering career paths, college courses and more.

The students learned about each discipline (civil, structural, mechanical and electrical) and saw the value of using REVIT to integrate services together. Technical staff shared how engineers, designers and technicians collaborate to deliver a complex industrial processing facility.

Senior Mechanical Designer, Taylor Clark, notes the job shadow provided an important opportunity to inform students of the many career options under the umbrella of engineering.

“I think a lot of young people believe they have to have an engineering degree to get into the business, so it’s a great opportunity as a designer to present the students with another path into the field of design / engineering,” says Clark. “It’s also a nice chance to show the students what we do and to answer any questions they may have on the roles of designers and engineers.”

Britnie Thieschafer, aPHR, HR Assistant at VAA, says hosting job shadows and other learning opportunities is valuable for students and the engineering industry.  

“The job shadow with the MCA students was a great opportunity for VAA to give back to the engineering community. Of course, we talk about VAA, but our main objective is to give students insight into the different disciplines so they can better determine what they might want to study after high school. We try to give them an idea of what they could do if they choose to work in this industry,” Thieschafer says. “They may never work or intern for VAA, but if they join the engineering community, that’s a win.”


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The Heart of Giving Back

The VAA Plymouth office hosted the Community Caring Campaign (CCC), a variety of events and volunteer opportunities for employees over the course of two weeks. Championed by VAA’s Wellness and Outreach Committee, the CCC surpassed its $50,000 goal along with providing supplies to those in need. 

In line with the firm’s commitment to community, the CCC aims to entertain employees while encouraging donations, pledges and volunteer time to support two selected local organizations:

Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP)
Partnering with VAA for the past decade, IOCP helps families living in eight Twin Cities western suburbs overcome barriers, believe in themselves and soar to new heights.

Second Harvest Heartland (SHH)
Partnering with VAA for the past decade, SHH is a local food shelf that leads through innovation, finding creative solutions to connect the full resources of our community with our hungry neighbors.

CCC By the Numbers

440 cups of rice portioned for IOCP

790 loads worth of laundry detergent packaged for IOCP

$9,624 cash donations

$50,581 total raised for IOCP and SHH by VAA employees and clients


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Going Fore A Winning Design

Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska is hosting the KMPG Women’s PGA Championship for the first time. With a long tradition of hosting major championships, Hazeltine was a natural choice for the tournament, which focuses on empowering women on and off the golf course.

Almost 10 years ago, VAA provided civil and structural engineering services in the complete rebuild of Hazeltine’s clubhouse and surrounding site. The revitalized space melds the club’s history with its future, preserving original elements while setting the stage for events like the Ryder Cup and this week’s tournament.

Large timbers salvaged from the original 40-year-old structure were used in the new clubhouse entryway, ceilings and mantel pieces of the 50,000 SF facility. A pair of steel trusses creates aesthetic functionality by framing a mechanical equipment well and column-free ballroom. With transitions from the hardscapes near the clubhouse to the rolling hills at the first tee, Hazeltine welcomes locals and spectators from across the world.

The site of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team’s victory in 2016, Hazeltine will become the first U.S. venue to host a second Ryder Cup in 2028.


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Hammerin’ with Habitat

Ten employees recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) to build a home in North Minneapolis. The group helped construct the house’s front porch roof, sanded and painted interior walls and trim, stained spindles and installed blinds throughout the home. By the end of the day, the house was nearly move-in ready for a family.

The VAA team also helped on a neighboring Habitat house by unloading prefabricated wall sections.

Michael Jagerson, an Electrical Technician and one of the VAA outreach event organizers, says these builds are a valuable opportunity for service and team building.

“Participants benefit from having a direct impact in the build of the home and knowing the work they are doing will provide a wonderful home for a family in need,” he says. “VAA has had a great experience volunteering with Habitat for Humanity the past few years, and we hope to continue to volunteer with them for years to come.” 

Habitat for Humanity works to bring affordable housing to communities and the families that live in them. Locally, Habitat helps low-income families in the Twin Cities community through programs like Habitat Homebuilding, A Brush with Kindness and Family Support Services. The organization operates worldwide, dedicated to empowering families by helping them “acquire the access, skills and financial education necessary for them to be successful homeowners.” Learn more about the organization’s work or volunteering on the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity website.


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Gary Nagel Celebrates 35 Years

Gary Nagel, PE, P.Eng, recently celebrated his 35th year at VAA. The Sr. Associate / Sr. Structural Engineer is the longest tenured employee currently working at the firm, and he’s well-known among co-workers and clients for his commitment to quality work and collaboration. Gary is an invaluable asset to the VAA team, bringing a wealth of expertise to every project.

“He’s worked in all the markets we serve and has a very broad experience level,” says Principal / Sr. Project Manager Bernie Jansen. “Gary quickly gains the confidence of the clients he works with by doing good work, and he is always there for younger engineers to help answer their questions.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and an M.S. in structural engineering from the University of California – Berkeley, Gary worked for an engineer in the Wesley Temple Building in downtown Minneapolis. VAA was headquartered in the same building, and Gary joined what was then Van Sickle, Allen and Associates just seven years after the firm’s inception.

Gary has seen the firm grow from six people to 150, and he attributes much of that growth to the quality of the firm’s work and the value placed on building strong relationships.

“Gary hardly ever says ‘no’ when asked to help; he is always willing to take on new challenges,” adds Bernie.

In fact, Gary says client visits and traveling (especially to Canada) are two of his favorite parts of the job. Client connections, working on a variety of projects big and small and assisting less experienced engineers have kept the job fresh and challenging, but work-life balance has also been a priority.

Outside of the office, Gary is likely to be found outdoors, either up at the cabin or staying active by hiking, cross-country skiing or kayaking. Even in his spare time, Gary is a builder, enjoying woodworking and home improvement construction projects.

In recognition of Gary’s nearly four decades of service, current and former VAA executives presented him with a custom plaque featuring a rebar frame and a quote from a longtime client.

Pictured, left to right, are: Quin Vincent, Partner; Bernie Jansen, Principal / Sr. Project Manager; Gary Nagel, Sr. Associate / Sr. Structural Engineer; Gene Haldorson, past Partner; Jeff Schrock, CEO; Scott Stangeland, past President / CEO.

Thank you for all your hard work and congratulations, Gary!


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Taking a Walk on the Wild Side

For the third year in a row, VAA employees raised funds and participated with their canine companions in the Walk for Animals, the nation’s largest human / animal walk fundraising event. Thousands of people, pets and other four-legged friends took part in this Animal Humane Society fundraising event to help support animals in need in our community.

VAA’s “Team Egrets” raised $1,320 for the Animal Humane Society, and the 2019 Walk for Animals event surpassed its goal of raising $1 million. Every dollar raised helps provide medical treatment, behavior rehabilitation programs and care to the more than 23,000 animals served by the Animal Humane Society’s four Minnesota shelters each year.

“Many of our employees are very passionate about animals, and it’s amazing to join thousands of other people and animals gathered for such a good cause,” says Lacey Anderson, Project Assistant, and one of VAA’s outreach event organizers. “This is a fun, interactive event for our company to participate in, and it’s also great to be able to help an organization right in our area.”

To learn more about the event or volunteering, visit the Animal Humane Society website.


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Podcast: Explore Doors Open

On May 18-19, the inaugural event allows the public free, behind-the-scenes access to 115 buildings in Minneapolis that are architecturally, culturally or socially significant.

In a podcast, VAA’s Jeff Schrock, Paul Murphy and Bridget Reynolds of Dunwoody College of Technology discuss workforce development in the A/E/C industry and how agribusiness influenced Minneapolis’ history. Use Spotify, iTunes or LibSyn (Doors Open Minneapolis) to access the conversation.

Mayor Jacob Frey announced the first-time event inviting the public to explore the city’s history through its buildings. “Our city is home to some of the most spectacular architecture anywhere in the nation – through Doors Open Minneapolis, we’ll highlight it,” said Major Jacob Frey.

Doors Open started in 1984 in France and over the years spread throughout Europe and North America. Other U.S. cities have successfully launched similar initiatives. Neighboring Chicago and Milwaukee have hosted a similar event where the Minneapolis event’s inspiration stemmed.

Open House Chicago began in 2011 and last year over 100,000 individuals visited 257 sites in the city and two nearby suburbs. Doors Open Milwaukee also began in 2011 and last year 26,100 visited approximately 170 sites as part of its tour.

Comcast is the presenting sponsor for the event with the City of Minneapolis, American Institute of Architects Minneapolis (AIA-Minneapolis), Minneapolis, Foundation, VAA and others sponsoring.  

To learn view the list of participating venues, visit doorsopenminneapolis.com


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How Was Your Lunch Today?

For 27 VAA employees, lunch was spent learning life-saving CPR / AED techniques. Saving a life can happen any place, any time at any age.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) kills more than 350,000 Americans every year and the national survival rate is less than 10 percent. Did you know SCA is not the same as a heart attack? This unexpected medical emergency kills more than 7,000 seemingly young, healthy kids every year.

As part of their ‘Heart Safe Plymouth’ initiative, the Plymouth Rotary Club provided compression-only CPR and AED training. By participating in the training, VAA contributed to the City of Plymouth continuing its ‘Heart Safe’ community designation adding to the number of area residents and organizations educated in CPR / AED use. Since the program began seven years ago, the Rotary Club has taught 5,700 people and held 200 training sessions. Lub-dub!


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High Five for Five Productive Years as Mary Pettit Retires

Since Human Resources (HR) Manager Mary Pettit, PHR, SHRM-CP, joined VAA five years ago, the number of employees increased by 65 percent and the firm’s uptick in HR initiatives have made it an even better place to work. Mary retired in mid-March after building upon the HR structure and policies in place by her predecessor.  

“I like to develop people and it has been so rewarding to build an HR team that supports our employees and Partners,” said Mary. “I’m a good listener and I developed good relationships with employees because they know they can talk to me.”

Among the influential changes that occurred on her watch, a high-deductible health plan and generous company-sponsored HSA were introduced the year Mary started as she helped educate employees on the details. Mary also introduced Predictive Index, a behavioral assessment that aids in hiring, team building and conflict resolution.

Other milestones include an expanded Wellness and Outreach Program, including volunteer opportunities with Feed My Starving Children, True Friends, Habitat for Humanity and many others to enhance community engagement; charitable paid time off (PTO); and on-site bio-screening that provides employees with confidential health information such as blood pressure, cholesterol level and BMI.

A Peer Welcome Group was also established to help connect and on-board new employees and make them feel welcome. The Group serves as a resource to field questions as employees begin their career with the firm.

“VAA employees embrace the work HR performs and Mary has been key to the evolution of the HR department by applying policies fairly and consistently in the warm way that she is known for,” said Partner, Mark Mielke, PE, P.Eng. “Mary has advanced who we are at VAA and helped us evolve into a more effective organization by helping solve issues and identifying challenges that can threaten our culture. She has remained an advocate for all employees with her sincerity and patient demeanor.”

President Keith Jacobson, PE, “we wanted someone who was passionate, professional and capable. Mary has done a great job helping us grow and hire a lot of great people. She cares immensely and really connected with our employees.”

In retirement, Mary plans to volunteer, garden, travel, serve as caregiver for her mom and enjoy some pontoon time with her adult children. “Whenever employees leave they say they’ll miss the people the most, and it’s also true for me. We have wonderful people and VAA is a great place to work.”

We thank Mary for being a tireless professional, a caring leader who enhanced our VAA environment and we wish her well as she shows us how much fun is possible in retirement.

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Gene Haldorson Retires as VAA's Longest Tenured Employee


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Gene Haldorson Retires as VAA's Longest Tenured Employee

After almost 38 years, Gene is retiring from VAA at the end of 2018. A mentor to the next generation and a foothold in VAA’s agribusiness projects, his influence on the firm’s culture has not gone unnoticed.

A graduate from Minneapolis’ Dunwoody College of Technology and a former VAA Partner, Gene’s career began at a design-build firm drawing grain handling facilities and feed manufacturing plants. Eventually he joined VAA’s then sister company, Grain Facility Design (GFD) in 1981. Pushing to establish GFD’s reputation in the industry, he helped propel the company into the agricultural spotlight. With the closing of GFD in 1990, he joined VAA to focus on facility design and process / equipment layout.

Respecting those who you work for and those who you work with is evident in Gene’s daily interactions. He is authentic – and the value he places on relationships is apparent with several clients that have been in place 30 years. “You meet a lot of people in the industry and you want to be in a career where it is not just about the work – it is about the people and the value of relationships you have impacting the work you do together. It is more rewarding when you truly feel you have accomplished something together,” said Gene.

A no-nonsense leader, a skilled project manager and friend. Gene set the tone of VAA at our roots through his clear commitment to the firm and steadfast display of integrity. Many employees appreciate his perspective, quality conscience “red pen” eye and continued guidance. We wish Gene well-deserved relaxation and enjoyment in his retirement.


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You Say Ugly, We Say Flammable (Sweaters)

VAA celebrated the season with an ugly sweater day and a Partner-served luncheon in the Plymouth, MN office. An annual tradition, the lunch is a way for our leadership to take a moment to engage with each employee and share gratitude for collective efforts throughout the year.

This sincerity is also paired with a light-hearted competition. Awards were doled out for Most Rash Inducing, Most Flammable, Most Creative and, of course, Ugliest Sweater.


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25 & Up Club: Gene Haldorson

Gene Haldorson is our final club member of 2018 and longest-running employee to date. After 37 years, Gene’s authenticity and no-nonsense leadership is as valuable today as it was when he joined the firm in 1981. We thank you for being you and congrats on this milestone.

How did you first learn about VAA?
Dick Van Sickle hired a gentleman who I worked with before he joined VAA’s sister company, Grain Facility Design (GFD), in 1980. After introducing me to Dick Van Sickle and Chuck Allen and several “get-to-know-each-other meetings,” I received and accepted a job offer in March of 1981.

What is the best piece of advice you received throughout your career?
Several come to mind that guided me throughout my career. Work ethic is important. Honesty, commitment and integrity earn the respect of those who you work for and those who you work with. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t. It is best to respond, “let me see what I can figure out and get back to you.” Finally, don’t forget to do what you say and follow through in a timely manner.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment / contribution since you started working here?
I am proud to have become an Associate and Partner of the firm and feel my biggest contribution has been developing VAA client relationships, especially those in place for 30 years.

Pick three words you feel best describes VAA. Why do they apply to the company?
Diverse – In our clientele, staff knowledge and project experience.

Committed – VAA is a devoted firm to its employees and clients.

Longevity – Being in business for 40 years, VAA provided me more than just a job – it was a career opportunity.

From your perspective, describe the biggest differences between when you started at VAA and the company now.
Design technology / resources and becoming a multidiscipline firm to include architectural, civil, structural, material handling, mechanical and electrical engineering capabilities. Also, the number of “high quality repeat clients” we are privileged to work with. We earned their trust by performing well technically to retain their business. I have also seen changes in the grain industry, particularly increases in the rates of grain handling both at the truck dump pits and loading 110 car rail shuttle trains on loop tracks.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?
"Always do your best."

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Interested in the stories from our other "25 & Up" club members? Click on a name to read another Q&A session.


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25 & Up Club: Gary Nagel

Gary is celebrating 34 years with VAA and is our fourth official member of the 25 & Up Club. Joining the firm only seven years after its inception, he has quietly shaped the growth of VAA with his unshakable dedication to his work and his clients. We thank you for being you and congrats on this milestone.

How did you first learn about VAA?
I worked for an engineer located in the Wesley Temple Building in Downtown Minneapolis. VAA (formerly Van Sickle, Allen and Associates) along with several other architectural, mechanical and electrical firms were in the same building. The engineer I was working for decided to pursue other business ventures and I applied for a position with VAA.

What is the best piece of advice you received throughout your career?
Chuck Allen told me to value every project – big or small. Small projects sometimes lead to bigger projects and are the building blocks of relationships.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment / contribution since you started working here?
I have been fortunate to work with some very good clients over the last 34 years – some for many consecutive years and who trust me with their projects. My biggest accomplishment is completing projects where everyone looks forward to working together again.

Pick three words you feel best describes VAA. Why do they apply to the company?
Growing, quality and relationships. VAA has grown consistently in the time I have been with the firm. Much of the growth is attributed to the quality of work we provide and relationships we value.

From your perspective, describe the biggest differences between when you started at VAA and the company now.
We have far more resources now – in material and human capacity – than we did when I started. VAA offers people from different disciplines with diverse experience that allow us to solve problems and take on challenges we could not before.

Where is the nicest place you've visited for work?
Bonaire, Netherland Antilles. It was for a project in 2014. I have returned for vacation twice since the project – incredible scuba diving and great people.

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Interested in the stories from our other "25 & Up" club members? Click on a name to read another Q&A session.


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25 & Up Club: Bernie Jansen

Bernie Jansen is our third recognized club member and resident agribusiness guru. Serving as a Partner at VAA for 18 years, Bernie is currently a Principal and still values hitting the road for face-to-face visits with long-time friends - our clients. We thank you for being you and congrats on this milestone.

How did you first hear about VAA?
A help wanted ad in the Star Tribune newspaper.

What is the best piece of advice you received throughout your career?
A good piece of advice was shared by Dick Van Sickle, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason - make sure to listen well.”

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment / contribution since you started working here?
Building a network of clients with a repeatable workload and a talented team to serve them. I am proud to contribute to this model and share it with future VAA Partners to help grow the company.

Pick three words you feel best describes VAA. Why do they apply to the company?
Relationships – This defines most businesses and we have been blessed with many great client relationships over the years where we have helped each other succeed.

Growing – We are always looking to grow and add services and staff that we and our clients see as beneficial to achieving project goals.

Responsive – A key to building great relationships, we do what we said we would do and get it done when we said it would be done. We return calls and emails promptly and if something goes wrong, we are proactive in fixing it and don’t pass blame.

From your perspective, describe the biggest differences between when you started at VAA and the company now.
We can certainly offer more to clients with the technology of CAD and Revit as opposed to hand drawing, which was common practice when I started. We also offer more today with the experiences and staff in civil, rail, architecture, mechanical, process and electrical. When I started, VAA was primarily civil and structural engineering.

If you could meet anyone, from any time period, who would it be?
My ancestor from Holland (Bernardus). He was a flour miller and it would be interesting to see how the Jansen name was made; how they lived and worked in those times; how they survived through the various occupations in Europe; and how they built and operated flour mills in Holland.

I do know Bernardus (19 years old) went to Hengevelde – a small community where he worked as a millhand at the Bolohermill owned by miller Ten Heggeler. Built in 1820, the mill one mile east of Hengevelde was special as it was made of bricks instead of wood.

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Interested in the stories from our other "25 & Up" club members? Click on a name to read another Q&A session.


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25 & Up Club: Connie Cronquist

Our second featured “25 & Up” club member is Connie Cronquist. As a Front Desk Administrative Assistant for the past 26 years, Connie is the personality / friendly face of the company. We thank you for being you and congrats on this milestone.

How did you first learn about VAA?
I was job hunting in the fall of 1992 because the company I was at had been sold and was closing their Minneapolis office. After seeing an ad in the Osseo / Maple Grove paper, I called and made an interview appointment. Since my secretarial skills were a bit rusty, I did not know if I would be hired – they must have seen potential in me somewhere.

What is the best piece of advice you received throughout your career?
Be yourself and do your best in everything you do. It was a message my parents instilled in me when I was a young girl. It is also something I try to pass along to others.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment / contribution since you started working here?
I am the clerical point of contact and assist many of our engineers in the renewal process to ensure our licenses remain current nationwide and in Canada.

Also, I often hear I’m good at “knowing where things are” when new employees join VAA. I like to help where I can. Being a reliable resource when employees don’t know exactly where to go for an answer I think is comforting to many of our employees.

Pick three words you feel best describes VAA. Why do they apply to the company?
Integrity. Quality. Consistency. They are all connected - integrity because we make good on our promise to provide quality work consistently.

From your perspective, describe the biggest differences between when you started at VAA and the company now.
The culture of the company has changed so much. When I started, men wore suits with ties and women (the two of us on staff) wore dresses or suits, high heels, etc. (i.e., business formal attire). Gradually over the years, the atmosphere has become much more relaxed. People still dress professionally, just not so formal. I think this change has created a friendlier, more approachable environment.

Also, within our culture the teams are larger, more interactive and do more together. The team-building off-site activities help people to relax and get to know one another on a personal level.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
You may be sorry you asked - somewhere around 450, including boots.

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Interested in the stories from our other "25 & Up" club members? Click on a name to read another Q&A session.


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25 & Up Club: Kelsey Brown

Our 40th anniversary ends by highlighting five employees who have been with VAA for over a quarter of a century. Each shares a snippet of their VAA story in a Q&A session.

We begin with Partner / Structural Engineer, Kelsey Brown. Well respected for his technical skills and calm demeanor, he never misses an opportunity to acknowledge the growth and achievements of those around him. We thank you for being you and congrats on 25 years.

How did you first learn about VAA?
I saw an opening for a structural engineer in the “help wanted” section of the Star Tribune. After researching VAA (formerly Van Sickle, Allen and Associates) at the MN Consulting Engineers Council at the Miracle Mile in St. Louis Park, I applied for the position.

What is the best piece of advice you received throughout your career?Dick Van Sickle often said he would try to learn something new every day. Although I can’t say I’ve succeeded in this, I do look for those opportunities.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment / contribution since you started working here?
Providing analysis, advice and engineering guidance on difficult or
complex problems and projects. I enjoy the challenges and conversations you can’t solve by looking it up in a book – the ones that take creativity and some math.

Pick three words you feel best describes VAA. Why do they apply to the company?
Professional. Respectful. Creative. These words relate to our efforts externally with clients but also internally with how we strive to work with each other.

From your perspective, describe the biggest differences between when you started at VAA and the company now.
When I started, we offered civil and structural engineering and general arrangement services. We had a relatively small client base and I knew everyone well since we were a firm of 14.

What is the first music concert you attended?
Without my parents - Deep Purple. It was my first time seeing musicians improvise and “jam” together and my first experience with dense clouds of interesting smoke.

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Interested in the stories from our other "25 & Up" club members? Click on a name to read another Q&A session.


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Inaugural Plane Pull Fundraiser Held in Sioux Falls

Teams took turns pulling a 70,000-pound Gulfstream IV airplane in an event supporting the Special Olympics. Several employees from VAA’s South Dakota office participated, contributing to the overall $4,500 raised for the cause.

Watch news coverage of the event and hear one of our own, Shawn Vanhove, interviewed about the effort.