94 years ago today, July 15, 1921, Abraham Epstein, a structural engineer working for Chicago's Central Manufacturing District (CMD), founded our firm as A. Epstein – Structural Engineer. Mr. Epstein and his small staff of structural engineers practiced their trade out of a tiny office located within the water tower building of the CMD at 2011 Pershing Road. Primarily serving as the 'on-call' structural engineer for the CMD, our firm initially provided consulting services for a variety of manufacturing and processing clients located within this industrial park.
Central Manufacturing District Water Tower Building - our first home
Under the leadership of Mr. Epstein our firm grew over the next twenty years and began to provide architectural design and MEP engineering services as well. During this time period our client base also evolved and we began to provide design and engineering services for non-industrial firms as well as on projects located outside of the Chicagoland region. And when Abraham's sons, Raymond and Sidney jointed our firm in '39 and '45 respectively, our firm really began to experience significant growth.
Raymond, Abraham and Sidney Epstein
With the inclusion of Raymond and Sidney our firm was renamed A. Epstein and Sons, Inc. in 1945 and our portfolio, service offerings and locations expanded as well. Throughout the next thirty years we helped pioneer an emerging new project delivery method called Design-Build as well as our first design collaboration/architect of record assignment with a signature architect, in this particular case Mies can der Rohe on Chicago's Federal Center. We also opened up offices around the world including New York City, Tel Aviv and Paris, among others.
This international growth experienced our most significant and lasting expansion when in 1971 Epstein opened up an office in Warsaw, Poland, which at the time was communist and more or less closed off to the western world. The reason we entered the Polish marketplace was we were asked by the government of Poland, due to our long-standing place as one of the world's preeminent industrial architects and engineers, to design three new state-owned and operated food processing facilities. These Polish food projects served as the foundation for our current eastern European presence in not only Poland but Bucharest, Romania.
In the 80s our firm evolved yet again. We moved our long-standing Pershing Road Headquarters to Chicago's West Loop. We also renamed our firm – A. Epstein and Sons International, Inc. – to better reflect our true world-wide presence. Our portfolio of projects also featured an influx of corporate headquarters, convention centers as well as some of the world's largest industrial facilities.
600 West Fulton, Chicago, our current HQ
Our growth as firm would further mature in the 90s and early 2000s when we became major consultants to the aviation industry as well as completed massive mixed-use developments throughout the world. In addition one of the most significant changes we made to our firm was in November 2000 when we became an ESOP – making us 100% employee-owned.
Today, our firm, with offices and projects around the world, scarcely resembles the modest operation that Abraham Epstein founded, but one thing still remains as it was in 1921 – our dedication to solving our clients' challenges. It's through our ability to deliver these strategic and creative project solutions that we create value, which in turn, helps our clients achieve their goals. And we like to think that being a firm that helps bring worth to the built environment is an incredibly rewarding and, ultimately, profound definition of who we are. And, also a great testament for what we've been able to accomplish in our 94 year history! Here's to another 94!