Member News: September 2022
EBL Engineers is celebrating a milestone — 50 years in business.
“This is quite an accomplishment and we are very proud,” said Robert Stratemeyer, Principal. “I have been here for 44 of the 50 years so I am kind of blown away by this anniversary.”
Founded by George Lengyel, Moritz Bukowitz and Benjamin Egerton, EBL started as a seven-person company operating out of a small, basement area of an office building on Chesapeake Avenue in Towson. The company slowly grew. By the time Stratemeyer joined the firm, EBL had 11 employees and he was tasked with managing a branch office in Salisbury.
Two strategic moves in the 1980s placed EBL on a path to assembling a strong client list and achieving robust growth. Company leaders decided to acquire the fire protection firm Hanna Fire Engineering — a substantial source of business. They also decided to refine their business development efforts to focus more on federal government projects.
Today, nearly 70 percent of EBL’s work is for federal clients and its project sites stretch across the country. EBL’s 38-person staff provides mechanical, electrical, fire protection, code consulting, energy conservation, facilities management and construction phase services. Its work has included projects for NASA, the National Park Service, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Naval Academy, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Kennedy Center, the United States Postal Service and the Dundalk Marine Terminal.
Every project — from commercial buildings, schools and senior living facilities to renovations of federal sites — presents challenges. But for Stratemeyer, the most exciting work at EBL is the complex and often secretive industrial projects. Such contracts have taken EBL staff inside rigorous and confidential manufacturing processes as well as into high-security military sites.
“With some government projects, you get into really interesting R&D work,” he said. “For example, you have to do deep research into how to support weaponry systems. We did one project where they were looking into some weapons systems that required an intense amount of electrical energy. We had to do a study of the entire base because they were afraid if they started up one of these things, the entire town would go dark.”
Additional strategic decisions involved corporate culture and talent management have enabled EBL to thrive for 50 years, Stratemeyer said.
“One of the things I am most proud of is we don’t hire people and lay them off. We hire people we really like and our intention is they are going to retire from here,” he said.
To foster that long-term commitment to EBL, company leaders have worked to create a family atmosphere in the company, host regular social gatherings and, in addition to matching industry pay and benefits, they have increased certain benefits, such as paying the full cost of healthcare insurance for employees and their dependents. The company has steadily refined its management process to ensure that employees are fully engaged in the company’s operations and feel supported by a team. The result, Stratemeyer said, is the average tenure of an EBL employee is just shy of 20 years.