Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. was founded in 1989 with six employees on the second floor of a converted farmhouse. At the time, my purpose was simple. I thought I was worth more than the $17.25 per hour I was making as a senior project manager and rainmaker putting in 60-hour weeks at another engineering firm. At the same time, because of my desire for a work-life balance, I knew I could not be the sole employee. Therefore, I surrounded myself with four solid engineers from the start and, in an unprecedented move at the time, supplied each with the cutting-edge technology of a 286 PC, a monochrome screen, and a dot matrix printer, plus all the necessary engineering software on the market.
A lot has changed since 1989. Today, third year co-ops in many cases make $17.25 per hour. Back then to get the computing power of what is in an iPhone 6 today would have cost over $4 million dollars. Nevertheless, the $1,150 spent on computer hardware for each of our employees in 1989 was a great investment because it made our employees more efficient. The same holds true today with our consistent investments in ever-evolving technology.
Born as a traffic engineering and transportation planning firm, TPD has evolved into a multidiscipline transportation engineering firm in an effort to best serve our clients. When clients requested a need for highway engineering services, we developed a highway design group that is comprised of 37 employees, of which half are dedicated to working on publicly-funded projects. TPD is now working on over 10 miles of total reconstruction projects for PennDOT and the PA Turnpike Commission. When preparing highway design plans for a PennDOT project that kept seeing the limits of work extended to include the reconstruction of a 24-foot span over a stream separating two counties at the boundary of that district, TPD was instructed to either add a subconsultant or start a bridge design group. Thus, starting with a three-person team, the bridge group has grown to 16 employees working on designs as complex as the replacement of an eight span structure totaling 749 feet in length. When meeting with PennDOT to establish a construction budget for our redesign of the I-78 interchange at Route 61, TPD learned of the need to complement our design services with a construction inspection group. This group has grown sizably over the past decade, accounts for over 10% of staff, and continues to grow as we expand this service geographically.
These changes have been continuous, while our core values have remained the same. Recognizing the need for continued growth, TPD now employs 120 people in eight offices serving the Mid-Atlantic region. TPD is ranked as one of the largest engineering firms in the Greater Philadelphia area, the Lehigh Valley, and in Central PA by the respective business journals serving those regions. Staying true to the work-life balance I so desperately sought, TPD is regularly ranked as one of the best firms of any type to work for in the Commonwealth of PA, as well as one of the best civil engineering firms to work for nationwide.
Although TPD has grown in size, areas of expertise, and in the complexity of projects to address the needs of our clients, our mission has remained constant: “We exist to be the best at receiving project approvals.”