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Firm keeps long-term clients coming back for quality service

Founded in 1915, the Allen & Hoshall engineering and architecture firm must be doing something right to have endured for 91 years. The firm of 130 professionals is headquartered in Memphis and has had an office in Jackson for 30 years. There are also offices in Hernando and Tunica along with locations in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga in Tennessee. The company is employee owned and most of the employees in Mississippi are engineers.

The firm holds registrations in most of the 50 states which allows it to provide services nationwide. It has the capability to study, plan and design infrastructure, transportation, buildings and building systems and electric utility projects for a diverse mixture of public and private entities. In addition to the U.S., projects can be found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America and the Middle East.

Ed Dedeaux, a civil engineer who’s worked in the Jackson office for 29 years, says the secret to the company’s longevity is giving the type of service that keeps clients coming back. “We do that by having a quality staff and providing quality service to clients,” he said. “Our goal for the future is to continue to provide that same level of service.”

Jimmy Nelson, also a civil engineer based in the Jackson office, says Allen & Hoshall mostly does municipal work in Mississippi. “That’s anything cities do such as water and sewer projects,” he said. “With most of our clients, we have had long-term relationships. If a company is providing good service and is efficient, it will keep clients. We provide exceptional service to clients.”

Dedeaux pointed out that two state municipalities, Philadelphia and Vicksburg, for example, have been clients of Allen & Hoshall for 40 years. “That’s what we do best and we’re pleased with those long-standing relationships with clients,” he said.

The work with Vicksburg began with the design of a water plant in the 1960s and has continued with new water wells, roadwork and the airport.

While the level of service has remained constant, Dedeaux says the way of delivering services has changed over the years. The biggest change was the move from paper to electronics. “There are no more hand drawings,” he said, “and I’ve been around long enough to have seen it all.”
Nelson said, “We try to maintain a staff of qualified and competent employees. It’s one thing to get hired but you also have to do the work.”

Allen & Hoshall does a lot of federal work and has an open-ended contract with the Mississippi National Guard.

Dedeaux and Nelson are proud of the company’s work with the National Guard at Camp Shelby where it completed a crash rescue station for the practice runway used by the huge C-17 cargo aircrafts. The Guard is required to have this fire station near the runway. The project included a 45-foot-high control tower.

“The work with the National Guard at Camp Shelby is a unique situation,” said Dedeaux, who worked on all the airfield lighting and utilities for the runway station. “They’re the only one in the country that flies those planes.”

The Tunica office does a lot of utility work with the City of Tunica. And it also recently completed a 7,000-foot-long runway and terminal. In Hernando, Allen & Hoshall engineers are busy with a contract for the DeSoto County School System where it manages construction projects for the rapidly-growing schools.

Employees are involved with civic activities on an individual basis, but Nelson is especially proud of the work company employees did following Hurricane Katrina. “Our employees worked 20-hour days, seven days a week to get the Dixie Electric Power Cooperative in Southeast Mississippi up and running,” he said. “We basically redesigned everything.”

For that work, the firm received an award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.

The comprehensive engineering, architecture, planning and consulting firm’s services include building/building design, utility design, land surveying, infrastructure design, construction management/program management and electric utility work.

Although Nelson says most of the company’s work comes from ongoing projects with long-time clients and referrals, some employees meet with prospective clients. “We try to get engineers with some marketing skills who can go out and meet people,” he said. “We call on people and sell them on the fact that Allen & Hoshall does good work.”

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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