Tata & Howard, Inc. has named Karen L. Gracey, P.E., and Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E., current vice presidents, as co-presidents of the firm. Current president Donald J. Tata, P.E., was appointed Chief Executive Officer and will be working in a reduced capacity while he focuses on his battle with cancer, with which he was diagnosed this fall. Gracey and Rzasa will be working closely with the firm’s senior leadership team to successfully run Tata & Howard in Tata’s absence. The appointments are effective immediately.
“Tata & Howard’s succession plan has been firmly in place since the company became a 100% ESOP in 2014,” stated Mr. Tata. “Karen and Jenna have taken on increasing responsibility in both operational and client-facing aspects of the company over the past few years, and I have absolute confidence in their combined ability to continue to successfully implement our strategic plan while adhering to our core values and furthering our shared mission of providing unsurpassed solutions in the water environment.”
As part of the company’s comprehensive leadership and transition planning, Gracey and Rzasa, who have been with the firm since 1998 and 1997 respectively, have been slated to assume leadership of the company for several years. They were named to the board of directors in 2013 and have headed up the firm’s business development and financial operations since that time. The company noted that while Tata’s illness has expedited their appointments to co-president, Gracey and Rzasa are well positioned to seamlessly assume their new roles.
“Tata & Howard’s strategic plan is centered on sustainable growth through innovation, efficiency, teamwork, and uncompromising integrity, and we — including not just Jenna and myself, but the whole Tata & Howard team — have already assumed full ownership of the company’s vision and values,” added Ms. Gracey. “The firm will be in excellent hands while Don focuses on returning to full health.”
Senior Vice President and firm co-founder Paul B. Howard, P.E., remains actively involved in managing all technical aspects of the firm, and Vice Presidents Patrick S. O’Neale, P.E., and Steven J. Landry, P.E., will continue to provide strategic and operational support to Gracey and Rzasa.
Tata was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2016, and made the announcement to employee-owners in early September. Tata & Howard stated that while it is still too soon to know the timing of his return on a full-time basis, Tata is aggressively fighting the disease with the help of the world-renowned Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.