Employee Ownership Month (EOM) occurs every year in October and is an opportunity for ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) companies across the nation to educate employee-owners, the media, the public, and government officials about the benefits of employee ownership. It’s a terrific celebration of the spirit of employee ownership.
Here at Tata & Howard, EOM is a time for us to celebrate and thank each of our employee-owners, as the success of our ESOP is a result of their dedication and hard work. Without it, our ESOP wouldn’t be what it is today. We take this opportunity to focus on building our culture of ownership and continue to educate our employee-owners on the benefits of employee-ownership. We also have fun!
T&H kicked off EOM with our Employee Breakfast & Presentation on October 1st. We are encouraging our employees to participate in weekly hosted games and activities to gain points for their teams – which will be modeled after the Houses of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School. The House with the most points at the end of the month will win the House Cup! Other fun activities include a cornhole tournament, poker night, lunchtime Jeopardy, pumpkin decorating, the firm’s Anniversary Lunch, and wrapping up with the Pie in the Eye Day.
Giving back is an important part of our ESOP culture. Our offices / employees collect donations during October for a non-profit. This year Tata & Howard’s EOM campaign will impact Water for People – we hope we can contribute as much as last year (and maybe more!).
Employees Celebrate National Egg Day with a Little Fun!
Some people like their eggs over easy. Others prefer theirs hard boiled. At Tata & Howard it seems we like our eggs scrambled!
In recognition of National Egg Day (June 3, 2018), Tata & Howard employees competed in an Egg Drop Challenge. The Egg Drop Contest is a collaborative engineering activity that tests one’s creative problem-solving skills. And not to get too technical, the Challenge is also a test in the understanding of physics, fluid dynamics, motion, the forces of gravity, and much more. Working together on these egg structures is also a fun and engaging team-building activity.
After dividing into teams, each group was tasked with creating a structure that could protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a 10-foot height—or at least one story—onto a solid floor.
Using ordinary office supplies (plus an uncooked chicken egg), to build their egg protective packages, teams could use as many or as few of the materials and were free to cut, tear, or break any of the pieces. The time to create the egg structures lasted 20 minutes. After the creating phase was over, it was time to drop the eggs.
This is the time when teams often crack under pressure.
Down They Go
From the second floor of our Waterbury, CT office, two teams dropped their eggs onto the sidewalk below. Upon closer examination, not one of the eggs survived the fall. In the case of a tie, as in this case since both eggs broke on impact, the team using the least amount of materials was declared the winners. Congratulations to Chelsea, Will, Kevin and Sal who used fewer pieces in the design of their egg packages.
At our Marlborough office, the eggs were dropped from the second floor into the lobby. Each of the four teams carefully suspended their structures over the railing and let go. After the fall, one of the packages oozed liquids, a sign of a broken egg. The other three eggs appeared to have survived the fall showing no obvious signs of breakage.
Those three teams then ventured to the third floor and dropped their eggs again. Sadly, none of the eggs survived the fall from the nearly 30-foot fall. And, although many of the egg structures were still intact, it was clear from the misshapen, leaking packages, the eggs broke on contact. Fortunately, there was very little mess to clean up since the eggs were all overly wrapped and packaged. It was a tough call, but team Chris and Chrissie shared the winning honors.
Incredible Edible Egg
As fragile as eggs can be, they already come in the perfect little package. Eggs are also one of nature’s best sources of protein and amino acids. Eggs also have no carbohydrates or sugar and just like drinking water, play an important role in nourishing families around the globe. National Egg Day is a great time to celebrate and recognize the importance of eggs in our diets. The Egg Drop Challenge is a fun way to bring awareness to this incredible little health food!
The Egg Drop Challenge
The materials used for the egg drop challenge can be whatever you choose. We opted to use common items found around the office. Of course, don’t forget the egg!
Each Kit contains: 6 Coffee Sticks
2 sheets – 8 ½ x 11” paper
1 yard of masking tape
1 yard of string
5 rubber bands
1 paper plate
2 paper napkins
Tata & Howard is a 100% employee-owned company, or ESOP. Being an ESOP is an integral part of our corporate culture, and we consistently strive to enhance our core values of teamwork, innovative solutions, positive attitude, efficiency, and integrity through teambuilding activities throughout the year. October is ESOP Month, celebrated by ESOP companies across the United States, and an excellent time for all of us at Tata & Howard to focus on the benefits of employee-ownership as well as the core values that have been with us since our inception in 1992.
Earlier in the month, we showcased how our four ESOP committees – Communications, Green, Philanthropy, and Wellness – planned a month of activities for the Tata & Howard team, Harry Potter style. The first half of the month saw a philanthropic initiative to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a community trash cleanup day, and a “Minute to Win It” challenge, as well as various food-themed events. The second half of ESOP Month was also filled with fun and festive activities, including the firm’s official 25th anniversary.
On October 19, Tata & Howard officially turned 25 years old. Founded on October 19, 1992, Tata & Howard has grown from a two-person startup to a thriving 70-person firm with nine offices in seven states as well as Ontario, Canada. On October 19, all offices were treated to a celebratory catered lunch, where Co-President Karen Gracey and Co-Founder and Senior Vice President Paul Howard spoke to the entire team about the history of the firm as well as goals for the future. After the speeches, everyone raised a champagne toast for 25 exceptional years in business — and for 25 more — after which we all received Tata & Howard branded fleece jackets.
On Saturday, October 21, we celebrated our 25th anniversary in style, beginning at the Boston Museum of Science, where 70 T&H employee-owners (EOs) and their guests participated in a Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt throughout the museum. Broken into 10 teams, EOs received 24 clues and a coded sheet and were given two hours to complete their assignment. The hunt was highly entertaining while also providing EOs the chance to get to know their fellow EOs from other offices a bit better. Not surprisingly, six of the ten teams fully completed the challenge with all correct answers, so the winner was determined through some tie-breaking trivia questions about the museum. The winning team was Team 2 Beat, who were all smiles for the photo!
After completing the scavenger hunt, EOs headed over to the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in the United States, where we enjoyed appetizers and drinks in a private room. Once everyone had arrived, a theater troupe from Monson, MA (one of our clients!) began their performance of Trial & Error, a hilarious interactive show that takes place in a courtroom. Each act was given between courses, and the laughter could be heard throughout the restaurant. At the end of the night, we cut into our special 25th anniversary cake and savored the sweet taste of success. The night was highly enjoyable and a true celebration of our firm’s incredible accomplishments.
Also during the second half of ESOP Month, EOs participated in a paper airplane contest. EOs in all offices had ten minutes to make paper airplanes out of standard copy paper. No glue, tape, paper clips, tearing, or puncturing of the paper were allowed. After the planes were built, it was time to test! Points were awarded on a basis of longest distance flown as well as longest air time. First, second, and third place winners in each category won points for their houses. Adam Carrier took top spot for distance with 37.3 feet flown, and James Hoyt won first place for airtime with 3.1 seconds. Jon Gregory and William Grant came in second and third, respectively, in both events, with distances of 37.2 feet and 36.7 feet, and airtimes of 2.65 seconds and 2.6 seconds.
Another friendlier challenge was our thank you note challenge, sponsored by the Philanthropy Committee. EOs were asked to send thank you notes or emails to their fellow co-workers, and for every thank you they sent, the ESOP Committee would send $1.00 to DARE Family Services, with a three thank you note per EO cap. The day brought lots of smiles as people received special messages of appreciation, and we ended up collecting $108 to send to DARE. The event was well received and reminded everyone to show gratitude.
During the last week of ESOP Month, EOs participated in a step competition, sponsored by our Wellness Committee. The team with the highest total steps as well as the team with the most participation would receive points for their houses. Over half the company participated, and collectively we racked up an astounding 1,754,372 steps! That’s the equivalent of walking from Marlborough, Massachusetts to Cincinnati, Ohio.
To wrap up ESOP Month, EOs got together after work on Monday, October 30 to enjoy some home baked pumpkin treats and pumpkin beer while we decorated mini pumpkins. On Halloween, the house points were tallied, and we are happy to announce that Ravenclaw wins the House Cup! All in all, ESOP Month was another huge success, and we are already planning for next year.
Since many EOs were at the corporate office in Marlborough, MA for training on September 20, the ESOP Committee decided to host an after-hours Poker Night complete with barbecue from Firefly’s and a variety of beers including fellow ESOP Harpoon Brewery’s Flannel Friday. EOs enjoyed some great food and downtime while also participating in a friendly Texas Hold’Em tournament. The grand winner of the night was Dave Ceppetelli from the Vermont office, and he walked away with a VISA gift card. The response from the team was extremely positive, and we can’t wait for the next fun outing (which will be very soon considering October is ESOP Month!)
At Tata & Howard, we place high value on teamwork. In fact, it is one of our five core values on which the firm was founded 25 years ago. Teamwork is important on many levels. Working as a team internally ensures that our clients are receiving the best, most innovative and technically accurate service on projects. Working as a cohesive team with our clients allows us to truly hear what our clients are saying, enabling us to understand their needs and concerns, and to work together to efficiently find solutions to their challenges.
But team building doesn’t happen by chance; rather, it requires a concentrated effort from employee-owners at all levels in order to build and maintain positive and meaningful relationships. Because of this, Tata & Howard encourages and invests in activities that bring all of us closer together. A large part of our team building comes in the form of our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Since 2014, 100% of the stock in Tata & Howard has been owned by the employees, and since every member of the firm is an owner, the success of the firm becomes much more personal. Just like a football team that must work together to win championships (we might be talking about the Patriots here!), we also work together to deliver the best projects to our clients, enabling us to grow the firm.
To further our ESOP culture of ownership, we have four dedicated ESOP committees: the ESOP Communications Committee, the Green Committee, the Wellness Committee, and the Philanthropy Committee. Working independently and together, these four committees strive to bring team building, a sense of community, physical and mental health, and positive change to the firm. To that end, the ESOP committees plan and fund numerous activities and initiatives throughout the year.
Some of our 2017 initiatives have included the purchase of flatware and the elimination of disposable utensils at all offices, a backpack drive to benefit disadvantaged high school students, participation in the Charles River Cleanup, a special night of teaching girls about engineering, employee-initiated and company matched donations to the Colonias program and to Water For People, a cookout at Hopkinton State Park, and several special lunches and after work events. Planned events include the Navajo Water Project 5K (everyone can participate! Click here for more info), a scavenger hunt at the Museum of Science followed by dinner at the Union Oyster House, an Operation Gratitude necessities drive for our nation’s veterans, a volunteering event at a local soup kitchen, and numerous other philanthropic and fun events.
Last week, the weather was spectacular, so the ESOP Communications Committee decided to host an after-hours cookout complete with grills, burgers, sides, beer, and lawn games. Employee-owners in Marlborough enjoyed chatting and lounging in the grass, as well as a bit of friendly competition in the form of 4-Square. Down in Connecticut, EOs chose a shady spot and enjoyed a variety of food as well as each other’s company. The Vermont and Maine offices had some team members in the field and on vacation, so they decided to postpone their events for a couple of weeks, but we’ve heard rumblings of a possible Portland Seadogs excursion in the near future!
We believe that our team is what sets us apart and what makes the firm special, and the firm of choice for innovative solutions in the water environment. From working together on innovative projects — like the recently completed 8.0 mgd DAF Long Pond Water Treatment Plant in Falmouth, MA or the under construction 7.0 mgd biological filtration Home Farm Water Treatment Plant in Shrewsbury, MA — to participating in philanthropic ventures and fun outings, the Tata & Howard team focuses on camaraderie, positivity, support, efficiency, and innovation. By working and playing as a team, we bring out the best in each other and provide a superior level of service and productivity to our clients. And the best part is that we have fun while doing it!
2017 marks Tata & Howard’s 25th anniversary year, and in celebration, we are planning a year-worth of activities and special events. Tata & Howard’s doors were officially opened on October 19, 1992 by Don Tata and Paul Howard, who remain active in the firm as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Vice President, respectively, today. Initially a two-person startup, the firm has grown to over 65 employees with nine offices in seven states. And while our services and experience have expanded exponentially since 1992, we remain a niche water firm with deep, targeted expertise in the water environment.
Throughout our 25 years in business, quite a bit has changed, including regulatory requirements, supply and demand, treatment technologies, climate change, and the face of our nation’s workforce. At a company level, we have moved our corporate headquarters, expanded nationally, rolled out a new logo, converted to a 100% ESOP, hired nationally recognized subject matter experts, appointed several vice presidents and two co-presidents, and weathered the effects of the retiring generation of Baby Boomers. However, one thing has not changed since our inception: our core values. Efficient solutions, integrity, client satisfaction, teamwork, and positive attitude have formed our cornerstone for the past 25 years, and will continue to steer the company, our people, and our decisions as we continue to grow with and into the future.
As part of our year-long celebration, we will be implementing several initiatives that focus on our core values and our ESOP culture. We have planned monthly activities including numerous philanthropic initiatives, client-centric special events, the planting of a time capsule, the implementation of an annual scholarship, and assorted team-focused activities. All of our planned events will be based on at least one of our core values and will celebrate the positive team environment that exemplifies Tata & Howard.
We look forward to celebrating our silver anniversary with all of our clients, colleagues, family, and friends. Keep your eyes on your inbox for special invitations and news announcements – and if you haven’t joined our email list, you may click below to sign up. Our goal is to make our 25th anniversary year an event to remember, and one that celebrates not only our company, clients, and employee-owners, but also the core values that lay the foundation on which the firm was founded — and on which the firm continues to thrive, both now and in the future.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is celebrated on the third Friday of December each year, and Tata & Howard employee-owners (EOs) love to participate! This year, EOs not only wore their ugliest (or in some cases, cutest) holiday sweaters, they also made pretzels and decorated sugar cookies. At Tata & Howard, we work together to bring our clients the most efficient, innovative engineering solutions. Having some downtime together strengthens our collaborative, team atmosphere – and makes our jobs not only rewarding, but fun!
Join Our Team
Tata & Howard is interested in motivated environmental professionals dedicated to providing great client service and high quality, efficient work. Please send your resume and cover letter to HR@tataandhoward.com.
Tata & Howard
67 Forest Street, Marlborough, MA 01752
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