FST: A Century of Engineering Excellence

On June 8, 1914, three prominent engineers with ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Frederic H. Fay, Charles M. Spofford and Sturgis H. Thorndike – opened an engineering firm. More than one hundred years later, Fay, Spofford & Thorndike (FST) remains an ongoing independent enterprise built in the founders’ image. Learn more about FST's founders in this article from Fay Spofford & Thorndike's 1957 Newsletter.

A firm of nearly 300 people based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in eight other locations throughout the Northeast, the century-old firm continues to provide multidiscipline engineering, planning and environmental consulting services to public- and private-sector clients in a variety of disciplines and markets.

Throughout 2014, FST marked the centennial milestone with many different events and commemorations. The highlight was an unforgettable 100th Anniversary Gala in March attended by more than 450 current and former employees and their guests. Learn more about how FST celebrated its 100th year.

FST President and CEO Peter Howe punctuated that sentiment in an article that appeared in the Cape & Plymouth Business News, addressing how FST works hard to retain its tried-and-true principles while staying on the leading edge in a changing industry and society. “They say you’re never too old to learn and, even at 100, we’re still trying to improve ourselves every day,” he wrote. “They also say that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This is why we’re looking ahead while trying to incorporate our century of experience into the strategic moves we make today and tomorrow. This is advice that all firms can follow, whether they’re 10 months, 10 years or 10 decades old.”

A Bright Future for Engineering

The following excerpt is from a speech given to the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section (BSCES). Read below who said it and when:

"The future of engineering is bright. Opportunities are expanding. The world is coming to expect and to demand a higher standard of the engineer and of engineering….Upon no profession does the world depend so much for its advancement as upon the profession of engineering….Of all the professions, the profession of engineering, in its broad sense, contributes most to the welfare and advancement of mankind. Even far more important than the medical profession is the profession of the engineer. For while medical men seek to cure disease, the sanitary engineer is constantly at work to prevent it. In every field of activity, the work is coming more and more to depend and rely upon engineers…But to meet these demands, engineers must themselves grow and become broader…The success engineer of today and of tomorrow cannot be like the engineer of yesterday, who too often would ‘retire into the technical recesses of his professional work and content himself with being the servant of other men.’ On the contrary, if he would stand high in his profession, the engineer of today should be…aggressive, alert, in touch with public questions outside his own narrow field, and a leader—not a follower…It is upon the development of these qualities in engineers themselves that the whole future success of the profession depends…"

The preceding as part of an address given by Frederic Fay to the BSCES on March 14, 1914. His words were prophetic, as they are as true today as they were the day he said them.