In September 2015, my firm, Sustainable Performance Solutions (SPS), celebrated its five-year anniversary, and I posted about the rewards and challenges of starting one’s own business, particularly a consulting practice. The first challenge I mentioned was getting my wife on board with the idea. We were in the middle of the Great Recession, and I was replacing good benefits and a direct-deposit paycheck with a great deal of financial uncertainty. What I didn’t mention was the backstory of how my friend (since shortly after moving to Florida 10 years ago) Bob Caine encouraged me to make the move. Bob is an electrical engineer and principal of Project Caine, a local mechanical-electrical-plumbing-fire-protection (MEP/FP) engineering firm. He believed the time to start a new business was during a slow economy so that, as the economy improved, the business could ride the wave up. In addition to providing moral support and encouragement, Bob introduced me to his contacts and helped me to get consulting engagements with several of his clients, and we have continued to pursue and perform projects together since.
Before starting Project Caine in 2005, Bob, who has more than 30 years of diverse design experience, was a senior partner and board member of the largest MEP firm in Florida. He also was at the forefront of solar residential design and LEED-certified construction in Florida. Not surprisingly, he and his firm have done quite well over the last 12 years—so well, in fact, his firm recently was acquired by Osborn Engineering. Founded in 1892, Osborn provides architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, process, civil, and transportation engineering solutions to a variety of clients as diverse as major professional sports facilities (Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Comiskey Park) to collegiate facilities (Purdue, Notre Dame, West Point) to NASA’s Research Center at Lewis Field. In addition to its new Florida presence, Osborn has offices in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio.
The combined strength of the two firms will allow Project Caine to pursue larger, more complex projects. And with Project Caine’s and Osborn’s shared commitment to sustainability and environmentally responsible design, Project Caine undoubtedly will continue to be an industry leader in designing sustainable sites and low-energy buildings.
As SPS approaches its seventh anniversary, I’m personally looking forward to continuing to work with Bob and with his new colleagues, and I congratulate both Bob and Osborn on a brilliant fusion. I’m reminded of Aristotle’s observation that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.