After 48 years with the engineering firm he founded, Bill Lantz has retired. Originally named Lantz and Jones, the firm has grown and evolved over the years, having offices in several states, then reconsolidating in one office in Columbus, has had multiple owner and name changes, and yet still possesses the culture and dedication to quality that Bill instilled in the company and in all of us. The legacy that he is leaving us with is nothing short of astounding.
When asked about the impact that Bill has had on him and SMBH, current Principal Bob Baumann said, “Bill set an example for us to follow. He did that with his integrity, his competence and technical skills, his creativity and imagination and his ability to mentor and led us to be successful.” This sentiment is heard again and again from our employees. Like in Senior Project Engineer Anna Milligan’s remarks,
“I appreciate this man and his impact on my life, career, and overall perspective in such a monumental way. I came here 16 years ago because a former colleague of his, with whom I was interviewing, couldn’t stop talking about what an incredible engineer, man and teacher he was. Little did she know that I had interviewed with them the week prior and had an offer in hand from Lantz Jones Nebraska already. Her glowing comments about Bill made my decision easy. I have never looked back. Bill (and the rest of the principals) delivered. I learned so much from him in these last 16 years, far beyond the technical expertise and tutelage that he’s patiently provided time and time again.”
Bill’s knowledge and expertise began with his undergraduate degree in architecture from The Ohio State University. With this background and a Masters in Structural Engineering, Bill wasn’t what most people would consider an “engineer’s engineer.” As current Principal and President Stephen Metz explained, Bill’s background and insights into an architect’s needs and pain points led him to create a company culture where projects are approached holistically – a strategy that was part of the firm’s early success and is still a defining characteristic of it today.
Bill is known for coming up with creative and simple solutions that don’t always appear right away. “I learned how to think outside the box which isn’t always easy for the engineer-minded individual. I learned how those complex problems that get you bogged down and searching for a complex solution often have the simple solution just staring you in the face if you take a step backwards and look at the big picture,” said Anna Milligan. Bob noted, “Bill would always lead you back to the fundamentals. When you had questions, he would guide you to the answer by asking questions. Most things led back to the engineering mechanics and free-body diagrams. Once you understood how the structure was acting, then the solutions just dropped out.”
Beyond influencing many of us professionally, Bill has been a role model in other ways. Partner and Director of Marketing and Business Development Lisa Connelly notes that “Bill has taught me to be patient, mindful, and to enjoy life without actually saying any of those things.” With us for 12 years, Senior Project Engineer Kara Hendren said, “He instilled in me a desire to travel and make the most out of life. He taught me how to take pride in my work, but to not let it define me.” Our Director of Technology Jerry Marselle noted that the best things about Bill are his laugh and sense of humor. Bill isn’t a buttoned-up engineer, but is relaxed and makes you feel at ease. Anna Milligan adds that he has a very calming demeanor, and “it’s hard to feel stressed when you’re working with him.”
Current Principal Jon Beier said, “Bill has been a great example and has made this company what it is.” Bob Baumann concurred, adding that “As Bill was winding down his career, he gave us an example of how to guide us while giving up control. He helped us to take on more responsibilities in a time frame that allowed for a smooth transition into the next generation of company ownership.”
Given the impact that Bill Lantz has had on us as a company and as individuals, there is no doubt that he is sincerely missed in the office. But the foundation and legacy he’s built here will go on in his stead, as a testimony to his success as an engineer, mentor, teacher, business owner, and friend. Thank you, Bill – for everything.
Photos: Bill Lantz speaks at his retirement luncheon in 2020, Bill Lantz working in 1961, and Bill Lantz skiing in 1991.
Columbus Landmarks Legacy Circle Established In Bill Lantz's Honor
In honor of Bill's career and commitment to their mission, we have worked with Columbus Landmarks to establish the new Legacy Circle - with a $10,000 donation. The program strengthens the impact of their non-profit organization as they advocate for historic preservation and design excellence throughout Greater Columbus, and provide them with needed operating support. If you'd like to donate in honor of Bill, click here.