Rooted in CT, BL Companies Helps Foster Success in the State

Metro Hartford Alliance, November 2020

BL Companies provides architecture, engineering, environmental, and land surveying services in 10 states, including Connecticut, where the company was originally established over 30 years ago. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with BL Companies Executive Director of Engineering and Principal Derek Kohl about working in Connecticut, learning lessons from COVID-19, forming collaborations, and giving back during the holiday season.

NAN PRICE: Why Connecticut and what do you enjoy most about the company’s location?

DEREK KOHL: Our company’s first office and employees were based in Connecticut and, as we expanded over the years, we opened our second Connecticut office in Hartford in 2006. Connecticut is part of our company’s history and roots. While we work throughout the United States and we’re growing in many locations, we continue to maintain a large employee owner presence here in Connecticut with more than 230 employees in our Hartford and Meriden locations.

We enjoy the best of what Connecticut has to offer including a strong, engaged, motivated, and highly educated employee base. Connecticut is also strategically located in the northeast in proximity to many of our major clients. We believe it’s a great place to live, work, and play.

NAN: Tell us about the employee ownership component of BL Companies.

DEREK: Our employee ownership is essential to our company and permeates in everything we do—from our culture to our values. BL has more than 350 employee owners in our 14 offices throughout the Eastern and Southeastern United States.

Our employee ownership has a couple of components. There’s the cultural side of it, how we operate and interact with each other and go about doing our business. Also, working for yourself is empowering and creates a great environment where everybody has a voice and can provide input and feedback in all that we do as well as contribute in a significant and meaningful way.

There’s also the supplemental retirement side of it, our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). So, in addition to our 401(k) program, being an employee owner means employees are allocated shares within the company. As we perform and grow, the share price increases and so does the value of their ESOP account.  Read more >>>