How a Christian Engineering Business Fearlessly Serves Its Community

January 31, 2018

with Steve Adema

Have you thought recently about how your business can better serve your community?

It's easy to forget — I know I don't think about this nearly enough. But if our churches need to be involved in the community, why not our businesses as well?

Steve is an engineer with Tacoma Engineers. Although he didn't start the business, he has been there since the early days, and is now one of 5 Principal Engineers, alongside dozens of other employees.

How did you get started at your company?

This is one of my favourite stories, one where I truly look back and see God's providence.

When I was in my 4th year of university, I was dating another engineering student (I might add she is now my wife!) who saw a job posting and applied for me. Jenn told me about it after the fact — she did not ask me before submitting my resume.

I was interviewed at the company, a small branch office of Tacoma Engineers in Stratford. I found out years later that I did not get the job for one reason — I shared the name Steve with the guy who ran the office, and he figured having 2 Steve's out of 4 people would just be confusing.

It might not be the norm in the business world, but things like this have always been a part of who we are

A few weeks later I was at home having graduated without finding employment, and the phone rings. It was Jack Tacoma, the founder of Tacoma Engineers in Guelph. He had gotten my resume from Steve in Stratford, and the rest as they say, is history.

20+ years later I am still here. What started with me being one of 5 employees has grown to where I am one of 5 Principals with 40 employees.

Can you share a bit about your faith journey?

This question I struggle with a bit more.

I didn't have one of those ah-ha moments where the light shone or something similar that I can point to and say, "that was it". I was raised in a Christian family where church attendance and regular bible devotions were the norm.

I never really waivered on my adoption into God's family — it was always a part of my life. Sure there were moments of wandering, but there has always been that rock that I have held to.

Are there any particular instances where your faith has caused you to make a decision that would seem "wrong" or "weird" by normal standards?

Jack Tacoma (our founder) is also a Christian. There are currently 5 principals and about 15 associates. Many of us, but not all, are Christians. What Jack started and what we continue today is a business that is based on relationships.

We partner with our clients to provide a service that is founded on mutual respect.

I'm not sure if that is "wrong" or "weird", but it resonates with us.

Have you been able to see the direct impact that your business has had on people's lives?

Similar to the previous question, we try and do things that build community.

For example, we have a volunteering policy — the company matches your time if you volunteer with a charitable organization (i.e. you take 4 hours of vacation time then the company kicks in 4 hours of pay, up to a week of time).

So yes, we can see direct impact on our communities. I would not say that it has changed our perspective, it is a small something we can do to give back.

It might not be the norm in the business world, but things like this have always been a part of who we are.

What is your process like for involving God in your decision making?

When you have a Christian world view, one that is a fundamental part of who you are, you don't tend to ask yourself, "what would or should a Christian do?" in every situation. You just do.

You set the bar as the second commandment, to love your neighbour as yourself. When you act out of that basis, you don't need to worry about involving God. He's already there.

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