A closer look at the founders of Ross & Baruzzini.
This July will mark Ross & Baruzzini’s 65th anniversary and to celebrate we are taking time during the months leading up to the special day to talk about the firm’s past, present, and future. As I kick off our 6-month-long celebration I want to remember our founders and share some of my own memories about Dr. Donald K. Ross, Sc. D., P.E. and Joseph Baruzzini, P.E.
I joined the firm in January of 1991 when Don was still very active in the firm. He was providing overall leadership and guidance while beginning to transition that leadership to Craig Toder, our present-day chairman. Joe had retired several years earlier, but we had been well-acquainted during his visits to our headquarters office in St. Louis, at holiday parties, and at summer BBQs.
Both men were exceedingly intelligent. Don earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and MIT respectively, and earned his Doctorate in Industrial Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Joe had a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University. They were also well recognized by all of the leading professional engineering societies and industry organizations of the day including the American Consulting Engineers Council, the American Institute of Consulting Engineers, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Our founders established Ross & Baruzzini as a premier consulting and design firm from the very start with engineering roots grown from a great deal of focus on energy conservation. Early clients included the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Missouri Botanical Garden, Lambert St. Louis International Airport, and the State of California where we assisted with the development of their energy codes.
Beyond their business practices and success, I knew Don and Joe to be exceptionally kind, helpful, and wise men. Don went out of his way to provide thoughtful notes of encouragement to employees, and also sponsored an academic scholarship at Washington University. One of my fondest memories of him was his desire to sing at our holiday parties and play the harmonica. As for Joe, I remember his pearls of wisdom. He often reminded us of how simply important it is to get along and enjoy each other’s company, given the many hours that are invested in our careers.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had these experiences and I am very pleased to share these memories with you, which I still believe define our culture and success today.
Follow us on social media to see more as we continue to reflect on Ross & Baruzzini’s past, present, and future in celebration of our 65th anniversary. #RB65Years
About the Author
William H. Overturf, III has been with the firm for 25 years and is the company’s third president. He began his career at Ross & Baruzzini as a mechanical engineer in 1991 and later became the director of the mechanical engineering department and leader of the higher education market before taking on senior management positions including Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a registered professional engineer and LEED Accredited Professional. Overturf has been instrumental in building Ross & Baruzzini’s North American business in multiple markets.