PLAINS TWP. — Political candidates always talk about bringing good-paying, family-sustaining jobs to the region if they are elected.
Chris Borton never ran for political office, but he sure did bring those good paying jobs to the region — more than 200 at his company’s high point, and now 165.
Borton, chief executive officer and founder of Borton-Lawson Engineering | Architecture, has announced his intent to retire from his role effective July 2018. Borton made the announcement at a recent company-wide meeting.
Borton, 62 of Shavertown, said he and his wife, Karen, will travel, hike, fish, golf and whatever else he finds of interest. They will also spend more time with their three adult children — Karl, 31, Sarah, 28, and Kate, 26.
Borton said he established Borton Engineering Associates Inc. in 1988 at 186 South Franklin St. in Wilkes-Barre to provide general civil engineering services. Shortly after, he was joined by Thomas Lawson, PE, to expand the service offerings and in 1992 the firm became Borton-Lawson. Under Borton’s leadership, Borton-Lawson has grown into a nationally recognized engineering/architecture firm.
“From day one, I had a vision of leveraging technology to create a firm that was both successful and sustainable,” Borton said. “Today, I am pleased to know we have built an organization which has achieved my original vision. I look forward to watching our company continue to flourish by allowing the next generation of leaders to create their own vision and course.”
Borton said he made the decision to retire a while back. But before he stepped aside, Borton wanted to be sure there would be a smooth transition to guarantee the continuance of the company being a multi-generational firm.
“If it were to be sold to some big outside firm, it just wouldn’t be the same,” he said.
Borton instituted a leadership training program at the company — BLDI, or Borton Lawson Development Institute. He said six to nine employees are trained each year on the entire business — communications, project management, people skills, marketing, human resources and business.
The training is all done in-house by local people — college professors, retired engineers and Borton-Lawson employees. Part of the program is Career Compass, where each employees can pick their own career path and receive the appropriate training.
“If you leave too early, it’s bad,” Borton said. “And if you stay too long, it’s not good either. There comes a time when you have to let new leaders go and lead.”
Borton said he intends to stick around for two years or so as a senior adviser. And he and his wife will travel to Europe and throughout the U.S. He will hike more and play more golf. He said he will be even more involved with the community, especially at Misericordia University, the school his mother graduated from and where he sits on the board of trustees.
Borton said he chose engineering because he always was interested in building things and finding out how things worked.
“It seemed interesting, and I did well in school,” he said.
Borton-Lawson’s Board of Directors has announced that Frank Joanlanne, the current president of Borton-Lawson and Precise Visual Technologies, will also assume Borton’s role as CEO of both sister companies.
“Frank is a strong leader who has a clear vision for Borton-Lawson’s future growth and success,” Borton said. “His diverse leadership experience has proven to be a healthy complement to our team, and will allow Borton-Lawson to ascend to new levels of client service.”
Over the next 14 months, Borton and Joanlanne will meet with employees, clients and partners to ensure a seamless transition.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Chris Borton for many years now,” Joanlanne said. “He has created a robust foundation on which we continue to build upon. We will continually look for new ways to bring exceptional value to our clients, while keeping true to the values on which Chris founded and built Borton-Lawson.”
Borton-Lawson is a full-service architecture and engineering design firm offering a comprehensive range of services.
Joanlanne said what you see with Borton is what you get.
“He has unshakable commitment to his values, family, faith, employees and local communities that Borton-Lawson serves,” he said. “He always gives it to you straight, but in a compassionate and empathetic way. He leads by example and is extremely well respected by the people that work for and with him.”
Joanlanne said looking forward the firm will continue to invest in its people, technically and professionally; invest in technologies that allow for continued growth geographically; and continue to act as true consultants to current and future clients.
“It’s a formula that works, and we will continue to execute on it,” Joanlanne said.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.