Bill Goldsmith on What Has Changed, and What Hasn’t, Since 1982

This year, Bill Goldsmith has become christopher’s longest-serving employee as he celebrates his 35th anniversary with the company. Bill was one of three founding partners of the company, joining just before partner Lou Canonico who is also still with the company, and outlasting Chris Brown who retired last year.

Today Bill is the firm’s EVP and oversees the Urban Land Division. The work, and even some of the projects and clients are still the same, but a lot has changed since the early 80s. For example, Bill recalls, every pre-bill was handwritten in those days. He still has a few copies of those old pre-bills in a filing cabinet in his office.

Bill remembers the excitement of purchasing the company’s first survey truck. There was such pride amongst the partners and the field crew to be using their own truck with christopher signage. They had really made it. Days later, the truck broke down on the way back from a job.

“This was before anyone had a cell phone. So the crew called me from a payphone and said, the truck is on the side of the road, we need you to pick us up. I drove down to DC in my Chrysler LeBaron and we all piled – crew, equipment and all.” Being a front wheel drive, as fully loaded as it was with equipment and people, the car lost traction at every bump along the way.

Bill remembers the day christopher’s Founding Chairman Chris Brown tried to talk him into purchasing a fax machine for the office. Bill didn’t think they would get much use out of it.

“Can you imagine doing business without a fax machine?” Bill reminisces. Now, of course, it turns out Bill was correct – most of his client communication is via email and using his iPhone.

The tools for doing business were a lot different back in 1982, but the basic principals were the same. Do good work, and build relationships with your employees and your clients and you will succeed.

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