As we celebrate ms’ 60th anniversary, we reflect on what has made our company successful: the people. We’re grateful to have so many long-time employees at ms. In fact, several of our current employees have spent all or most of their career with us, and it is an honor to highlight some of our longest-tenured employees. Keep reading to see what to learn more about those who have committed 40+ years to the company!
From the 40-Year Legacies
We asked ms employees who have spent 40 or more years working at ms about their experience and why they have stayed at ms. Our 40-Year Legacies include Doug Blegen, P.E., P.T.O.E., a Senior Practice Traffic Engineer of Transportation from the Columbus office, John Pierko, P.E., Senior VP of Construction from the Youngstown office, Ray Repko, P.E., Senior Structural Inspection Engineer of Transportation from the Youngstown office, and Marlene Mort, C.S.I., C.C.S., Senior Technical Administration Assistant of Environmental from the Youngstown office.
Here’s what they had to say about the start of their four decades with ms.
How they got here
Q: How did you end up at ms?
Doug Blegen – Upon graduating from Ohio State in 1976, there were no openings for a traffic engineer in Columbus, where I wanted to remain. The manager of the Columbus office of ms (Mosure, Fok & Syrakis back then), Jim Bixby, gave me a small glimmer of hope that I could be hired “just as soon as ODOT authorized a big signal project,” the company had been selected for. Finally, after calling and stopping by the office for 10 months (lest he forget my extreme interest in being employed), I was hired in April of 1977. (Working nearly a year at a drug store with an engineering degree was a bit humbling.) I had finally made it…I was now the fifth employee to be working in the Columbus office…one of three engineers, a drafter, and a part-time secretary. Currently, the Columbus office has close to 200 employees!
John Pierko – I was home one Sunday from college to get a good meal. In the Youngstown Vindicator, there was an article about these two guys, Mr. Tom F. Mosure and Mr. Tom Syrakis, that had started up an Engineering/Planning firm in Youngstown. My dad had seen the article and showed it to me and suggested that I may want to send them a resume to see if they had any openings…a few weeks later, I had a job.
Marlene Mort – I responded to an advertisement in the newspaper for a receptionist.
Ray Repko – After graduating from Youngstown State University in 1977, a job counselor from the Youngstown unemployment office connected me with ms, then known as Mosure & Syrakis. After meeting with Tom Syrakis, I was offered a 90-day trial period as a construction inspector. Unsure how things at ms would turn out, I kept my job at a local movie theater as a projectionist throughout the summer, just in case. Fortunately, things did work out. The last movie I showed at the theater that summer was the first Star Wars.
Q: What is your favorite ms memory?
John Pierko – Over the 44 years, there are so many significant projects that I have had the privilege of being part of the team. However, the neatest memory that I will carry is the number of times that I have been asked, “Hey, do you have a minute?” The opportunity to be a mentor to perhaps hundreds of staff has been and will be a treasured memory forever. From the newest intern up to the Chairman of the Board, they all have been priceless experiences.
Marlene Mort – I have many, and they all involve my fellow employees and the ability to become not just co-workers with many of them but also friends.
Ray Repko – I have many favorite ms memories, but I’ll never forget having the ms founders, Tom F. Mosure and Tom Syrakis, as mentors who provided me with advice, feedback, and support. They served as my role models and provided me with the tools to become a better version of myself. I’ll never forget the one-on-one goal-oriented discussions with them in their offices at their desks.
Doug Blegen – I have many great memories, one of which was attending my first ribbon cutting of a large local project in Columbus that ms had worked on…that is, with a celebratory Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar in hand! I remember standing in the middle of a brand new multilane roadway going through nearly 1,200 acres of undeveloped land…Polaris Parkway was to be opened to traffic. Looking back, it’s hard to believe the Polaris area was ever just empty fields.
A 40+ Year Experience
Q: What has kept you at ms for four decades?
Marlene Mort – The people and the way ms cares about their employees and wants them to succeed. As stated earlier, I started here as a receptionist and, within one year, was moved to the newly formed architecture division, where I was fortunate enough to be mentored by the architects there to learn about specifications. As the years went on, I was further encouraged to study and take the Construction Specifications Institute’s Construction Document Technologist and Certified Construction Specifier Certification Exams, along with the MasterFormat Accredited Instructor Certification. These achievements would not have been possible without the support of my mentors and upper management.
John Pierko – Although many will not believe it, the concept of helping to improve the quality of life for families in the Mahoning Valley has been and will continue to be a very important part of my career. I have found that through my job here, I feel that I have, albeit in a small way, met that goal.
Doug Blegen – The combination of the people, the principals, and the projects. I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from so many talented people over the years. Being in an environment with people that you respect and enjoy being with on a day-to-day basis makes a huge difference. In addition, I feel the ms principals (past and present) have kept the smaller, closer feel of a ‘family business’ as a priority and always emphasize quality work for their clients. As a result, ms has been able to prove worthy of handling many large, unique, and challenging projects, which has added to my many reasons for staying at ms for over 46 years.
Ray Repko – It’s because of all the talented people I have worked with throughout the years. I have never had any regrets.
The ms Difference
Q: What makes ms different?
Ray Repko – Simply put – innovation. A strategy that’s both novel and useful Implementing new ideas, methodologies, and successful solutions with the goal of improving company services.
Douglas Blegen – That’s a tough question…different than what? I don’t really know any different… ms has been my only professional employer. And I have absolutely no regrets!
John Pierko – I have always felt welcomed, appreciated, and had a purpose here. From my early days of running prints or doing bridge inspections, or acting as a field construction inspector to my role today, the feeling remains the same.
Marlene Mort – Even though ms has grown expeditiously over my 40+ years here, it maintains caring and supporting the employees. You are not “just a number” here.
A huge thank you to our 40+ year employees! We are grateful for your commitment to ms, continuing to grow with the company, and for providing your insights from your time with ms.