At the top of Adam Toth’s responsibilities is effectively managing 134 employee personalities working across five Toth and Associates Inc. offices in four states. And all but one of the offices are outside of Springfield – some 1,000-2,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest.
Toth says the keys are in creating a culture of trust and a family environment. After all, the engineering firm started in the family – by Toth and his father, Lou, in 2003. The younger Toth has led the company since March 2019, when dad transitioned out of day-to-day operations.
“We achieve this by fostering an environment of mutual respect and concern for one another,” he says, citing competitive wages, annual pay increases and growing benefits packages. “Having fun is also part of a family, so it’s not all about pay and corporate benefits.”
Employees and their families gather for summer picnics, Springfield Cardinals games, celebrating monthly birthdays and professional accomplishments, and an in-office Soup Day twice a year.
Toth says the hiring landscape is as rocky today as he’s faced in the past two decades. An additional difficulty, he says, is that Toth & Associates covers three engineering disciplines: electrical, structural and civil.
“The way that we have addressed hiring in recent years has been to keep our existing employees happy. Our employee turnover is extremely low relative to our industry,” he says, pointing to recently added benefits of earlier 401(k) enrollment; life, dental and vision insurance for staff family members; and an office wellness room.
He adds, “It is also great to be able to drive through communities and see the projects that we have been a part of which are improving the lives of everyone in the area.”
Examples include a school tornado shelter for which the team helped secure federal funding; cleaner streams and lakes from their wastewater treatment plant designs; or solar farms, like the one in Nixa, that they provided financial analysis for cleaner and lower-cost energy.
Toth says three guiding principles exemplify his management style: “One, I do what I say I’m going to do. Two, I’m honest with clients and employees, even in difficult situations. Three, I treat people with respect and concern, regardless of the situation.”
To test his principles during challenges that require an executive decision, Toth asks himself if one of his four children was in the situation, how he would want their employer to treat them.
“I use that to form my interaction and approach,” he says.
Toth leads by example in community involvement – which he says stems from his days volunteering as a Kickapoo High School student. He’s currently board president for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and a director for the Discovery Center and Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast chapter.
Financially, the company has donated over $100,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters, committed to gift $140,000 to Missouri State University’s engineering program and $50,000 to Springfield Public Schools, and raised $2,000 for United Way of the Ozarks through a pingpong tournament against City Utilities staff.
Once a week this time of year, roughly 150 men trade business suits and work attire for baseball uniforms – complete from caps to cleats – for the Grip N Rip Baseball league.