Chip Craddock's Lasting Impact On Clark Dietz

After a storied Clark Dietz career, it is our honor to bid a fond farewell to Chip Craddock, PE and wish him the happiest days in retirement. Chip joined Clark Dietz in 1994, and over the years accumulated more responsibility and leadership, capstoned by his time as CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board during one of the most uncertain socio-economic times in our Nation's history. We had the pleasure of sitting with Chip to record his defining career ideals, Clark Dietz highlights, and what the future holds. Please enjoy the Video embedded below. After you've enjoyed the viewing, the following are thoughts and reflections from Clark Dietz leadership on Chip's lasting impact on our organization. 


How would you characterize Chip’s Leadership?

His style is firm and fair. You always knew where Chip stood on any particular issue. Regardless if you agreed or disagreed with his position, you knew that the issue was being executed fairly.  - Sean Widener 

In my opinion, Chip has changed his leadership style significantly throughout his tenure at the helm.  While he started out as a “reformer” and focused on the improvement (and formalization) of our business practices at first, I think he softened up his approach in recent years.  Like the rest of us, Covid years were transformative for him, and I truly believe his continuous re-adjustment of his stance throughout this difficult period served us well. - Mustafa Emir

Chip is a strong leader that is not afraid to say what he thinks and work hard to make sure the company performs as best as possible.  He also cares about employees and wants to make sure they are taken care of as best as we can. - Seth Swartz

What do you think Clark Dietz means to Chip?

Clark Dietz is a professional and smart firm. He spent his career striving to make us proud of being technical experts, focusing on service to our Clients, maintaining our “smaller” firm feel, but also striving to be professional and caring. - Emily Basalla

Clark Dietz holds huge meaning for Chip.  He should be proud of what has been accomplished during his years at Clark Dietz, and the honor of growing and leading an employee-owned company is an outstanding accomplishment. - Kevin Hetrick

I always felt CD was something of a second family for Chip and building a successful organization is a source of great pride and joy for him.  - Mustafa Emir

What impacts has Chip had on the firm?

Chip has always been the “spreadsheet” guy. He has focus on process and financials and has implemented efficiencies and understanding of the business. What’s unique about Chip is that he found a way to make that accessible to all levels of staff and this has led to a better way of managing projects and staying accountable. - Emily Basalla

Improved professionalism and sense of ownership.  From all levels within the organization, the behaviors, practices, etc. have improved.  This has resulted in positive impacts, specifically in terms of our financial performance. - Sean Widener

His attention to detail and fiscal responsibility has had a positive financial impact on the firm. He has built upon and added to the good practices that make Clark Dietz the stable, successful business it is today. Chip has strived to continue expansion of the professionalism with which our firm is run, which has contributed to the growth and great culture of Clark Dietz. - Wes Christmas

What memorable experiences have you had working with Chip?

Chip and I have become close professionally over the 15 years I have been at Clark Dietz. Being the CEO can be a bit lonely and I have learned that having someone that you can have un-guarded conversations with is important on many levels.  I am grateful that Chip felt he could confide in me, whether it was just listening after a tough day/week or seeking my advice on a course of action. - Jon Howaniec

I have had a wide variety of experiences with Chip over the years including lighthearted joking, serious conversations about the business, watching him entertain my children, personal conversations on the golf course, quality mentorship, numerous explanations of his latest spreadsheet analysis, and a few discussions over a good bourbon. I will treasure them all. - Wes Christmas

My positive experiences with him started back in 2013 when he expressed his support for the work I was doing related to Civil 3D software efficiencies and he noticed the hard work being done and went out of his way to make sure I felt encouraged. Since then, as I grew into more roles (Operations Manager/Area Manager/Board of Directors), he took time to call me directly and check in on how I was doing, how my team was, listen to my struggles and ask my opinion on various things over the years. - Emily Basalla

Are there any words of advice from Chip that you have continued to follow?

Be honest. We will never disappoint our clients by following that guideline. - Jerry Payonk

Don’t be afraid to question things and be an independent thinker.  Also, always give the other person the benefit of the doubt before reaching a conclusion yourself.  - Sean Widener

He has been a very large influence on me as a “big brother” and a mentor.  His lasting legacy with me will be to stop saying the same thing over and over with different words. - Mustafa Emir

Chip has always reminded me to be confident in myself, my ideas, and not to stand in my own way. - Emily Basalla

First, Chip has regularly stated that his job as CEO is to properly balance the resources of Clark Dietz between shareholders, staff, and clients.  If one leg of this metaphorical stool is given too much or too little attention, our business becomes unstable. As I look to the future and my time as CEO, I will strive to maintain the balance as Chip so often mentioned. Second, Chip has always been a big advocate of treating people fairly. It sounds simple but doing the right thing and right by others makes managing much easier and effective. I have yet to regret a decision I have made with this mindset. Chip’s influence and approach will stick with me for the rest of my career. - Wes Christmas



Clark Dietz Staff

About the author: Clark Dietz Staff

Clark Dietz’s eclectic, multi-disciplined group of engineers, researchers, project managers and designers who are committed to Engineering Quality of Life.