My Hallam Story

Jennifer Barr | Administrative Assistant

My Hallam story began in late October 1998 when I accepted a temporary position in reception for Hallam Associates (now Hallam-ICS). I had experience working for an architecture firm so I was comfortable with job numbers, acronyms, drawings and clients.  Being from the Midwest and a large family helped me remember people’s names and more importantly to treat everyone with respect and kindness.

Hallam Associate’s workplace culture was laid back, so I felt comfortable asking questions and learned a lot. One day an engineer stopped to help me with an RFI (request for Information) and told me who it went to.  I unconsciously chatted away with the engineer and he picked up on my Midwestern accent.  He told me he met his wife Patty while hitch hiking and she was from the Midwest also.  I later found out that the friendly engineer who helped me with the RFI was Dave Hallam and that I had impressed him enough that he recommended me for a permanent position to Brenda Matthews (Accounting Manager, now CFO). Since she needed help in Accounting she offered me a position, even though I had no experience in accounting. 

Accounting was far more involved with numbers than people and after 6 months it was obvious to everyone that I wasn’t happy. Luckily the workload had picked up in the ICS division and Brenda suggested that I could transition to ICS as a courier, travel coordinator, shipping and receiving administrative assistant provided “The Ricks” thought I would be a good fit for the job. I had no idea who “The Ricks” were, but I agreed to meet with them at the panel shop.  Little did I know that my interview would be less about what I knew about controls and more about how I handled myself with “Grumpy”, the senior panel builder (Vince Gomez).  Vince glared at me and stated that I would have to know thousands of control parts and understand controls inside and out. So, I looked into a control panel and asked, “so what is this?”  Vince very sternly told me, “Don’t touch that, you could make the whole panel explode!”  At this point I knew that he was testing me to see if I understood that the panel had no power going to it, so I asked him, “Why would you make a control panel that self-destructs?”. Needless to say I won over Vince and “The Ricks” and took the job. 

Over the years Hallam Associates became Hallam-ICS and my job duties shifted with the company. I took on safety, reception, administration, calibrations and back-up purchasing.  I would never have predicted myself working for an engineering, controls, commissioning and arc flash company 18 years ago but, Hallam-ICS is no ordinary company.  People who work at Hallam-ICS are loyal, committed, persistent, hardworking, intelligent and caring.


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