My Hallam Story

John Butterfield, PE | Retired

I grew up in the world of large companies. My father was a mechanical engineer who had spent his career working for large multinational companies on construction and plant sites all over the world.

Growing up, Dad had a huge influence on my life. He used to bring me to job sites and patiently explain the equipment of the systems we were looking at. No wonder that I grew up wanting to be an engineer!

Dad’s engineering career occurred in an era when job hopping was almost unheard of. The advice to young engineers was, “find a good company to work for, and stay with them.” Many years down the road, I learned that this advice would still ring true!

Following in Dad’s footsteps, I spent the first 16 years of my engineering career working for large, multinational corporations (No, I didn’t work for a single company, but I did keep it down to three).

After a couple overseas assignments, and a stint in Pittsburgh, I moved back to Vermont to work for an international company who was building a new mineral processing plant. As the Plant Engineer, part of my job was to hire outside firms to provide engineering and design services for our various projects. During that time I became acquainted with a number of large and small consulting engineering firms. One of the firms that impressed me was Corcoran-Hallam Associates in Vergennes, Vermont. They were a small engineering firm who really didn’t know a lot about the type of industrial/process engineering that I was involved with. However, they were willing to listen and to learn. Corcoran-Hallam provided mechanical and electrical design for our ongoing process system upgrades.

When I moved to Burlington, VT, I discovered that my new employer also procured engineering services from the firm that was now known as Hallam Associates. During my time with this employer, I worked with Hallam-Associates on many projects. Some familiar names from that time were Chuck Rainville, Scott King, and Dave Hallam.

About this time, my career began to take a turn. My employer was downsizing their Burlington operations, and it was obvious that many of us were about to become excess baggage. I started looking around for other opportunities and mentioned this to Dave Hallam.

About two months later I got a call at home on a Sunday night from Dave and he said, “Have you ever thought about a career in consulting?” Being a person with a big-company mindset, this question caught me totally off guard (After all, why would I want to go work for a small engineering consulting company in Burlington, VT?). I spent a lot of time talking to Dave and visiting Hallam Associates’ office. The prospect of working for a small firm became more and more attractive. What appealed to me most was the opportunity to have a direct impact on my career, as well as the direction and policies of the company that I worked for.

I joined Hallam Associates on April 15, 1987. For the first two years I worked as an electrical and control systems engineer; primarily in the industrial world that I had come from. In 1989, Dave invited my former colleague Bill Fyfe and me to join him as partners in the firm.

My 29+ year career at Hallam Associates/Hallam-ICS has been extremely rewarding. I have made a lot of friends, and developed a lot of wonderful professional relationships with both my colleagues as well as my clients. Taking part in the growth and the successes of Hallam-ICS has been great. Over the past 29+ years we have experienced the inevitable bumps in the road; but our company has continued to grow, and to adapt to our clients’ changing needs.  Looking back on it, it’s been a great ride!


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