A Foundation of Thinkers
At Freese and Nichols, we are proud of our history. Looking back over our 125 years, we see how innovative and practical our founders were, and we strive to maintain the spirit of innovation today. We invite you to learn about Freese and Nichols milestones in our interactive timeline below, and read more on our 125th anniversary page.
Open for Business
Three years after arriving in Fort Worth to supervise construction of a new municipal water system, John B. Hawley becomes the first independent consulting engineer in Texas in water and sewer work
Construction of Lake Worth
Hawley, along with Fort Worth city engineer J.D. Trammell and Dean T.U. Taylor, head of the department of civil engineering at the University of Texas, design and direct construction of Lake Worth and the associated dam.
Freese and Nichols Become Partners
On March 28, 1927, Hawley makes Simon Freese a partner, renaming the firm Hawley & Freese. Marvin C. Nichols is named a partner the next year.
Paving the Way for the San Antonio River Walk
From their San Antonio office, the firm designs the Great Bend Cut-Off Channel on the San Antonio River. This flood protection project is now at the center of the San Antonio River Walk.
North Texas' First Air-Conditioned Buildings
Hawley, Freese and Nichols enters the air-conditioning business, forming the Texas Air Conditioning Corp. They install Chrysler "Airtemp" window units in Fort Worth's Hotel Texas and the Burk Burnett Building downtown, making these the first air-conditioned buildings in North Texas.
Supporting the War Effort
Freese and Nichols helps design Camp Bowie, Camp Hulen, Camp Swift and Camp Barkeley in Texas, as well as the Houma Blimp Base in Louisiana. The next year, Freese and Nichols provides design and construction supervision for the Pantex Ordnance Plant in Amarillo.
Leadership for Texas Water
Marvin Nichols, second from left, is appointed as the first chairman of the Texas Water Development Board. He leads the board for six years and is instrumental in developing Texas’ first long-term water plans.
Opening in Austin
To provide a liaison with state agencies and legislators and to expand its coverage in Central Texas, the firm opens an office in Austin.
DFW Airport Utilities and Roads
Freese, Nichols and Endress, as the firm is known in the 1960s, serves as associate consultant for the new Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport. The consultants design the airport's roadway network, water supply system, and industrial waste collection and treatment facilities.
Ready for the Rangers
Freese and Nichols oversees the expansion of Arlington Stadium into a major league ballpark. Design and construction begin in October and are complete for the Texas Rangers' first Opening Day six months later.
Freese and Nichols, Inc.
Freese and Nichols incorporates, becoming Freese and Nichols, Inc., with Simon Freese as the chairman of the board and Jim Nichols as president.
Richland-Chambers Dam and Reservoir
Richland-Chambers Dam and Reservoir, which Freese and Nichols planned in 1955 and designed in the 1980s, is completed. It provides 187 million gallons of water per day and is the largest lake in the system supplying Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
Freese and Nichols University
Freese and Nichols begins offering continuing education for employees and clients.
Expansion to Southeast Texas
Freese and Nichols expands its local capabilities in Southeast Texas by acquiring Walsh Engineering, based in Pearland. The 12-person firm had a strong reputation built on 49 years of service to municipalities, state agencies and industrial clients.
Skylink Begins Service at DFW Airport
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport debuts Skylink, the world's largest airport people mover system. Freese and Nichols was part of a team of consultants that designed the $864 million project.
Diversification into Planning
Freese and Nichols expands its urban planning capabilities by acquiring Dunkin Sefko & Associates. The Dallas-based consulting firm had been in business since 1973, serving more than 60 municipalities across Texas.
Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
Freese and Nichols becomes the first engineering firm to receive the Baldrige Award, an honor recognizing client service, strong leadership, strategic planning and sustained profitability.
Freese and Nichols expands outside of Texas by opening an office in Raleigh, North Carolina, followed by an office in Oklahoma City the next year.
World's First Envision-Rated Pipeline
The Line J, Section 1 Pipeline, designed by Freese and Nichols for the Tarrant Regional Water District, becomes the first-ever pipeline project to receive Envision® recognition from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.
More New Markets
Freese and Nichols expands its national reach by opening offices in Greensboro, North Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The following year, offices are added in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Charlotte and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.