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History

A Foundation of Thinkers

At Freese and Nichols, we are proud of our history. Looking back over our 120-plus years, we see how innovative and practical our founders were, and we strive to maintain the spirit of innovation today. We invite you to read more of the Freese and Nichols story in our two history books: A Century in the Workscovering 1894 to 1994, and Continuing the Journey, covering 1995 to 2015.

1894

1894

1911

1911

1927

1927

1929

1929

1937

1937

1941

1941

1957

1957

1968

1968

1969

1969

1971

1971

1976

1976

1987

1987

2000

2000
2000

2005

2005

2007

2007

2010

2010

2013

2013

2014

2014

2017

2017

1894

Open for Business

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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

1911

Construction of Lake Worth

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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.

1927

Freese and Nichols Become Partners

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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.

1929

Paving the Way for the San Antonio River Walk

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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.

1937

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.

1941

Supporting the War Effort

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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.

1957

Leadership for Texas Water

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Marvin Nichols 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.

1968

Opening in Austin

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To provide a liaison with state agencies and legislators and to expand its coverage in Central Texas, the firm opens an office in Austin.

1969

DFW Airport Utilities and Roads

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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.

1971

Ready for the Rangers

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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.

1976

Freese and Nichols, Inc.

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Freese and Nichols incorporates, becoming Freese and Nichols, Inc., with Simon Freese as the chairman of the board and Jim Nichols as president.

1987

Richland-Chambers Dam and Reservoir

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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.

2000

Freese and Nichols University

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Freese and Nichols begins offering continuing education for employees and clients.

Expansion to Southeast Texas

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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.

2005

Skylink Begins Service at DFW Airport

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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.

2007

Diversification into Planning

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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.

2010

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

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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.

2013

National Expansion

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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.

2014

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.

2017

More New Markets

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Freese and Nichols expands its national reach by opening offices in Greensboro, North Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.