Celebrating 125 Years of Service

Celebrating 125 Years of Service

Since 1894, Freese and Nichols has built an enduring company by remaining true to the philosophies our founding fathers instilled: taking care of our employees, providing excellent service to our clients, investing in our communities, operating ethically and promoting innovation. Throughout this anniversary year, we’ll be reflecting on key people, projects and events that made us who we are today.

But just as important as what we’ve built throughout our past is our future. We have thrived for more than a century by understanding and meeting our clients’ needs, and we’ll continue to anticipate and adapt to help you address your challenges in the future.

Brian Coltharp, President and CEO

125th Anniversary Page

Decades Description

By the Decade

Each month, we'll focus on a particular decade of our history. For a quick look at our 125 years, click here. For a more in-depth look at our history, see A Century in the Works and Continuing the Journey. 

125th Anniversary Page

1894-to-1910: Innovative From the Start

Freese and Nichols' first decades were guided by our company's founder, John Hawley, a scientist with a bachelor's degree in science and engineering from the University of Minnesota. John Hawley went to Texas in 1891 as an employee of Chicago-based McArthur Brothers. The company was hired to design and construct...
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The 1910s: Solving Water Supply Crises Here and In France

During the 1910s, Freese and Nichols founder John Hawley continued to flourish serving municipalities across Texas. Hawley laid the groundwork for White Rock Lake and Lake Worth, which would be used to fill the needs of two budding cities on each side of the Metroplex, helped found a state organization...
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The 1920s: Mr. Freese, Mr. Nichols and the Riverwalk

After saving a community from a water crisis abroad, Major John Hawley, Freese and Nichols’ founder, returned stateside to use his wartime experience in Breckenridge, Texas, which needed a new system of waterworks and needed it in record time.
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The 1930s: Still Delivering Through the Great Depression

The 1940s: Building for Victory in Texas and Louisiana

The 1950s: People, Plants and ’Pikes

The 1960s: Making Lakes and Becoming Environmental

The 1970s: A Growing Institution Focuses on Energy, Environment and Workplace Equality

The 1980s: A Chance Discovery, A Complex Emergency

The 1990s: The Wake-Up Call We Needed

The 2000s: New Regions, New Services

The 2010s: National Recognition, National Expansion

Notable Figures Description

Leaders and Legacies

We're highlighting the figures whose leadership, character and expertise have made Freese and Nichols into who we are today. 

125th Anniversary Page

Leaders and Legacies: Bob Gooch

Freese and Nichols’ Leaders and Legacies: Bob Nichols

Leaders and Legacies: Bob Thompson

Leaders and Legacies: Peggy Freeby

Freese and Nichols' Leaders and Legacies: Jim Nichols

Freese and Nichols' Leaders and Legacies: Joe Paul Jones

Freese and Nichols' Leaders and Legacies: Lee Freese

Freese and Nichols' Leaders and Legacies: Barbara Nickerson

When Barb Nickerson started at Freese and Nichols after completing her master's in environmental science at Texas Christian University, environmental staff at the firm had mainly provided support services for other groups, especially after federal regulations enacted in the 1960s and 1970s became increasingly integral to our projects.
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Freese and Nichols' Leaders and Legacies: Bob Herchert

As Freese and Nichols’ first-ever President and CEO without engineering background, Bob Herchert approached his new role with a business mindset.
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Historical Projects Description

Then and Now

We're spotlighting projects from our history and how they connect to the work we still do today. 

125th Anniversary Page

Then and Now: From Mules to Drones

Then and Now: Green Water Treatment Plant | Leon Creek Water Recycling Center

Then and Now: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Then and Now: San Antonio Riverwalk | Rodney Cook Sr. Park

Then and Now: TRWD’s Kennedale Balancing Reservoir, Celebrating Generations of Service

Then and Now: Arlington Stadium, MoneyGram Soccer Park

When Major League Baseball came to North Texas, Freese and Nichols oversaw the expansion of Arlington Stadium into a big-league ballpark. Design and construction began in October 1971 and were complete for the Texas Rangers’ first Opening Day six months later.
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Then and Now: Holly Pump Station, A Project Foundation

The Holly Pump Station was designed in 1892 by Major John Hawley, who'd go on to found Freese and Nichols two years later. More than 125 years later, the Holly Pump Station has expanded and remains central to the water supply for City of Fort Worth.
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