Ramer will continue to serve as the company’s COO, a position he’s held since 2017. He is the fifth person to lead the company since it was founded in 1955 by Glen Rick, a former San Diego city planning director.
Ramer has been with Rick Engineering since 1986. He replaces Roger Ball as president.
Ball had been president of the design and engineering firm for the past 15 years and became chairman of the board.
With a staff of more than 350 in three states, Ramer said his biggest challenge will be shepherding the firm through the waning days and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We probably had projects either canceled or put on hold, as a percentage, maybe 20% to 25% of our anticipated revenue last year was either put on hold or canceled. Some of that has started to come back,” Ramer said. “I think we’re kind of heading back toward our strategy of continuing to grow both in both public and private diversification.”
Fortunately, the company was able to nimbly shift from having all of its staff in the office to having everyone work from home during the early stages of the pandemic.
“We have some people comfortable coming back into the office. We’re not requiring people to come back to the office yet. When we get to that point, it won’t be the same as it used to be. I think it will be a hybrid with some people working remotely,” Ramer said.
About 150 people have come back to work throughout the company’s 10 offices.
“We’re watching the economy as we come out of the pandemic. Fortunately there seems to be a very high, strong demand for housing,” Ramer said. “On the infrastructure side, the public agency side is pretty unknown with a lot of agencies having to shift. They’ve had to at least temporarily pause funding.”
Still, Ramer said Rick Engineering is in a growth mode.
“All of our markets are having some need for employees and some growth,” Ramer said. “We have quite a few job openings right now that we’re trying to fill.”
Despite some uncertainty over how soon the economy will rebound, Ramer said that “All indications are the economy is getting better and there’s a lot of pent up demand post pandemic. That’s encouraging and the housing needs and infrastructure needs are always going to be there. There’s going to be ups and downs along the way, but I think over the long haul, there’s going to be continued business.”