Origin Design Marks 40-Year Anniversary

Dubuque, IA—Origin Design (formerly IIW) marks its 40th year in business this month.

On February 1, 1982, Denny Waugh and Carl Schoenhard, Jr. founded Origin Design, then known as IIW Associates P.C., a five-person land survey and civil/structural engineering consulting firm. 

“My goal at the time was to be one of the best engineering firms in Northeast Iowa and I think that goal was accomplished,” said Denny Waugh, PE, Co-Founder and Technical Advisor for Origin Design, as he reflected on when the company was founded. 

Denny Waugh and Carl Schoenhard, Jr.
Denny Waugh and Carl Schoenhard, Jr.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the company saw tremendous growth with a focus on expanding their staff and the services they offered to their clients, including the addition of municipal engineering, traffic & transportation, water resources, land development, architecture and field services. 

“I’m incredibly thankful for our former and current employees as they’ve shaped us into the well-respected and sought-after firm that we are today,” added Pat Ready, PE, President & CEO of Origin Design.

Some of the other more recent milestones in the company’s 40-year history include:

  • In 1999, Carl retired and sold his controlling interest in the company to the employees.
  • In 2010, the company expanded by opening a branch office in Davenport to better serve its clients in the Quad Cities area.
  • In 2018, Denny retired and the following year the company became 100% employee-owned.
  • In 2021, IIW rebranded and changed its name to Origin Design, and relocated its corporate headquarters to downtown Dubuque.

“When I retired in 2018, I felt really good about all the young talent here. It’s great to see them continue the success of the firm,” said Waugh.

Today, Origin Design is a 100% employee-owned, full-service professional design firm with more than 75 employees. Since 1982, the company has built a reputation of delivering impactful, sustainable solutions to help the clients and communities they work with thrive and grow. 

For 40 years, we’ve had the fortune of partnering with wonderful clients who put their trust in us. We don’t take those partnerships for granted and we continue to be thankful and humbled every time a client gives us the opportunity to serve them.

Pat Ready, PE President & CEO


Follow our journey.

Marc Ruden is celebrating 15 years with Origin Design. Congrats, Marc! We're lucky to have you on our #origincrew and we can't wait to see what you'll accomplish in the next 15!

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Steve Fuerst is celebrating 25 years with Origin Design. Congrats, Steve! We're lucky to have you on our #origincrew!

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We can't think of a better way to get together with our employee owners than Arcade Games & Gino's East Pizza. We had a great time seeing our employee owners & their families at our Backpocket Event this past Wednesday. Thanks to our awesome Employee Relations committee for coordinating this event!

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A few of our employee owners attended Young Professionals of Dubuque's annual Symposium earlier this week. Shoutout to our very own Codi Putnam for planning such a great event!

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Mark Fassbinder recently rejoined Origin Design's architecture team! We're excited to have you back on our #origincrew and can't wait to see what you'll accomplish! Welcome back, Mark!

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Troy Wright recently joined Origin Design as our Human Resources Manager. We're excited to have you on our #origincrew & can't wait to see what you'll accomplish in your role! Welcome to Origin Design, Troy!

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We had a great time at our Employee Owner Meeting yesterday at the Diamond Jo! Check out these photos from our day together!

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In honor of ESOP Month, we're celebrating our Employee Owners all throughout the month of October! We kicked things off last week with Bob & Lou's Coffee, Magoo's Pizza and Candle Ready Cakes and we're continuing the fun this week! Stay tuned to see what else we get up to & to hear from some of our #employeeowners about why they love being employee-owned!

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Hey Cyclones! We're back on campus today for Conversations & Connections in the College of Design! Stop by and chat with Mat Townsley & Zach Thielen to learn more about Origin Design & our #career opportunities!

#origindesign #workingontomorrow #yourfuturestartshere

We're hiring! Are you currently enrolled in a Bachelor or Master of Architecture program? We want you to join our #origincrew as an Intern Architect next summer! Think you might be interested, find out more here.

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Welcome to Origin Design, Jeff Brummel! Jeff joins Origin Design as a Senior Relationship Manager working out of our #QuadCities office. We're excited to have you on our #origincrew Jeff & can't wait to see what you'll accomplish!

#origindesign #workingontomorrow #itstartshere

Are you attending the IRWA Fall Conference at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, today? Stop by Booth 65 to chat with Marc Ruden, Jim Bousley, Chris Becklin and John Berns to learn more about what Origin Design can do for you!

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