In September 1945, John Morrison, Sr. turned a spare bedroom in his home into the office of Morrison Engineering Company. Starting a private engineering firm was a big risk, but after 15 years at the Montana Highway Department, John felt “it was time to make a change.” In a 1995 interview, John said, “In my work with the state and in the traveling I had done, I’d observed that in many of the Montana communities there was quite a need for improvements: to their streets, their sanitary systems, water systems, and the other branches of infrastructure to make them meet the needs of modern day conditions.” It’s important to note that John started the company to serve others. That legacy lives on in our mission: “To provide resources in partnership with clients to achieve their goals.”
Not only did the state infrastructure need updating, the returning WWII veterans would need jobs. Construction was going to be on the rise throughout the United States. After consulting some friends, John said the opinions on whether or not he should go forward were divided. Even though John considered himself qualified for “making a successful venture,” he was “limited in cold hard cash.” Nevertheless, he had the courage to start his new company. Within months, John was joined by his friend Joseph Maierle (pronounced like the word “merrily”), a former co-worker at the Highway’s Bridge Department, and Morrison-Maierle, Inc. was born. In a 1995 interview, Joe recounted that, “I was uneasy about leaving my job and a steady paycheck and getting involved in a venture that was at the time an unknown.” In the end, Joe admitted that he agreed with John that “the timing was right” and “after 50 years in business, I can truthfully say that that was the best decision I’ve made in my lifetime.”
Since 1945, Morrison-Maierle has grown to ten offices throughout Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Arizona; been ranked on Engineering News-Record ’s Top 500 Design Firm list for 21 consecutive years; and garnered many regional and national business and project awards. Both John Morrison, Sr. and Joseph Maierle have been inducted into the Montana Professional Engineers Hall of Fame (John in 2002 and Joe in 2006), as well as receiving numerous honors and awards from their alma maters and community organizations.