VIDEO: Seven former principals discuss CTA’s ‘Culture of Caring’

By: Travis Estvold
19 February 2018

A while back, CTA principal Mike Tuss had an idea: get in contact with former firm principals, ask them to answer a series of questions pertaining to CTA’s history and values, and encourage them to reflect on the past and future of both our firm and the entire A/E industry. Then put a camera in front of them, press record, and let them talk a while.

What resulted — I can say this with no exaggeration because I was in the room facilitating each interview session — is a motherlode of fascinating information from a collection of extremely reputable individuals, each with unique insight into what has contributed to making CTA what it is today.

L to R: Jim Wertman, Jim Shepard, Gene Kolstad, Mike Tuss, Jerry Baker, and Keith Rupert in a CTA Board photo snapped circa 1993.


  • Bob Fehlberg (1960-1987)
  • Gene Kolstad* (1977-2007)
  • Keith Rupert* (1979-2011)
  • Jim Wertman (1986-2014)
  • Jerry Baker (1988-2007)
  • Jim Shepard (1988-2014)
  • Dave Turner (1996-2014)

*After completing his tenure as a CTA principal (including time as president), Keith Rupert spent another seven years as a CTA team member, only retiring earlier this month after 42 years of service. Meanwhile, Gene Kolstad, another past president who served 30+ years as a principal, remains a vital team member today, adding to daily to his existing 52 years of caring for CTA clients. Read why the trophy accompanying CTA’s Integrity and Client Service Award is named after him.

No two interviews were identical, and in a few cases, history was remembered slightly differently. But despite their sessions being filmed separately, often many months apart and with no discussion amongst the participants, the same themes and keywords surfaced again and again. Frequently touched upon subjects were CTA’s omnipresent commitment to clients, decades-spanning relationships, examples of putting client needs before our own, and a strict adherence to the Golden Rule.

Hence, the first video culled from the interview footage is entitled “A Culture of Caring,” wherein the group discusses a thread spanning the length of CTA’s 80-year history, and the greatest indication of what to expect from our firm in the future.

Thank you so much to each of the gentlemen featured in these videos for allotting time for us to capture and preserve vital pieces of our firm history! Additional videos in the series will follow as the hours of footage are compressed (and set to music). But for now, please enjoy the first installment:

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