Splashed across the front of HDR’s new global headquarters and on its stationery will be a fitting number: 1917.
That’s the year the Omaha-based engineering and architectural firm was founded. It also happened to be one of the few address options available for the HDR office tower currently rising at Aksarben Village. Officially, the mailing address will be 1917 S. 67th St.
When Chief Executive George Little learned of the serendipity, he said: “You’ve got to be kidding me. How coincidental is that? Or maybe not.”
Little talked about his overall excitement for the site during an event Wednesday that drew more than 80 business and civic leaders, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, Mayor Jean Stothert and partners involved in the construction project.
The gathering not only highlighted HDR’s future at Aksarben Village, but also paid homage to the past 100 years of the Omaha-founded company celebrating its centennial this year.
Ricketts read a proclamation naming Wednesday “HDR Day in Nebraska” and spoke of the company’s worldwide reputation and growth to nearly 10,000 employees at more than 225 sites.
“HDR has always been a great corporate citizen,” he said.
Also Wednesday, Little unveiled special license plates that commemorate the company’s 100 years. A portion of the proceeds from those who buy the plates will go to the HDR Foundation.
Fueled by contributions from HDR employees, the foundation started five years ago recently surpassed the $1 million mark for the amount of donations made nationwide to nonprofits, federally recognized tribal governments and political subdivisions.
Little also recognized pivotal points in HDR’s history, including the employee buyback two decades ago led by Richard Bell, who was among managers who put together a $55 million purchase with Omaha’s McCarthy Group to buy HDR from a French company.
Both Bell and Michael McCarthy were present at the event that was kicked off with a bugle call, the kind that played before a horse race.
The bugle call nodded to the history of the grounds where HDR soon will move (its current corporate offices are near 84th and Dodge Streets.)
Aksarben Village once was home to Ak-Sar-Ben race track and arena. HDR helped transform the racetrack grounds into its current mix of commercial, education and housing uses.
HDR will lease the headquarters from Noddle-Bradford partnership.
Little said he was pleased that all local HDR employees soon will be under one roof and will have on-site parking. The move is expected in early 2019.
“This site was just meant to be for a number of reasons.”