Our History

Our company founders, Joe Webber and Garry Smith, believed that there had to be a way of performing food & beverage industry engineering projects in a better, more efficient, and client-focused manner than they were experiencing with their employer.  And as they say, the rest is history. 

In March of 1978, Joe and Garry had a profound conversation while flying in Joe’s Cessna 210 back home to Lancaster, PA after meeting with a client in Memphis, TN. They were not happy with their jobs and the direction of the company they worked for. They did not feel the company was truly looking out for the best interests of their clients and many of the employees in the company were not happy with their jobs. Going to work every day was not a fun thing to do.  Joe and Garry felt there was a better way to both better serve their food industry clients while also having fun doing their jobs.  

During that plane ride home, Joe and Garry started planning a new company, WEBBER/SMITH Associates, Inc., and the vision of creating their own engineering firm grew.  The planning continued throughout the spring and summer of 1978 during evening hours and on weekends.  Their wives became involved in looking for office space, deciding on furniture, and lending Joe and Garry tons of moral support.  Their plans included a very detailed procedure manual outlining things that were novel in an engineering firm back then: things like flexible working hours, very liberal sickness and vacation policies, and an emphasis on having fun while serving the client with a “walk through brick walls for them” attitude. 

Finally on August 23, 1978, WEBBER/SMITH Associates, Inc. became a reality.  Joe and Garry poured almost all their financial resources into the company to get it started.  Garry put every dime he had into the new business venture; he sold his house and moved his very understanding wife, Janet, and their three small children into a rented apartment. 

From our first office, in a basement location, occupied only by Joe Webber and Garry Smith with a rented manual typewriter and a folding card table, the company has grown to become one of the premier engineering firms in the United States specializing in the design of food & beverage processing and distribution facilities.  With approximately 40 employees, and thousands of successful food & beverage facility design projects completed all over the world, Joe and Garry’s little dream has certainly turned into a reality.  Joe Webber and Garry Smith have since retired, and their legacy continues to this day. 

Over the years, we have sustained our business by constantly employing quality, experienced people, and high-potential recent graduates to our staff, adding new services such as process engineering to our menu of services, and promoting constant employee education to keep up with the latest developments in the engineering profession and specifically in the design of food-safe facilities. 

By providing great value and quality engineering services to our food & beverage industry clients over the years, we have been able to enjoy a steady flow of repeat work from many clients who have relied on WEBBER/SMITH to fulfill their design engineering needs on multiple projects and have parlayed this experience into attracting and serving new clients.  In our minds this is the best way for us to sustain our business, both now and in the future. 

We strive to keep the office operations as paperless as possible by constantly investing in computer hardware, software, employee training and being at the forefront of new design technological developments such as BIM (Building Information Modeling) which allows us to serve our clients in a much more efficient and accurate manner. 

We constantly invested in upgrading our facilities to provide the best working environment for our associates and our visiting clients.  In February 2013 we moved into our current beautiful, modern office with plenty of room for future expansion.  

We reinvest in our most valuable resource, our associates, through offering competitive wages and benefits, encouraging, paying for, and providing time for continuing education and supporting our employees outside interests and community involvement. 

Over the years, many larger engineering firms have made a run at buying WEBBER/SMITH Associates, Inc. but the owners have elected to maintain the ownership of the company, keeping it private, maintaining the fun atmosphere working environment that we have strived to create, and offering our clients outstanding service. 

Hired first employee, Patricia Snyder, Administrative Coordinator.
Hired first engineer John Spear, Structural Engineer.
Awarded very first project by Stouffer Foods in King of Prussia, PA.  to redesign a high-rise freezer destroyed by a fire.

Hired draftsman, Steve Shaub. Steve is currently a WEBBER/SMITH employee and owner.
Attended first food industry trade show – the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses Convention held in Boca Raton, FL.

Moved offices to 1921 Wheatland Avenue, Lancaster, PA.
Awarded first greenfield food distribution warehouse facility design project by Kraft Foodservice in Baltimore, MD.

Thermal C/M Services, Inc., Construction Management sister company is founded; Thermal C/M ceases operations in 2009.

Awarded first major greenfield food manufacturing facility design project by Stouffer Foods in Springville, UT to produce frozen entrees.

1985 thru 1995
Garry Smith started and operated a WEBBER/SMITH branch office in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Awarded first major greenfield dairy processing facility design by Associated Milk Producers in Stephenville, TX to produce cheese and butter.

Awarded first major greenfield bakery project by Bama Foods in Tulsa, OK to produce frozen biscuits for McDonalds.

Awarded first major greenfield meat processing plant by Normac Foods in Oklahoma City, OK to produce meat items for McDonalds.

Anthony Schneider, Refrigeration Engineer, becomes our first employee to retire.

Founder Garry Smith is appointed Chairman; Joe Barker is appointed President & CEO.

Local Lancaster newspaper highlights our global presence.
Co-Founder Joe Webber retires.

Moved offices to 1857 William Penn Way, Lancaster, PA.

Joe Barker, President of WEBBER/SMITH Associates, Inc. retired.
Keith Shollenberger, P.E. is appointed President.

AE Design, Inc. was acquired (AED was formed in 1995 by FDI founder Joe Shaffer).

First Building Information Model (BIM) designed project – our standard design methodology ever since.

Awarded first foreign greenfield dairy manufacturing facility project by Toni Dairy in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Moved to offices to current location – 20 Wright Avenue, Lititz, PA 17543.

EA Design Concepts, Inc. was founded.

Garry Smith, Founder & Chairman retires.

Celebrating our 40th Year Anniversary.