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25-Year Anniversary

SynTerra celebrates the vision and leadership of Ruth Albright.

Posted January 15, 2021

Ruth Albright

Ruth Albright, SynTerra Vice President of Engineering, is known for innovation and her ever-present moral compass.

SynTerra is celebrating 25 years of Ruth Albright’s determination, leadership, and compassion. Considering her attention to detail, it’s fitting to say precisely when she came aboard: January 15, 1996. She started that day as a project engineer and earned leadership roles over the years. Ruth has been SynTerra’s Vice President of Engineering since 2012 and has served as the firm’s Corporate Secretary since 2009.

Ruth reflects on her years so far at SynTerra:

Reaching my 25th anniversary working here at SynTerra and soon to see my 35th anniversary of graduating from Clemson University, it seems appropriate to reflect on the events of these years.

It seems unlikely that I would have left an employer with almost 55,000 employees to go to work for a company with about 10 employees, but that is what I did. Over the years, we’ve done some innovative things, as well as the things that just kept clients, and our business, operating.

  • We bought, operated, and then sold a centralized wastewater treatment business.
  • We bought out the principal owner of this company and rebranded as SynTerra.
  • We sold a significant amount of the company to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Trust to provide a mechanism through which employees could earn retirement income from their employment without investing their own wages.
  • We landed a whale of a project and then shot up from about 40 employees to more than 100 in less than two years.
  • We acquired other businesses, hoping to grow our business footprint.

All along the way, I believe we’ve been true to our intents, which was to build a business that allowed science and engineering professionals to build their careers based on their interests.

Ultimately, all intents are aspirational in nature. We are never able to fully meet our vision because we each see something slightly different when we describe our wants for the company. Hopefully, the intents shine through, and both our clients and our employees see the opportunity and promise in our collective work.

Not to bring religion in, but a minister I used to know ended each sermon with the words, “Let us go now, into the day. For this is the day we are given. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. May it be so.” My hope for each of you is that you seize each opportunity for personal growth and see the hope and joy in our work.

Accolades and admiration

Ruth’s forward-thinking optimism has been contagious. Words flow when teammates cite her innovative spirit and leadership-by-example. Here’s a sampling:

Mark Taylor, senior consultant and long-time SynTerra teammate: “Ruth is a person with a big heart and a strong sense of right and wrong. She has been a moral compass for the firm, a consistent voice for those who might be overlooked or neglected, and the person who kept things straight. In her role as Corporate Secretary, she has tracked our growth, kept us legal in all the various states and local jurisdictions where we work, and maintained the company records in excellent condition. She deserves much of the credit for shaping SynTerra as it is today.”

Carlton Owen, SynTerra board member: “Ruth’s commitment, along with that of others in the company, to buy out the founder is the foundation on which SynTerra is built. For a quarter of a century, she has continued to give her all to make the venture successful. Servant leadership and all-in actions foretell a bright future for the company and its employee owners.”

SynTerra President Steve Precourt: “While I’ve known Ruth only for a few months, as opposed to the years many at SynTerra have known her, it’s been a real joy. I truly admire her hard work and commitment, and I envy her intellect and memory. I’m very honored to have been able to work with Ruth and congratulate her on this impressive, and nowadays rare, accomplishment.”

SynTerra is uniquely privileged to benefit from Ruth Albright’s expertise, leadership, and faithfulness over 25 years. We thank Ruth for her enduring service and for helping to make SynTerra an organization where doing the right thing matters most.