CHAMPAIGN, IL—Charles ‘Chip’ Craddock, PE, CEO and President of Clark Dietz, Inc., has retired effective on January 27, 2023.
Craddock joined Clark Dietz in 1994, initially serving as staff electrical engineer and was subsequently named Chief Electrical Engineer. He served on the board of directors since 2001, as corporate treasurer from 2002 to 2006. In 2011, Craddock was named Executive Vice President/Director of Operations while also serving as Director of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. In these roles he provided technical guidance and administrative leadership in the areas of project, business, and financial management of Clark Dietz. In 2017, Craddock was named Chief Operating Officer and in 2018, he also assumed the role of President.
“Chip joined Clark Dietz because he wanted to become part of an organization he felt he could have an impact on regarding direction and success. I think he certainly achieved his goals and feels it was an honor growing and leading an employee-owned company,” said Executive Vice President, Jerry Payonk, PE.
Craddock earned his Bachelor and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He later earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Craddock has been active in many civic and business organizations at the local, state and national level. He is a former National Director for the Council of American Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, former National Director of American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), past Chairman of ACEC Illinois and member of the Capital Development Board Advisory Committee, a Member of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers, and a Member of the City of Champaign Code Review and Appeals Board. Craddock also serves on the Carle Foundation Audit Committee, the Board of Habitat for Humanity – Champaign County, Board of Directors of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, as well as an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Champaign and Joliet.
In 2020, Craddock assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Clark Dietz, and in the following year became Chairman of the Board, guiding the firm with financial resolve and human empathy during the tumultuous Covid-19 pandemic. His defining leadership style included ‘fairness,’ believing that staff must feel that they are being listened to, especially when viewpoints are not in alignment.
“Chip has always heard what I have to say. When I realized how much I treasured Chip’s listening skills, I changed my behavior both in work and life to emulate his style,” said Executive Vice President and Wisconsin Regional Director, Mustafa Emir, PhD, PE.
During Craddock’s tenure, Clark Dietz experienced some of the firm’s best years of financial performance. His focus on process, efficiencies, and accessibility at all levels of the organization improved project performance, client service, as well as the bottom-line.
Craddock adds, “I thought we could improve our financial and project management processes, and I’m delighted that people gave what I wanted to do a chance and supported it… I think people bought-in, and we have a strong improvement in our project performance in part because of those process changes.”
Craddock’s lasting impact on the firm will be felt in the maintenance of technical expertise while providing service to our clients, benefits to our staff, and improved performance for our shareholders. He has imbued a sense of ownership among staff while preparing the firm for the future.
Incoming CEO and President Wes Christmas, PE, ENV SP says, “Chip has regularly stated that his job as CEO is to properly balance the resources of Clark Dietz between shareholders, staff, and clients. As I look to the future and my time as CEO, I will strive to maintain the balance Chip as so often mentioned to the benefit of all company stakeholders. Chip’s influence and approach will stick with me for the rest of my career.”
The entire Clark Dietz community wishes Chip the best in retirement.
Clark Dietz, Inc. is a recognized leader in transportation, civil, environmental, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering with over 130 professional staff in regional offices in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin.