Ricky Smith named president at R.A. Smith National

Rick Smith transitioning to CEO

Richard "Ricky" Smith, Jr.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:22 am

Richard “Ricky” Smith, Jr.

Richard Smith, Jr. (Ricky) has been named president at Brookfield-based civil engineering firm R.A. Smith National Inc.

His father, Richard (Rick) Smith, 67, will transition to chief executive officer, providing advice and assistance to Ricky while focusing on special projects. The change will take place Jan. 1, 2018.

Ricky, 38, has more than 15 years of experience at R.A. Smith, most recently as director of the land development services division, managing operations in Brookfield; Irvine, California; and Naperville, Illinois. He holds a bachelor’s in civil engineering and economics from Northwestern University.

Richard “Rick” Smith

“I actually had wanted to transition earlier but the recession hit and we, at that time, had to devote all of our attention to keeping the firm strong and looking for opportunities during the recession to continue to maintain the level of work that we had, as well as continue to grow,” Rick said.

While they evaluated other alternatives, such as a sale, the Smiths ultimately decided to keep the business in the family.

“I wanted to continue to have the company be independent and family owned, so there were discussions with my son, who had joined the company in 2001, whether or not his strong interest was in maintaining the ownership and leadership of the company,” Rick said.

Rick Smith founded R.A. Smith in 1978. It has about 195 employees at offices in Brookfield, Cedarburg, Appleton, Madison, Naperville, Irvine and Oakmont, Pennsylvania. The company offers consulting services from civil and structural engineers, land surveyors, development managers, landscape architects and ecologists.

“My main goal in running the company is to continue to expand, both in the southeast Wisconsin market and on a national basis,” Ricky said. “I think the other important thing is just to ensure that the company remains relevant in the future” through continuous improvement and by offering an attractive work environment.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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