History of Cadmus

Like many successful companies, Cadmus began with the recognition of an opportunity. For Gene Fax and Ralph Jones, opportunity came in the early 1980s, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began signaling a change in its approach to doing business. Rather than enter into small, narrowly focused contracts of limited duration, the Agency would issue hefty multi-year contracts through which it could order myriad services to support its mission. That change favored large teams of nimble — typically smaller — contractors able to offer a full range of superlative services at reasonable prices. Large companies, with their greater overhead costs and other financial constraints, were suddenly at a competitive disadvantage.

The emphasis on multidisciplinary solutions implicit in EPA’s new approach mirrored the commitment to multidisciplinary problem-solving that Ralph and Gene had embraced while working at a large consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gene, an engineer and MIT graduate, and Ralph, a political scientist with a doctorate from Harvard, had quickly found they worked together very well and, more important, the experience, skills, and academic background of each complemented those of the other. When the time came to form their own firm, Ralph and Gene made this multidisciplinary approach a central tenet of how their new company would operate.

The Cadmus Group, Inc. opened for business in Watertown, Massachusetts, on May 1, 1983. The company’s name came from the Greek myth of a Phoenician prince who brought the alphabet to Greece, founded one of the great city-states, and became renowned for his wisdom and advice. “There was a lot more to the myth,” Gene once wrote, “but that was enough for us: a wise man who founded his own city and gave advice. ‘Cadmus’ it was to be.”

Like many startups, the newly formed Cadmus had to be adaptable to meet the needs of the varied markets it served. Its early projects had a distinctly social sciences bent; the first big contract involved evaluating a nonprofit’s performance providing job training and job placement services in Massachusetts. Similar work in Arizona soon followed. When EPA eventually sought proposals for a contract similar to one Ralph and Gene had won for their former employer, the entrepreneurs were ready; they won the new contract, and the EPA Office of Drinking Water (now called the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water) became a significant Cadmus client.

The years since are, as they say, history. Cadmus went on to become a leading support contractor for EPA, not only in the area of drinking water, but also in voluntary programs, indoor air and radiation, and energy efficiency. The company has also expanded its markets and service offerings and is now active in the areas of the built environment, energy services, and international development.

In August 2005, Ian Kline succeeded Ralph as president of Cadmus; Ralph remained at the helm as CEO. In his first two years as president, Gene said, Ian showed “great leadership and delivered excellent results.” In July 2007, Ian again succeeded Ralph, this time to become CEO as well as president. Ralph became managing director, a position he had held before.

Always profitable, Cadmus grew from a two-person company in the early 1980s to a dynamic and successful employee-owned consulting firm thanks to:

  • The vision and hard work of our founders and their successors.
  • The leadership of dozens of senior managers.
  • The hard work of scores of talented staff members in what continues to be a true team effort.

By any measure — staff size, revenues, profits, or industry rankings — Cadmus is a success. We are an Inc. 5000 company, and we repeatedly rank on the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 200 Environmental Companies and the Zweig Hot Firm List of the 200 top-performing architecture, engineering, planning (A/E/P) and environmental consulting firms in North America.

Our gains in recent years have come from an aggressive growth strategy that Ian developed and began to implement under Ralph’s leadership as CEO. Since the mid-2000s, that strategy has more than tripled our revenue, and we have grown to over $100 million. We acquired two firms on the West Coast that were prominent players in important markets: Quantec, LLC, an analytics firm providing research, analysis, and planning services to the energy industry, and Constructive Technologies Group, a multi-faceted organization focused on sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings and communities. Additionally, we acquired Obsidian Analysis, Inc., a leading provider of management consulting services across the full range of security and resilience domains. We also hired several leaders in the sustainability industry who will guide our growth in this vital market. And we put a major corporate reorganization into effect to better align our business efforts with the markets we serve and to position ourselves for further growth.

Our future looks as bright as our past has been stimulating. Here are some of the most important milestones we’ve passed along the way:

Cadmus opens for business in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Cadmus wins our first prime contract, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Cadmus opens an office in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., to better serve our federal clients.

Cadmus starts a 401(k) retirement plan.


Cadmus acquires Western Aquatics of Laramie, Wyoming.

Cadmus acquires Wade Miller Associates, an established support contractor to the EPA Office of Water.

Cadmus opens a West Coast office in Los Angeles, California.

Cadmus opens an office in Helena, Montana.

Cadmus adopts an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), making the employees of the firm its owners as well.


Ian Kline named president and made responsible for developing and implanting an ambitious seven-year growth strategy.


Ian Kline appointed chief executive officer succeeding Ralph Jones and continuing the transition to a new generation of leadership for the company.

Peter Jardine named to newly created position of director of planning and development to work with Cadmus’ executive team on various strategic and operational initiatives and functions including the integration of firms acquired by Cadmus as part of the company’s growth strategy.

Cadmus buys renewable energy credits to offset 15 percent of our electricity use with power generated from a landfill in New England.

Cadmus launches Corporate Social Responsibility services in two major categories: Business and the Environment, and Environmental Health and Safety Assurance.

Cadmus merges with Quantec, LLC, of Portland, Oregon, significantly expanding our expertise in energy efficiency and renewable energy, strengthening our place in the fast-growing energy services market, and enabling us to better help our clients address the challenges most affecting our environment.


Cadmus opens the Great Lakes Office in Madison, Wisconsin.

Cadmus begins buying renewable energy credits to offset 100 percent of our annual electricity use with power generated by renewable sources, avoiding estimated carbon dioxide emissions of more than 575 metric tons each year.

Cadmus College launched to bring all training in house, including quality assurance, technical training, project management and business literacy, and all required workplace training.

Cadmus joins other leading public and private organizations in reporting annual greenhouse gas emissions to The Climate Registry.


ESOP finalizes purchase of the remaining stock held by founders Ralph Jones and Gene Fax, completing the transition to total employee ownership that began in 2003.

Cadmus becomes a Sustainable Corporate Partner of the nonprofit Newton Marasco Foundation (now The Nature Generation), making a long-term financial commitment to the organization and its mission to work collaboratively on issues related to environmental stewardship.

Cadmus places eighteenth on Oregon Business magazine’s second annual list of the “100 Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon.”

Cadmus helps the historic building housing our Portland, Oregon, office earn a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating for whole-building sustainability.


Cadmus enters second decade as EPA’s prime climate change contractor.

Cadmus wins first major prime contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide global support services in environmental compliance and environmentally sound design and management.

Cadmus acquires Constructive Technologies Group (CTG) of Irvine, California, catapulting us to the forefront of firms providing creative, multidisciplinary sustainability solutions for the built environment.


Cadmus announces major corporate reorganization to aggressively expand Cadmus’ presence and impact in key markets.

Corporate headquarters return to Waltham, Massachusetts, and are located in new, sustainably designed offices expected to qualify for a silver LEED certification from the USGBC based on its energy- and water-saving equipment and practices, use of recycled materials, and other green attributes.


Cadmus launches Sustainable Transportation practice as a major market serving clients in the private sector as well as federal, state, and local governments.

Cadmus expands again, opening an office in Bethesda, Md. The office is located in a LEED for Core & Shell (LEED-CS) Gold-certified building.

Cadmus is ranked #96 on the ENR Top 200 Environmental Firms list and #25 on ENR’s list of All-Environmental Firms—firms that generate 100 percent of their revenue from the environmental sector.

Cadmus files its first CDP report, demonstrating our commitment to measuring and reducing our carbon footprint.

Cindy Shephard replaces retiring Chris Hitchcock as the firm’s chief operating officer.

Industry veteran Peter Trick joins Cadmus as an executive vice president.

Our Waltham, Mass., and Irvine, Calif., offices achieve LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) Gold certification.


Community partner Morrison Child and Family Services honors Cadmus with the first-ever Goldman Award, which is given to a community leader or a company that has dedicated time and resources to helping underserved children in the Portland, Oregon community.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments gives Cadmus an Employer Recognition Award for our outstanding sustainable transportation incentives.

Cadmus is named among ENR’s Top 200 Environmental Firms for the 12th year.


Cadmus’ New York office opens in downtown Manhattan.


Cadmus acquires Obsidian Analysis, Inc., a leading provider of management consulting services across the full range of security and resilience domains.


Cadmus awarded second Employer Incentives Award by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments for employee transportation incentives.

Cadmus made its 15th appearance in ENR’s Top 200 Enviromental Firms List.

Cadmus named to the 2017 Inc. 5000 list.

Cadmus again ranks on the Zweig Hot Firm List.

Cadmus Acquires Leading International Management Consulting Firms IFOK GmbH and Meister Consultants Group.