Engineering Firm Nowak & Fraus Celebrates 50th Anniversary

(Pontiac, Michigan – March 11, 2019) – This year Nowak & Fraus Engineers (NFE), an award-winning consulting and engineering firm based in Southeast Michigan, will celebrate 50 years of providing excellent civil engineering, land surveying and land planning services. Started in 1969 by Harold Nowak and Jim Fraus, the firm has successfully provided services to several thousand clients, most of them repeat, over its 50-year history, and has grown to a professional staff of 80+ engineers, surveyors, CADD technicians and administrative personnel.
“While our firm has changed a great deal since 1969, I believe that our 50th anniversary is testimony to two important constants here at Nowak & Fraus – outstanding customer service for our clients and a family-like atmosphere for our employees,” stated Chad Findley, Managing Partner of NFE.
The firm’s humble beginnings started in a one-room, smoke-filled office located between two cemeteries along Rochester Road on Dewey Street in Royal Oak. Its roster included the two founders, Harold Nowak and Jim Fraus, one land surveying technician and a part-time receptionist.
Due to growth, the firm occupied two other offices in Royal Oak. The third office was on Stephenson Highway and was the firm’s headquarters for 28 years. In 2001, the Pontiac office which opened in 1994 relocated to 46777 Woodward Avenue, and in 2008, this office became NFE’s headquarters.
Today NFE still calls its Pontiac office headquarters and has a second office in downtown Detroit on W. Adams Avenue. NFE operates as a partnership and is headed by three managing principals: Chad L. Findley, PE, PS; Timothy L. Germain, PE; and Jeffrey J. Huhta, PE, PS.
NFE has performed work in nearly every community in Southeast Michigan and serves in the capacity of consulting engineer to ten municipalities with the average years of continuous service being 25. Cities NFE has continuously served for over 35 years include Madison Heights (since 1977), Huntington Woods (since 1980) and Hazel Park (since 1984).
In the private sector, NFE’s work has included developments for office/industrial, healthcare, education, residential, financial, retail, recreation, religious and restaurants. As one of its most significant achievements, NFE has worked on the development of the Golden Corridor which is Big Beaver Road from just west of Coolidge Highway to John R. Road in the city of Troy. NFE’s work has included over 150 projects within this 4.5 mile stretch of Big Beaver. The work continues today with a mixed-used development at the corner of Big Beaver and Crooks, featuring an 8-story parking lot, apartments, retail and restaurants.
NFE’s foundering fathers knew that to keep a company going staff retention and attracting new engineers is vital. They created a family-like atmosphere which is still in place today. Nearly one-half of the firm’s staff has been with NFE for more than 10 years with 16 employees having 20+ years, and last year alone, NFE hired three new engineers and two new surveyors after receiving their degrees.
“We have many long-term employees as well as newer employees who have made a tremendous impact on our company and the communities in which they live and work. It’s these people that make our company great, and without them, we would never have made our 50th anniversary,” said Tim Germain, Managing Partner of NFE.
Technological Advancements
NFE’s greatest growth over the years has been in the technology field. When NFE started, plans were done by hand on a drafting board, and surveying was done with transits and measuring tapes. As technology advanced, NFE stayed ahead of the curve, and at one point, back in the early 1990’s, had two shifts utilizing two computers with the latest CAD software available at the time.
Today NFE utilizes the latest advances in engineering and surveying equipment technology and software. All of NFE’s engineers are equipped with state-of-the-art computers with the latest CAD programs. Our survey crews are equipped with reflectorless and robotic total stations, along with laptop computers.
“I often tell people that if all we do at NFE is produce plans, what a failure we will be,” stated Jeff Huhta, Managing Partner of NFE. “Life is bigger than plans, bigger than projects. It’s about having an impact on the community. Our company is a success because we touch lives.”
About NFE
Incorporated in 1969, NFE provides professional civil engineering, land surveying, land planning and development, transportation/MDOT, landscape architecture, environmental, and construction engineering services. NFE is the go-to professional firm for municipal/public sector consulting as well as private sector development and is the proud recipient of many industry awards. For more information, please visit or call 248-332-7931.