Remembering Barclay Simpson

On Saturday evening, Barclay Simpson passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family. He was 93 years old. With Barc’s passing, Simpson Strong-Tie has lost a beloved and inspirational leader. Our country has lost a generous philanthropist, visionary and great American entrepreneur. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know and work with Barc have lost a dear friend, champion and guide.

Barc’s contributions to the construction industry, non-profit community and our employees are immeasurable. He instilled the core values — our “Secret Sauce” — that have made Simpson Strong-Tie a unique and inspiring place to work and have built our reputation as a quality, trusted manufacturer and solid corporate citizen.

Barclay Simpson

The first time I met Barc was less than a week after I started working in the R&D department. I was meeting with a product manager and Barc was walking by, so he stopped in to say hello. We introduced ourselves and chatted for a few minutes. I told him about my work experience, where I went to school, what I was working on, and he even asked where I grew up. He was genuinely interested in getting to know me, which made me feel welcome.

I later noticed that Barc usually parked at the end of the building furthest from his office. He would take a different path through the building – sometimes through engineering, other times he would walk through marketing, accounting, or even the connector test lab. Barc cared deeply for all of his employees, and the intentionally long walk gave him the opportunity to talk with folks.

He firmly believed that everybody in the company is important, and he took every opportunity to remind us. In the video, Barclay Simpson’s Nine Principles of Doing Business, Barc speaks quite passionately about dignifying the contribution of every individual at every level.

In the end of a previous blog post, I mentioned Barc’s 1974 list of Rambling Thoughts on Making One’s Fleeting Moment on This Planet a Pleasant One. In the context of that post, the thoughts of “Attitude Conquers All” and “Keep it light. It really isn’t that important” were appropriate.

Thinking of Barc and his legacy, I prefer this rambling thought from his list:

Strive to have a POSITIVE EFFECT upon those lives touched by your own.

Paul McEntee

Author: Paul McEntee

A couple of years back we hosted a “Take your daughter or son to work day,” which was a great opportunity for our children to find out what their parents did. We had different activities for the kids to learn about careers and the importance of education in opening up career opportunities. People often ask me what I do for Simpson Strong-Tie and I sometimes laugh about how my son Ryan responded to a questionnaire he filled out that day:

Q.   What is your mom/dad's job?
A.   Goes and gets coffee and sits at his desk

Q.   What does your mom/dad actually do at work?
A.   Walks in the test lab and checks things

When I am not checking things in the lab or sitting at my desk drinking coffee, I manage Engineering Research and Development for Simpson Strong-Tie, focusing on new product development for connectors and lateral systems.

I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and I am a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, I worked for 10 years as a consulting structural engineer designing commercial, industrial, multi-family, mixed-use and retail projects. I was fortunate in those years to work at a great engineering firm that did a lot of everything. This allowed me to gain experience designing with wood, structural steel, concrete, concrete block and cold-formed steel as well as working on many seismic retrofits of historic unreinforced masonry buildings.