By Barry Trevarrow, Publications Manager - Corporate Communications

This voice was different.

It began as just another phone call to my work line. I answered, expecting to discuss an ongoing project. But when I heard the caller, I knew this conversation would change my day.

The voice carried the weight of a lifetime of experiences. He had seen and done far more than me. Yet he spoke to me as if he was right there in the room. He said my first name after I answered.

“Barry this is Willard Richardson.”


Now, that name I knew. This was the “R” in HDR. The electrical engineer who was recruited by founder H.H. Henningson to help lead our rural electrification business at a key turning point in the company’s history. I’d written about him a few times.

But he joined our company so many years ago – the 1930s in fact. He’s calling me?

“Barry I wanted to thank you for sending me the recent issue of your company magazine,” he said. “I enjoy reading them and like to keep up on all of HDR’s activities.”

We went on to discuss articles in that issue. I could tell he had read every word. He related some articles to past clients, and asked about current projects.

I did the math in my head as he spoke: he was in his ‘90s. Yet he talked with enthusiasm, asking me questions, measuring my answers.

Indeed, the conversation happened more than once. Willard would call every so often after reading the magazine, just to have a chat. I was never ready, but enjoyed every interaction.

He was known for his attention to detail, necessary for someone who became Executive Vice President and Treasurer of the firm.

This was detail I was honored to provide.