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Real Estate Freese and Nichols names next president, CEO

Freese and Nichols names next president, CEO

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Freese and Nichols Inc. has selected Brian Coltharp the Fort Worth firm’s next president and CEO. He is serving as chief operating officer for 2016 and will become CEO on Jan. 1, 2017, replacing Bob Pence.

Coltharp most recently served as water practice leader, coordinating Freese and Nichols’ comprehensive approach to delivering across-the-board services to clients. He has established a reputation for outstanding client service throughout his distinguished engineering career, in which he has overseen several billion dollars in design and construction projects, according to the firm.

“I’m very pleased that Brian’s going to be our new CEO,” said Pence. “He brings the leadership and the people skills that are very critical for a CEO. His success as Water Practice Leader and in project management have been outstanding, and he has a really strong background in maintaining client relationships. He’s going to do a great job.”

Coltharp has been with Freese and Nichols for his entire career, joining the firm in 1992 shortly after receiving a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Pence will step down at the end of 2016 after serving as CEO since January 2002. Under his leadership, Freese and Nichols has experienced significant growth, nearly doubling its workforce and more than tripling its annual revenue. The company opened nine offices across Texas and expanded into North Carolina and Oklahoma; it also added services in urban planning, oil and natural gas, and coastal engineering. Additionally during Pence’s tenure, Freese and Nichols received national honors for ethics and for employee satisfaction, and in 2010, it became the first engineering/architecture firm to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Ron Lemons, who served as chief operating officer from 2002 to 2015, has transitioned to a new role in Freese and Nichols’ water practice. An internationally recognized expert in water resources and dams, Lemons will work with water districts and river authorities throughout Texas and nationwide, a key component of the firm’s business.

Freese and Nichols is a full-service professional consulting firm, that offers engineering, architecture, environmental science, planning, energy, program management and construction services. The firm was founded in 1894. 


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