History

Martin/Martin, Inc.
A History Of Excellence

As an Engineering Top 500 firm, Martin/Martin takes pride in the path we took to reach who we are today.

Martin/Martin, Inc. was established in 1988, as a full-service civil and structural engineering and surveying firm. While you have known us as Martin/Martin for over a quarter century now, our roots go much further back and include the legacies of two engineering giants.

Legacy of Milo S. Ketchum

D5-History4Born in Denver, Colorado, Milo Ketchum’s intellectual brilliance shaped the course of engineering and became one of the industry’s most remarkable engineers of the past century. He is also the original founder of our firm and teacher to many of our senior engineers.

Milo’s father was an acclaimed engineer who devoted his talent to fostering education – serving as Dean of Engineering at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois.  It was from his father that Milo understood his own passion for what would become a remarkable career in engineering.

A graduate from the University of Illinois where he earned his bachelor of science and master of science in civil engineering, and from the University of Colorado where he received his doctor of science, honoris causa, Milo became a registered professional engineer in seven states.  In 1945 he founded M.S. Ketchum and Associates in Denver, Colorado, the predecessor firm of the nationally acclaimed KKBNA, Inc., whose engineers went on to become Martin/Martin, Inc.

Milo’s passion for writing allowed him to articulate his engineering prowess through a series of books and articles tackling dynamic subjects that led to significant contributions in the field of photo elasticity, a pre-computer method of predicting behavior of structures. He promoted the value of intellectual property and the importance of tackling engineering issues with zest and individuality. His Handbook of Structural Details for Buildings became a widely used desk reference for many engineering firms.

From space frames to hyperbolic paraboloids spanning unprecedented spans, the significant engineering contributions of one man changed the abilities and foresight of many.  Milo lived his life as an innovator, author, educator and mentor.  Many were personally touched by his genius.  He taught engineers the importance of solving problems creatively – not just with formulas.  He approached his work with a certain gentleness that embraced the very reason so many have chosen engineering as a life career. Few make their mark with the grace and dignity of Milo S. Ketchum, Professional Engineer.

During the Ketchum era, the firm grew by adding talented partners and expanding offices to eventually have offices in Colorado, Utah, Connecticut, New York, St. Louis, Boston and Chicago. Things changed in the 1980s, as anyone who worked through that recession well knows, and in 1988 Ketchum Konkel Barrett Nickel and Austin  – KKBNA became Martin/Martin, Inc.

Combining with John A. Martin, Sr

D5-History2The second engineering pioneer that became a part of our engineering heritage was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1919. John A. (Jack) Martin used his analytical skills and intellect to shape the course of his life and it led to his becoming one of the world’s most respected engineers – the founder of the Martin Associates Group of engineering companies which came to include Martin/Martin, Inc. in 1988.

Jack was exceptionally good at baseball and parlayed that talent to enter the University of California/Berkeley.  He was also exceptionally good at mathematics and analytics and so was steered toward a degree in engineering while he played baseball. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1941 and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1943. From 1943 to 1946 he completed Reserve Officer Training at Annapolis, served in the U. S. Navy on the destroyer USS Russell in the Pacific and as an engineering officer on the carrier USS Antietam.

In 1953 he founded John A. Martin & Associates in Los Angeles, the start of a business enterprise that would ultimately become one of the world’s largest structural/civil engineering companies, and a career that Jack had grown to love. Jack became a registered professional engineer in forty-nine states used his solid understanding of concrete and steel to create complex, innovative structures that dot the urban skylines of the west. He lived his life as an innovator, explorer, mentor and amazing structural engineer.

The Future

D5-History3Companies tend to reflect the personalities of their leaders. Milo Ketchum’s and Jack Martin’s companies reveal a spirit of teamwork, a natural result of their passion for learning and long involvement in creative engineering. Their consistent and objective behavior inspired trust and fierce loyalty among those who work for and with them. The organizations they created also demonstrate a culture of helping others. We will always remember their generous contributions, both professionally and personally, as Martin/Martin moves forward into the future.