100 Best

Being named the best at something is special.  And that is exactly how we feel today as we are honored as one of the Oregon Business Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon – 2017”.  This ranking collects data from surveyed employees across three different company sizes (small, medium and large) with survey questions in the following 5 primary categories:

  • Work Environment
  • Management & Communication
  • Decision-Making & Trust
  • Career Development & Learning
  • Benefits & Compensation

Responding employees across Oregon ranked their company’s performance in each of these categories.  CIDA – all 32 people strong today (28 people at the time of survey) – compiled a scoring landing us within the Top 33 small companies in Oregon.

Work Environment:

Two things at the core of CIDA’s history and values helped us rank high with our employees in this category – work/family/personal/community life balance – and – fun at work.

We value the contributions that a well rounded employee brings to the office.  This includes understanding that soccer practice, sick days and family vacations should not be work place stressers.  That participating in your community connects employees with those around us, including those in and out of our industry.

Having fun at work was always part of the plan for CIDA – it was in David’s original business plan.  If you’re not having fun at what you do and who you do it with, the burn out comes quick, the stress levels rise and the turnover increases.  The happy hours keep getting planned, and the April Fool’s jokes are in the works.

Management & Communication:

Fair treatment and respect by management only breeds more trust and confidence around the work place.  CIDA has a been guided for the past 25 plus years by a principal team founded on accessibility and approachability.  They are never locked up in a private corner office but rather part of the open office studio.  Today Jennifer, and David before her, as well as the principals are an active part of the daily operations of CIDA, not just the management but the lunch room discussions, the remodels and relocating of desks, the long hours to finish deadlines and on and on.

CIDA’s management through the years has been guided by the principle that “leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.”  This was evident recently when a client of over a year didn’t realize that Jennifer was the president of the company simply by her attitude and active role in their project.

Decision-Making & Trust:

CIDA has always placed an importance on employee involvement within the company.  Its not uncommon for new employees to become involved in additional roles of management that encourages company and business engagement throughout the company.  This may including highlighting an employee’s strengths in graphic design to assist with redesigning the company website or holiday card.  It may be their personality would fit nicely within a marketing group or part of an industry organization.

With involvement comes understanding of management decisions.  Which in turn lends to shared responsibility, mutual accountability and a buildup of pride in what we are all apart of.

Career Development & Learning:

Architecture and Engineering professions by nature are setup to guide individuals from intern to licensure.  However, not all firms look to encourage advancement in the same way, instead focused on interns ability to draft the same type of detail for 3 years of their internship.

CIDA encourages development with our studio environment where employees learn all aspects of the industry and business from their manager and our interdisciplinary team requires cross discipline coordination early in employment.  In addition CIDA supports our employees through financial support for continuing education, organizational dues, study materials, and even college programs.

Beyond guiding interns through career advancement, CIDA supports employees that look to develop new skills, new project types or services to clients.  For CIDA this includes recently adding senior and assisted living projects to our portfolio as well as development of a market to support property owners in eminent domain acquisitions.

Benefits & Compensation:

Pay and benefits are a major part of selecting where a person may work.  The A&E industry and the Portland Metro area have become incredibly competitive in recent years.  Throughout CIDA’s growth our compensation and benefits have been a large part of our ability to land talented individuals and maintain our existing employees.

In addition to the family/personal and work/professional life balance, CIDA offers some of the best options for health insurance available with multiple options to ensure employee fit for needs and costs.  Retirement plans aren’t just offered, they are actively encouraged by the principal group with employer contributions.


The benefit of these types of surveys is not just the recognition of our success.  It is also a time of reflection and continued growth.  To have this data and not look to improve would be foolish.  CIDA will continue to grow and get better.  While it is nice to be recognized as one of the top companies in Oregon, our primary goal is to be the BEST company for our team.

It takes special employees that truly enjoy who they work with and what they work for.  CIDA is lucky to have a staff full of this type of employee.  We thank them for supporting us and making CIDA what we are today.  We thank those employees that shaped the company in the early years and those here today (some from the early years still) that continue to guide our company with integrity and pride.


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