A Brief History
of the Firm
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)
A Brief History of the Firm
RJR Engineering, P.C. was founded in 1996 as Robert J. Runge II Consulting Engineers. Formed around the capabilities of Robert J. Runge, P.E., the company primarily provided civil and structural engineering services to support local design and construction projects. In 1998, the company moved to its current office location in Springville, NY and in 2001, Dana Pezzimenti, P.E. joined the company as Vice President. Dana brought a mechanical engineering arm to the firm, as well as important industrial clients. Together, Bob and Dana also leveraged their expertise and experience with Department of Energy legacy nuclear waste and environmental remediation projects and began providing engineering services to support operations at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) in West Valley, NY.
In 2002, RJR Engineering, P.C. (RJR) was formed to provide a more robust foundation for future growth. To better support our clients at the WVDP, and to further build a foundation for providing quality engineering services, our ASME NQA-1 compliant quality assurance program was implemented in 2003. This enabled RJR to become involved in technically challenging and complex projects involving the environmental remediation of legacy and active Cold War sites across the country. Steady and sustained growth has allowed RJR’s original civil and mechanical engineering capabilities to be augmented over time by structural, electrical, and fire protection engineering, architecture, and other design expertise. These disciplines have created a true multidisciplinary company with a breadth of technical capabilities typically found only in larger firms.
In 2011, Joesph Lowry, P.E. was named President and the company became certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) – a designation which provides access to a variety of different Federal and State contract opportunities. To achieve further diversification, our engineers received forensic engineering training and the company began formally offering this service to its clients.
In 2016, a new office location was established in Buffalo, NY to house our new Civil Material Testing and Inspection Services. And in December of 2016, we added Non-Destructive Testing services to our comprehensive list.
The continued expansion of the firm, led the firm in 2017 to rename and rebrand from RJR Engineering to the Encorus Group. This change was made to better communicate our new service offerings and diversified team of engineering, testing and inspection service professionals.
Today, Encorus Group stands as a complete and capable multi-disciplinary team of experienced professionals. Our firm is proud of its ability to “punch above our weight” and successfully compete with much larger companies on a diverse portfolio of projects across the country. We recognize that our role as a consulting engineering firm is to help our clients achieve their goals, and we approach every project as an opportunity to provide “Better Solutions to the Toughest Problems”.
Firm Leadership Team
Joseph Lowry, P.E.
Dana Pezzimenti, P.E.
Mr. Lowry is a multi-state licensed Professional Engineer with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. Early in his career, he developed a specialization in the use of computerized modeling, simulation, and analysis tools, particularly Finite Element Analysis techniques. As company President since 2011, Joe has been on the forefront of the recent maturation and expansion of services of the Encorus Group (formerly RJR Engineering). In this role, Joe has led the firm’s growth from 15 employees to nearly 50; offices from one to two; and operational divisions from one to three. Due to this growth, the company has been recognized as a FAST TRACK Company of Western New York in 2016 and 2017. Joe was personally awarded 2017 Young Engineer of the Year through the WNY chapter of New York State Society of Professional Engineers.
Joe believes strongly in the importance of maintaining a lifelong affinity toward learning. He has volunteered as a coach and mentor to a variety of Middle School and High School Science Olympiad teams and is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for his local public library. In addition, Mr. Lowry served in the New York Army National Guard, and is a graduate of the Military Intelligence Analyst program at Fort Huachuca, AZ. He served as an All-Source Intelligence Analyst with the 27th BSTB HHC until being honorably discharged in 2012.
Mr. Pezzimenti, P.E. joined the firm in 2001 and is a Mechanical Engineer licensed in New York, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. Dana is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo and oversees the Encorus Group's mechanical engineering team as well as all design operations. He has led projects for the West Valley Demonstration Project, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM, and a number of manufacturers and fabricators. Through communication and integration with staff, clients, and project stakeholders, Dana is able to present clients with better solutions to the toughest problems.
Mr. Tomczyk has been an integral part of the Encorus Group's growth since he joined the firm in 1999. Brian is a graduate of the University at Buffalo with a degree in Business Administration focused on Accounting and Management Information Systems. In his role as Director of Operations, he oversees the day-to-day functions of finance, information technology, human resources and office management. In addition, Mr. Tomczyk has responsibilities for contract review, contract management, and long-term financial planning.
Mr. Opp joined the firm in 2017 after holding similar marketing and business development roles within architecture, engineering and specialty lighting firms over several years. His role at the Encorus Group is to lead the firm's marketing, communications and business development activities. With over 30 years of experience in design, branding and marketing communications, Kevin holds a Bachelors in Design from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters in Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is an active member in the Society of Marketing Professional Services organization as well as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. Mr. Opp holds the position of Vice-Chair of the Board for Ten Thousand Villages, Williamsville, and has served as an adjunct instructor, teaching graphic design courses at local universities and colleges since 1989.
716.592.3980 ext 148
Mr. Handzlik brings over 30 years of experience to the position. With a degree in Applied Science in Civil Engineering from Erie Community College, Jim’s career has focused on civil and NDE inspections. He has led several large projects in the nuclear industry, including the National Enrichment Facility in Eunice, New Mexico, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Savannah River Protection Project, Waste Treatment Plant for Bechtel and the Department of Energy. Jim also led the quality control process for two new nuclear builds in South Carolina and Georgia at the Lake Charles, Louisiana Fabrication Facility for CB&I.
Keith graduated from Clarkson University with a degree in mechanical engineering and has extensive experience with asset integrity evaluations, non-destructive testing and regulatory compliance. He has a background in helping clients to add value, increase reliability, and reduce costs of operation. Mr. Taylor holds API-510, 570 & 653 inspector certifications, is an AWS Certified Welding Inspector and is trained in Six Sigma and Reliability Centered Maintenance methodologies. Keith has helped clients across the country find practical, cost effective solutions to asset integrity problems.
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business
Encorus Group is verified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) at both the federal and New York State levels. The purpose of the SDVOSB Procurement Program is to provide procuring agencies with the authority to set acquisitions aside for exclusive competition among SDVOSB concerns. In 2015, Governor Cuomo authorized state agencies to utilize SDVOSBs for discretionary purchases up to $200,000, similar to the Minority and Women Owned Business programs already in place for many years. In fact, many of the contracting and procurement policies applying to small disadvantaged businesses have recently been expanded to include SDVOSBs. This allows SDVOSBs the opportunity to play a greater role in the state’s economy by increasing their participation in contracting opportunities.
As of April 1, 2016, all NYS agencies and authorities are required to reach the 6% SDVOSB usage goal. Encorus Group has a wealth of experience working with federal and state agencies, as well as higher education institutions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you reach that goal on your projects.