Stay in touch, Vic Rennie!
For long-time Hoffman employees, the retirement of Vic Rennie is a little hard to believe. It’s like Jon Stewart leaving the Daily Show: the end of an era. One of Hoffman’s most accomplished superintendents, Vic built an astonishing array of projects in his 47-year career.
As an engineering student at Oregon State, Vic spent three summers working as an intern for Hoffman. Immediately upon graduation, on June 6, 1971, he became a full-time employee. Over the next four decades he built projects ranging from heavy industrial power plants and sophisticated semiconductor factories to high-rise residential towers and Class A offices with master-craftsman level finishes. Vic’s work ethic set the standard for dedication. In addition to dozens of projects in Oregon and Washington, he spent several years in Alaska and also built major projects for Intel in New Mexico.
One of Vic’s particularly noteworthy projects was the Tri-Met Washington Park Station. Hoffman took over the work from another contractor that left the just-started project behind schedule and with a record of safety issues. The conditions were a challenge to say the least: at 260 feet below the surface, the light rail station was the second deepest in the world. At ground level, the work was carried out in the middle of Washington Park, which provides access to the Oregon Zoo and hosts over a million visitors each year. Vic helped develop an innovative approach to lining the elevator shafts that saved six months on the schedule and made the work safer to execute. By slip-forming the 260-ft vertical shafts, the team finished ahead of deadline and with an excellent safety record. It was another example of how Vic’s leadership helped get some of Hoffman’s toughest jobs across the finish line.
Vic’s contributions to Hoffman weren’t limited to his performance in the field. He was also a tireless supporter and mentor for younger employees. From rookie engineers learning the ropes, to superintendents facing new challenges, Vic was always eager to share his insights and offer words of encouragement. Hoffman superintendent Adam Bonner met Vic when Adam was a young engineer working for a design firm on a Hoffman project. He says he was so impressed by Vic’s “can do” attitude, that “As soon as I had the opportunity, I found my way to an interview with Hoffman and hired on as quickly as I could.”
Another Hoffman superintendent, Brian Grevious, says, “Vic taught me to let go of the idea that I could do it all. He said, ‘Learn to rely on your Hoffman team because they are the best. And always treat every employee with the highest respect.’”
Hoffman Vice President Bart Eberwein recalls seeing Vic’s leadership in action. “When Vic was superintendent on the $324 million Bellevue Tower project, we had a public relations incident. Some of the workers were reporting a “bad apple” or two that were using inappropriate language and harassing other workers. As company spokesperson I was asked to address Vic’s crew, mostly iron workers and concrete folks during the core and shell phase. It was a bitterly cold day and I remember that both my hands and voice were shaking as I tried to connect with them with a prepared speech that totally missed the mark. At some point, Vic stepped in and said, ‘Listen, if you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother or daughter; if you wouldn’t do it in front of your pastor or your father – don’t say it or do it on my job. Now go back to work.’ Problem solved. That was Vic. He ran his projects with dignity and class and set the bar Hoffman-high.”
Vic and his wife Kris will continue to live in Seattle, in close proximity to their five grandchildren. As he says, “it could not get much better!” Congratulations to Vic and Kris, from everyone in the Hoffman family.