CEO and President Bill Deitner leaves lasting legacy
Bill Deitner is retiring this week after spending his entire career at TKDA. His thoughtful leadership and sound business practices have kept the engineering, architecture and planning firm on a steady course of growth and success—he leaves as the company celebrates its best financial performance in its 108-year history.
Bill was the right leader for our firm that values long-term client relationships. His career spanned nearly four decades with TKDA with more than a dozen years as president. He was hired in 1979 just after graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in structural engineering. He started in the Structural Department and ended up leading it. He went on to head up the largest employee group in the firm, the Buildings Division, until he was named CEO in 2006. His role expanded to President and CEO in 2012.
Under his leadership, the company weathered the Great Recession, added approximately 100 staff and consistently grew revenues.
The company’s national footprint also expanded under Bill’s leadership. TKDA now has regional offices in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Chicago, Vero Beach, and Duluth, growing a diverse client base and expanding services across the country.
Bill has been a leader for the entire company. He spent a great deal of time traveling, regularly visiting regional offices to connect with the TKDA employees outside of the firm’s Saint Paul headquarters.
Every time the job took him outside of Minnesota, and he flew out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, he was reminded of the satisfaction of a job well done—his favorite project is the elevated roadway he designed for departure drop-offs at the airport’s front door.
Other highlights include decades of work and traveling across the country for some of TKDA’s top clients, including the Kraft Heinz Company, 3M, Honeywell, and HB Fuller. He maintained those strong client relationships throughout his career.
Bill also nurtured strong relationships with his colleagues at the 100 percent employee-owned firm. He was well respected and known to be fair and objective. His leadership style was transparent and accessible. His door was always open, and his careful, calm manner allowed staff to consider their CEO as approachable, willing to make time for their concerns.
While retiring, Bill will remain as a member of the TKDA board of directors.
In his last message to employees, Bill expressed his confidence in the leadership of his successor, Tom Stoneburner, who has led the Facilities Division for the past 12 years. Tom, a 30-year TKDA employee and respected firm leader, takes over as CEO and President on April 2.
Bill’s message also stated he hopes he has set TKDA in the right direction towards another 100 years of success. He thanked all TDKA employees for their dedication to the firm’s success, stating that dedication made his job so much easier.
“I will miss this place,” he said.
The feeling is mutual. One of Bill’s long-time colleagues summed up how the staff feels about Bill’s departure.
“He is a good guy. We are going to miss him.”
Thank you, Bill, for everything.