Robert "Bob" Benton was born and raised in the river bottoms of rural Scott County, Illinois. He remembers high school as being his first exposure to running water and inside bathrooms. After high school, Bob put himself through college and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1963. He recalls those college years as "challenging and rewarding."
After graduating from college, he began his engineering career with Casler & Associates in Jacksonville, Illinois. Bob later worked for City Water Light & Power in Springfield, Illinois, as Chief Water Engineer and Distribution Superintendent. Soon after he became the Superintendent of the Water Department.
Bob’s first project as a self-employed engineer was the result of a call from Ed Haggard, who was Winchester’s Water Superintendent. Bob prepared a plan and State permit application for adding fluoride at the Winchester water plant. He worked out of his home basement office in Springfield. The next project was designing and securing the State permit, and bidding the improvements to Winchester’s wastewater treatment facilities. This was the project that started Benton & Associates, Inc.
Paul L. Hansen
Paul L. Hansen, PLS, joined with Robert H. Benton to establish Benton & Associates, In. in 1970. Paul found some used office equipment for sale at a storage facility, and purchased other equipment and funiture to open the office at 505 East State on May 1, 1970. Paul previously worked at Casler & Associates, Inc. from 1961 to 1970. He became a registered land surveyor in 1968, and was in responsible charge for all field surveying operations until his retirement in December 2005-after 35 years of service. Paul served as corporate secretary for B&A most of his career. He received the Carter Jenkin's Distinguished Service Award presented by Illinois Professional Land Surveyor's Association. Paul Hansen's involvement in Benton & Associates, Inc. was essential to getting the company off the ground. Paul Hansen passed away on August 16, 2016.
Richard G. Rawlings
Richard G. Rawlings, PE, PLS, joined the firm in 1971 to lead the streets/highways department. Dick had a very active role in the Illinois Professional Surveyor's Association. Dick played a key role in mentoring the growth of many employees and served as a Vice-President for many years. Dick was essential in growing Benton & Associates, Inc. in our general civil role within the central Illinois area. Dick retired December, 2002-after 31 years of service. Dick passed away on July 15, 2014.
S. John Calise
S. John Calise, PE, DEE, joined the firm in June 1997, eventually taking over leadership of the environmental department from Robert H. Benton. He helped Benton & Associates, Inc. grow into new geographic areas and open offices in Missouri. John provided personal and professional mentoring to many of today's B&A leadership. John served as a Principal and Vice-President until his untimely death on July 19, 2013.
B&A's 50 Year History
- 1970: Benton & Associates, Inc. opened its office on May 1, 1970 in Jacksonville, Illinois, at 505 East State Street. At that time B&A had projects ranging from survey work, construction stakeout/observation, engineering reports, and preparing plans.
- 1974: Benton & Associates, Inc. was incorporated as a subchapter "S" corporation and remains the same today.
- 1975: We moved to our second office at 2001 West Lafayette Avenue, which served us well for 18 years. During that time we grew to 18 employees.
- 1981: Bob Benton was elected President of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE) and has had an ISPE license plate since 1981.
- 1986: Bob Benton was honored by ISPE with being selected to receive the Illinois Engineer Award for 1986.
- 1990: Reginald (Reg) H. Benton, PE, SE (son of Bob Benton) was hired as a full-time structural engineer. That same year, he was named 1990 Young Engineer of the Year by the Capital Chapter of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers. In 1991, he received the ISPE Young Engineer of the Year Award.
- 1992: We soon realized, with our then current staff and workload, we were in need of more office space again, and more staff. We held a groundbreaking ceremony on January 14, 1993 for the construction of our new office located at 1970 West Lafayette Avenue, which has 9,300 square feet. We moved into the facility in September, 1993.
- 2000: After 30 years of being President with responsibility for day-to-day operations, Bob Benton became Chairman of the Board and Reg Benton became President.
- 2002: We opened an office in Kirksville, Missouri at 713 North High Street to better serve our clients’ needs in the Kirksville and Adair County area.
- 2003: B&A acquired GPS equipment as a new tool for surveying services to increase productivity, quality and efficiency on our projects.
- 2005: We opened our office at 804 West Jackson, in Macomb, Illinois to serve our clients’ needs better in that area.
- 2008 Benton & Associates, Inc. pushes “Quality of Service” envelope by undergoing an “Organizational Peer Review”, a voluntary study conducted to identify areas of improvement and reinforce effective business practices.
- 2011: We opened an office at 806-C East State Rt 72 in Rolla, MO.
- 2018: Benton & Associates, Inc. was named the 2018 Business of the Year with 25 or more employees by Jacksonville’s Area Chamber of Commerce.
- 2020: Celebrating B&A's 50th Anniversary!
- 2022: 28 years after being hired as a part-time employee while still in high school, Jamie Headen is elected President of B&A while Reg Benton maintains his role as Chairman of the Board.