Authored By: 
Bend Office, 1 June 2020

View of Bend Oregon from Pilot Butte at sunset

There’s a Better Solution & The Math Checks Out

In the Summer of 2005, John and Stacey Fischer arrived in Bend, Oregon, agreeing it was one of their favorite stops on a 2-month-long road trip around the United States. John took a job on a framing crew but kept drawing calculations on plywood, trying to engineer better and better solutions. A few months later, that engineering company pulled John off the framing crew by offering him a job. For the next 5 years John was back to engineering, working towards his Professional Engineers (PE) license, all the while falling in love with Central Oregon. When John eventually started Fischer Engineering, he took on almost any building problems people would pay him to solve with math: hydroelectric powerhouses, penstock and tailrace buttresses, bypass pipe supports, concrete shoring design, and more. That's when he realized what engineering is really about: helping innovative thinkers solve design problems with practical solutions.

Brilliantly Innovative & Employee-Driven Company 

In 2011, after tiring of the consumingly mundane aspects of running a small business, John reached out to his former principal in San Luis Obispo Charles Ashley who, alongside his new business partner Truitt Vance, was revolutionizing what consulting engineering looked like on California’s Central Coast. Truitt’s journeyman-carpenter-turned-computer-code-writing-tech-geek optimism plus Charles’s clear-eyed understanding that builders and construction workers are the real heart-and-soul/bread-and-butter of the industry made for a brilliantly innovative and contagiously employee-driven company that John was eager to join. Ten months later, John was opening the Ashley & Vance Engineering's Bend office in a small building on the fringe of downtown. Shortly after, he roped in his indoor soccer teammate and veteran engineer, Jim Lord to lead the civil engineering side. As of June 2020, Ashley & Vance Bend has 14 project engineers who design, consult on and engineer thoughtful, practical and innovative projects in Bend and afar.

Bend’s Future Is Mixed-Use

A favorite project of Ashley & Vance Engineering is the new Bend office built in 2019. This 4,000-square-foot, mixed-use structure strategically maintains the area's historical fabric balanced with modern mixed-use concepts. Located at 33 NW Franklin Avenue, Bend, Oregon, the current AV Bend office is a proud example of the type of micro urban-infill that only experienced engineers who love innovative architecture and smart planning could pull off (with the help of an experienced general contractor, of course). Throughout this building process, Ashley & Vance discovered just how many other small businesses, fellow citizens, and city developers in Bend see the same potential and share our love for smart growth within the urban framework. 

Adjusting Our Aim for a Better Future

We are looking at Bend’s inevitable population growth through an optimistic lens, and we’re not the only ones. The potential for the city of Bend in the next 5, 10, 25 years includes smart development that adds value to the entire community. Smart developers are already jumping on board with projects like the Bend Central District Initiative, and Ashley & Vance Engineering is stepping forward to look for ways to contribute to Bend’s urban growth solutions. As consulting engineers, we have the tools to adjust our aim and help build a better, more inclusive future. We can help clarify what infrastructure and development challenges cities like Bend currently face, and we offer real, feasible solutions.

Big Ideas Are Coming

At Ashley & Vance Engineering, we have big ideas about smart growth and urban development supported by solid research and real numbers. We refuse to treat Bend - or any city for that matter - like a short-term investment. Smart money is in the long game. If we take the right actions now, Bend could be an exemplary city for smart development everywhere.