our story

Building and revitalizing our world since 1964.

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Our story begins



  • Soil and Materials Engineers Inc. was founded 1964 in Detroit, Michigan.
  • One of SME’s first big projects was awarded – the development of Westland Mall.

SME Expands



  • Ken Kramer, PE becomes majority shareholder at SME. Ken had a driving passion for building and revitalizing our world through insightful, economical, and practical engineering solutions. That passion continues to drive our firm today.
  • SME’s first regional offices are added in Grand Rapids, MI and Bay City, MI.
  • SME’s headquarters moves to Livonia, MI to accommodate growth of our team and the need for space for lab and drilling operations.
  • SME begins working on the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI.

New Services



  • Environmental, paving, and building materials services are added to SME’s practical solutions.
  • Lansing, MI and Kalamazoo, MI offices are added.
  • SME acquires Stoll, Evans, Woods to add significant geotechnical capabilities.

New HQ and Equipment



  • SME’s new headquarters is built in Plymouth, Michigan.
  • SME acquires its first Geoprobes.
  • SME acquires GR Kunkle Associates and adds environmental capabilities.

Growing to meet our clients



  • Ken Kramer, PE retires and Mark Kramer, PE becomes the President and CEO of SME.
  • The Kalamazoo, Macomb, Traverse City, MI and the Indianapolis, IN offices are opened.

Expanding into new regions



  • SME acquires EDP Associates to open a Cleveland office.
  • SME arrives in Cincinnati and Columbus.
  • SME is awarded the 2012 ACEC Firm of the Year.
  • Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, MI and M1 Concourse in Pontiac, MI help revitalize their neighborhoods.
  • SME celebrates 50 years in 2014.
  • SME returns to Detroit in 2016.
  • SME helps a client revitalize local communities through significant retail developments in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Colorado.

Building and Revitalizing



  • SME’s Fort Wayne and Louisville offices open.
  • Survey and Construction Engineering Inspection Services are added to SME’s offerings.
  • SME helps revitalize the former Pontiac Silverdome into a new Amazon distribution facility.
  • SME launches the Build+Revitalize podcast in 2021.
  • SME celebrates 60 years in 2024.

The meaning behind the SME logo

Big Logo

Purposefully derived from the nautilus structure, the SME logo represents converting natural materials into strong structures. This is similar to what we do every day!


The spiral shape showcases the insightful way SME is always moving forward and seeing beyond clients’ requests to view the overall needs of the project.


The warm color palette represents our passion for what we do.


The varying shades of blue represent the variety of our expertise.


The chunky ‘SME’ typeface solidifies and grounds the nautilus mark, like the foundation to a building.

Core Values

Slide Circle
Honesty and

We expect honesty and integrity in everything we do.

Slide Circle

We respect our clients, ourselves, each other, our suppliers, and the communities and environment we live in.

Slide Circle

We work hard for our clients, their teams, each other and our communities.

Slide Circle

We work together in strong teams to serve our clients and SME to achieve desired goals and success.

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Practical Solutions

We use our extensive knowledge, experience, creativity and innovation to provide solutions to our clients problems.

Performance Principles


We must own our commitments - to tasks, projects, clients, job, self and SME. Our personal commitment to own our responsibilities will motivate other team members to care and take ownership of their responsibilities.


Along with ownership comes the need for each of us to accept individual responsibility for our work, our team, and our technical and professional growth. Shared responsibility means that no one is responsible.


Paying attention to details is a critical part of everyone’s job and is critical for our success and the success of our clients. Avoid the tendency as we become more comfortable in our work or move to higher levels of responsibility, to think we no longer need to be concerned with details.


To properly manage our responsibilities and schedules, we must set priorities. This means applying self-discipline to ensure our focus is applied where and when it is needed and valued. We also must be willing to prioritize and say “no” before jeopardizing quality, reputation or relationships.


Awareness, open communication, and diligence are key components for knowing what’s going on with our clients, projects and organization. Open lines of two-way communication are critical. Both the sender and receiver are responsible to verify accurate and effective communication.


Serving our clients and supporting our teams requires hard work. Each of us must set a positive example of dedication that will motivate fellow SME team members to do the same. By maintaining a high level of effort, we will create a culture of commitment and achievement.


An essential element of carrying out an assignment is the need to check up on it before completion, then have it double checked by an independent, knowledgeable team member. Even the most dedicated and capable individuals benefit from peer-review.


Resist the natural human inclination to hope things will work out, despite evidence or doubt to the contrary. It’s not easy to admit that what we thought was correct did not turn out that way. Face the facts, make needed changes, and manage the outcome professionally.