Frankfurt Short Bruza Notes 65 Years of Business in Oklahoma City with Significant Donation

Monday, April 30, 2012

by Laure Majors

OKLAHOMA CITY - On May 13, Frankfurt Short Bruza (FSB), a national award-winning architecture and engineering firm officially celebrated their 65th anniversary operating in Oklahoma.

FSB's corporate headquarters was established in 1945 in Oklahoma City and the firm now continues the tradition of Oklahoma ownership. First established by Bill Frankfurt and Glenn Short's fathers in the early 40's, Wally Frankfurt and Harold Short grew the firm over the years through high profile aviation, government, medical and commercial projects. "To be trustworthy, hard-working, locally-owned and nationally recognized, but also a good corporate citizen were key goals of my dad and Harold Short in their earliest beginnings," said CEO Bill Frankfurt.

A few notable projects from those early years include power plants at both OSU and OU, the first building for Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Norick Printing Press, Baptist Medical Center, Hospitals at Fort Sill and Tinker AFB, multiple projects for American Airlines in Tulsa and St. Lukes Methodist Church, which became nationally recognized for its architectural beauty.

In 14 short years, FSB ranked 75th among all national firms by Architectural Forum Magazine. FSB continued to expand and prosper in part due to the widespread application of air conditioning, which FSB engineers helped many businesses adapt to their buildings.

In the early 1960's the second generation of Oklahoma owners joined FSB. Bill Frankfurt, Wally's son, joined in 1966 as a mechanical engineer. Glenn Short, Harold's son, joined in 1968 as a fire protection engineer. Additionally, Jim Bruza joined the firm in 1963 as an architect and lead designer. Work continued to expand nationally for the firm with offices opened in New York and Pennsylvania for work with Bethlehem Steel and American Airlines.

In Oklahoma, work continued with projects at Tinker AFB, OSU, Central State College now University of Central Oklahoma, OU Health Sciences Center and Baptist Hospital. The firm also became active in historical preservation of Oklahoma buildings including saving the historic Hales Building and the old Huckins Hotel, both in downtown Oklahoma City. Also, during this decade the firm assisted then Governor Henry Bellman with plans to build a dome with a revolving restaurant atop the State Capitol Building.

During the 1970's the firm experienced another major growth period with several projects for Hertz Corporation, Conoco and was commissioned as the Architect/Engineer of Record for the award-winning 30-story Kerr McGee Tower.

During the 1980's and 1990's the firm continued to grow with notable projects for Mobil Oil, Conoco, U.S. Air Force, American Airlines, Federal Express and OSU's 21st Century Center later known as the Noble Research Center. FSB was also selected by United Airlines to design their $580 million Indianapolis Maintenance Center project, the firm's largest project to date.

MAPS in the 1990's brought new opportunities for Oklahoma City and then Mayor Ron Norick turned to FSB to help create a visionary masterplan for the revitalization of downtown Oklahoma City. The firm went on to be named MAPS Program Coordinator for the city's nine redevelopment projects and served nearly 10 years assisting the City of Oklahoma City in oversight for the $370 million program. FSB was also named AlA's Central Oklahoma "Firm of the Year" for a third time.

In 2000, as the state began planning for Oklahoma's 1 oath anniversary of Statehood, the firm had grown to become the state's largest locally-owned, full-service Architectural-Engineering firm. Governor Keating called on FSB to work on the first official Oklahoma Centennial project-topping the Oklahoma State Capitol with a dome. This was an extraordinary feat since building a dome on an existing Capitol had not been done in the U.S. since the Nation's Capitol in 1865. This once in a lifetime project for the firm was an honor to complete what had been started by early Oklahomans over 85 years earlier. This project received over twenty national, state and local design excellence awards making it the most decorated project in Oklahoma's history.

Other notable projects during this decade in Oklahoma were UCO's Forensic Science Institute, OSBI's Forensic Science Center, multiple projects for Devon Energy in Oklahoma and Texas, Asp Avenue Parking Facility and Huston Huffman Addition and Expansion both for the University of Oklahoma, Ann Lacy School of Dance and Tom & Brenda McDaniel University Center, both at Oklahoma City University and the McMahon Student Activities Building and Business School projects at Cameron University. Also several projects for the Chickasaw Nation and the award-winning OSU ConocoPhillips Alumni Center in Stillwater as well as multiple projects for ConocoPhillips in Bartlesville and Ponca City were completed. The firm has come full circle with the Kerr McGee Tower, now SandRidge Energy's new corporate headquarters and the resurgence of this downtown landmark.

The founding principals were committed to building a solid reputation on traditional values of trust, hard work and performance as well as giving back to the community. "A 3rd generation of principals is equally committed to continuing the founding principal's philosophy that have guided the firm since 1945. We are steadfastly committed to Oklahoma City, our local roots and the company's locally-owned tradition," said Gary James, FSB President. These new principals are: Gary James, Rick Johnson, Philip McNayr, Fred Schmidt and Allen Brown.

Over the years FSB has steadily built a reputation in the community for giving back. Through both in-kind corporate projects for arts organizations, prison ministries, and OKC Project Recovery soon after the Murrah Building bombing, as well as countless monetary donations the firm has had a long term culture of being civic minded.

This year in honor of their 65th anniversary and the formís commitment to future generations of Oklahomans, FSB donated 65 trees that now line the Great Lawn and Performance Pavilion area of the renovated Myriad Botanical Gardens. The 65 substantial oaks and red cypress trees, each marking a year in business in Oklahoma City, are a symbol of strength, sustainability and endurance that future generations of Oklahoma City will enjoy. This donation is particularly near and dear to the firmís roots and heart as FSB was the lead Architect-Engineer for the current Myriad Botanical Gardens Buildings project.

FSB is a nationally recognized architectural-engineering-planning firm in business 65 years. As a demonstrated leader in delivery of quality, full-service architectural-engineering services the firm provides expertise in architecture, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, civil and fire protection engineering, as well as interior design, planning and design-build services to create places of distinction nationwide. For more information, visit FSB at