POULSBO — Herb and Elda Armstrong, owners of ADA Engineering, are retiring and closing the engineering business after 53 years.
Elda Armstrong said they sold the surveying business to DC Surveying, a new business made of up of ADA surveying staff, and the Armstrongs are leasing part of the building to DC Surveying. However, no one bought the civil engineering side of the business. The Armstrongs said the decline in the housing economy slowed down their business.
The last four years the buiding indusry has been in decline, and Herb said they were "tied in with that part of the economy." The firm had to cut its staff from about 15 people down to four beginning four years ago.
"The economy hasn't been very kind to this kind of business," Elda said.
Still, the Armstrongs will have plenty to keep them busy.
"I think we're ready," she said. "We're ready to have more time to do fishing."
The Armstrongs also run St. Mick's Tree Farm, since 1985, and will continue to grow and harvest trees as well as their vegetable gardens. They sell pick-it-yourself organic vegetables at the farm, and Armstrong said they donate their excess to Fishline food bank.
"I don't think we're going to have any problem filling our day," Armstrong said.
The firm was founded in 1960, and became ADA Engineering in 1967 when Herb Armstrong and Pete Degroot bought in as partners. Elda joined the firm as office manager and bookkeeper in 1986.
Herb Armstrong was the engineer on the original Anderson Parkway project in 1975-76, the reconstruction of Front Street in 1989, and the Fjord Drive slide in 2011. The Armstrongs are giving the City of Poulsbo engineering drawings from the past 50 years to the city, and have donated equipment and old maps to the Poulsbo Historical Society.
Herb Armstrong worked on a retainer as an engineer for the city for 28 years, from 1962 to 1990, in addition to his private business. Degroot retired about three years ago, and Elda said Herb has been battling pneumonia lately.
Herb said he has mixed emotions about retiring.
"I've enjoyed so much working for the city and with everybody in North Kitsap," he said. "It's kind of hard to give it up."