When they founded the company in the wake of the Second World War, it was not a goal in itself to grow into an international company. It was, in the words of B. J. Rambøll, "completely by chance that Hannemann and I – one morning at Professor Anker Egelund's engineering design office where we both worked occasionally – said to each other. ´What if we set up a little firm of our own?´". In his speech at the company's 25th jubilee celebration, B. J. Rambøll was even more specific and directly addressed his old partner: "I had just visited the university in the city centre (DTU). Hannemann and I had for some reason gone up to the flat roof – probably to look out over the liberated city of Copenhagen. I don't know if you remember, Johan, that we stood there on the roof and talked about the firm we wanted to establish."
Strength in unity
In time, it showed that the two engineers were a perfect match. J. G. Hannemann was the highly talented engineer, who was able to dissect any structure within seconds. His passion for engineering showed clearly when he worked on a daily basis at the office. Hannemann was notorious for drawing on top of the employees’ draughts with a fat, soft pencil whenever he explained or discussed something with them. To avoid having to redo the drawings every time he dropped by, the standard procedure became to cover the drawings with a piece of sketch paper when he walked in. On the other hand, B. J. Rambøll represented a strong humanistic and social visionary aspect, and was very aware of the company's role in the development of society.
"You needn't think we had such grand visions. We never imagined that we would be sitting in such a large circle as we are today. We almost didn't call it a firm, we just talked about how it might be fun to try to do a little design work on our own. While world history was evolving around us, a little local history of our company began to emerge," B. J. Rambøll has explained about the initial ambitions in connection with Ramboll's 60 year anniversary.
In the early days of the firm, broadcasting towers were the most important focus area. As B. J. Rambøll put it, J. G. Hannemann was "in love with steel", and he was the one who designed all the guyed broadcast lattice masts that were erected in Denmark and Norway during the 1950s and 1960s.
Ethical business is fundamental
Over the next 60 years, what started as a small partnership came to evolve into a large international company. The company grew to include engineering multi-disciplines. This small consultancy laid the ground for the Ramboll we know today. A highly principled company with a clear cut philosophy from day one. Ramboll and Hannemann had strong personal beliefs that led them to, in some cases, turning down business opportunities. Their convictions have served Ramboll well.
Ahead of his time, B. J. Rambøll was visionary. In 1986, he wrote down his management principles in a ‘Corporate Philosophy’. "The essence is that you have to behave properly and decently as a person and treat all others as you wish them to treat yourself. This relates to individual customers, colleagues and society as a whole. Being decent and proper does not only concern whether your tie is in place when doing business. It is about treating other people and society right in a longtime perspective," B.J. Rambøll has explained about the philosophy.
The high ethical standards, responsibility towards society and happy and content employees are still key elements in Ramboll’s approach to business. Over the years this Ramboll philosophy has proven to be right. The very first chapter of B. J. Rambøll's philosophy was about Ramboll’s employees. His description of the role of employer is still valid – and guiding us today.
Awareness of the human dimension
“Your daily work constitutes an essential part of your life. There is no denying that satisfaction – or, if you prefer, a feeling of joy – is a goal of every human being. With this in mind, Ramboll’s other goals must be seen as a way of achieving that single main goal – satisfied employees.
All employees must work as independently as possible, have the freedom of expression that generates a wealth of ideas, and have all the skills they can reasonably exercise. At the same time they must support one another, professionally and personally. The Ramboll family must be imbued with a spirit of trust and confidence. The firm will always benefit – both internally and externally – if the artistic touch and an awareness of the human dimension are evident in all its activities, its products and its services.” – The Ramboll Philosophy.
By accepting the fact that we are standing upon the shoulders of our predecessors, we continue to build the company upon the legacy created by our founders. Still today, we fundamentally believe in people’s inherent ability and understand the inspirational solutions we provide to our customers across the globe are entirely dependent on people’s creativity, insight and integrity. Our local experience and understanding, combined with our global expertise, our strong ethical policies and our wholehearted determination to exceed expectations, ensures we generate rigorous and exacting solutions for everything we undertake.