Tacky Sweater Contest Brings Engineering Firm’s Employees Together

(HOUSTON – Dec. 31, 2014) Who says engineers don't have a sense of humor?

Employees across various offices at civil engineering firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN) served up an extra helping of fun for the holiday season by donning their ugliest outfits to win a tacky sweater contest. Some dug through their grandma’s closet, others visited a thrift store, and some even scoured Pinterest to come up with creative ideas. Set up like a fashion show, employees cat-walked in hideous sweaters and regaled the audience with crazy stories. Winners received $25 gift cards and were memorialized in the firm’s Tacky Holiday Sweater Hall of Fame.

Sarah Strauss, said the event brought the firm’s senior and junior employees from different departments together.

“We also had a Kazoo contest with teams playing songs like Jingle Bells or Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer,” said Sarah Strauss, the firm’s senior marketing coordinator who organized the event. “It was just a fun and silly way to get to know colleagues from other departments or offices in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Dennis Petersen, LAN’s President, said his sweater came straight from his mother-in-law’s closet.

"We told her it was a 'festive' sweater party. We didn't tell her it was ugly,” said Petersen.

Hanadi Masri, who works at LAN’s accounting department, won the tacky sweater contest. Her ensemble included lights, garland and presents in her hair. Candy canes, an elf hat, and stockings on her feet as boots completed her outfit. Masri said she sought inspiration at the Dollar Store.

"I looked in my closet and found an old sweater that got ugly through the years, and I went to the Dollar Store, and the ideas grew in the Dollar Store," said Masri.

Alex Kajdan, an engineer, thanked his grandmother for winning the second prize.

"This was a gift from my grandmother. It looks like I have a turtleneck but it's actually a double collar. Not sure what that's about. At one point, this had lights on it!” said Kajdan.
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