Dana F. Perkins, Inc., is one of the oldest, continuously owned civil
engineering and land surveying firms in the nation.
It began in 1882 with the original Dana Perkins and has continued with his son, grandson, and great-granddaughter, who is the current president.
DANA EDSON PERKINS (1861-1934) – He began the business when he was 21, at a time when just getting to a site was an ordeal. Land surveyors were viewed with hostility by land owners who were suspicious of men who “nosed around” their property boundaries. Over the next 52 years, he surveyed the Mississippi River, the canals of Lowell, Massachusetts, and a large part of Metropolitan Boston. He travelled to jobs in a horse and buggy and later on a tandem bicycle with his son, Dana F. Perkins, who he taught the intricacies of civil engineering. He held a degree from Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts), and made good use of his education. In addition to being a civil engineer and a land surveyor, he was also a scientist, and invented an ingenious personal water wheel-turbine engine system, which would allow individual homeowners to generate their own electricity.
DANA FIELDING PERKINS (1887-1962) – He was the only one of nine siblings to take up his father’s trade, starting work with him at the age of 10. At 15, he was earning the impressive sum of $18 per week. In 1907, he took a job with the railroads, first as a transitman for the Boston Elevated Railway and later as a draftsman for the Boston and Maine Railroad. He started his own business in 1919, in Wakefield, Massachusetts, and combined his civil engineering and land surveying business with his father’s upon the elder man’s death. He greatly expanded the company, buying out some 20 other engineering and surveying firms as their owners retired or died. In 1945, he moved the business to Reading, Massachusetts, where he spent the rest of his life developing land and building hundreds of homes in and around Andover and Tewksbury. Like his father, he worked until the end, passing the company to his son.
WILLARD F. PERKINS (1922-1998) – He worked for his father as a young boy before joining the United States Navy, serving in World War II as a radioman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger in the North Atlantic. After the war, he worked with his father and two brothers in the family firm. Upon his father's death in 1962, he took over as president of the company. During his tenure, the company saw its greatest period of growth up to that time. He diversified from civil engineering and land surveying into land development and environmental engineering all the while incorporating the latest in technology. He had the vision to set the company on the path to computer-aided design drafting with his purchase of equipment and software in the early 1980s. Along the way, he established a wide reputation for honor and integrity with all who knew him, conducting his business with the highest ethical standards. He retired in 1991, leaving his daughter to take over the company.
JANET PERKINS LOUGEE (1952- ) – She started doing general office work after school when she was just 14. Her father instilled his life principles in her while giving her business lessons. Over the next 25 years, she assumed more business responsibilities until in 1991, she was able to take charge of the company herself, buying it from Willard and enabling him to retire. During Janet’s presidency, the company has seen the most profound technological advancement since its inception. Under her leadership, Dana F. Perkins, inc. saw the land surveying division advance from electronic distance measurement to global positional surveying to robotic surveying equipment. She also has continued the acquisition of other engineering concerns as her father and grandfather had done before her.