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October 27, 2016

Survey: The Blueline Group

Image from The Blueline Group [enlarge]
Blueline Group was a consultant on the Six Oaks apartment and retail project in downtown Bothell.

Specialty: Civil engineering

Management: Ken M. Lauzen, principal

Founded: 2003

Headquarters: Kirkland

2015 revenues: About $5.5 million

Projected 2016 revenues: About $6.5 million

Projects: Piper’s Glen, an 83-lot subdivision for Toll Brothers in Bothell; Spilman Avenue improvements for the city of Carnation; Six Oaks, 203 units over retail in downtown Bothell for MainStreet Property Group



Blueline Group principal Ken M. Lauzen answered questions about his firm and industry trends.

Q: In the last year, have you shifted Blueline’s core mission to respond to changes in the economy?

A: We have not shifted our focus, but we have engaged a couple of national recruiting agencies to help add staff, we have expanded our commercial development services, and we have added planning and landscape architecture services.

Q: Are you finding more work from public or private sources?

A: Plus or minus 75 percent of our work is in the private sector and plus or minus 25 percent in the public sector. We have strategically sought out more public work since the recession to enhance our market diversity.

Q: Has the regional housing boom benefited Blueline?

A: Extremely, as much of our private sector work is design of residential subdivisions and short plats.

Q: With your workload increasing, are you hiring?

A: Our workload has increased every year since 2010 — we were named one of PSBJ’s Fastest Growing Private Companies on the Eastside three years in a row — and we have increased our staff level 400 percent during that time. We are continuing to look for and hire talented individuals but it has become increasingly difficult in such a strong market.

Q: What technological advances have made you more efficient?

A: We have moved most of our software to subscription-based models, which allows us to employ the latest software to complete our work. We have also implemented an internal unified messaging system, which allows employees to better communicate via phone, email and instant messaging whether they are inside or outside of the office.

Lastly, we have successfully implemented our first full-time remote employee in California, which is allowing us to overcome some of the challenges, such as traffic and long commuting times, formal office hours, etc., of the traditional brick and mortar office model.

Q: Are municipalities more willing to enhance their budgets to pay for important civil and infrastructure work?

A: Yes.





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