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October 27, 2016
Specialty: Civil engineering
Management: Ken M. Lauzen, principal
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?