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September 25, 2014

Survey: HWA GeoSciences

Specialty: Geotechnical engineering, geoenvironmental, hydrogeology, materials testing and inspection

Management: Arnie Sugar, president; Bryan Hawkins, geotechnical engineer; Steve Greene, geology, lab and inspection

Headquarters: Bothell

2014 revenue: $3.5 million

Projected 2015 revenue: $4 million

Projects: Bothell downtown redevelopment and transportation improvements; geotechnical engineering for U.S. embassies in Nouakchott, Mauritania; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Kabul, Afghanistan

Photo courtesy of HWA GeoSciences [enlarge]
Crews drill for a U.S. embassy project in Sarajevo, Bosnia/Herzegovina.

HWA GeoSciences has played a big role in the redevelopment of downtown Bothell. The firm has provided various services for public/private development projects and infrastructure improvements, including environmental cleanup, geotechnical engineering, and inspection.

The downtown redevelopment includes the investment of more than $150 million in public resources that has generated more than $200 million in private investment over the last few years.

Arnie Sugar, HWA’s president, sat down with the DJC to discuss the state of the industry and how the company is adjusting to today’s issues.

Q: How is technology changing what you do?

A: Technology is continuously changing the way we receive and transmit information. The limiting step in that process, however, is our ability to process and coordinate that information with others to achieve some shared objective. At HWA we utilize technology to enhance collaboration, but still stress human interaction and meaningful communication to achieve successful projects for our clients.

Q: Which of your services are most in demand?

A: As the economy improves, we are seeing an increase in demand for all of our services, from geotechnical engineering to environmental consulting, hydrogeology, materials testing and inspection.

Q: What sustainable practices do you use in your work?

A: HWA is involved with wastewater reuse, green stormwater infrastructure, and recycling of roadways and building materials. Our annual HWA-sponsored bicycle ride on Whidbey Island, the “Tour Des Engineers,” symbolizes our commitment to sustainability (and having fun).

Q: Where do you see growth coming from over the next few years?

A: We’ve seen some increase in pavement preservation work due to transportation funding issues. We are also involved in several large public/private development and cleanup projects, notably the Bothell downtown redevelopment and Everett Riverfront projects.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for your industry?

A: With the ever-increasing pressure for efficiency and economy in our public sector work due to funding limitations, one challenge for project owners is knowing where to economize. The corresponding challenge for consultants and designers is to demonstrate value for design and inspection services, where economy is not often best placed.

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