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September 28, 2017

Survey: Aspect Consulting

Photo form Aspect Consulting [enlarge]
Taylor Dayton of Aspect builds and installs a lake staff gauge in the remote Icicle Creek Basin in Chelan County.

Specialty: Environmental engineering, water resources, stormwater monitoring and planning, geotechnical engineering, information technology

Management: Tim Flynn, president and managing member

Founded: 2001

Headquarters: Bainbridge Island

2016 revenues: $15 million

Projected 2017 revenues: $17 million

Projects: Environmental cleanup, geotechnical engineering and public involvement for Mt. Baker Housing Association’s Gateway affordable housing redevelopment in Seattle; Icicle Creek integrated basin plan in Chelan County; 520 Bridge stormwater quality monitoring for WSDOT

President Tim Flynn and principals Doug Hillman and Dave Cook shared their thoughts on the state of their firm.

Q: What are a few of the chief challenges you’re facing?

A: We’ve had challenges getting regulatory concurrence on environmental issues to assist brownfield projects on fast-track redevelopment schedules. This is likely because both state and federal government resources to provide environmental consultation and oversight are severely strapped. New federal policy directives have altered project courses under EPA oversight; though, they also potentially provide new opportunities for progress.

The political fallout around the groundbreaking Washington state water rights case Hirst v. Ecology related to permit-exempt wells has halted work on a significant number of ours and other water resource-related projects throughout the state. The Legislature is, to date, stalled on passing a capital budget largely because of this case. An example is the temporary cessation of work with Ecology’s Office of Columbia River, which has the mission of developing new water supplies to address in-stream and out-of-stream needs throughout that basin.

Q: Which services are in highest demand? Has that changed in the last few years?

A: Right now, it’s urban redevelopment, earth hazards, water supply and reuse. The incredibly strong growth our region is experiencing increases property values, which fuels a need for remediation and reuse. This creates a demand for properties that are environmentally and geologically challenged, and this often requires creative engineering solutions. Aspect excels in these situations, and our services and skills have had a much higher awareness as a result. It’s a great time to be an earth consultant/engineer.

Q: Where are the best opportunities for future growth?

A: Our earth, water and land resources are being consumed at an ever-growing rate. Geologists, hydrogeologists, civil/environmental/geotechnical engineers — we all have a big role to play in mitigating the risks involved with this consumption and keeping society working for everyone.

Q: What’s a really interesting or vexing project you’re working on?

A: We take pride in our contributions to the Mt. Baker Housing Association’s Gateway affordable housing redevelopment project underway in South Seattle. Consider: a nonprofit purchasing five properties contaminated by a dry cleaner and gas station in a city where housing is limited and prices are skyrocketing. We are working to help Mt. Baker Housing envision a successful future where families live and thrive on these properties. This is an example of trust, vision and community helping to improve the environment while building critical new infrastructure.

Q: Any staffing changes? How does your work load compare with previous years?

A: Our work load is up. New colleagues have joined us as we’ve significantly expanded our stormwater and environmental redevelopment practices over the past year. We’ve also opened an office in Portland to support our clients in that region. And we are having fun. Come join us!

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