Practice: Geotechnical engineering

Founded: 1980

Leadership: Jim Miller, president

"Despite the growth in the firm, some key markets are down, said Jim Miller, president of Redmond-based GeoEngineers. "Local and state government spending is down, along with commercial development and industrial expansion."

The firm grew from 186 to 200 in the last year, increasing revenues and building a strong backlog. GeoEngineers provides geotechnical engineering, geologic studies, environmental studies and planning of groundwater and watersheds. Planning, permitting and geographic information systems are specialties.

Miller sees opportunities in infrastructure design and construction, higher education and federal government contracting, especially design-build.

He advocates tort reform to reduce the burden of litigation on businesses and governments. "We need to strike some balance… in the overreaching influence of the Endangered Species Act on land use, planning and permitting. And we need to change the tax structure of Washington to make our state more attractive to employers, including consideration of an income tax."

"Equity markets need to stabilize and begin a rebound before a serious economic rebound can occur," he added. "Government budget deficits, local and national, will inhibit investments into activities and infrastructure needed to spur economic growth."

Recent projects include South Lake Union site contaminant evaluation for Schnitzer Northwest; geotechnical engineering study for Monroe Street Bridge in Spokane; assessment of water conveyance and distribution systems for Klamath Basin and Tule Lake for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in California; channel migration delineation for three major river systems in Pierce County; and environmental remediation for Roosevelt Commons, a five-story office building with three levels of below-grade parking in Seattle.

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