McGowan Broz

Practice: Mechanical and electrical engineering

Founded: 1993

Leadership: Ken McGowan, president and CEO, and Bill Broz, senior vice president and CFO

McGowan Broz has encountered a trend toward commoditization of design services, more firms chasing less work and downward pressure on fees. "Today there is absolutely no room for mediocrity," said Ken McGowan, president.

McGowan Broz provides electrical and mechanical engineering services in the commercial, institutional, municipal and light manufacturing markets. The firm has 18 people on staff, a 20 percent reduction over last year, and fees have shrunk to $2.2 million over the last year due to the contracting economy. "In short, we are witnessing the reality of an unpredictable economy caused by proliferation of corporate accounting scandals, threat of domestic terrorist attacks and the risk of waging an unpopular war with Iraq."

During the second half of the year, the firm experienced some growth due to increased emphasis on marketing, according to McGowan. While focusing on staff training and continuing education, the firm hopes to grow 20 to 25 percent over the next year.

He sees opportunities arising in retrofit and tenant improvement projects, sustainable design, higher education, medical and municipal government work.

Recent and current projects include the emergency generator upgrade at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; the addition of a new substation to accommodate the Tosco Refinery for Whatcom County Public Utility District; the second phase of International District Village Square with Kubota Kato Chin; the Terminal 30 cruise terminal, the radar approach control facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with URS; and the Combined Communication and Control Center at Seattle Tacoma Airport, also with URS.

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