Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Principals: Jim Coughlin, Steve Porter, Terry Lundeen
Jim Coughlin says diversification has helped Coughlin Porter Lundeen hold its own during the weak economy of the past three years.
"When we first started (in 1994), our primary markets were office buildings, education, multifamily and renovations of all types," said Coughlin, one of the Seattle civil and structural engineering firm's three principals. "Our K-12 education grew steadily. When the office market hit the skids a couple of years ago," education and multifamily projects covered for that.
The firm advanced from K-12 into higher education projects by working first on college housing. That has led to other university projects such as a new student union and recreation facility at Central Washington University and a new student center at Highline Community College.
Now the firm is moving into continuing-care retirement communities, which taps into serving aging baby boomers.
"We've got three very large (continuing-care) projects under way," Coughlin said. "It's additional leveraging of the multifamily that we've done over the years, most of it due to relationships that we've built with architects and contractors."
The firm's employee total has ranged lately from 60 to 65.
The firm also has two convention centers to work on, one planned for Lynnwood and one for Ocean Shores. It's also receiving biotech building work, such as for Zymogenetics' expansion of the Earl Davie Building and on new structures in South Lake Union for Rosetta Pharmaceuticals and Corixa.
Coughlin said the biggest issue in structural engineering is coming with the switch to the International Building Code. "That's not a monumental thing (any more), but it's something you've just got to get used to."
"On the civil side, land drainage issues are getting more and more complicated," he said. "It's certainly difficult getting through the jurisdictions (for permits), but one of our strengths is making it through that labyrinth of red tape."
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