MRP Engineering

Specialty: Structural engineering, risk assessment, damage investigation and repair

Management: Mark Pierepiekarz, president

Founded: 2002

Headquarters: Newcastle

2009 revenues: N/A

Projected 2010 revenues: N/A

Current projects: Critical facilities improvements (Renton)

Mark Pierepiekarz’s job is to help people prepare for the worst. And the lousy economy has nothing on the havoc earthquakes, explosions or hurricanes can wreak.

Pierepiekarz’s three-employee firm, MRP Engineering, performs structural risk analyses and designs seismic retrofits for aging structures. Its public and commercial clients own facilities such as fire stations, hospitals, factories, power utilities and high-tech businesses.

“Our clients are being proactive,” Pierepiekarz said, with many either planning new structures or seeking to protect existing ones. Others need advice about acquiring a property, refinancing a purchase or choosing the right level of insurance.

Sensitive business

The firm also evaluates structures after disaster strikes to find out what happened and why. The work has taken Pierepiekarz far afield, inspecting impact and fire damage to the World Trade Center towers, for instance. He estimated only about half his work is in the Puget Sound area.

Protecting critical facilities is sensitive business, and so Pierepiekarz said he couldn’t discuss any of his current projects specifically.

While the nature of his work hasn’t changed much over the years, he said, there has been an evolution of design standards for new construction over the last decade, and as new earth science data has flowed in, our understanding of local geology has improved.

That knowledge can be used to better prepare clients for future earthquakes, and to do so cost-effectively, he said.

“A lot of buildings built sometime back may be reasonable performers in an earthquake, but standards were not what they are today,” he said, adding that fixes like bracing can go a long way.

Clients scale back

The recession has pushed clients to scale back, he said, “doing at the moment only what they must.”

“Proactive projects that require a lot of capital are being deferred into the future,” he said, and the months ahead will likely bring more of the same.

Pierepiekarz described his firm as a niche company, and while others provide some of the same services, MRP has tried to stand out with its expertise, service and quality.

“What’s important is to be really in tune with what the client’s plans are and what their needs are, and to stay in contact,” he said.

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