Specialty: Fisheries engineering
President: Ken Ferjancic
2000 revenues: Average $3 million over the past three years
Projected 2001 revenues: Same
Location: Port Orchard

The fate of the silvery minnow in New Mexico, and other links in the food chain that depend on this fish, may rest with the design of a refugium by Port Orchard-based FishPro.

FishPro this year won a contract to create a pond in which captured silvery minnows would spawn, said Vice President Ed Donahue. The young fish would then mature in the pond and not be confused, or worse, when released into a natural setting. Federal regulators have been pushing designers in that direction. “The goal is to try to get them to spawn there,” Donahue said.

In the last year, FishPro grew by four employees to a total of 44, but revenues remain steady at around $3 million per year. Donahue characterized that as just fine.

“Yeah, we could probably grow a lot more,” said Donahue, one of the firm’s three owners along with founder and President Ken Ferjancic and fish biologist-civil engineer Sharon Sawdey. “But why? We don’t want to. We like being specialized and keeping a veteran, specialized staff.”

Ferjancic started the company 20 years ago. In addition to being president, he heads fisheries biology. Donahue leads FishPro’s engineering division, and Sawdey heads the firm’s Oregon office in Beaverton. The third office is in Springfield, Ill., operating as Cochran-Wilken Engineers.

The firm’s biggest customers are federal and state agencies, Indian tribes and utilities. A lot of the work involves designing passages for fish to take around dams and other obstructions in states other than Washington.

A sister company, FishPro Farms, owned and operated a salmon and sturgeon hatchery in Port Orchard for much of FishPro’s 20 years, but this year FishPro Farms leased the hatchery to the federal government, which took over operations.

A $16 million salmon hatchery that FishPro designed for the BPA and the Nez Pierce tribe went into construction in the past 12 months, with FishPro as the construction manager. BPA issued FishPro an award for its design. Also, FishPro is designing and will manage construction of a spring and fall chinook salmon hatchery in Idaho for the Bonneville Power Administration.

The firm has eight major fish protection screens under design, four of which are in Canada and two in California. The screens divert fish away from problems or into desired locations.

FishPro has five hatchery operations environmental assessments in Washington under way as well.

In terms of new technology, the firm is using geographic information systems to link local land use with habitat, with clients such as the city of Redmond. The firm is also working on a number of wastewater reuse projects throughout the area.

Four new employees have been added to the firm this year. The firm’s geographic focus will remain in Washington and Oregon, and core service areas will remain the same over the next year.

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