Shapiro and Associates

Specialty: Environmental and regulatory analysis
Principal/owner: Sue Sander
2000 revenues: $6 million
Projected 2001 revenues: $6 million
Location: Seattle (with offices in Portland and Boise)

bridge rendering
Shapiro has just finished up the EIS for the second Tacoma Narrows bridge, shown in this computer-altered photo.

Sue Sander, president of Shapiro and Associates, says she has seen economic tides ebb and flow in her 26 years with the firm, but the past couple years have been among the most trying.

“We were doing quite well, thank you, until the initiatives and the Boeing move,” says Sander. “So it was kind of a mixed year.” Initiative 200, which was passed by Washington voters in 1998, ended state affirmative action programs. Initiative 695, passed in 1999, repealed the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax.

Sue Sander

Shapiro’s business suffered when the measures took effect. State contracts for women and minority-owned businesses alone had accounted for 30 percent of Shapiro’s business, Sander says. The firm’s transportation workload has also declined.

But with setbacks come opportunities, says Sander, who has been shifting the business steadily toward private work. Where government contracts once accounted for 80 percent of Shapiro’s business, they now represent only half. Despite the changing market formula, Shapiro’s revenues were up 20 percent — $1 million — in 2000 over the previous year, and revenues figure to remain steady this year.

Shapiro employs about 40 people in its Seattle office, 25 in Portland and 9 in Boise.

The firm has a number of big projects on its plate, including a siting study and other environmental documentation for a proposed 750-megawatt BP cogeneration facility in Ferndale, and an environmental impact statement for a 1,100-acre Trendwest Resorts urban growth site in Cle Elum. Shapiro has also just finished up the EIS for the second Tacoma Narrows bridge.

While the softening economy taken a toll on residential and downtown office projects, the Endangered Species Act has created additional work for Shapiro. Though, “at the same time (ESA) does hinder development on a short-term basis,” Sander says.

Looking ahead, Sander says that utilities, energy and transportation will continue to remain hot issues. She’s keeping an eye on Congress and the Bush administration to see which way the wind will blow.

Sander says Shapiro’s Portland and Boise offices have helped offset the bouncy ride in Washington’s volatile market, though no expansion at either location is forthcoming.

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