CH2M Hill

Specialty: A multi-disciplinary firm helping regulatory agencies handle environmental compliance issues
Principals: Katherine Hanna, vice-president of CH2M Hill’s business group for engineering and environmental systems; Kathy Lombardo, Puget Sound regional manager
2001 revenues: $50 million (environmental)
Projected 2002 revenues: $60 million (environmental)

Of CH2M Hill’s environmental work in the Puget Sound this past year, the Sea-Tac International Airport project was the most challenging.

The firm designed, built and managed construction of a new airport hydrant refueling system — the pipes under the tarmac that refuel jets. And Sea-Tac kept running all the while.

“It was a very intense schedule,” said Katherine Hanna, vice-president of CH2M Hill’s business group for engineering and environmental systems.

CH2M Hill has fewer design/build contracts in the Puget Sound than elsewhere around the country, but Hanna said the firm is trying to turn that around.

For instance, the firm, which has offices in Bellevue, Lynnwood, Richland and Spokane, recently won a design/build contract for an Army Corps of Engineers “battle simulation facility” in Fort Lewis.

“I think clients want things done faster and cheaper. One way to do that is through a design/build approach,” Hanna said.

Significant design/build and other CH2M Hill projects in the past year included remediation and compliance for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and landfill design for the King County Solid Waste District. The firm also built a $6 million fish screen for the Chelan public utilities district.

“We feel the pinch six to 12 months after a downturn. We’re starting to feel it now,” Hanna said. “I think the environmental side is always last to feel the pinch. Environmental work is always something you can postpone or delay. It’s a risk-management issue from a business perspective.”

The push for alternative energy sources slowed in late 2001, but Hanna expects it to pick up.

Also, adherence to permit requirements under the Endangered Species Act remains “very time consuming for clients,” Hanna said. “It’s always a challenge to keep projects on schedule.”

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