Specialty: Multi-service engineering and environmental consulting firm
Ownership: Privately held/employee-owned
2001 revenues: $3 million (Bellevue office, environmental/water resources group)
2002 revenues: $3 million
Location: Headquartered in Bellevue with offices throughout the West

Five months is a long time to hold your breath, but Dale Anderson can’t help himself.

Like many others in the consulting business, Anderson is anxiously awaiting November’s statewide vote on raising the gas tax to fund transportation projects.

Anderson is vice president of environmental/water resources for Entranco, a multi-service environmental and transportation consulting firm. About half the work his group does supports projects undertaken by the firm’s transportation group. With so many projects relying on state funding, the results of November’s vote will have a profound effect on the way consultants like Entranco do business.

Anderson is concerned that voters may reject the measure. “It’s tough for our state to make transportation decisions and fund things,” he said. “Everybody’s uptight about traffic, but nobody wants to pay for it.”

Anderson said many of the company’s clients are preparing contingency plans in case the ballot measure fails — with consulting services likely to be among the first cuts. As a result, Anderson is projecting that revenues for the Bellevue office of the environmental/water resources group, which services primarily Washington, will remain flat in 2002.

While that’s certainly not good news, Entranco is better positioned to cope with a defeat in November than many firms. Founded in 1961, the Bellevue-based company has expanded throughout the West with offices in Oregon, California, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana and Idaho. Entranco has 400 employees and expects to grow to 600 by 2005.

“Our company has really diversified so we have the ability to handle bumps in the Puget Sound region (and) pick up the slack in other regions,” said Anderson. Idaho in particular offers a lot of potential work, he said.

On the water resources side, stormwater projects remain “robust,” said Anderson. Back in the 1970s, convincing local jurisdictions to consider water quality issues was “a hard sell,” said Anderson. Today, attitudes — as well as state and federal regulations — have changed.

“Everything they do, they have to worry about where water drains, how it affects salmon,” he said. “The permits are pretty onerous if you’re an infrastructure person and want to get something done.”

Lately, said Anderson, Entranco has been doing more and more work related to wildlife habitat restoration and mitigation. One of the reasons is that federal funding remains available for those projects, he notes.

The company recently completed a $3 million project on the Bear/Evans Creek systems in Woodinville and is making preparations for a second phase of that project.

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