Shannon & Wilson

Specialty: Geotech and environmental services related to trans- portation and buildings
CEO: Rohn Abbott
Year founded: 1954
2001 revenues: About $30 million
Projected 2002 revenues: About $32 million
Largest current project: Environmental and geotech studies on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall, on the team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff


The eradication of the office market in the past couple years weakened revenues at Shannon & Wilson, but the upsurge in traffic planning has nearly made up for that.

If Ref. 51 and other transportation measures up for vote this fall pass, activity will really pick up at the 220-employee Seattle geotech and environmental firm.

“We’re going to be an active participant in (the battle for passage of) Ref. 51,” said David Winter, the firm’s vice president for environmental solutions. “We’ll make donations and work with people running the program to get it passed.”

Shannon & Wilson is working on plans for finishing the Interstate 5 HOV lanes, construction of the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the monorail and expansion of Interstate 405.

The firm also works for Sound Transit on planning the light rail line and has begun a siting study for the Brightwater treatment plant near Edmonds.

Work on Experience Music Project, Safeco Field and the new Seahawks Stadium was lucrative but wound down.

“Revenues of $30 million are down from a couple years before, because of the softness of the office market,” Winter said. “But we do see some growth because some of the transportation stuff picked up steam.”

Shannon & Wilson’s Seattle office has hired about 10 people in the past six months to total about 110.

The firm also recently landed a major environmental contract with the Navy to write plans for removing environmental damages on Naval bases in four Northwestern states.

The listing of various species of area salmon as endangered hasn’t generated nearly as much work as expected when the listing came down a couple years ago, Winter said.

“We continue to have a group working in wetlands assessments,” he said. “But it hasn’t been the growth market people estimated. My theory is the market is still evolving as the regulators figure out how to best enforce the regulations.”

He likened it to when a large set of environmental regulations came down in 1990. “It took a while for regulators and the development community to figure out how best to implement the regulations and still get sites cleared. We’re kind of in that same period when we’re trying to figure out how to implement the regulations to protect streams but not stifle development.

“We think the next few years will be a challenge for geotechnical and environmental consultants, with relatively few new projects available.”

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