Making the U.S. energy-independent and overhauling outmoded transportation infrastructure are the two key engineering challenges to be faced in the next decade, say nearly 60% of 323 design-firm CEOs in a survey released on Aug. 30 by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Washington, D.C. Fewer respondents noted needed upgrades of infrastructure for water-wastewater treatment and flood control, cyber-security, sustainable building and electrical grids as challenges through 2020. Responding CEOs were among 2,000 leaders of ACEC member companies contacted for the survey. More than 80% of the respondents say they run companies with 200 or fewer employees. Almost 30%
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.