Rendering courtesy of Hickok Cole
Hickok Cole designed the new Reston Station project in Reston, Va., which broke ground last year. The 1.5-million-sq-ft mixed-use, transit-oriented development is located directly above the new Reston Station-Wiehle Ave. stop on the Metrorail system.

Prospects have clearly brightened for design firms in the mid-Atlantic region. As the economic recovery continued, several locally based firms saw business improve last year, including Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson; KCI Technologies; Whitman, Requardt & Associates; and Pennoni Associates, which is ENR MidAtlantic's Design Firm of the Year.

The top 25 firms on this year's list tallied a combined $2.5 billion in revenue in 2013. Transportation was the strongest sector for eight of the top 10 companies. The 10 leading transportation firms on this year's list recorded a combined $792 million in revenue in 2013. Michael Baker's $100-million State Route 28, East Ohio Street improvement project broke ground in Pittsburgh; construction began on the $351-million Phase 2 of Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson's 11th Street Bridges project in Washington, D.C.; and work started on KCI Technologies' $67-million U.S. Route 1, Richmond Highway project in Richmond.

By comparison, the top 10 designers in general building posted total revenue of $464.6 million. Significant starts last year included Gensler's $400-million Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh; Dewberry's $150-million 601 Massachusetts Avenue project in Washington, D.C.; and Stantec's $70-million Scott Hall project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Firms also landed significant projects in the water and wastewater sectors, especially as local agencies continue to contend with regulations affecting discharges into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. DC Water's $4-billion capital plan also is providing ample opportunities. Parsons Brinckerhoff served as lead design firm on DC Water's $158-million First Street Tunnel project, and a design-build joint venture of PC Construction and CDM Smith is delivering the authority's $214-million Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station and Enhanced Clarifier Facility. Both projects started construction last year.