The firm's water-wastewater practice also saw recovery in 2011, with HDR picking up three key projects in the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex. These included design of a 23-mile, 84-in. pipeline segment of the joint Dallas Water Utilities and Tarrant Regional Water District IPL Project delivering raw water from Lake Palestine to the metroplex.

The firm also won design of the City of Dallas Able Storm Water Pump Station, one of the first large applications of concrete volute pumps in the U.S., and design of the largest headcell grit removal installation in the U.S. at the Dallas Water Utilities' central wastewater treatment plant. In south Texas, the firm is a design consultant on a $190-million portion of the San Jacinto River Authority's $480-million plan for a new water treatment plant on Lake Conroe.

Staying Steady

Although HDR's rise in the region remains steady, executives are cautious about the future. Higgason doesn't expect the firm will continue to grow at the same rate in the coming years. "We'll continue to be strong here and see some growth, but not at the same pace as in the past," she adds. "I've projected that 2012 will be similar to 2011, with maybe a bit of growth."

The company increased regional revenue through the recession but didn't ramp up staff in its 16 offices in the region. Instead, it leveraged staff from other offices, keeping employees busy in underutilized offices and not overextending local staff. "The way we are set up is that projects are absolutely local, but we can workshare with other offices as needed," Higgason says. "Internally, we can reach out globally, but we serve locally."

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