Even in the toughest economy the U.S. has seen in decades, leading design firm HNTB has managed to not only survive but flourish.
In 2010, HNTB has repeated at No. 2 among Midwest Construction’s top design firms, with reported revenue of $137.06 million from work in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin during 2009.
That’s 23.7% more than the $110.8 million that earned HNTB second spot the previous year in Midwest Construction’s 2009 listing of top design firms.
Nationally, HNTB has ranked 19th on Engineering News-Record magazine’s 2010 and 2009 lists of top design firms, with revenues of $879.9 million and $857.7 million, respectively.
On ENR’s 2010 list of top design firms, HNTB also ranks third in bridges; fourth in highways, airports and sports architecture; sixth in transportation; and 10th in mass transit and rail design.
ENR and Midwest Construction both are published by McGraw-Hill Co.
About 77% of HNTB’s Midwestern work comes from transportation-related projects. Another 10% comes from sewer and water work and 8.5% from general building projects. The remaining 4.5% comes from a variety of project types.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., where it was founded in 1914, HNTB has about 60 offices and nearly 4,000 employees nationwide. The company has been owned by its employees since 2000.
Six of HNTB’s offices are in the states where Midwest Construction circulates. Besides its Kansas City headquarters, the firm has offices in St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis and Milwaukee, as well as in Madison, Wis.
HNTB also operates six offices in other Upper Midwest cities: Minneapolis; Detroit and Lansing, Mich.; and Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Starting out as a designer of moveable railroad bridges, HNTB has steadily expanded its range of projects and breadth of services over the past 96 years.
It designed the country’s first modern turnpike and much of the nation’s interstate highway system, as well as bridges, airports, stadiums, convention centers, flood-control systems, water and wastewater treatment facilities and railway systems.
Today, HNTB offers design, architectural, engineering, planning, construction management, program management, historic preservation and related services to private clients and federal, state and local governments.
It also provides building management services to aviation, corporate, education, federal and civic/local government clients.
In addition to designing projects, HNTB can help clients obtain financing, work on needed legislation, conduct community outreach and plan ongoing operations of the projects in which it’s involved.
“We stay close to our clients,” says Scott Smith, HNTB senior vice president and director of strategic initiatives. “We want to know what’s most important to them and how we can help, whether it’s with design, funding strategy, asset-management strategy or any other need.”
For example, HNTB is the general engineering consultant for 24 state toll-road organizations and is program manager for the Illinois Tollway’s $6.3-billion congestion-relief program, which includes converting many existing mainline toll plazas to automated, nonstop tolling.
“Electronic tolling has revolutionized toll collection,” Smith says. “It helps keep traffic moving, helping cut commuting time and improve air quality.”
Anyone who lives in this part of the country is familiar with at least a few of HNTB’s many large, high-profile projects, such as football stadiums at the universities of Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue; and large-scale highway projects that include Milwaukee’s Marquette Interchange, Indianapolis’ Interstate 465 reconstruction, the Illinois Tollway and St. Louis’ Cross County MetroLink Extension.