New York City-based AKRF has kept a low profile since its start in a Manhattan loft in 1981 as an early specialist in the then-new field of mandated project environmental review, as its website notes. But the firm has come to occupy a key project role as infrastructure development and its environmental requirements have boomed, particularly on high-profile New York-region programs that are completed and underway.

AKRF has grown along with that niche—as revenue rose nearly 9% last year to about $75.7 million, landing the engineer at No. 191 on this year’s Top 500 list. As AKRF has expanded regionally to about 350 employees, it touts its larger-firm “breadth and resources” and “the specialized know-how and attentiveness” of a boutique.

AKRF had key roles managing environmental mandates on the $4-billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement on the Hudson River, where the first span opened last year, and on Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway line—both its $4.5-billion first leg that opened in 2017 and its second phase getting underway. The firm also is managing permitting and compliance for a $600-million clean-burning combined-cycle power plant in Woodbridge, N.J., with the firm’s mission including river transport last August of a 130-ft-tall heat-recovery steam generator from its Albany, N.Y., manufacturing site (see photo). The firm also is design-team leader for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, an integrated protection system for 2.2 miles of Manhattan shoreline along the East River.

AKRF also is handling environmental issues for the proposed new Hudson rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York, which is estimated at more than $12 billion and awaiting funding commitments. But federal sign-off on the environmental impact review did not happen by what media say was a March 31 project-imposed deadline. Andrew Malek, a 14-year company veteran and CEO since 2016, acknowledges infrastructure design and permitting issues linked to the Trump administration push to streamline and accelerate federally-funded project environmental reviews, but he did not comment on specific changes and impacts.

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