City Grill

Dana Postlewait

Dana Postlewait 
Vice President – West/Northwest Region
Kleinschmidt Associates

While much of the construction industry in the Pacific Northwest has seen little to no growth over the past several years, Seattle has been an epicenter of work in the field of water, hydropower and environmental science, Postlewait says. “We have been quite busy,” he says. “There are a lot of opportunities out there right now. We have to pick and choose a little bit on what we want to do.”

One big driver for the sector has been a statewide fish-passage barrier removal. Longer-term projects by commercial clients such as power companies also have been a buffer against recent ups and downs, he says. Regional construction also is getting a boost from major transportation projects and new headquarters for companies like Microsoft and Amazon. “I grew up in Seattle, and we’ve had more construction cranes go up recently than I’ve ever seen,” Postlewait says.

Firms angling to take part in the expected surge of projects face staffing shortages. While the need to find trained personnel is affecting the entire industry, it is particularly acute in Seattle, he says.