By all measures, the data received from ENR Southwest’s annual Top Design Firms survey shows that 2023 was, indeed, another good year for architectural and engineering firms working in the states of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

The firms that participated in the Southwest Top Design Firms survey collectively reported just over $1.95 billion in 2023 revenue from the three-state region. That’s a gain of approximately $200 million from a year ago, when respondents’ regional design revenue tallied $1.71 billion. Two years ago, Southwest architectural and engineering firms reported roughly $1.24 billion in revenue for the 2021 year.

Of the $1.95-billion collective revenue total, $1.63 billion was reported by the top 25 ranked firms.

Another data point shows that with the overall uptick in collective Southwest design revenue, the average revenue per firm rose from last year’s $32.2 million to approximately $38.2 million for 2023.

Average Firm Revenue

The continuing rise in reported revenue through 2023 comes as little surprise, as partly evidenced by ENR Southwest’s recently published annual Top Starts ranking. There, 22 projects—ranging in total cost from $208 million up to $4.5 billion—totaled approximately $14.2 billion. Once again, much of the revenue reported from the Top Starts ranking came from the industrial/manufacturing, energy and infrastructure markets.

Albuquerque-based civil engineering firm Bohannan Huston is among Southwest firms gaining revenue from these markets. In information submitted with its survey numbers, Bohannan Huston noted that “Each year since 2020 has represented a new record-breaking year of new business opportunities, revenue and staff growth. And 2023 continued this trend.”

Bohannan Huston reported $48.7 million in Southwest regional revenue in 2023, up from the prior year’s $43 million.

high-speed rail line from Southern California

Brightline West’s construction of its high-speed rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas will drive future design activity.
Rendering courtesy Brightline West

And while various forecasts indicate concern over a possible slowing of work activity for architects, a variety of firms responding to ENR Southwest’s annual ranking are staying positive for the year ahead.

This year’s top-ranked firm was WSP USA, which is also ENR Southwest’s Design Firm of the Year. It is among those still eyeing plenty of opportunity ahead.

Firm Revenue

“Southwest states continue to see exponential growth and significant expansions.”
—Arpit Talati, Senior Vice President, WSP USA

“Southwest states continue to see exponential growth and significant expansions in infrastructure, health care, tech, start-ups and movement of goods,” Arpit Talati, senior vice president and the firm’s Texas-Southwest district lead, told ENR in the profile of the firm published in this issue.

“Energy is a rapidly growing sector in the region, with large wind and solar energy projects and natural gas pipelines,” he adds. Talati is not alone in his optimism.

“From our vantage point, everything seems temperate and stable,” says Rachel Green Rasmussen, architect and principal with Architekton in Tempe, Ariz. “We’ve seen a reasonable stream of public and private projects coming on board, and we continue to see huge demands on our construction workforce because of the major manufacturing projects in the valley.”

Bohannan Huston

Bohannan Huston is working on the proposed 4th Street Revitalization project in the Village of Los Ranchos, N.M. The project seeks to improve the roadway with one lane in each direction and a roundabout to improve traffic flows.
Rendering courtesy Bohannan Huston

About the Ranking

For this year’s Top Design Firms section, the main ranking includes revenue and information about each firm’s primary sectors and their largest projects to break ground. Readers also will find breakout rankings for each state, along with numerous project sectors and work disciplines.