From environmental and geotechnical engineering to transportation and power work, the 112 firms on the 2024 ENR MidAtlantic Top Design Firms ranking continue to report increased revenue. Total 2023 revenue performed in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia rose 7% to $7.15 billion, compared with the $6.68 billion reported by the 124 firms on last year’s ranking.

This year’s top 10 firms collected a combined $3 billion in regional revenue, up 15% from the $2.61 billion posted by last year’s top 10.

Stantec, which was ranked No. 6, finished 2023 with $239.92 million in revenue, a 19% bump from last year, when it was No. 7 with $201.57 million. “We are anticipating a strong MidAtlantic market during the next two years and have been making investments with key hires to support the diverse opportunities in the region,” says Tom Walsh, Stantec vice president and U.S. Northeast regional leader.

Average Firm Revenue

Chart by ENR

But Drew Shontz, vice president and office manager at ECS, said 2023 wasn’t all sunshine. His firm, which was ranked No. 16 for the second-straight year with $141.26 million in revenue, an increase of 9.3% from $129.29 million last year, began to see some “gray skies on the horizon” as early as 2022.

“The D.C. region has typically experienced early signs of economic downturns in the past, and this past year has been no exception,” Shontz says. “We began to see and feel economic instability starting late spring/early summer 2023 and that has continued into 2024.”

Amazon’s HQ2

No. 33 ZGF Architects worked on Phase 1 of Amazon’s HQ2, the largest LEED Platinum v4 building in the world.
Rendering courtesy of ZGF Architects

Shontz says these stalled projects didn’t start in large part due to inflation, higher interest rates and other economic factors “that prompted owners/developers to wait. Thankfully, diversification in various market sectors allowed us to refocus staff and efforts on projects both here in the region as well as outside to assist our other offices. There has been natural attrition, and we have not backfilled with new staff, a sign of economic instability.”

“The industry trajectory is inexorably tied to sustainable practices and technological advance-ments.”
—Tom Walsh, Vice President and U.S. Northeast Regional Leader, Stantec

Nevertheless, environmental and geotechnical engineering revenue rocketed 45.12% to $1.41 billion on this year’s ranking, up from last year’s $971.82 million. AECOM, which was ranked No. 1, also topped the environmental and geotechnical engineering sector with $187.08 million, an 18% boost from last year’s $158.40 million. The firm’s $684.84 million in overall regional revenue was up 26.5% from a year ago.

AECOM also had the highest revenue in the transportation sector. Nearly half of its regional work came from transportation. AECOM’s $319.42 million worth of work in the sector represents a 21.1% increase from last year. Overall, $3 billion in transportation work is represented on this year’s survey, a 21% jump from the $2.48 billion performed last year.

The unprecedented increase in the transportation sector has taught Bryan Jones, MidAtlantic division president at HNTB, that “to best connect people and place, infrastructure solutions often cross jurisdictions, involve more stakeholders and introduce alternative methods of delivery,” he says.

West Virginia Parkway Authority Travel Plazas

No. 14 HNTB is the engineer-of-record and architect-of-record for the West Virginia Parkway Authority Travel Plazas.
Rendering courtesy of HNTB

Jones, whose firm was ranked No. 14, with $181.58 million, up 9% from last year when the firm was ranked No. 12 with $167.23 million, adds that “these varied complexities require technical excellence across a comprehensive suite of services and a deep understanding of the evolving digital landscape within the built environment.” He adds, “This allows us to craft and implement infrastructure solutions that further drive connectivity, efficiency and growth in a meaningful way across communities.”

The large bump in transportation spending comes from funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, notes Dave Maxwell, executive vice president and operating unit manager at Dewberry. He says that “we anticipate a more steady growth pattern over the next several years.”

Firm Revenue

Chart by ENR

Dewberry was ranked No. 13 with regional revenue of $189.22 million, a 10% increase from last year, when the firm was ranked No. 11 with $171.85 million.

With a 12.8% increase in revenue, power work represents one of the region’s highest performing sectors. The combined $405.07 million in power work was up from last year’s $359.36 million.

Federal infrastructure legislation and funding also are “incentivizing owners to continue investments in the energy transition that may otherwise not be made at this time,” Stantec’s Walsh says.

Walsh says the energy transition is reflected in a continued investment from utilities in clean, renewable generation, such as hydropower.

“This includes both repairs and rehabilitation of existing assets in addition to entirely new infrastructure,” he says. “The industry’s trajectory is inexorably tied to sustainable practices and technological advancements. These dual forces are poised to mold our landscape for years to come.”