Salas O’Brien has been named the 2024 ENR MidAtlantic Design Firm of the Year. The firm will be recognized in the June print issue of ENR MidAtlantic.  

The Design Firm of the Year demonstrates success in the region from a growth and revenue standpoint as well as innovation, creativity and a commitment to giving back to its community. Previous MidAtlantic winners include, RK&K, Alpha Corp., Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc. (HRG), Clark Nexsen, WSP, ECS Mid-Atlantic, KCI Technologies Inc., Whitman Requardt and Associates, Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson and Pennoni Associates.  

In 2023 Salas O'Brien had a 39% year-over-year revenue increase, 12% organic growth, and 93% team member retention. More than 90% of the firm's workers held company shares as employee-owners. The firm says “its success comes down to its team’s total alignment around where they are headed as an organization and a commitment to make a positive impact on team, clients, and the world.” 

 The firm adds, “In practice, this involves being transparent in its strategies and decision-making, taking care of team members and providing unlimited opportunities for growth, merging with like-minded companies to expand our technical expertise and capabilities, and delivering projects that lead to an exceptional client experience.” 

Supporting markets with critical systems such as healthcare, pharmaceutical manufacturing, data centers, aviation and defense, Salas O’Brien helps its clients maintain necessary resilient, reliable, and sustainable operations. In addition to focusing on these market sectors, the firm provides a diverse, integrated set of services across the facility lifecycle.

Salas O’Brien supports regional programs that help local communities and promote education and careers in STEM and the construction industry. The firm’s employees have supported the Baltimore City Public School's Annual Book Flood, Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania; ACE Mentorship Program of America, Washington DC chapter  and “Home for Good” Playhouse Event for Henrico CASA, an organization that recruits, screens, trains, and supervises volunteers who serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The firm’s top regional projects include:

Robotics Mat Sinking Technology for USACE (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Salas O’Brien is leading a team of engineering experts to design, build, test, and commission an automated, articulated concrete mattress-sinking prototype for the US Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia and Memphis Districts. The technology will help USACE maintain the navigation channel of the Mississippi River through levee reinforcement, increasing production rates, improving safety, and reducing costs. 

Facility Assessments for the National Institutes of Health (multiple locations and states): 

The firm performed site assessments at NIH locations that help optimize operations, achieve sustainability goals and lower costs. The firm’s assessments at the Central Utility Plant (CUP) and Cogeneration Plant in Bethesda, Md., which provide electricity, steam, and chilled water for NIH’s central campus facilities, resulted in improvements that led to $5 million utility bill savings and 58,000 tons of decreased gas emissions annually.

Office Consolidation Program for WMATA (MD, DC, and VA):  

Salas O’Brien served as program manager for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)’s $1 billion headquarter consolidation program, to reduce operating expenses and improve employee work conditions. The program reduced the number of metro office buildings from 10 down to four and established three new LEED Gold high-rise office headquarter buildings for each of their three service regions: District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Salas O’Brien served as the owner’s rep to ensure smooth execution of the program’s development, including providing MEP/FP engineering, energy modeling and commissioning services. The program ran from 2019-2023 and included two phases.

Last year, Salas O’Brien ranked No. 78 on the ENR MidAtlantic Design Firm of the Year survey with $19.69 million in revenue. The previous year, the firm ranked No. 68 with $23.03 million in revenue. To find out where Salas O’Brien ranks in this year’s Top Design Firm survey, and to learn more about the firm, check out the June issue of ENR MidAtlantic.