Despite the challenges that 2020 brought with the COVID-19 pandemic and related slowdowns, Albuquerque-based Bohannan Huston Inc. was able to continue its growth, posting a 17.6% gain in regional revenue over 2019 figures. For both its success on the business front as well as its commitment to its employees, ENR Southwest has named BHI as its 2021 Design Firm of the Year.

Part of what helped the company remain successful over the past year, according to BHI CEO Bruce Stidworthy, was that BHI had a very strong backlog before COVID hit, and virtually all forms of construction were allowed to continue in New Mexico during the pandemic. Engineering support of infrastructure also was declared essential. He also says funding levels for public- and private-sector clients were healthy and the company made a rapid and effective transition to working from home.

“We were thoughtful and purposeful in our efforts to maintain strong communication among project teams despite the physical separation," he says. "We have been flexible with employees, accommodating their desire to work from home or from the office as much as we could, which has been appreciated by employees."

One of the most important things Bohannan Huston’s leadership team did during the last year was maintain close communications with its clients to keep a pulse on the work that they have coming and how the company can help them with upcoming projects and work. The conversations have helped BHI better understand its client’s budgets and their outlook for upcoming work. BHI has also continued to be proactive in looking at future work and monitoring backlog.

Among the firm's recent major projects are the University of New Mexico Hospital Tower, a $520-million project that will house UNMH's new ER and ICU facilities, along with a seven-story parking garage and roadway, and the $227-million Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System, which will add the infrastructure to collect, treat and convey water to four pueblos in New Mexico.

BHI has also remained invested in employee wellness. The Bohannan Huston Wellness program consists of various workshop series for physical, mental and financial health. The approach, led from the employee's perspective, has four pillars to support decisions for its financial wellness program: financial, physical, emotional and social wellness. The company uses a point system to reward positive behaviors people practice to improve these four areas and rewards them with gift cards valued at up to $500 a year.

Meanwhile, unique internal programs and benefits BHI provides help encourage staff to take an active role in the communities the firm serves. The company, for example, has offered matching contributions to staff charitable contributions on donation drives such as those for Roadrunner Food Bank and United Way. BHI has also introduced a new benefit of volunteer time off, providing paid leave to support staff in pursuing volunteer opportunities.

For more on BHI and its accomplishments across the Southwest, check out the April 26 print issue of ENR Southwest.