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July 07 Businessexcellence 93 Pennsylvania, east of Pittsburgh. CEC continues to do considerable work in real estate development, assisting clients through a myriad of regulatory concerns relative to shopping centers, office buildings, industrial complexes, health care centers, schools and universities, and so on. CEC is also active in “brownfields” projects, starting with environmental assessments for clean-ups on contaminated properties. “I typically come in on greenfield sites with traditional civil engineering and land development services.” As CEC grew, adding offices and nurturing client relationships, diversification of services became a natural progression, in order to become a one-stop shop for clients. “Outside the limits of a building (we don’t have architectural design), we wanted to offer a complete sweep of services from the initial land planning to help clients evaluate the potential of their property, to cleaning up a brownfield site. And let’s face it, today the land development process, whether you’re developing a greenfield, brownfield or urban site, is much more difficult. All the easy projects have been done, and the sites that remain have problems— our job is to find the solutions.” The Pittsburgh office is currently handling several major projects, including a new corporate headquarters for the nuclear division of Westinghouse Electric Company, which is proposing three buildings totaling 800,000 square feet. Westinghouse has a backlog of nuclear power plants to design and build, domestically and abroad, and will be hiring a significant number of engineers during the next three years. CEC worked with Westinghouse management and their architectural firms to review sites, then helped study and land-plan two sites—their existing energy center campus, as well as a new site. The new site in Cranberry Township, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh, was selected because of its potential for future expansion and accessibility. “I probably have 15 engineers working on this project due to its fast-track completion schedule,” Civil & Environmental Consultants private sector clients, with a focus on three core principles: senior leadership, integrated services, and personal client relationships. “We had had some strong relationships with certain clients, who followed us to our new firm,” says CEO Greg Quatchak, youngest of the four founders. They started with four core practices— civil engineering/site development, solid waste, environmental, and ecological sciences. During their first eight months in business they added 14 employees; their average annual growth has been 15-20 percent, and in a few peak years they achieved close to 45 percent growth. “We found during our early years that we were growing strictly from repeat business with existing clients, we didn’t chase the one-in-ten proposal opportunities, and today, with over 465 employees, we are going after other projects, but about two-thirds of our business is still repeats,” he says. After three years, CEC added its first branch office in Cincinnati, OH, with the philosophy that branches are another mechanism for growth, both in revenue and diversity of services, in a new geographic area. The driving force to open branches has not been clients in new areas, however, he says, it’s simply a recognition of opportunities with senior executives who know those markets well and want to run their own operation under the CEC banner. “There are pros and cons to this approach to branch offices, but to us it doesn’t make sense to transfer someone from one office to open in another location. We support our new branches, but let them run their own operations. We provide marketing, HR and corporate accounting, and if a particular office wants to add a new discipline in their office, for example, landscape architecture, we let them run with it. We invest in our branches; it takes a few years for each to become established and profitable, and as long as we see progress, we support it.” Currently CEC has branches in eight cities – Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, and St. Louis, as well as an office in Export, “We have a tremendous pool of young people who like the incentives we offer, such as stock ownership, and it enables us to attract career-minded people who like what we do, and want to play a larger role in the firm”