Destination workplaces

October 2006 » Exclusive
Please join us in honoring the 2006 Best Civil Engineering Firms To Work For! Kimley-Horn and Associates (Cary, NC) tops the list.
Shanon Fauerbach, P.E.

The Results of the CE News 2006 Best Civil Engineering Firms To Work For Contest

Everyone agrees that finding the perfect employer to meet your goals, needs, personality, and expertise is worth searching for. And once you find the perfect fit, it's worthwhile helping to make it an even better place for your own benefit and for that of your colleagues and future generations. CE News is pleased and proud to lead civil engineers to such "destination workplaces." These employers go to great lengths to create wonderful workplaces and to satisfy employees, always with an eye toward future improvements. Please join us in honoring the 2006 Best Civil Engineering Firms To Work For!

Participants

This year, 157 firms participated in the contest, including 73 firms that did not participate last year. The high quality of these newcomers made an impact; in fact, 18 of them ranked in the top 50 and possibly helped push past participants off the top 50 list. Of course, as I remind readers every year, it is possible that 2005 winners didn't participate this year. Scheduling conflicts, workload, management transitions, and other factors can contribute to a firm's decision not to participate annually. In fact, 51 firms that competed in 2005 did not compete in 2006.

As you can see, the competition changes from year-to-year, unlike college rankings, which rate the same pool of competitors annually. See the section below called "The process" for a more detailed description of the grading procedure.

To put the contestant pool in perspective, it's helpful to review the demographics of the competing firms. This year, the smallest firm to rank in the contest was Chen and Associates (overall rank No. 25), which employs only 20 people. Kimley-Horn and Associates (No. 1 overall rank) was the largest firm to place; it has 2,025 employees. The median firm size of all competitors was 160 employees.

Atwell-Hicks, ranked No. 7, was this year's most senior firm: It opened for business more than 100 years ago in 1905. The youngest firm to compete started just four years ago.

Most firms that entered had a branch office; the median number of branch offices (excluding headquarters) was four. Firms have offices in every nook and cranny of the United States, and some have international branches.

The most common ownership structure among contestants is privately owned (72 percent). For this group, the median number of owners is 11; however, 13 firms are owned by one person. The next most popular firm type is one with a combination structure of private and employee-ownership, making up about 18 percent of the contestants. The median percentage of private ownership for these firms is 70 percent and employee ownership is 32 percent. The median percentage of staff who are employee-owners in this group is 76 percent. Some firms were also strictly employee-owned firms (11 percent). The median percentage of staff who are employee-owners in this group is 46 percent.

Additionally, most firms have a board of directors (87 percent) with a median of six board numbers. It is uncommon for firms to have a non-employee on their board.
Financially speaking, most firms reported a 10-percent to 20-percent average annual gross revenue growth rate over the past three fiscal years. Also, most competitors had a net pre-tax, pre-bonus profit/loss margin of 15 percent or more.

The process

Executing the contest for the sixth time this year, the process did not change remarkably from last year. Following is a description of the contest process.

CE News announced the contest and posted the entry form (known as the Corporate Survey) online in January. Completing the first step to enter, contestants responded to the questions on the Corporate Survey and returned it by the deadline in April. Next, following the directions from our staff, the competing firms launched the contest's required Employee Satisfaction Survey to their staff. Firms were encouraged to achieve a minimum 20-percent response rate to the anonymous survey.

Next, our staff graded the Corporate and Employee Satisfaction Surveys—which make up the two equally-weighted components of the grading process—for all firms, and determined a raw score for each component. (The method used to determine the raw scores is described in more detail below.) Criteria considered the many aspects of a great firm to work for, including culture, benefits, performance/recognition, compensation, professional development, recruiting/retention, and more. We used the standard deviation and mean to distribute the firms' scores for each component, which gave more or less weight to firms that scored well outside of the average. We used the sum of the distributed scores for both components to rank the firms.

The top three firms made it to the final round, which means that our judging panel independently evaluates and re-ranks these firms. In addition to using the information provided in Corporate and Employee Satisfaction Surveys, the judges learn more about the top finishers through questionnaires completed by the top firms' presidents and human resource directors. Then they use their best judgment, given their expertise in recruiting, retention, and human resource issues, to rank the firms in order. We tally the judges' results to establish the final order of the top three winners.

To determine the raw scores used to rank the contestants, the Corporate and Employee Satisfaction Surveys are evaluated objectively in the following manner:

Corporate Survey—Most questions on the Corporate Survey were graded using one of two main methods. The first type compared a firm's response to the median response of the contestant pool. If a firm met or exceeded the median, then points were awarded. For example, the median voluntary turnover rate for all the firms that entered the contest was 10 percent. Therefore, if a firm had a 10 percent or lower turnover rate, it earned points; firms with a turnover rate higher than 10 percent did not earn any points. For some particularly important questions, bonus points were awarded if a firm met or exceeded the 90th percentile of all firms.

The second method simply awarded points if a benefit was offered or if the affirmative response to a question was given. For example, if a firm offers a flexible medical spending account to staff, it earned points; likewise, if a firm said it has a non-discriminatory culture regarding age, gender, race, and religion, it earned points. For both grading methods, more important attributes were worth more points; for example, beating the average voluntary turnover rate was worth more points than hosting a company picnic.

Employee Satisfaction Survey—All of the Employee Satisfaction Survey questions were graded (other than demographic questions and a few narrative response questions) using a method that compared, for each question, a firm's average positive response to the average positive response of the contestant pool (referred to as the Benchmark). For example, employees were asked to respond on a scale of 1 to 6, where 1 is the most undesirable response and 6 is the most desirable response, how well their firm provided a team environment. If a firm's average positive response met or exceeded the Benchmark, it earned a point for the question. Additionally, bonus points were awarded for firms that met or exceeded the 90th percentile on specific questions that are the most telling or important of all those asked in the Employee Satisfaction Survey. Remarkably, feedback from 19,966 civil engineering firm employees was included in this process!

Questions were arranged by categories, including culture, benefits, performance/recognition, compensation, professional development, recruiting and retention, and general. For each firm, the total points earned for each category were normalized so that each category had a total of 10 points. This step helped to account for the fact that there were many more graded questions in some categories than others and that some categories' questions weren't necessarily as important as others with fewer questions. Next, a unique weighting factor was applied to each category's normalized point total.

The weighting factors are based on data collected from the 2004 Employee Satisfaction Survey conducted for the Best Civil Engineering Firm To Work For Contest. For this survey, we asked many questions about what was important to the employees of civil engineering firms so that we could determine how to evaluate the responses in future contests based on data, rather than on assumptions. More than 12,000 employees' responses were incorporated into these findings. For example, data revealed that employees believe a firm's culture is more important than its professional development programs.

Finally, the sum of the weighted total points for each category was determined; this was the total raw score for the Employee Satisfaction Survey component of the overall score.

Overall ranking

Rank, Company Headquarters, # of employees, Website (as of April 2006)

  1. Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., Cary, N.C., 2,025 employees, www.kimley-horn.com
  2. RBF Consulting, Irvine, Calif., 961 employees, www.RBF.com
  3. Appledore Engineering, Inc., Portsmouth, N.H., 24 employees, www.appledoreeng.com
  4. Provost & Pritchard Engineering Group, Inc., Fresno, Calif., 130 employees, www.ppeng.com
  5. Hall & Foreman, Inc., Irvine, Calif., 215 employees, www.hfinc.com
  6. Fehr & Peers, Walnut Creek, Calif., 143 employees, www.fehrandpeers.com
  7. Atwell-Hicks, Ann Arbor, Mich., 432 employees, www.atwell-hicks.com
  8. Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Elmwood Park, N.J., 594 employees, www.langan.com
  9. Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering, Inc., Fountain Valley, Calif., 92 employees, www.p-a-c-e.com
  10. Mid-Valley Engineering, Inc., Modesto, Calif., 110 employees, www.mve.net
  11. Psomas, Los Angeles, 675 employees, www.psomas.com
  12. Stanley Consultants, Muscatine, Iowa, 943 employees, www.stanleyconsultants.com
  13. Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Watertown, Mass., 830 employees, www.vhb.com
  14. Wood Rodgers, Inc., Sacramento, Calif., 408 employees, www.woodrodgers.com
  15. Walter P Moore, Houston, 335 employees, www.walterpmoore.com
  16. Robert Peccia and Associates, Helena, Mont., 47 employees, www.rpa-hln.com
  17. McCarthy Engineering Associates, P.C., West Lawn, Pa., 31 employees, www.mccarthy-engineering.com
  18. Traffic Planning and Design, Inc., Pottstown, Pa., 108 employees, www.trafficpd.com
  19. Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc., Las Vegas, 45 employees, www.gesnevada.com
  20. MSCW, Orlando, Fla., 126 employees, www.MSCWinc.com
  21. Delta Airport Consultants, Inc., Richmond, Va., 78 employees, www.deltaairport.com
  22. Roth Hill Engineering Partners, LLC, Bellevue, Wash., 50 employees, www.rothhill.com
  23. J.L. Patterson & Associates, Inc., Orange, Calif., 50 employees, www.jlpatterson.com
  24. R.A. Smith & Associates, Inc., Brookfield, Wis., 235 employees, www.rasmith.com
  25. Chen and Associates, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 20 employees, www.chenandassociates.com
  26. Golder Associates Inc., Atlanta, 975 employees, www.golder.com
  27. CRW Engineering Group, LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, 50 employees, www.crweng.com
  28. Olsson Associates, Lincoln, Neb., 521 employees, www.oaconsulting.com
  29. NorthStar Engineering Group, Inc., Modesto, Calif., 36 employees, www.nseng.net
  30. Kleingers and Associates, Inc., West Chester, Ohio, 88 employees, www.kleingers.com
  31. Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Waltham, Mass., 271 employees, www.sgh.com
  32. Wolverton & Assoc., Inc., Duluth, Ga., 91employees, www.wolverton-assoc.com
  33. GeoSyntec Consultants, Inc., Atlanta, 578 employees, www.geosyntec.com
  34. A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc., Rockville, Md., 165 employees, www.amtengineering.com
  35. Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc., Boston, Mass., 63 employees, www.jnei.com
  36. BHC Rhodes, Overland Park, Kan., 45 employees, www.ibhc.com
  37. J-U-B ENGINEERS, Inc., Boise, Idaho, 270 employees, www.jub.com
  38. Wallace Engineering - Structural Consultants, Inc., Tulsa, Okla., 140 employees, www.wallacesc.com
  39. Winzler & Kelly Consulting Engineers, Santa Rosa, Calif., 263 employees, www.w-and-k.com
  40. Bolton & Associates, LLC, La Plata, Md., 59 employees, www.boltonandassociates.com
  41. Quincy Engineering, Inc., Sacramento, Calif., 44 employees, www.quincyeng.com
  42. West Yost Associates, Davis, Calif., 95 employees, www.westyost.com
  43. Barr Engineering Co., Minneapolis, 310 employees, www.barr.com
  44. Sharrah Dunlap Sawyer, Inc., Redding, Calif., 37 employees, www.sdsengineering.com
  45. Capital Consultants, Inc., Lansing, Mich., 93 employees, www.ccdwae.com
  46. Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc., Sparks, Md., 457 employees, www.jmt.com
  47. Cole & Associates, Inc., St. Louis, Mo., 63 employees, www.colestl.com
  48. David Evans and Associates, Inc., Portland, Ore., 948 employees, www.deainc.com
  49. FOX Engineering Associates, Inc., Ames, Iowa, 43 employees, www.foxeng.com
  50. Matrix Design Group, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo., 125 employees, www.matrixdesigngroup.com

First Place: Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. (KHA), headquartered in Cary, N.C., takes the lead as the first-place firm in the top 50 list. With more than 2,000 employees in 54 offices, this seasoned firm, founded in 1967, has created a distinctive culture that is centered on its core values of "honesty, integrity, and ethics; exceptional client service; high expectations; sharing and caring; and sustained profitability."

The word culture came up frequently in the judges' comments about KHA. Saman Chaudry, vice president with ZweigWhite, said, "Kimley-Horn takes the idea of an 'entrepreneurial culture' to a whole new level. Whether you call them 'practice builders,' 'impact players,' or 'seller-doers,' the concept of hiring people with an entrepreneurial spirit is not new in theory. However, Kimley-Horn's execution of this model is flawless. Kimley-Horn's entrepreneurial philosophy is apparent in everything from recruiting and training, to client services and leadership transition. By empowering its employees to build their own destiny at Kimley-Horn, the company has ensured that each employee, from the receptionists in California to the president in North Carolina, are focused on the long-term and sustainable success of the firm."

Judge Lisa Jacobs, a human resources administrator with Hunton & Williams, Richmond, Va., said, "Kimley-Horn's culture makes it a tough competitor with offerings such as a collaborative working environment, job-sharing options, established programs for employees to promote change, and generally an open environment, including the sharing of firm financial performance with employees."

KHA's President and CEO Mark Wilson stated that another key aspect of the firm's culture is its "one profit center mentality." He said, "We have only one profit center and that is the firm as a whole. This too is an outgrowth of our core purpose and core values. Operating as a single profit center protects our staff and creates a sense of teamwork across the firm that simply doesn't exist in companies where internal competition reigns. We compete constantly, but it's against our goals, not each other. Having one profit center means that we are free to share resources with each other in a way that other firms can't. When one region is overloaded with work, another provides help. In this way, we keep our staff busy in spite of regional economic conditions."

Another mainstay of the firm's culture is that it shares financial success with employees. Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources Barry Barber said, "We are fortunate to routinely operate among the most profitable firms in the industry. This success provides the financial resources to reward, recognize, and thank employees. We are not aware of another firm that offers comparable incentive compensation and retirement." Examples include firm-paid retirement contributions that are typically about 20 percent of an employee's salary and bonus, meaningful incentive bonuses for all staff, and "special distributions," which are unscheduled bonuses that have been given several times a year in recent years.

Of course, there are also elements of fun, family, and philanthropy, which all go a long way to making employees' on-the-job experiences fulfilling. For example, each office has one or more "Vice Presidents of Fun," who coordinate social events and celebrations that include staff and their families. Additionally, the firm sends spouse integration packages to the spouses of new employees. The packages contain helpful hints about the firm, benefits, and points of contact, along with a $125 meal voucher to take another KHA employee and spouse to dinner.

KHA's core value of "caring and sharing" is extended by employees into its philanthropic and community service practices. In fact, employees donated more than $94,000 to victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the firm matched these donations 100 percent.

Judge Susan Pellerin, president of E&S Consulting, Milford, Conn., summed up KHA's cultural impact on its business success: "Clients are best served by challenged, innovative, driven, and committed employees. Employee-centered cultural values create superior talent pools directly impacting profitability and quality of product." By all accounts, KHA has mastered the art of supporting these interrelated attributes of a successful firm and, in doing so, created a great place for its employees to work.

Second Place: RBF Consulting, the No. 2 ranked firm, provides employees with many important characteristics of a superior workplace. Employees' responses to the Employee Satisfaction Survey show that the firm emphasizes high quality work for clients; fair treatment of employees regardless of age, gender, race, or religion; fairness and consistency in its policies and decisions; and a caring, "family" atmosphere—among many other desirable attributes.

Although the firm enjoys employee satisfaction, and ranked No. 1 in the Best Civil Engineering Firm To Work For Contest last year, it is not the type "to rest on its accomplishments," Judge Carol Metzner, president of The Metzner Group, LLC, pointed out. She said, "RBF has implemented a variety of improvements to its already successful workplace." For example, she cited one notable enhancement: "To reward tenure, RBF has implemented a bonus program that gives employees reaching milestone years of service (15, 20, 25 years, et cetera) a one time addition of 40 hours of paid time off, as well as a financial bonus." She added, "Too many companies take for granted long-term loyalty in a competitive marketplace. This is a mistake companies cannot afford to make."

Other improvements the firm made during the past year included significant increases in year-end profit sharing; the addition of a Roth 401(k) option; increased healthcare benefits for employees; an additional rotating holiday (in celebration of its 2005 Best Firm To Work For Contest win!); implementation of mid-year bonuses; an improved ride share program to help conserve fuel, reduce vehicle emissions, and ease the cost of commuting for staff; expanded employee recognition and professional development programs; and more.

In the firm's Corporate Survey, it shared the following telling statement: "We did not just celebrate and become complacent [after the 2005 win]. We listened to your evaluations of our firm and others like us, who continually work toward the goal of being the best firm to work for. We took a deep look into RBF and found ways to strengthen our already solid foundation. Over this past year, we have continued working to improve our firm, to make it the best it can be, for each and every one of our team members. And we will continue to do so every year thereafter."

The essence of teamwork and shared goals expressed in this statement are hallmarks of the RBF community. Chaudry commented, "A sense of community is fostered through a deep emphasis on improving quality of life and the environment through the practice of engineering as well as regular social activities (camping, skiing, golf, softball). The company hosted over 400 team-building events in 2005 alone! Community is further emphasized through RBF's Good Works Program, which provides hands-on volunteer services to a broad range of philanthropic groups."

Judge Tim Cooper, vice president employee benefits for JBL&K Risk Services, said, "Continuing the firm's commitment to social responsibility, RBF continues to give designated staff paid time off for volunteering. This benefit encourages employees to give back to their communities. Matching employee donations, RBF offered a significant donation toward Hurricane Katrina relief."

Although this summary provides just a sampling of the breadth of programs, practices, and cultural identity of this firm, hopefully it is apparent that it has created an enviable work environment that is sure to get even better with age.

Third Place: "For a company of only 24 employees, Appledore Engineering, Inc. (AEI), provides employees a wonderful work environment, a fantastic benefits package, and illustrates a strong commitment to education and technology," said Cooper. The "commitment to education" that Cooper referenced was noted by several other judges. Chaudry said, "To be a Best Firm To Work For, a firm must have an unwavering interest in the professional development of its employees. Beyond an interest, you must also have practices, both formal and informal, that promote career and personal growth. AEI has found a way to marry both informal mentoring with tangible project opportunities that create an almost limitless opportunity for advancement for its staff."

Metzner said, "AEI provides opportunities for employees, regardless of years of experience, to excel to their fullest. For example, staff members are not assigned job responsibilities based on years of experience. They have the ability to run projects based upon their capabilities." The responses from the firm's Employee Satisfaction Survey show that staff feel challenged by their work and believe there are opportunities for increased responsibility, career growth, and advancement opportunities.
But those aren't the only areas where AEI achieved high levels of employee satisfaction. Employees also gave above-average responses in rating the firm's practice of defining performance expectations, compensation, time off, and balancing work and personal life.

The firm provides some big-time benefits, even for a small firm. It pays 100 percent of medical insurance premiums for employees and their families, and offers domestic partners benefits. It started a peer-nominated "MVP program" this year that rewards monthly winners with a gift certificate for dinner and a movie for two. Mid-year, one of the first six MVPs won a night out and a hotel stay. At the end of the year, one of the 12 MVPs will be selected randomly to win a weekend trip to a luxurious resort. What's more, it provides training to all staff, tuition reimbursement for courses-for-credit, two days of extra paid time off for employees to take professional registration exams, and more.
AEI wrote an interesting statement that sums up the firm so well, it deserves repeating: "What sets us apart is what we call 'the hum.' There is a contented murmur, or hum, as we all go about our jobs. It's like a beautifully tuned car, buzzing along a smooth road, interspersed with laughter. … AEI has a clear vision for the future, our employees are secure and content, and we are growing. Appledore continues to focus on integrity, hard work, and our most valuable resource—our staff." Sounds like a great place to work, huh?

Sidebar: Small Firm Ranking

The Best Civil Engineering Firm To Work For Contest Small Firm Ranking includes firms with 100 or fewer employees. Firms on the list range in size from 20 to 95 employees, with a median of 50 employees.

Two of the top 10 overall firms are also honored on this list. The No. 1 Small Firm is also ranked No. 3 on the overall ranking: Appledore Engineering, Inc., a 24-person firm established in 1987 with one office in Portsmouth, N.H.

Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering, Fountain Valley, Calif., which took ninth place overall, is proud to stand as the No. 2 ranked Small Firm this year. Employees were especially satisfied with the firm's training opportunities and overall professional development. It's no wonder. The firm provides a full-range of in-house and off-site training and continuing education opportunities, including lunch-time seminars—with lunch provided by the firm—on living a healthy lifestyle, harassment, project case studies, on-the-job lessons learned by employees, and more.

Robert Peccia and Associates, Helena, Mont., is no stranger to the Best Civil Engineering Firm To Work For Contest, and joined the ranks again this year, claiming the third-place slot on the list of exceptional small firms to work for and No. 16 overall. And like all firms with the goal to be among the best, it strives to improve. This year it started a staff-managed investment club for employees interested in learning about investing. It also created a new employee recognition program. The "High Five" coupon program allows staff to acknowledge unexpected help or kindness. Five coupons can be redeemed for a $25 gift certificate.

Chen and Associates, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which ranked ninth on the Small Firm Ranking and 25th overall, deserves special recognition for achieving the highest level of employee satisfaction of all 157 firms that entered the contest this year. Sixteen members of its 20-person staff (80 percent) responded to the Employee Satisfaction Survey and expressed unanimous satisfaction to more questions than any other firm.

Small Firm Size Ranking

  1. Appledore Engineering, Inc.
  2. Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering, Inc.
  3. Robert Peccia and Associates
  4. McCarthy Engineering Associates, P.C.
  5. Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc.
  6. Delta Airport Consultants, Inc.
  7. Roth Hill Engineering Partners, LLC
  8. J.L. Patterson & Associates, Inc.
  9. Chen and Associates
  10. CRW Engineering Group, LLC
  11. NorthStar Engineering Group, Inc.
  12. Kleingers and Associates, Inc.
  13. Wolverton & Assoc., Inc.
  14. Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc.
  15. BHC Rhodes
  16. Bolton & Associates, LLC
  17. Quincy Engineering, Inc.
  18. West Yost Associates
  19. Sharrah Dunlap Sawyer, Inc.
  20. Capital Consultants, Inc.

Sidebar: Mid-Size Firm Ranking

Five of our top 10 firms on the overall ranking are categorized as mid-size firms, employing between 101 and 499 employees. The median firm size of the top 15 Mid-Size Firms is 215 employees.

The first-place Mid-Size Firm is Provost & Pritchard Engineering Group, Inc., (No. 4 overall) of Fresno, Calif. Established in 1968, this firm practices open-book management and provides its highly satisfied employees with all of the programs, benefits, and perks that are expected of a "best firm to work for," along with some creative additions. For example, employees receive eight hours of paid time off per year for community projects and it boasts an impressive mentoring program for future project managers that involves the firm president and a vice president.

Provost & Pritchard Engineering Group's president enacted a thoughtful new tradition recently that other firms may wish to copy: The president sends on-the-spot e-mails to all staff recognizing individuals who have been commended by clients, achieved a particular goal, or exemplified the firm's core values of "respect, caring, integrity, accountability, quality, teamwork, and family orientation."

Hall & Foreman, Inc., Irvine, Calif., is ranked No. 2 in the Mid-Size Firm Ranking and No. 5 overall for its desirable workplace practices and impressive employee satisfaction. The firm is a fast-growing firm with a diversified staff. In fact, employees range in age from 18 to 78 and represent 20 countries! It devotes considerable resources to keeping ahead of the curve in terms of information technology so that staff can be as efficient and productive as possible, a trait employees appreciate. The firm sets itself apart from others in the competitive California market by being a "destination employer," where team and individual accomplishments are celebrated, continuous improvement is sought, and the rewards of a profitable and growing business are shared.

Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Fehr & Peers placed third in the Mid-Size Firm Ranking and sixth overall. Employees enjoy every sort of company-sponsored social event imaginable, including a "bring a grown-up to work day," which means bring a guest! It uses a well-established strategic planning process to effect change and communicate initiatives and results firmwide. To assist in recruiting, it has an employee referral program that rewards staff with up to $2,000 if a candidate is hired.

Atwell-Hicks, Ann Arbor, Mich., claims the No. 4 place in the Mid-Size Firm Ranking and No. 7 overall. It has created a great workplace by focusing on providing staff with exceptional training, tools, and work environment, which ultimately benefits its clients and translates into remarkable career growth opportunities and financial rewards for staff. Atwell-Hicks has mastered this cycle, making it work well for all players.
Wrapping up the top five on the Mid-Size Firm Ranking is Mid-Valley Engineering, Inc., which placed tenth overall. Based in Modesto, Calif., this firm balances all of the elements that create a great workplace with its initiatives to grow.

Mid-Firm Size Ranking

  1. Provost & Pritchard Engineering Group, Inc.
  2. Hall & Foreman, Inc.
  3. Fehr & Peers
  4. Atwell-Hicks
  5. Mid-Valley Engineering, Inc.
  6. Wood Rodgers, Inc.
  7. Walter P Moore
  8. Traffic Planning and Design, Inc.
  9. MSCW
  10. R.A. Smith & Associates, Inc.
  11. Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
  12. A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc.
  13. J-U-B ENGINEERS, Inc.
  14. Wallace Engineering - Structural Consultants, Inc.
  15. Winzler & Kelly Consulting Engineers

Sidebar: Large Firm Ranking

Some true standouts participated in the more than 500 employee category, including the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked firms overall, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., and RBF Consulting (see more about these firms on page ??). The median firm size of the Large Firms is 887 employees.

Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, headquartered in Elmwood Park, N.J., ranks No. 8 overall and No. 3 on the Large Firm Ranking. It has four branch offices and almost 600 employees. Employees' responses regarding training and skill development show that Langan is going the extra mile to deliver professional development opportunities to staff. For example, staff enjoy opportunities to take graduate classes, conducted by Stevens Institute of Technology, onsite.

Psomas, ranked No. 11 overall and No. 4 on the Large Firm Ranking, believes that "retention is recruitment," meaning that the best employers will attract the best staff. Therefore, it realizes that it must create a culture that supports opportunities for staff to contribute, must provide excellent compensation and benefits, and must establish and communicate career paths for all staff. And the plan works: Employee referrals are the firm's greatest source of new hires.

Large Firm Size Ranking

  1. Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
  2. RBF Consulting
  3. Langan Engineering & Environmental Services
  4. Psomas
  5. Stanley Consultants
  6. Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
  7. Golder Associates Inc.
  8. Olsson Associates
  9. GeoSyntec Consultants, Inc.
  10. David Evans and Associates, Inc.

Sidebar: You have to enter to win!

If your firm didn't enter this year, or if you didn't make the list, you are encouraged to enter next year. To be sure you don't miss out on the 2007 entry information, sign up today for our Contest Contact List. Go to the Best Firm To Work For Portal at www.cenews.com/bestfirm and click on the link "Click here to register on the Best Firms To Work For Contest Contact List." Also, you will find a copy of the 2006 contest entry documents so that you can review what is required to enter. We will make adjustments to the Corporate Survey, but reviewing the instructions and types of questions asked will help you get a feel for the competition. Expect to hear updates in January 2007.

One important note to newcomers: Rest assured that regardless of your ranking status, our staff will not disclose your score, nor will we release the names of firms that entered the contest but did not make the top 50 or honorable mention lists. Remember, you have to enter to win, so give it a shot in 2007!


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