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A Publication of WTVP

MACTEC is more than a half-century old, but its modern know-how has made it a very popular company. "We're ranked No. 21 in the country among design firms offering engineering and environmental services and No. 24 for design-build firms. We currently work in all sectors of the private and public economy providing virtually all aspects of engineering and scientific consulting," said MACTEC Vice President and Office Manager Greg Asbury.

MACTEC offers a full range of engineering and science-based services, said Kirk Sweetland, vice president and principal scientist. "To list and describe them all would be quite an undertaking. A full description of our services is contained on our Web site at mactec.com. When you serve the largest clients in both the public and private sectors, you can't leave anything behind as far as your service offerings. As a $500 million-per-year business, MACTEC offers virtually everything there is to offer in engineering and environmental services."

Asbury said the current MACTEC originated in 1946, with the namesake starting in the mid-1940s as a specialty consultant to the nuclear energy industry. "Currently, MACTEC represents several businesses that have been integrated over the last five years, including Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE), a former subsidiary of CILCORP; Harding Lawson and Associates; LAW Engineering; Pacific Environmental Services (PES); and several others. When considering all the businesses that now make up MACTEC, in some cases our lineage goes back more than 100 years. MACTEC now represents more than 100 domestic offices, with 3,400 employees."

The founding vision for the companies that now comprise MACTEC has evolved along with the companies themselves. "Most consultants begin by establishing themselves as providers of dependable technical services. Over time, the market will grow to expect more than that and requires there be intrinsic value in the services you provide. Value is defined by the client-not the technical consistency in your product. In this regard, MACTEC has established itself as a client-centered organization, focusing on the client first and foremost," Asbury said.

The company's vision will undergo still more changes in the next decade, said Larry Vaughn, registered architect and principal. "These changes will be driven by the need to become more cost competitive in the world economy, issues involving national and international security, our aging workforce and that impact on health care costs, and the list goes on. As these factors evolve and affect our clients, they'll drive us as well since our clients' needs define the basis of value in our services. Our job is to stay a step or two ahead so we're prepared to meet those needs and build value for our clients."

MACTEC has done well staying a step ahead of client needs in the past, expanding considerably in the last several years, Asbury said. "We've expanded both in geographic spread and technical capacity primarily, due to recent mergers and acquisitions. The mergers of MACTEC's four major predecessor consulting engineering and environmental organizations-each contributing their particular strengths-allowed MACTEC to broaden its service base extensively."

Ed Andrews, professional engineer and principal at MACTEC, said much of the engineering/environmental consulting industry is comprised of small, local companies with limited resources and expertise. What sets MACTEC apart is its expanse of technical resources, which provide considerable ability to meet comprehensive needs. "Few engineering and environmental professional service providers have the ability to provide such extensive service. Of the better than 3,400 full-time professional employees serving in more than 50 scientific and engineering disciplines at MACTEC, 82 percent have college degrees, greater than 20 percent have advanced degrees, and 60 percent are registered or certified in their fields. Even better, the Peoria office not only retains its core group of professional staff, but benefits from a regional and nationwide network of in-house professionals. Staff from Peoria, St. Louis, and Chicago routinely work together to provide seamless service to all of Illinois. Additionally, MACTEC's longevity provides assurance to the marketplace of it being a service resource for many years to come."

Changes in the industry over the last few years have forced change at MACTEC as well, according to Tony Wlodarski, professional geologist and principal. "The environmental marketplace has matured from a high growth industry, and the extent of new environmental regulations, which served to expand the market, has slowed considerably. Previous high growth areas such as underground storage tanks, asbestos, and environmental remediation drove up demand, thereby attracting lesser capability service providers into the industry. As the growth slowed, it created overcapacity in the industry, which often resulted in poor technical and financial practices by many marginal performers in the industry. These poor performances lead to a lessening of industry-wide standards and public perception, as well as overcorrecting of financial imbalances. The entire marketplace tended to suffer. Poor quality service by lesser qualified companies has, and continues to some extent, resulted in long-term inefficiencies and latent deficiencies, too often leaving service recipients with little or no recourse."

As many of the lesser capable and marginal service suppliers have fallen by the wayside-and as the marketplace has become a much more sophisticated and informed purchaser-the industry now appears to be recouping its professionalism and legitimacy, and in the process become more financially stable, he said. "The movement continues to be toward clients receiving the required higher quality service at a fair price, thereby creating a healthier marketplace for both service receivers and providers. This process is continuing, with ongoing consolidation or closure of smaller, less resourced service providers, but the overall trend is that the industry continues to move toward a more stable marketplace."

Recruiting and retaining top employees is aided by MACTEC's size and resources. "As a national company, MACTEC has access to the highest quality of technical and professional personnel located anywhere in the country," Asbury said. "As with any large organization, we have a formal process of recruiting for positions within the organization, utilizing the reach of the Internet and more traditional copy media. But one of the most significant sources of personnel to the organization is through the internal referral of existing staff: the person-to-person-to-organization connection. MACTEC's retention of employees is evidenced by our local office, where the average employee has been with MACTEC-or the predecessor company-longer than 10 years. This is facilitated by providing a flexible and challenging work environment, stability, and extensive career development opportunities in a dynamic organization."

Asbury said the most challenging aspect for business has been maintaining local name recognition during our series of mergers and acquisitions. In four years, MACTEC has grown ESE from a Midwestern firm of 400 into nearly 4,000 employees nationwide. It only made sense to adopt our parent company's namesake, codifying name recognition nationwide. The most rewarding thing about MACTEC is that it's a company with a true business focus in an industry that's too often distracted by the boss best positioning himself for a new car or retirement. You'll notice our company fleet consists entirely of work trucks."IBI

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