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WSB CEO Bret Weiss named a finalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2022 Heartland Award

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) announced Bret Weiss as a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Heartland Award earlier this week. The Entrepreneur Of The Year program recognizes the most accomplished business leaders who are building and sustaining successful enterprises worldwide.

The Heartland program celebrates entrepreneurs from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Applicants must be a CEO or president of a competitive company that has demonstrated long-term value and strong growth rates. Finalists are selected by a panel of independent judges and evaluated based on a variety of criteria including their entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, company growth and impact.

Regional award winners will be announced on June 9, 2022, at The Fillmore Minneapolis. The winners will then be considered by the National judges for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards.

Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business awards program. These visionary leaders deliver innovation, growth and prosperity that transform our world. The program engages entrepreneurs with insights and experiences that foster growth.

For over 35 years, EY US has celebrated the unstoppable entrepreneurs who are building a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous world for all. The Entrepreneur Of The Year program has recognized more than 10,000 US executives since its inception in 1986.

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WSB ranks #164 on the Engineering News Record’s (ENR) Top 500 Design Firms list

WSB is proud to land on ENR’s nationally ranked list for the tenth consecutive year, moving up 21 spots from last year’s position. Through ENR’s annual survey, companies throughout the United States are ranked according to revenue for design services performed. ENR’s mission is to connect diverse sectors of the industry with coverage of issues that include business management, design, construction methods, technology, safety, law, legislation, environment and labor.

Since WSB was formed 25+ years ago, we have been committed to growth.  For many years we’ve worked with our communities to build what’s next in infrastructure. Through strong partnerships we’ve been able to collaborate and solve some of our communities’ biggest challenges. Our growth would not be possible without our dedicated clients. Thank you for trusting us with your infrastructure needs.

Top 500 Design Firms

It an honor to be recognized amongst our peers. Thank you to our staff who also play a significant role in driving our growth and shaping our company. At WSB, we drive innovation through every level and service area, and we look forward to advancing project delivery with our clients in the future.

environmental compliance during rapid population growth

Environmental Compliance During Rapid Population Growth

By James Lowe, Director of Municipal Services, WSB

Climate change and other social, economic, and environmental concerns have made headlines in recent years. As such, there is a renewed public interest regarding the effects that large infrastructure projects have on communities and the environment. This is especially true in states like Texas, where governments and communities must manage environmental compliance during rapid population growth and an increasing number of new infrastructure projects.

There are many laws and regulations that require local, city, county, state, and federal government projects to identify potential impacts that their actions may have on the environment. Environmental planners and professionals play a key role in identifying the applicable laws, assessing any impacts, and ensuring that the public is well informed on those actions.

Rapid development and an influx of technology manufacturers and developers in Texas will result in more strain on existing state, county, and municipal infrastructure. These entities will look to the consulting community for solutions to help mitigate and balance the environmental impacts associated with population growth and infrastructure improvements.

What is Environmental Compliance?

Environmental compliance, in its basic sense, is ensuring a project is meeting the requirements of laws, regulations, and codes designed to protect the environment. This basic statement is not complex; however, environmental compliance requirements for a particular project are determined by the regulatory agencies involved and the location and scope of the project. The laws, regulations, and codes cover a wide assortment of items, such as those related to cultural resources, water resources, threatened and endangered species, as well as potential impacts to low income and minority populations.

Recent Trends in Environmental Compliance

Given the rapid growth in Texas, increased development and projects are inevitable. Navigating the necessary compliance for that growth often causes confusion, especially with recent changes in regulations and guidance. In an environmental study, in which time is money, oversight can cause delay. Delay can easily be avoided with early recognition of constraints and coordination with applicable agencies. Adherence to regulations and exhibiting good stewardship of the environment we all share, benefits projects in the long run. Close coordination with environmental planners, design engineers, client staff, and stakeholders early and throughout project development help to avoid costly redesign work. Likewise, it can help mitigate potential schedule delays through early identification of issues and development of solutions.

Working with the Experts

It is often confusing and daunting for government entities, local communities, and private developers to manage environmental compliance during rapid population growth. Here at WSB, we work hand in hand with clients to help them identify environmental constraints and the options available to advance their project. Clients look to our expertise to develop solutions that address rapid growth and navigate the environmental compliance landscape to advance project delivery.

James is the director of municipal services for our Texas offices. He has over 20 years of experience with environmental and municipal services. In his role, he develops strategies to elevate and grow clients, pursues key municipal projects, and hires talent in regions and municipalities across Texas with significant growth opportunities. He serves as a technical resource for Transportation Planning and NEPA/Environmental pursuits and projects.

[email protected] | 936.329.1967

environmental compliance during rapid population growth

WSB Announces 2022 Staff Promotions

WSB is excited to announce our newly promoted staff. As a growing company, we are dependent on the continual development of new talent and leadership. We are fortunate to have such strong and committed leaders that have chosen to invest their careers with us. We are proud to promote these staff to their new roles and are confident that their best years are ahead of them.


Candace Amberg – Senior Landscape Architect
Mike Molitor – Engineering Specialist
Jake Newhall – Project Manger
Chris Petree – Director of Operations

Senior Associate

Nick Guilliams – Senior Project Manager
Nic Hentges – Project Manager
Jeremy Kilbo – Director of IT Operations
Nate Osterberg – Pipeline Manager
Jim Stremel – Senior Project Manager
DJ Sosa – Senior Project Manager
Eric Zweber – Senior Project Manager


Lindsay Amys-Roe – Enterprise Solutions Architect
Chris Barber – Design Manager: Center for Civil Site Design
Adam Gadbois – Project Manager
Mary Gute – Senior Transportation Manager
Shannon Gwost – Construction Inspector
Brad Hamilton – Director of Public Engagement
Andy Lobe – Survey Project Manager
Paul Kivisto – Senior Structural Engineer
Paul Kyle – Project Manager
David Neill – Autodesk Design Technology Manager
Gregg Roemhildt – Lead Developer
Kelsey Utley – Professional Engineer
Kyle Wewetzer – Quality Assurance/Quality Control Manager
Brandi Wolfe – Regulatory Compliance Manager


The Benefits of Outsourcing Code Enforcement

February 12, 2024
By Kim Lindquist, Director of Community Planning, WSB

It’s that time of year when the snow melts and residents begin to go outside after the winter hibernation. Spring prompts many activities for cities, like street sweeping and fire hydrant flushing, but a less obvious activity is the increase of code enforcement work.

What is Code Enforcement?

Code enforcement is the process communities use to gain compliance with various city code violations within a community. Generally, cities always initiate code enforcement actions on a “complaint basis,” meaning that a neighbor or resident noticed something on a property that does not seem to meet the rules and regulations of the city. Many cities also conduct proactive code enforcement, where staff identifies violations, rather than the public, and acts accordingly. Complaints are typically issues that can be visually verified and include things like outside storage, junked or unlicensed vehicles, and parking on the grass. Throughout the summer, tall grass and noxious weeds are some of the most common complaints. Regardless of which methodology cities undertake, the goal is to maintain the value, character, and aesthetics of individual neighborhoods and the community.

Who Enforces City Code?

Cities may use on-staff personnel, such as a planner, Community Service Officer, or building inspector, for some code enforcement activities. However, as their workload has grown, more communities are exploring full-time code enforcement officers for the busy spring and summer months. Because this is a specialized role, and in certain climates workload is uneven, cities often look to fill seasonal code enforcement positions during the summer. In the current labor market, filling these positions has become more challenging. Outsourcing code enforcement can help cities provide the service without adding to existing staff workload and prevents them from hiring for a position that may be underutilized in the winter months.

Outsourcing Code Enforcement

WSB has had the opportunity to conduct code enforcement activities for various communities. Currently, our team of skilled planners are supporting the City of Shoreview, a community that conducts code enforcement mainly on a complaint basis but also has some proactive enforcement by choosing a neighborhood each year to canvass. By staffing their code enforcement work with a WSB Community Planner, they now have an extension of their staff who understand City Codes, particularly Zoning regulations which are often the more complex enforcement actions. As with most communities, Shoreview works to bring a property into compliance with education; explaining property maintenance rules is a key part of any code enforcement program. Our staff work with property owners to assist in bringing sites into compliance and more importantly, understanding what is and isn’t allowed by code.

There are many benefits to outsourcing code enforcement efforts. These efforts are often scalable allowing our staff to ramp up during busier times and provide less service during slower times. WSB provides staffing flexibility to meet community needs. Outsourcing code enforcement allows city staff more time to focus on other priorities, especially in a time of high development demands. WSB is one of few consulting firms that conduct code enforcement work for our clients, and our scalable model addresses many potential needs and resources.

Kim is a planning professional with over 30 years of experience overseeing a variety of complex planning projects. Kim worked in high growth communities working with developers and the public on entitlements for residential development and business attraction to the city.

[email protected] | 763.287.8303

Electric Vehicles

Understand How the Infrastructure Bill Supports Expanding Electric Vehicle Fleets and Charging Infrastructure

By Bridget Rathsack, Program Manager and Eric Zweber, Sr Project Manager, WSB

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is opening opportunities for states, local government, school districts, and tribal communities across the U.S. to expand electric vehicle (EV) fleets and related infrastructure. Included in the $1.2 trillion bipartisan funding package is more than $7.5 billion to help accelerate the adoption of EVs and associated charging infrastructure. As part of this funding, states are each receiving tens of millions in funding through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program. There is also funding earmarked for charging and refueling infrastructure grants, which go through the U. S. Department of Transportation to state and local governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations to help fund alternative fuel corridors. Furthermore, some funding is earmarked specifically for competitive grants that will support innovative approaches that expand charging infrastructure in rural and low-income communities and corridors. 

So, what exactly does the Infrastructure Law mean for EV infrastructure, and how can communities take advantage of this historic funding investment? Here are a few thoughts.

Make a Plan

Many communities are unsure what model will work best for their needs. There is not a one-size-fits-all model, and leaders should ask questions like these below to make a plan that works best to meet their unique needs:

  • Does it make sense to take on an ownership model where the community owns the EV charging stations and related infrastructure while assuming responsibility for the long-term operations and maintenance?
  • Will it make sense to own and then lease EV infrastructure, recovering fees through a third-party vendor?
  • Should our city plan to let a third-party install and manage EV infrastructure completely? How can we meet the needs of all of our residents, including those that don’t live near highways or shopping hubs, or those living in multi-family complexes, etc.?
  • How can transportation electrification help advance economic development and meet climate goals?

Having a strategy is critical if communities want to be ready to tap into grant and funding opportunities for charging infrastructure when they become available later this year. Looking to, and updating, a community’s comprehensive plan can help to navigate and plan for the future of EV’s. It will also position a community to successfully submit a competitive grant application to fund their plan.

Vehicle Purchasing and Fleets

Just as the Infrastructure Bill is expanding access to EV charging infrastructure, it also will help fund EV purchases for communities and school districts. Specifically, there is $5 billion in funding for school districts that want to upgrade their school buses to clean or zero-emission models.

But whether looking to update city vehicles, public buses, or school buses, it’s important for leaders to understand how EVs can benefit them and build a plan that meets their needs. Questions to ask when thinking about updating to electric fleets include:

  • Are the vehicles in need of upgrades? Are they in an urban or rural community? How far does a vehicle travel on average per day?
  • Is our community in a hot or cold weather climate which may mean fewer efficiencies in extreme weather? How can we begin with a pilot project so that we can learn how the vehicles meet our needs and build capacity for EVs in our organization?
  • What kind of grant should we pursue – charging infrastructure and/or fleet updates? What is our plan to phase out the work as these grants are released? Do we have internal staff to do this or do we need additional help?

There are many ways to update EV fleets and charging infrastructure that will significantly benefit communities and the environment but ensuring the investment fits with the needs of the school district or community is important.

How WSB Can Help

The Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act is a massive funding package that provides meaningful opportunities to accelerate EV fleet and infrastructure adoption, reduce emissions, and meet the needs of communities. Here are some of the ways WSB can help leaders navigate and tap into accelerating EV fleet and infrastructure adoption:

  1. Updating comprehensive plans to plan for EV infrastructure adoption.
  2. Strategizing and helping create an ownership model for a community’s EV charging infrastructure.
  3. Engineering and public works services to help design and plan for EV charging stations.
  4. Navigating regulations and zoning requirements.
  5. Helping prepare for, and assisting with, grant applications for EV-related projects.
  6. Nesting your EV work in your broader sustainability, resiliency, and climate goals.
  7. Designing spaces for EV charging infrastructure that meet accessibility requirements and work with landscape architecture, signage, etc.

If your community does not have the staff capacity or resources to manage EV infrastructure internally, WSB is available to discuss options and strategies. Residents, consumers, and businesses are demanding more sustainable transportation options including electric vehicles. Now is the time for communities to explore options, target historic funding investments, and advance their vision for the future.

Bridget serves as the Sustainability Program Manager at WSB, helping propel sustainability projects and opportunities forward for our clients to reduce costs while meeting their community and stakeholder needs. She has led the Sustainability Growth Coalition at Environmental Initiative and served as chair of the St. Louis Park, MN Environment and Sustainability Commission, moving forward progress on climate and energy, while engaging community members and business leaders.

[email protected] | 920.202.0234

Eric has over 20 years experience with community planning, renewable energy, and sustainability projects. He has worked cooperatively with a number renewable energies developers to develop both solar and wind resources and is a past board member of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industrial Association (MnSEIA). He has a passion for sustainable and resilient practices to address the needs of communities and larger public.

[email protected] | 612.581.0504

Solar-Renewable Energy

Is Your Community Ready for Solar Energy

By Eric Zweber, Sr Project Manager and Amy Fredregill, Sr Director of Sustainability, WSB

Solar energy systems, such as solar panel arrays, are becoming increasingly less expensive to install and are generating more energy than before. The lower initial investment is resulting in a shorter time required for the savings on your city’s electricity bill to cover the initial cost of installation. In the long run, solar energy systems save money, generate jobs, and provide clean energy to your citizens. The low maintenance costs, economic stimulation and many other benefits make solar energy a strong option.

Here are four things to consider when exploring solar energy options for your city:

  • How do your citizens, businesses and other stakeholders feel about climate and renewable energy? How do you expect that to change in the future?              
    • Renewable energy options may be one way to advance your community’s climate and sustainability goals and interests, while meeting the needs of a range of stakeholders.
  • Does your electricity provider have a green tariff, green power program, or net energy monitoring program?
    • These programs partner with cities and businesses to provide the best value for renewable energy. Exploring which options your electricity provider may have can save on cost, and ensure you are maximizing your resources.
  • Is increasing awareness and education a goal of your energy program?
    • If so, onsite solar generation can have an even stronger business case due to the local visibility it provides.
  • How will investment tax credits (ITCs) and solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) be capitalized within your project investment?      
    • Municipalities can have difficulties recovering incentives such as ITCs and SRECs. Exploring potential partnerships prior to installation can create funding opportunities to shorten your payback period.

Every solar energy solution looks different. For community leaders facing challenges and planning for the future, it can be difficult to know when and where to start. When we partner with clients, we help them explore what opportunities their community can tap into for solar energy considerations.

Eric has over 20 years experience with community planning, renewable energy, and sustainability projects. He has worked cooperatively with a number renewable energies developers to develop both solar and wind resources and is a past board member of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industrial Association (MnSEIA). He has a passion for sustainable and resilient practices to address the needs of communities and larger public.

[email protected] | 612.581.0504

Amy has over 20 years of experience across many industries, particularly energy and agriculture, in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. This experience has provided Amy with a broad background that enables her to meet community and business needs based on the business case for sustainability. By working across intersecting systems to simultaneously advance environmental, economic and social goals, she is able to uncover creative solutions.

[email protected] | 612.965.1489