Fargo Office Exterior

WSB Fargo Expansion: Investing in the Future of North Dakota’s Infrastructure and Communities

May 31, 2023

By Jess Karls, Director of Transportation Design

WSB’s investment in North Dakota represents an exciting opportunity for current and potential clients in the region. With the opening of the new Fargo office, we have shown our commitment to delivering innovative solutions that benefit the local infrastructure and surrounding communities. This investment will enable WSB to expand its services, leading to the execution of more projects and improved project delivery.

WSB’s investment in North Dakota is particularly meaningful to me and why I chose to join the firm. The firm’s emphasis on using cutting-edge technology to shape projects and the positive impact our final products deliver to communities is one of the reasons I am excited to be part of WSB. I look forward to what the future holds for the new Fargo location.

Meeting Community Infrastructure Needs

One of the key benefits of WSB’s investment in North Dakota is the opportunity to work on projects that positively impact the local community, like Trunk Highway 10 and 75. Projects that help with the flow of traffic, support small businesses and improve the lives of residents while supporting our clients is a top priority. We listen to the community’s needs and desires and are eager to work with local and state governments to help improve infrastructure.

This expansion also presents exciting long-term prospects, including the potential to work with tribal, cities, counties, utilities and Department of Transportation (DOT) organizations.

Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

The Fargo team will help WSB’s comprehensive services grow, providing clients in Western Minnesota, along the North Dakota border and even South Dakota with access to many experts. The new location is strategically placed in the same community as North Dakota State University to attract new talent into the workforce. Our commitment to positively impacting communities through building what’s next in infrastructure can inspire and retain talent who see the value in this work.


What sets WSB apart from other firms is our commitment to fostering an environment that supports engineers and problem-solving. This approach leads to advanced project delivery and innovative solutions. By taking educated risks, we are not afraid to be the first out the door and deliver innovative solutions to our clients.

By listening our clients’ needs and recruiting and retaining top talent in the industry, we are well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that benefit local infrastructure and surrounding communities for many years to come.

Jessica brings 15 years of experience in roadway design and ROW planning. She brings expertise in innovative design that minimizes environmental impact, improve safety and mobility, while balancing construction costs, constructability, and service life of the project. Her comprehension of design and leadership abilities empowers design teams to work efficiently, while providing an elevated level of quality. Jessica will focus efforts on driving growth and expansion in our North Dakota market and will be based in our Fargo office. She will also support the entire Transportation division and help manage large scale transportation projects.

[email protected] | 701.400.4552

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TxDOT selects WSB for Comprehensive Engineering Consultant (CEC) Services Houston District

The firm is selected to deliver $10 million in engineering services over four years

May 23, 2023

Engineering and consulting firm WSB announced today that they have been awarded a contract by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Houston District as a prime provider of Comprehensive Engineering Consultant (CEC) services.

“We welcome the opportunity to support the Houston District’s engineering needs,” said Bret Weiss, WSB’s president and chief executive officer. “This is our first large-scale contract with TxDOT’s Houston District, and we see this as a significant advantage because we have the opportunity to shape the way infrastructure projects are delivered in the Houston community. As a firm, we lead the industry in in digital delivery across the country. We’re looking forward to bringing a more innovative, collaborative approach to design and engineering services for the state of Texas’ infrastructure needs.”

Through TxDOT’s Professional Engineering Procurement Services (PEPS) division, the CEC contracts are solicited through an RFP process and use qualification-based selection to procure services. PEPS mission is to obtain the most qualified consultants to deliver effective solutions for Texas. The division has $1.35 billion allocated for consultant services in 2023 alone.

“TxDOT’s commitment to delivering safe, reliable and integrated transportation systems align well with our capabilities and expertise,” said David Balmos, WSB’s vice president of strategy. “Our technical approach, deep bench of in-house expertise, approach to project management and our resumé of notable design and engineering projects will be vital to TxDOT’s long-range transportation plan.”

In addition to the CEC contract, WSB provides engineering services to TxDOT for the I-10 Inner Katy project, a $1.2 billion program to reconstruct five miles of urban freeway in Houston.  

Round Rock Boardroom

WSB strengthens Texas presence with the opening of its fourth Texas office in Round Rock  

The fast-growing design and consulting firm established a presence in Texas in 2017 and has since expanded to four offices with an additional space opening soon.

May 16, 2023

Round Rock Boardroom

WSB, a design and consulting firm, announced the opening of their new office in Round Rock, Texas. Just north of Austin, the establishment of this office allows WSB’s presence to grow in the area and further invest in the region. The new 4,500-square-foot space is located in La Frontera Plaza.

“Texas is the fastest growing state in the U.S.,” said Steve Lindsey, WSB’s director of transportation planning. “With new developments and increasing growth— Williamson County’s infrastructure needs support, and we have the innovation and capabilities to deliver. We’re excited for the opportunity to continue to service the region, and we especially look forward to increasing our connections within the Williamson County community.”

WSB first entered Texas in 2017 with the establishment of their Austin office. Nearly six years later, the firm is proud to continue investing in the region. The strategic office expansion and location of the Round Rock office is appealing because of its accessibility to local clients and staff, and it is conveniently placed where the work is needed.

The Round Rock office will assist with the development of infrastructure in the fast-growing region—expanding the firm’s services across the government, commercial and energy markets. In doing this, WSB will continue to build their team and support advanced project delivery in the area.

“We recognize that Round Rock is a key part of Texas’ booming economy, and we’d like to continue supporting that growth,” said Jay Kennedy, WSB’s vice president of Texas operations. “Not only do we welcome the opportunity to work with new and existing clients, but we look forward to the potential that this location has to offer. In a place developing as fast as Williamson County, we are eager to focus on work in the region and help bring cutting-edge solutions to support modern infrastructure.”

WSB has been working in the Williamson County community for years supporting the cities of Georgetown and Cedar Park with their infrastructure needs. Additionally, WSB continues to work on the high-profile Corridor J project and CR 201.

Construction Delays: How to Plan for the Expected and Unexpected

May 15, 2023
By Michael Rief, Sr Vice President of Construction, WSB

It is not every day that a construction project is delayed due to digging up unmarked graves, but it certainly happens more than the public might realize. Construction projects face the potential of delays in work for many reasons. Some of these are within the control of the managing company, while others are outside of their control. It is essential for industry leaders and local municipalities to understand the potential causes of delays and to have plans in place to address them promptly and mitigate cost, schedule, and quality.

Controllable Delays

Delays that are within the control of a company are often preventable and are caused by a variety of issues. Plan issues, utility conflicts, poor workmanship or low-quality materials can result in the need for rework, which can delay the project, impact schedule, and increase the cost of your project. This can happen if the work is not done to the required standard or if the materials used do not meet the specified quality criteria. The time and effort required to rework or remove and replace the work can be significant, and it can result in delays to other work later in the schedule that is dependent on it.

Permitting, environmental and safety concerns can also cause delays in construction projects and may require work to be stopped, which can also result in additional costs. Communication or misunderstanding in the planning and execution of the work between project stakeholders, can lead to confusion about project requirements, timelines, and other critical information

To mitigate these risks, WSB takes proactive measures, such as implementing quality control processes, investing in safety training, improving team communication, and ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.

Uncontrollable Delays

In addition to these internal factors, there is a number of external factors which can cause delays in construction projects. Weather is the largest external factor in delaying construction. Whether it be snow, high winds, extreme temperatures, or severe flooding, all are outside the control of the construction project team and create significant setbacks.

Subsurface obstacles such as poor soils, unidentified utilities, contamination, or historical and religious artifacts uncovered during excavation significantly impact the project timeline. These may require design changes, new permitting and approvals, and additional costs.

We have also experienced government shutdown or stoppage in programming funding which has delayed construction because contractors are no longer able to be paid, and approval processes shut down. These delays can potentially shut down work by months, even years, depending on how long the stoppage lasts

These external factors are harder to influence and, in many cases, impossible to control, but there are ways WSB’s team and partners work to eliminate and minimize their impact on projects.

How WSB Can Help:

WSB thinks through all possible scenarios to ensure that it’s prepared to prevent, address, and resolve any delays that may arise.

Existing processes such as project scoping, soils exploration and project planning along with technological advancements like ground-penetrating radar and drone surveys help WSB identify potential issues like subsurface items or utilities that must be cleared before a project begins. These approaches help to further define the nature of the work and identify issues in the planning and design phases to prevent costly changes which can impact, cost schedule and quality during the construction phases of the work. Planning and sequencing of construction activities is also managed with technological advancements. WSB identifies conflicts for each stage of the construction stages by applying conflict analysis on temporary construction elements such as drainage and traffic needs by utilizing clash detection and contract time determination.

Construction project delays can be caused by a range of factors, both within and outside of the control of the owner and contractor. However, by implementing proactive measures, investing in technology, and prioritizing communication, WSB minimizes the risk of delays and ensures that projects are completed on time and within budget for municipalities.

Mike Rief leads WSB’s Construction Services team. He has nearly 30 years of experience in civil engineering, with an emphasis on pavement and materials, pavement management, quality management, project management, design, risk assessment, project controls, contract administration, construction, and preventative maintenance. Throughout his tenure, he’s managed several complex, high-profile projects across Minnesota.

[email protected] | 612.518.8329

Michael Rief

Six Ways to Improve on No Mow May

May 15, 2023
By Andi Moffatt, Vice President of Environmental, WSB

WSB understands the importance of creating and maintaining healthy environments for residents and wildlife. While “No Mow May” is a well-intentioned campaign to improve the pollinator population, there are some more effective ways to protect natural habitats that cities and residents should be aware of and consider. There are several drawbacks that cities and residents should be aware of.

There are some pitfalls of “No Mow May” and several alternatives to protect pollinators:

  1. The research study that was the driving force behind the No Mow May was actually redacted because of inaccurate information about its effectiveness in attracting and protecting bees. Therefore, the effectiveness of this campaign on pollinators needs to be investigated.
  2. Not mowing the lawn may also create more trouble for the natural habitat by the growth of Kentucky Blue grass weeds, which are undesirable for healthy, thriving lawns.
  3. Residents participating in No Mow May may create a few headaches for neighbors and cities if they continue the no-mow theme into June. Not mowing the lawn throughout the summer could result in breeding grounds for mosquitoes, complaints from other residents in the neighborhood, and fines from the city for ordinance violations.
  4. Instead of participating in No Mow May, cities should educate the public on appropriately re-landscaping their yards to be more pollinator-friendly. Planting flowers and other plants that are native to the region in gardens or open spaces attract native bees and pollinator species to the area.
  5. Cities should encourage the reduction of chemical products on residents’ lawns. Overusing chemicals on lawns can kill off beneficial insects, contaminate soil and water, reduce food sources for pollinators, and increase susceptibility to disease.
  6. Use a public awareness campaign to remind residents of the enforcement of ordinances and communicate the facts versus myths of No Mow May. Additionally, ensure that city staff in publicly facing customer service roles are prepared to share this with residents who may inquire.

Cities and residents who want to do more to support their local habitats should learn about the many ways to help and be aware of catchy tactics that might actually do more harm than good. With sustainability as a core tenet of WSB’s work, WSB helps cities incorporate native landscapes into public spaces that cut down on maintenance costs and help the environment.

Andi is a Vice President with experience leading people and projects that include planning, environmental, energy, highway, natural resources, construction and development. She oversees our Environmental services and approaches her work with passion and positivity.

[email protected]m | 763.287.7196

How Smart City Data Can Spur Brownfield Redevelopment

May 15, 2023
By Ryan Spencer, Director of Environmental Investigation and Remediation, WSB

Most cities have dozens of brownfield sites that they would like to see redeveloped. Finding new uses for these sites can spur growth and investment in underserved neighborhoods, increase community tax base, boost local economies, and more. However, many cities face significant challenges when it comes to brownfields redevelopment, from identifying prime redevelopment opportunities to understanding how to proactively market sites to potential developers.

As more cities integrate smart city tools and technologies into their everyday operations, here are some ways communities can approach brownfield redevelopment. 

Identifying Opportunities for Redevelopment and Making Data-Driven Decisions 

Identifying brownfields sites is the first and most important step. Brownfields are former commercial or industrial sites that are abandoned, underutilized, or no longer in use. Many times, these sites have perceived or documented environmental contamination that is preventing them from being redeveloped. Brownfield sites are not exclusive to sites with current and/or historical gasoline station or dry cleaner use. Brownfield sites may have been dumping areas, airfields, ports, railway land, etc.; basically, a site associated with petroleum or hazards substance storage and use. 

Using data and a smart city approach to brownfield revitalization can encourage cities to take a proactive approach and make educated decisions on when and where to invest their resources. Tools like GIS, census data, county and local government data, and so forth can help leaders filter and narrow down where investments are needed and will have the greatest impact. 

What’s more, many cities already have all of these tools and data at their fingertips. It’s about rethinking how you use this information to overcome hurdles and jumpstart projects. 

Reaching More Residents and Elevating Equity 

Brownfield sites are scattered throughout communities, but many communities find them to be most prevalent in low-income, BIPOC, and traditionally underserved neighborhoods. Spurring opportunity and investment in these communities is critical to improve equity and inclusion of all residents, and can also help meet community diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. 

Using data to better understand the resident makeup of these communities, where there are shortages of critical services and resources, and meaningful opportunities for economic redevelopment is important as leaders look to build the cities of the future. 

Having an in-depth understanding of how brownfield redevelopment will revitalize underserved communities can also help secure critical grant funding for investigation and cleanup activities.

The Benefits of Proactive Brownfield Redevelopment 

When communities are proactive about brownfield redevelopment, it can help mitigate project risk, create well-rounded narratives to secure critical grant funding, better serve key improvement zones across communities, and ensure that leaders have the data and tools to visualize and fully understand what opportunities are out there. Using data to drive these decisions can also help sell and secure partnerships with developers for redevelopment.

In short, cities have more data than ever at their disposal. Thinking about how brownfield redevelopment and smart city tools go together will drive communities forward. 

How WSB Can Help

WSB has a team of experts that can help your community identify and redevelop brownfield sites. Whether it’s finding the best properties to redevelop, securing critical grant funding, doing investigation of sites and developing contaminant removal plans, or helping you better use smart tools to guide processes, our team can help. 

Ryan Spencer is our director of Environmental Investigation and Remediation and has worked in the environmental consulting industry servicing both public and private sector clients. He is proficient in the planning, management, and completion of environmental due diligence, remediation, and brownfield grant writing. 

[email protected] | 612.723.3644

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WSB expands survey team leadership in Minnesota and Colorado

Expansion of leadership will delineate strategic business development efforts across the firm’s markets

May 4, 2023

Engineering and consulting firm WSB announced today that they have expanded their survey team leadership. Brad Oswald has been promoted to Director of Survey and Pete Helder has been promoted to Director of Survey Operations, Minnesota. The new leadership structure allows for more focus to elevate the firm’s survey operations throughout offices in Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, North Dakota and expansion across the nation. 

“The promotion of Brad and Pete within our survey team is significant for our growth trajectory,” said Kyle Klasen, WSB vice president of survey and digital delivery. “Both Pete and Brad have worked closely to build and expand our service offering across the markets we serve. Their work ethic and leadership skills have not only helped build our internal teams but has driven new business through their commitment to innovation and client service.”

Oswald first joined WSB in 2021 as director of survey operations.  Throughout this time, he’s established the firm’s subsurface utility engineering (SUE) service, grown the WSB survey footprint in Colorado and has led many large-scale American Land Title Association (ALTA) land survey projects. In his new role as director of survey, Oswald will guide the overall strategy for the firm’s survey team and will coordinate survey efforts across the country.

“Every infrastructure project across the nation is based on survey measurements,” said Oswald. “Strong data is the foundation of any project and the way we operate at WSB is unique to the industry.  We believe in the combination of expertise and cutting-edge tools to deliver better projects. I’m looking forward to expanding our footprint while working with our clients to provide this crucial data, efficiently and effectively.”

Helder has been with WSB for over 25 years as principal and survey group coordinator. Throughout his tenure, he’s managed the firm’s survey crews and was at the forefront of leading the firm into the renewable energy market. In his new role as director of survey operations, Minnesota, Helder will direct WSB’s survey efforts across Minnesota and will lead the firm’s renewable survey efforts across the country.

“The art of surveying goes back to ancient times and is one of the single most important assets in civil infrastructure project planning,” said Helder. “With the large investment in renewable energy across the nation, WSB is well-suited to deliver accurate, precise and technical survey data for our clients.”

Both Oswald, Helder and WSB are recognized across the industry as a go-to firm for survey services. WSB’s survey services include design, boundary, right of way, 3D laser, asset management, construction staking, environmental compliance and SUE. More information about WSB’s survey services can be found here.

Brad Oswald
Director of Survey
[email protected] | 248.686.4745

Pete Helder
Director of Survey Operations, Minnesota
[email protected] | 612.363.6952

Pete Helder
Fargo Office Exterior

WSB grows North Dakota presence with the relocation and expansion of Fargo office

The design and consulting firm’s North Dakota expansion is part of their strategic growth plans.

May 3, 2023

Fargo Office Exterior

WSB, a design and consulting firm, announced today that they have expanded their Fargo office to the TAB 42 professional office building on 4207 28th Avenue South.  The 4,500-square-foot expansion represents a continuation of WSB’s geographic growth strategy.

“We’re proud to invest in the areas where we live and work,” said Travis Wieber, WSB’s vice president of transportation. “We’re looking forward to bringing the full range of WSB’s expertise to the area.  As a full-service design and consulting firm, we’re capitalizing on our local leadership, investing in technology to create efficiencies, and changing the way our industry develops infrastructure projects through digital delivery.”

WSB, which provides engineering, community planning, environmental and construction services to the public and private sector, established a Fargo presence in 2017, their second WSB location in North Dakota. WSB first entered the North Dakota market in 2014 with the opening of their Bismarck office.

The Fargo area market has experienced steady growth with increasing infrastructure needs. Expanding the firm’s local presence will allow them to better serve the area through innovation, expertise and advanced technologies.

“WSB has deep roots in Minnesota and looks forward to expanding Fargo,” said Jessica Karls, WSB’s director of transportation design. “We have strong relationships with partners and clients in Fargo and throughout North Dakota. We look forward to bringing innovative, comprehensive solutions to the clients we serve.”

WSB’s Fargo office expansion represents an investment in the region, as well as with local clients and partners.  The Fargo office will support full-service infrastructure needs throughout the government, energy and commercial markets.

Bret Weiss, WSB President & CEO, named a Most Admired CEO

May 1, 2023

Bret Weiss

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has announced that Bret Weiss, WSB’s President & CEO has been named one of the Most Admired CEOs of 2023. This award recognizes the outstanding professional accomplishments and the involvement in communities of Twin Cities business leaders.  

Weiss is well-deserving of this award. His years of leadership and vision have guided him to be the business leader he is today. Throughout his tenure, he has remained committed to finding solutions to support the growth of WSB and has lent his expertise and leadership skills to our industry and business community.  

Weiss will accept this honor in September during the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO award ceremony.  

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