Opportunity+

WSB Celebrates Graduation of Fifth Opportunity+ Cohort

April 10, 2024

Participants of the 2024 cohort of Opportunity+ have successfully completed the training program and celebrated with a graduation in early April.

Minneapolis, Minn. – Design and consulting firm WSB today announced the graduation of the 2024 Opportunity+ cohort. Opportunity+ is a free workforce training and development program focused on preparing participants for successful careers as civil engineering technicians.

This free and fast-paced training program was founded with the intent to reduce and remove some of the barriers to a successful career as a civil engineering technician. As Opportunity+ celebrates its fifth year, it has grown into a robust program— reaching new audiences and diversifying the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry.

“What makes Opportunity+ so unique is that it is driven solely to prepare the participants for a long-lasting career,” said Laura Rescorla, program manager. “We try our best to make this program accessible to anyone that is interested. This year, we transitioned to a faster-paced program to better accommodate those enrolled. We want each participant to be successful, and I am incredibly proud of this year’s graduates.”

Opportunity+

The 2024 Opportunity+ cohort celebrated 11 graduates on April 4. The cohort underwent an efficient six-week training in various aspects required for civil engineering technicians. With both classroom learning and hands-on experiences, graduates are now well-equipped for a future in this industry with skills necessary to launch careers in surveying, construction materials testing and site inspection.

“Our goal is to constantly improve. We are always looking for new ways to lead the AEC industry, and we are especially invested in supporting members of our community,” said Bret Weiss, president and CEO. “Opportunity+ is one way we can help those around us. We are building the program to better support the needs of our participants, and I am thrilled to see 11 successful graduates prepare for long-term careers. Civil engineering technicians are critical to our infrastructure. I am confident that each graduate now has the skills to make a positive impact on infrastructure— the places, spaces and systems that support our lives.”

WSB is committed to the growth of this program. The firm values increasing diversity and finding ways to be more inclusive. Opportunity+ continues to play an active role in expanding the reach of the AEC industry while preparing participants with knowledge to dive into positions as civil engineering technicians.

New partnership

Q&A with Andy Kaiyala and Joe Eberly

April 4, 2024

Last week, WSB announced a new partnership with 4M Analytics to advance infrastructure programs and projects with real-time utility data. Andy Kaiyala, VP of Digital Construction Management and Controls at WSB, and Joe Eberly, Vice President of Growth & Sales Strategy at 4M Analytics, recently addressed the benefits of the partnership and what it will mean for our clients and partners.

Q: What does this mean for the industry?

Andy: WSB continues to build out a comprehensive Digital Construction Management (DCM) offering to better serve our clients, and this partnership with 4M Analytics is another step forward. Every construction project must consider what lies beneath the ground. 4M is applying cutting edge technology to this significant problem, delivering the best data, and making it available faster than any other firm. This does not take the place of field investigation, but rather informs those investigations to be more precise and reliable.  Everyone wins in this. 

Joe: With utility risk as one of the primary challenges in the industry, the WSB/4M partnership advances the mitigation efforts to the earliest stages of the project planning lifecycle and at the lowest risk point. It also provides significant improvements in the time and cost of accessing utility records and data used in the early feasibility, coordination, pre-construction, and preliminary design processes on infrastructure projects.

Q: What does this mean for 4M’s clients?

Joe: The partnership will signal to the 4M Analytics client base that our utility data can have a much larger impact on their internal processes and create a vision for how the data can be used to support their project lifecycle workflows and development requirements.

Andy: Despite increased awareness and heightened attention, our industry continues to see an upward trend in utility strikes (Common Ground Alliance). These cost billions of dollars and most critically put people and lives at risk. Better information delivered timely across the life cycle of a project, from planning to construction, will help all parties mitigate this serious risk, deliver projects safely, on time, and on budget. This is what DCM is all about. Helping you be safe, deliver with the highest quality, and do so while protecting your bottom line and beating the schedule.

Q: How quickly will this partnership have an impact?

Joe: The partnership will have an immediate market impact and will increase our messaging efforts to support our clients and the industry more broadly and bring awareness that the conventional methods of construction delivery are no longer sustainable in a market where time and resources are becoming scarcer.

Andy: It already is. We are incorporating the 4M data into 3D models for constructability review, means and methods, risk analysis and mitigation, schedule review, design conflict resolution, and more.  We really are putting the design model to work, and how would you do that without the best subsurface data available quick enough to make a difference? Our position is that you can’t, and the sooner more owners and contractors begin deploying this solution, the better off the industry will be.

Q: How does this partnership work between the two companies?

Joe: The 4M partnership adds a layer of usability and value to the WSB DCM delivery model. Specifically, the ability to enhance the DCM 3D modeling services on the Bentley Platform. The result is a seamless delivery of data that can connect the office to the field, saving time and money along the way while reducing risk and improving decision making.

Andy: Through 4M advanced technology we can quickly and efficiently bring subsurface utility data into our digital representation of the future physical asset – into the digital twin. We then publish that data into SYNCHRO, leveraging another of our partnerships with powerhouse technology provider Bentley Systems, and start making better decisions. Seamless access to all the critical information you need to plan, design, bid, win, and build the work.

Q: Why is this happening now? Why this partnership?

Andy:  The time is now. We must work quickly to address utility conflict and coordination, one of the most significant risks in our industry. 4M brings the technology and the data, and our WSB team leverages that information to better deliver our projects safely, on time, on schedule, and with the quality WSB is known for. 

Joe: The scope and scale of the utility data challenge, and the inherent risk, have now been matched by 4M’s ability to apply its utility AI mapping technology at the same scale. 4M and WSB delivers reliable, real-time, and validated utility data for any project in the U.S. — right from your office.

Joe Eberly is the Vice President of Growth & Sales Strategy at 4M Analytics, Inc. and has more than 25 year’s experience in Construction Technology, serving the Public and Private Owner, Engineering and General Contractor markets. Prior to joining 4M, Joe served as the VP of Sales at e-Builder, a Capital Construction Management Software, which was acquired by Trimble in 2018. At Trimble, Joe was responsible for Sales, Account Management and Customer Success for the Owner & Public Sector and led the GTM launch for ProjectSight, a Project Management platform for General Contractors. Before entering the technology world, Joe was a Superintendent and Warranty Manager for a top-10 development company in the residential building market and owned a consulting firm focused on construction material management and value engineering services. Joe lives and works from Denver, Colorado and enjoys spending time with his grandkids.    

Andy Kaiyala is the Vice President of Digital Construction Management and Controls at WSB. With over 20 years of experience and an emphasis on large, complex, alternative delivery infrastructure projects in the transportation, heavy civil, flood control, and transit spaces, Andy brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise. At WSB, Andy leads the firm’s DCM initiative as the AEC industry is recognizing the value of digital delivery. Prior to joining WSB, Andy was responsible for domestic and international bidding and proposal efforts for Lane Construction Corporation. Andy’s career focus has been to deploy a full project life-cycle approach to business strategy that facilitates stakeholder involvement and achieves project schedule and delivery certainty. He currently works out of WSB’s Dallas office and guides clients through a process that mitigates risk and reduces conflict for all stakeholders.

leadersip within

Elevating Leadership from Within

March 28, 2024

By Monica Heil, WSB

Published by Zweig Group in this month’s issue of The Zweig Letter. TZL 1529

It is essential to develop high-performing staff and provide them with opportunities to elevate themselves into leadership positions within our firms.

It is an exciting time to be a part of the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Infrastructure needs across the country continue to grow, and the demand to recruit and retain top talent for your organization to deliver those infrastructure projects is likely top of mind.

Recruiting leaders after they have established themselves within another organization is challenging. But perhaps even that pales in comparison when considering the challenge of retaining existing talent within your organization in the current job market. For these reasons it is essential for us as an industry to explore the development of high-performing staff and provide them with opportunities to elevate themselves into leadership positions within our own firms.

You can elevate leadership from within your firm by implementing these approaches:

Encourage finding passions and taking ownership. One approach for developing new and emerging leaders within your firm is to identify individuals’ unique strengths and to motivate staff to take ownership of those strengths and skill sets. Encourage team members to discover what they are most passionate about and become experts in their disciplines. This empowers team members to take control of their individual career paths and perform at higher levels due to their affinity for the subject matter. Consider assigning areas of responsibility that staff can “own” and be accountable for to support their personal growth and development, as well as the growth of the organization. Encourage new ideas and support initiatives that bring positive change to the organization and facilitate collaboration across varied professional experience levels. Connecting a strong network of high-performing, diverse, and passionate team members will yield new approaches to delivering AEC services and will start young professionals on the road to leadership.

“By implementing these approaches, we can create leaders from within our own organizations. These leaders will have developed their own personal leadership style with mentorship from a team of leaders who have come before them.”

Accessible mentorship and leadership exposure. Allowing young professionals to connect with a variety of leaders is critical for workforce and leadership development. It is essential to expose staff to different leaders with varying leadership styles. This creates an environment where team members can learn from those who came before them – evaluating both positive and negative outcomes of leadership decisions and applying it to their own roles. Exposure to many leaders across the firm will accelerate the leadership path for up-and-coming professionals and will reinforce that staff can succeed by leading in their own way throughout their career. Emerging leaders do not need to be a carbon copy of the leaders before them, and instead should take best practices from each leader they encounter.

Provide diverse leadership. Leadership structures within an organization should reflect the strengths of each individual leader. For example, a highly skilled technical leader may excel at driving the direction of design but may not be well-suited for leading business development efforts or managing staff. Conversely, good leaders of people may not always be technical experts. However, technical leaders and leaders of people are both essential to the success of an AEC organization. Organizations should strive to find opportunities for both leaders to work together to best support the organization. This will create a well-rounded, more diverse and balanced organization led by individuals who are focused on their passions. By prioritizing the elevation of leaders based on unique skill sets and strengths that compliment other leaders within the organization, a likely by-product of that effort becomes a more diverse leadership team. This diversity allows our staff to consider how they might fit into a future leadership role and to envision themselves with leadership duties.

By implementing these approaches, we can create future leaders from within our own organizations. These leaders will have followed their individual passions, taken ownership of their areas of expertise, and developed their own personal leadership style with mentorship from a team of leaders who have come before them. This creates an extremely strong and sustainable organization, well-positioned for the growth necessary to deliver projects that will satisfy our infrastructure needs today and into the future.

Monica is the vice president, municipal and has served communities in Minnesota for over 20 years. Her municipal experience has allowed her to work effectively with neighborhood groups, elected and appointed officials, city staff and various permitting agencies. Monica’s strong communication and leadership skills allow her to manage projects and effectively impact the groups she leads in the municipal division.

[email protected] | 952.737.4675

WSB

WSB Announces Partnership with 4M Analytics to Advance Infrastructure Programs & Projects

March 26, 2024

Combining digital construction management services with utility AI mapping and analytics will revolutionize the industry.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — WSB LLC (“WSB”), one of the nation’s fastest growing infrastructure engineering and consulting firms, today announced a partnership with 4M Analytics, the nation’s leading subsurface Utility AI Mapping and Analytics Solution. This partnership will immediately support infrastructure projects across the U.S. with a focus on data integrity and real-time digital delivery.

“This partnership is going to address one of the most significant risks in our industry – utility conflict and coordination,” said Andy Kaiyala, WSB’s Vice President of Digital Construction Management and Controls. “4M Analytics brings much-needed nationwide improvement to utility conflict resolution, and they are doing it with cutting-edge AI and machine learning technology.  When combined with WSB’s capabilities and commitment to innovation, the partnership will have an immediate impact on the projects and communities we serve.”

WSB’s Digital Construction Management (DCM) service is advancing civil construction projects through model-based digital delivery using a full suite of services from construction modeling, to 4D scheduling to automated machine control.  With a firm understanding of the complexity surrounding today’s infrastructure projects, WSB is dedicated to creating efficiencies, streamlining processes and mitigating risk to drive improvements in the industry. This partnership adds data that completes WSB’s comprehensive DCM service and offers a solution that is unmatched in the industry.

Leveraging artificial intelligence, computer vision and change detection techniques, 4M Analytics synthesizes, digitizes and geo-locates millions of utility data sources into a single platform and visually validates each line using vertical and horizontal imagery dating back to the 1940’s. This enables ‘real-time’ access to the utility landscape for infrastructure projects through an intuitive user interface. The mapping resources will decrease the amount of time it takes to locate underground utilities for owners, civil engineering firms, general contractors, subsurface utility engineering firms, and many other utility stakeholders.

“WSB is an industry leader in using tools and technologies to improve the way we deliver infrastructure projects across the U.S.,” said Itzik Malka, 4M Analytics CEO. “With our commitment to best-in-class real-time utility data, this partnership will have a positive impact on so many projects by mitigating risk, reducing cost, and streamlining processes and scheduling.  We’re excited about what this will do for the industry and, most importantly, the improvements to projects that impact so many people.”

Under the partnership terms, WSB and 4M Analytics will work together to immediately bring subsurface utility data into the 3D digital twin models for the benefit of clients and their projects. 

Municipal

WSB Welcomes Jupe Hale to Leadership in Municipal Services

March 14, 2024

Joining as senior director of municipal services, Hale strengthens the municipal division in the Minnesota/North Dakota region.

Minneapolis, Minn- Design and consulting firm WSB today announced the hiring of Jupe Hale. Hale has joined WSB as senior director of municipal services and will support the Minnesota and North Dakota region of the firm.

Jupe Hale

Based out of the Minneapolis office, Hale will lead complex projects and delivery of the municipal program.

“I am excited to be at WSB, and I am most looking forward to bringing impactful and positive change to the communities we serve,” said Hale. “I bring a unique perspective with a career in both the private and public sectors. I look forward to leveraging my experience to find the best solutions for our clients.”

With over 30 years of industry experience and having worked in both public and private sectors across the U.S., Hale has strong connections in the area and provides valuable insight into an owners’ perspective. Jupe is the 2024 President of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA-MN) and has also served as an instructor at the University of Minnesota for over ten years in the Construction Management Program. 

“Jupe’s knowledge of the municipal market and our city clients will greatly benefit the WSB team and allow us to better support our clients,” said Monical Heil, vice president of municipal services. “His expertise strengthens our municipal program, and his leadership will be invaluable as we continue to expand. Adding Jupe to our leadership team allows us to take what we are doing well in this region and bring that to other parts of the country.” 

WSB continues to grow a national presence through recent acquisitions. The firm has expanded into the south and southeastern regions, now with offices in ten states across the U.S.

WSB Branded Background

WSB Hires Chief Financial Officer to Support National Growth

March 12, 2024

Newly hired, James Bainbridge brings financial expertise to the firm as it expands its markets across the country.

James Bainbridge

Minneapolis, Minn – WSB, a forward-thinking design and consulting firm, announced today the hiring of James Bainbridge as chief financial officer (CFO). This strategic decision supports the fast-growing firm as it nationally expands its services to new markets.

With 15 years of finance and accounting experience and previous work as a CFO, Bainbridge is well poised to assume the responsibilities of this position. His knowledge and background supporting fast-growing companies will benefit WSB as the firm continues to be one of the most rapidly growing in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry.

“We take pride in providing high-quality services to our clients and supporting them with technical excellence,” said Bret Weiss, president and chief executive officer (CEO). “We are establishing WSB as a national brand, and to do so successfully, we need business excellence as well. James’s financial expertise, history and adaptability allow us to better serve our clients and staff. He fits well with the culture of our firm which will allow WSB to continue to successfully expand into new and exciting markets.” 

In this role, Bainbridge oversees all financial functions of the firm nationwide as the firm continues to grow both organically and through acquisitions.

“WSB is a leader in the industry, and the fast growth creates opportunities and excitement for staff and clients,” said Bainbridge. “I am fascinated by the services WSB provides and the positive impact they have on the communities in which we live and do business. I look forward to lending my knowledge and being part of the build out as we forge ahead.”

WSB recently acquired two firms in the past six months. As CFO, Bainbridge will support the firm’s growth plans as it continues to grow across the U.S.

WSB Branded Background

WSB Announces New Oklahoma Regional Leadership as Firm Grows National Footprint

March 12, 2024

New leadership promotions announced to support regional expansions.

Minneapolis, Minn. –Design and consulting firm WSB today announced the expansion of its Oklahoma leadership team. The fast-growing firm is building a national brand that supports critical infrastructure across the United States.

WSB recently added three new vice president roles in the Oklahoma region, with others across the operating regions of Minnesota/North Dakota, Texas Colorado and the southeastern U.S. The firm operates 10 offices throughout Oklahoma including Antlers, Tulsa Lab, Ardmore, Lawton, Moore, Norman, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Durant. The three new vice president promotions in Oklahoma are:

  • Mike Vahabzadegan – executive vice president
    • Oversees strategy across the nation and Oklahoma region
  • Caleb Austin, vice president of transportation
    • Operational focus for transportation in the Oklahoma region
  • Gary Evans, vice president of construction
    • Operational focus for construction engineering & inspection in the Oklahoma region

WSB is expanding into new markets and geographies while continuing to make strategic investments in cutting-edge tools and technology.  In fall of 2023, WSB acquired EST, a respected civil structural and construction engineering consulting firm with offices in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and California. In addition, WSB announced in February 2024 the acquisition of AE Engineering, Inc. (“AE”), a high-growth transportation infrastructure firm based in Jacksonville, Florida. This acquisition brings 11 offices and more than 170 employees into WSB across the Southeast. With the addition of these two firms, WSB now operates with more than 1,250 employees across the U.S.

 “We are establishing WSB as a national brand to better support communities across the U.S.,” said Bret Weiss, president and CEO. “As we elevate and strengthen our leadership team in Oklahoma, WSB is better equipped to provide high-quality services to our clients, and our staff has improved guidance and mentorship to fulfill these responsibilities.”

 Founded in 1995, WSB was originally based out of one office in Minnesota. Over 28 years, the firm has continued to grow and expanded its footprint into the Oklahoma region last fall after the acquisition of EST. Today, the firm offers services in more than 50 complementary areas and has expanded its markets to support communities nationwide.

WSB Chevron

WSB Announces New Colorado Regional Leadership as Firm Grows National Footprint

March 12, 2024

New leadership promotions announced to support regional expansions.

Minneapolis, Minn.WSB, an industry-leading design and consulting firm, today announced the expansion of leadership in its Colorado region. The firm is one of the fastest growing architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms in the nation and is establishing itself as a national firm that supports infrastructure— the places, spaces and systems that support our lives.

This year, WSB added one new vice president role in Colorado, with others across the operating regions of Minnesota/North Dakota, Texas Oklahoma and the southeastern U.S. WSB currently operates 4 offices in Colorado in Denver, Westminster Colorado Springs and the Centennial Lab. The new vice president promotion in Colorado is:

Paul Jesaitis
  • Paul Jesaitis, vice president of transportation
    • Oversees construction engineering & inspection in Colorado

Through an aggressive growth strategy, WSB is expanding into new markets and geographies while continuing to make strategic investments in cutting-edge tools and technology.  In fall of 2023, WSB acquired EST, a respected civil structural and construction engineering consulting firm with offices in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and California. In addition, WSB announced in February 2024 the acquisition of AE Engineering, Inc. (“AE”), a high-growth transportation infrastructure firm based in Jacksonville, Florida. This acquisition brings 11 offices and more than 170 employees into WSB across the Southeast. With the addition of these two firms, WSB now operates with more than 1,250 employees across the U.S.

“I am excited to promote leaders across the firm, and I am certain elevating leadership in Colorado will have a positive impact on the communities we serve and the services we provide,” said Bret Weiss, president and CEO. “There is a lot of potential in the Colorado region, and this promotion only enhances our commitment to growth and our dedication to our clients. With increased leadership across the nation, we will continue to forge ahead.”

Originally founded 1995, WSB was based in Minnesota. The firm continued to expand its markets to several regions across the U.S. and first entered Colorado in 2017.  After acquiring EST in the fall of 2023, the Colorado region was strengthened even more. Today, the firm offers services in more than 50 areas, employs more than 1,250 people and has expanded its markets across the U.S.

WSB Branded Background

WSB Announces New Minnesota/North Dakota Regional Leadership as Firm Grows National Footprint

March 11, 2023

New leadership promotions announced to support regional expansions.

Minneapolis, Minn. – Today, WSB, one of the fastest growing architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms in the nation, announced the expansion of its Minnesota and North Dakota leadership team. WSB is building a national firm that supports critical infrastructure across the United States.

This year, WSB added a new vice president role in Minnesota/North Dakota, along with others in the Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and southeastern regions of the firm. WSB currently operates nine offices between Minnesota and North Dakota including headquarters in Minneapolis, Baxter, Burnsville, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, St. Paul, Bismarck and Fargo. The new vice president promotion in Minnesota/North Dakota is:

Peter Muehlbach
  • Peter Muehlbach, vice president of strategy
    • Oversees transportation, construction engineering, & inspection strategy for the Minnesota/North Dakota region

Through an aggressive growth strategy, WSB is expanding into new markets and geographies while continuing to make strategic investments in cutting-edge tools and technology. In fall of 2023, WSB acquired EST, a respected civil structural and construction engineering consulting firm with offices in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and California. In addition, WSB announced in February 2024 the acquisition of AE Engineering, Inc. (“AE”), a high-growth transportation infrastructure firm based in Jacksonville, Florida. This acquisition brings 11 offices and more than 170 employees into WSB across the Southeast. With the addition of these two firms, WSB now operates with more than 1,250 employees across the U.S.

“We are incredibly excited about elevating our next generation of leaders in Minnesota and North Dakota. We are strategically investing across the country to grow our impact,” said Bret Weiss, president & CEO of WSB. “The acquisition of EST and AE and the subsequent growth of our leadership team is a testament to our commitment to meet the demands of our nation’s growing population and build the resilient, sustainable infrastructure of tomorrow.”

When WSB was founded in 1995, the company had five staff, one office and three services areas. Today, the firm offers services in more than 50 complementary areas, employs more than 1,250 people and has expanded its markets to support communities nationwide.

WSB

WSB Announces New Texas Regional Leadership as Firm Grows National Footprint

March 11, 2024

New leadership promotions announced to support regional expansions.

Minneapolis, Minn.WSB is one of the fastest growing architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms in the nation and today announced the expansion of its Texas leadership team. This is part of the firm’s aggressive growth strategy to build a national firm that supports critical infrastructure across the United States.

This year, WSB added four new vice president roles in Texas, with others across the operating regions of Minnesota/North Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado and the southeastern U.S. Currently, WSB operates ten offices in Texas including Dallas, Austin, Houston, Round Rock, Tyler, Melissa, Paris, Arlington, Texarkana and Sulphur Springs. The four new vice president promotions in Texas are:

  • Kelly Selman, vice president of transportation
    • Operational focus for transportation in the Texas region
  • Brad Martin, vice president of construction
    • Operational focus for construction in the Texas region
  • Tracey Friggle-Logan, vice president of strategy
    • Oversees construction engineering & inspection strategy in the Texas region
  • Buddy Williams, vice president of strategy
    • Oversees construction engineering & inspection strategy in the Texas region

WSB is expanding into new markets and geographies while continuing to make strategic investments in cutting-edge tools and technology.  In fall of 2023, WSB acquired EST, a respected civil structural and construction engineering consulting firm with offices in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and California. In addition, WSB announced in February 2024 the acquisition of AE Engineering, Inc. (“AE”), a high-growth transportation infrastructure firm based in Jacksonville, Florida. This acquisition brings 13 offices and more than 170 employees into WSB across the Southeast. With the addition of these two firms, WSB now operates with more than 1,250 employees across the U.S.

“There is a lot of potential in Texas, and I look forward to further building our leadership in this region,” said Bret Weiss, president and CEO. “Texas is heavily investing in its infrastructure, and WSB is an industry-leader that can support their commitment to growth and improvement. With an expanded leadership team, we are rooting ourselves in their communities and building connections to take their infrastructure to the next level.”

WSB was founded in 1995 and its growth over the last 28 years has been significant. The firm first entered the Texas market in 2016. After acquiring EST in the fall of 2023, the firm’s ties in Texas have only been strengthened when it added five new offices in the area and many staff. Today, WSB offers services in more than 50 areas, to seamlessly integrate planning, design and implementation across the nation.