WSB Strengthens Leadership Team with Hiring of Waymon Votaw and Gordon McPhee

The addition of Votaw and McPhee will improve WSB’s capabilities and opportunities for staff and clients.

September 28, 2023

Design and consulting firm WSB announced the expansion of leadership within their company. Waymon Votaw has been hired as vice president of oil and gas operations, and Gordon McPhee has joined as vice president of digital solutions. The addition of these roles place WSB in a strong position as they continue to advance infrastructure. 

“Bringing Waymon on our team to oversee operations will strengthen our Oil and Gas division immensely,” said John Gerlach, vice president of oil and gas. “Waymon has an extensive background in the development and asset management of water, energy and power infrastructure and his leadership skills are unmatched. I look forward to seeing Waymon’s positive impact on the Oil and Gas division and our clients.”

Votaw will focus on day-to-day work of the division, finding ways to improve efficiencies and better manage our system and projects. In addition, he will support the firm’s efforts to provide career development pathways and professional opportunities for staff within the Oil and Gas division.  

“I was struck by WSB’s core values: bold, visionary, optimistic, passionate and authentic,” said Votaw. “I apply those qualities to my work, and once I saw them— I knew I wanted to be part of the environment they have at WSB. I am excited to support our clients and staff in this position.”

McPhee is another addition to WSB. As vice president of digital solutions, he will focus on creating, integrating and executing strategy and solutions to advance technology in all our service areas.

“Gordon has a wide variety of industry experience, and his broad background in engineering and knowledge in technology is critical to the growth and development of WSB,” said Jon Chiglo, WSB’s chief operating officer. “He is a valuable asset to our team. His capabilities will continue to strengthen our digital presence throughout our entire firm— improving the overall experience, results and value for our projects and clients.”

“I look forward to the challenge,” said McPhee. “Technology is the future and finding more ways to implement that into a company that is already leading the industry in that area is very exciting. I always want to work toward the next project, and I really appreciate that WSB strives to stay ahead of the curve.”

The fast-growing firm continues to expand its reach across the country. Through the hiring of multiple high-level positions, the firm has welcomed many new faces to leadership with innovative ideas to move business forward.

Waymon Votaw
Vice President of Oil and Gas Operations
[email protected] | 346.661.5360

Gordon McPhee
Vice President of Digital Solutions
[email protected] | 513.288.0438

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WSB, Minneapolis-Based Design and Consulting Firm, Announces Acquisition of EST


September 20, 2023

WSB, one of the nation’s fastest growing Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) firms, with 17 offices across five states, today announced an acquisition of EST, a comprehensive engineering firm based in Oklahoma City, Okla. The partnership represents progress towards WSB’s strategic growth goals and will strengthen the firm’s presence in the southern and western United States.

EST’s depth and knowledge in transportation, construction engineering and inspection (CE&I) and municipal infrastructure expertise complements WSB’s service offerings and expertise. EST also brings years of experience working closely with state departments of transportation and across the government market.

“WSB is growing from a position of strength,” said Bret Weiss, WSB’s president and chief executive officer. “We are strategically adding new capabilities that complement our existing service offerings and expertise. EST is an outstanding firm with a strong culture and entrepreneurial spirit. Together, we’re now able to offer our clients new services and even deeper expertise through shared learnings and best practices, reinforcing the value of a partnership with WSB.”

WSB has significantly expanded its geographic footprint, acquiring 19 offices across four southern and western states, and has grown its talent base, adding more than 350 employees. The combined strength now gives WSB 36 offices nationwide and more than 1,100 employees to better serve its clients in the government, commercial and energy markets.

“WSB and EST are an excellent match in many ways,” said Michael Vahabzadegan, EST’s president and chief operating officer. “Our cultures align significantly, and so do our business goals. Our operations will integrate well and will provide us with more access to talent, technology and approaches to better serve our clients and partners.”

WSB and EST will work together to develop a single go-to market approach as WSB in the coming months. This is WSB’s third acquisition in the southwest. In September 2019, the firm acquired Houston-based Nathelyne A. Kennedy & Associates, Inc., and Rogers Design Services in 2018.

GHK Capital Partners LP (“GHK”) completed a majority recapitalization of WSB in August 2023. This acquisition of EST is WSB’s first in partnership with GHK and establishes a scalable, national platform to expand across the US critical infrastructure consulting space.

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WSB Grows Central Minnesota Presence With the Expansion of Baxter Office

The fast-growing design and consulting firm first established a presence in Baxter in 2015.

September 13, 2023

WSB, a design and consulting firm, announced the expansion of their office in Baxter, Minn. The firm has relocated to the Johnson Center located at 14275 Golf Course Drive. The 2,360-square-foot space represents WSB’s further investment in the central Minnesota region.

“WSB’s Baxter office is a vital part of our operations,” said Monica Heil, WSB’s vice president of municipal services. “Our Baxter team serves a large region of the state, and the infrastructure needs of the surrounding communities continue to grow. We’re excited for the opportunity to support the region, and our expanded office strengthens our presence and provides more visibility.”

WSB first entered the central Minnesota region in 2015 with the opening of their Baxter office. Over eight years later, the firm is proud to continue investing in the region. The strategic office expansion and location of the Baxter office is appealing because of its accessibility to local clients and staff.

The Baxter office will support the development of infrastructure for counties and cities in central Minnesota. WSB will continue to build their team and focus on project delivery in the area.

“We have strong existing relationships with partners and clients in the Brainerd/Baxter area,” said Paul Sandy, WSB’s municipal senior project manager. “This office space and expansion allows us the opportunity to continue working with existing clients while expanding our footprint in northern Minnesota to provide services to clients we may not have worked with in the past. In a place developing as quickly as Crow Wing County and surrounding jurisdictions, we are eager to continue building our resume in the region and providing our clients with cutting-edge solutions to support their infrastructure and asset management needs.”

WSB currently serves as the city engineer in the city of East Gull Lake and supports other cities in the area such as Brainerd, Baxter, Breezy Point, and neighboring jurisdictions throughout northern Minnesota.  With geographic presences in St. Cloud, Baxter, Duluth, and Fargo, WSB services all northern Minnesota through collective office expertise.

Since moving to Baxter in 2015, more notable projects in the Brainerd/Baxter area include WSB serving as the lead design firm managing design and construction quality for the Highway 371 Design Build project from Nisswa to Jenkins, the College Drive Reconstruction Project from County Road 48 to Quince Street in Brainerd, and the newly constructed Lyman P. White Park located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Brainerd.

WSB Expands Construction Team Leadership

Expansion of leadership will elevate the firm’s environmental compliance and geotechnical capabilities across markets

August 16, 2023

Engineering and consulting firm WSB announced today that they have expanded their construction team leadership. Kory Bonnell has been promoted to director of environmental compliance and Mark Osborn has been promoted to director of geotechnical services.

“The promotion of Kory and Mark within our construction division is significant for both our clients and internal operations,” said Mike Rief, WSB senior vice president of construction services. “Both Kory and Mark have been with WSB for several years and have proven that they are true experts in their respective areas. Their approach to leadership has built our internal teams, expanded our services and driven repeat business through their commitment to client service. They are very deserving of their new roles.”

Bonnell first joined WSB in 2016 as environmental compliance specialist. Throughout this time, she has expanded the firm’s environmental compliance footprint into new markets and has taken a fresh approach to the offerings we provide.

“Our environmental compliance capabilities have expanded due to our commitment to seeking out multifaceted talent and diverse expertise within our field,” said Bonnell. “Environmental compliance is a large part of a project’s success and when performed well it mitigates risk, identifies impacts and streamlines project timelines. I’m proud of the way we’ve grown our team over the last several years and look forward to bringing a new set of eyes to the way we support our client’s environmental compliance needs.”

Osborn joined WSB in 2013. Since then, he’s focused on developing a strong team, supporting the firm’s geotechnical workload and performing more efficient and effective field services. Mark has been an active member of the Minnesota Geotechnical Society including serving as treasurer for many years. 

“We often say that a project is only as good as the materials used to build them,” said Osborn. “We have a deep understanding of how soils and rock impact different infrastructure projects allowing us to deliver accurate, precise and technical data for our clients. It’s not only about our commitment to quality, but rather the way we approach a project. We believe the best client relationships stem from true client service and I’m looking forward to expanding this approach with both existing and new clients.”

Both Bonnell and Osborn are recognized industry leaders and are well-positioned to support the government, commercial and energy market with their infrastructure needs. WSB’s construction services include alternative project delivery, constructability review, project management and construction administration, pavement management, surveying and more. Additional information about WSB’s construction services can be found here.

Kory Bonnell
Director of Environmental Compliance
[email protected] | 612.749.2799

Mark Osborn
Director of Geotechnical Services
[email protected] | 507.659.0381

WSB continues Texas growth with opening of the firm’s fifth Texas office.

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

August 1, 2023

Design and consulting firm WSB, announced today the expansion of their Texas presence with the opening of their new office in Tyler, Texas. The firm has signed a lease for 2,227 square-feet in the Pruitt Place Office at 1015 Pruitt Place, No. 102. This office opening in Tyler signifies a continuation of WSB’s geographic growth strategy.

“We take pride in our developing firm and the expanded growth in the Texas region,” said Jay Kennedy, WSB’s vice president of Texas operations. “Texas has a variety of large infrastructure projects on the horizon. We look forward to the opportunity to support the state’s infrastructure needs in a larger capacity.”

The firm first established a Texas presence in 2017. Six years later, WSB has successfully launched five office spaces in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Round Rock and now Tyler. WSB is a fast-growing firm and will continue to invest in the Texas region.

WSB develops infrastructure across the country in the government, commercial and energy markets. They are a leader in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, and continue to serve each project and community through advanced project delivery and innovation.

“With new spaces comes new opportunities,” said Bryan Hodges, director of transportation design in Texas. Hodges is based in the Tyler office and leads the firm’s presence in the Tyler area. “The opening of the Tyler office allows us to further establish our presence in Texas. This additional office provides even more communities and clients with our expertise and innovation to aid their infrastructure projects. With the Tyler office, we can continue to build for the future.”

The firm already has a presence in the Tyler area. Recently, WSB was selected to provide General Engineering and Project Management Services for the City of Tyler Capital Improvement Plan. These projects will include street improvement, traffic engineering and drainage improvements. Additionally, WSB has completed a city-wide traffic-signal inventory.

WSB is a forward-thinking firm that provides engineering, community planning, environmental and construction services. With 17 offices throughout the United States, the firm continues to expand their reach and build what’s next in infrastructure.

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WSB hires Jerel Rackley as Director of Transportation Design

Rackley will focus on strengthening business development and project management in the Austin metro and throughout the state of Texas.

July 25, 2023

Austin, Texas, – Design and consulting firm WSB announced today that Jerel Rackley has joined the organization as director of transportation design. Rackley will be based in the firm’s Round Rock office. Here, Rackley will support the firm while focusing on business development and leading project management for projects throughout the state of Texas.

The strategic hiring of Rackley shows the firm’s continued investment in the state of Texas and will help WSB foster current and future client relationships. The addition of Rackley to WSB’s leadership will grow an even stronger presence in the state— allowing the firm to support communities with their infrastructure needs. Rackley is an asset to the firm because of his background in both rural and urban roadway design and his strong bonds with Texas clients.

“Texas transportation has so many markets, and we are looking forward to Jerel’s knowledge and connections to bring WSB into a new space— both geographically as well as different types of projects,” said Rob Bailey, president of transportation in Texas. “We look for talented engineers and strong communicators, but it can be difficult to find both qualities in one person. Jerel is the rare combination of being exceptional at both, and I know he will bring a positive impact to our business.”

Rackley has over 21 years of experience as a roadway design engineer in Texas, specifically in the Austin metro. Some of his recent and most notable projects include the $650 million Oak Hill Parkway project, as well as the I-35 Capital Express South project. Additionally, he has close ties with the Austin District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

“I was drawn to WSB because of the people and their philosophy,” said Rackley. “WSB focuses on innovation and advanced project delivery to best serve clients. We look beyond the horizon and prepare for the future. I admire this about WSB and look forward to supporting the firm and our clients.”

WSB first established an office in Texas in 2017. The firm has since expanded to five offices throughout the state. The Round Rock office is the most recent office expansion, opening in June of 2023.

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Zweig Group honors WSB with Marketing Excellence Awards

The Zweig Group, the leading research, publishing and advisory services resource for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, has honored WSB with two awards in marketing.

Every year, the organization offers an awards program that specifically recognizes outstanding work within the AEC industry throughout North America.

Award entries are judged by a team of marketing professionals and evaluated based upon overall creativity, messaging, results achieved by the campaign, and level of design.

WSB Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 2 | External Newsletter | Second Place

Twice a year, WSB publishes an external newsletter. For over 10 years, WSB has mailed a newsletter highlighting projects, innovations, techniques, and news. We feel there is still value in a well-done printed piece. Issuing a newsletter helps us tell our WSB story in a broader way than digital marketing.

This newsletter focused on the work we have done across the country. Our growth has been significant both in our staff, offices, and projects. Click here to view the newsletter.

2022 Year In Review | Internal Newsletter | Third Place

Since 2009, WSB has published our annual Year In Review. This publication recaps the previous year and is distributed at our firm’s annual celebration. The goal is simple – to tell the story of WSB to our staff. In recent years, we have grown significantly both in staff size and geography. The stories of how we are building what is next in infrastructure across the country are important for our staff to hear. It helps us reconnect to our mission and reminds us of what we work together towards. Click here to view the 2022 Year in Review publication.

The complete list of Marketing Excellence Winners can be accessed here: Marketing Excellence Award (

WSB Lions Volunteer Park

City of Hugo has been selected as a MRPA Award of Excellence recipient

The City of Hugo has been selected as a MRPA Award of Excellence recipient for the Lions Volunteer Park and Downtown Improvement Project. The award will be presented later this summer at a City Council meeting.

WSB’s design team collaborated with the City of Hugo and HCM Architects to engage in a comprehensive planning process aimed at transforming the existing downtown into an expanded civic space.  The project was completed in 2022 and features a fully redeveloped park with a wide variety of interactive features meeting a broad range of ages and abilities and includes event space, the Peder Pederson Pavilion, an inclusive playground, and athletic courts. It also includes an abundance of gathering areas surrounded by aesthetic landscaping that is irrigated through a stormwater reuse system. The new and redeveloped streets and trails greatly improve overall access to the park and the Hugo City Hall for both pedestrians and vehicles.

WSB Wins IRWA Employer of the Year Award

June 29, 2023

WSB was recently selected as the International Right of Way Association (IRWA) Employer of the Year Award for Companies with Less Than 20 Employees. This is the first year WSB has won this award, and we are honored to receive this achievement. Ben Barker, director of Right of Way, and WSB staff were presented the plaque at the IRWA Conference in Denver, Colorado June 25-28.

The Employer of the Year Award recognizes associate companies which actively support their employees as IRWA members. Each company demonstrates strong employee support and commitment at chapter, regional and international levels of the Association in terms of participation, financing, time allowance, facilities, service, etc.

WSB places #43 on Zweig’s Hot Firm List 

June 2, 2023

WSB was recently named a 2023 Hot Firm by the Zweig Group for the tenth consecutive year. The list honors the fastest growing firms in the AEC industry in the U.S. and Canada. The chosen companies have surpassed both the economy and their competitors to emerge as frontrunners in their respective industries. Ranking is based on three-year growth in revenue, by both percentage and growth. WSB ranks #43 on this year’s list.  

Hot Firm #43

The Zweig Group is the leading research, publishing, and advisory services resource for firms in the AEC industry. The Zweig Group’s awards programs recognize and celebrate top AEC industry firms in several categories.  Winners will be recognized at the 2021 Elevate AEC Conference in November. 

View the complete list of Hot Firm winners.