Stantec tops Albany's Engineering Firms List for 2022 – Albany Business Review – The Business Journals

Though Stantec is one of the largest engineering and design companies in the United States, it had never been No. 1 on our Engineering Firms List.
That changed this year, and it’s something that’s been a few years in the making: The company’s billings rose close to 90% in 2020 and then grew even more last year.
What drove that growth? We talked to Robert Cartwright, senior principal and office leader for Stantec (NYSE: STN) in Albany. He pointed to one major project over the past few years, as well as an uptick overall in project numbers.
He’s also expecting another strong year in 2022, though there are some challenges facing his firm.
What’s been behind your office’s growth in billings over the past few years? We’ve had a couple of big projects, particularly the cashless tolling program with the Thruway. That was a monumental effort, a lot of work to deliver statewide in a short time. We have two main practices here, transportation practice, highways, roads and bridges, and a buildings practice, which has been a lot of biopharmaceutical work, clients like that. We’ve had a good balance between the two, when one has been a little down, the other has been up.
How much has your staff grown over the past few years? A little bit. We’ve had some new hires and we’ve added some engineers as some of our younger staff are getting licenses, and you want to see that, your staff maturing, growing and advancing. 
Any impact from Covid-related issues? We’re starting to see it on the transportation side. We do some construction inspection work with the DOT and we’re finding there’s a pretty significant delay in steel fabrication, we’re talking 12 months to get steel on site.
How long does it usually take? Maybe four to six months, and there’s prep work to do before it gets there, but now contracts are being awarded and the steel is ordered and nothing starts for nine months at least, especially for things like bridge replacements. … There’s a good chance it’s going to get worse.
Why is that? When the [federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] funding starts flowing, we’ll see an increase in work, but that could also mean more delays.
What are your expectations for 2022? Right now, Ukraine aside, the indication seems to be a strong year. The infrastructure jobs act could mean new work on the transportation side. And we’re hearing from some private clients that they’re looking to move forward, restarting some projects that have been dormant. Things seem to be picking up.
What’s the biggest challenge for this year? The biggest issue many firms face is recruitment, finding staff. Here in New York we have some fantastic resources in terms of schools, like SUNY Buffalo, Syracuse, RPI, Clarkson, RIT. … Stantec recruits from everywhere, but we do have a pool of talent here that we recruit from.
Stantec is a giant company with offices all over the country. Is it hard to keep people in Albany? It can be, we’re not as flashy as New York City or the Californias or Austins, but most of the people who are here want to be here. It does seem that lots of people who come to New York for college end up wanting to go elsewhere after four years of winters. But due to Stantec’s larger nature, we can provide the staff with a real variety of projects to keep them engaged.
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