CH2M HILL provides multidisciplinary services to markets diversified by both industry and geography. With our full-service capabilities and global footprint, our market scope is wide, yet our expertise in each market we serve is strong and focused.
Whether your project is large or small, straightforward or complex, CH2M HILL's full-service capabilities are at your service.
The seed of the idea that would become CH2M HILL was planted in the mid-1930s when three Oregon State College students—Holly Cornell, James Howland, and T. Burke Hayes—studied under Fred Merryfield, their enthusiastic civil engineering professor. Merryfield mentored his students outside the classroom, and the four discussed an engineering partnership, about which they continued an active dialogue throughout World War II.
The idea came to fruition in January 1946 in Corvallis, Oregon. The post-war economy was ripe for qualified, experienced engineers, and the four men were eager to help fill that need. With their complementary skills and temperaments, they established a partnership that swiftly gained momentum—and the firm of Cornell, Howland, Hayes, and Merryfield became known as CH2M. The goals were simple: find clients who needed engineering or consulting solutions; provide the solutions through technology, creativity, and ingenuity; find more clients and more projects; hire creative, bright people to deliver the work; and then share the benefits.
By 1969, CH2M had gross revenues of $6.2 million and 310 staff. With more than 5,000 projects completed, the firm was ranked 102nd in Engineering News-Record's list of the Top 500 Engineering Design Firms. The firm's reputation went national in 1971 when Reader's Digest and The Wall Street Journal both ran articles about CH2M's work on the major Lake Tahoe Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility—the first of its kind in the world. The project prevented degradation of the scenic lake's waters, achieving an effluent discharge of near-drinking-water quality. 1971 also saw the merger of CH2M with Clair A. Hill & Associates of Redding, California—with which CH2M had collaborated on the Lake Tahoe facility and many other projects—creating CH2M HILL.
Two projects exemplify CH2M HILL's growth during the 1970s. In 1971, the firm began work for the Upper Occoquan Sewerage Authority (UOSA) near Washington, D.C., establishing an East Coast presence. Beginning with a sewerage study, this fruitful client relationship has included design and construction of wastewater treatment plants and capacity expansions. Then, in 1976, CH2M HILL was selected as program manager for the City of Milwaukee's Water Pollution Abatement Program. This 20‑year, $2.2 billion renovation of the city's wastewater treatment system was CH2M HILL's first multi-year, billion-dollar program management experience—work that has since become a focus for the firm.
As the 1970s came to a close, with revenues of $95 million and 1,800 employees in the U.S. and Canada, CH2M HILL entered the international field with its first major project in the Middle East: a city and land planning contract for the city of Dammam, in Saudi Arabia. This 3-year project provided the foundation for the firm's performance on future, long-term overseas projects. At that time, CH2M HILL was ranked 9th according to Engineering News-Record.
In 1982, CH2M HILL landed its first major contract for the newly created U. S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Superfund program. The company had long since cemented its reputation in water and wastewater treatment, and the entry into hazardous and toxic wastes was a significant turning point. Superfund meant new clients, different technologies, diverse professional capabilities, unknown risks, and challenges beyond anything imagined by the founders.
The 1980s also saw Operations Management International (OMI) formed to meet growing client demand for assistance in operating water treatment plants. Industrial Design Corporation (IDC) was also created, specializing in microelectronics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, flat panel, solar, and emerging technology research. By the start of 1987, gross revenues of $330 million and 3,400 personnel helped propel the firm to a No. 3 ranking by Engineering News-Record.
In 1991, Ralph Peterson was tapped to be president and chief executive officer of CH2M HILL, ushering in a new era of rapid growth and diversification. By the mid-1990s, CH2M HILL's 6,000 employees achieved revenues close to $1 billion and celebrated a No.1 "pure design" firm ranking by Engineering News-Record. The Rocky Flats Closure Project got under way in 1995 as a partnership between CH2M HILL and Kaiser Group Holdings. Completed in 2005, the performance-based contract motivated industry-leading safety performance and technical innovation that helped shave more than 60 years and $30 billion off initial estimates of the cleanup. And in 2003, CH2M HILL acquired Lockwood Greene, America's oldest professional services firm for industrial/power engineering and construction.
Following Peterson's long tenure, in 2009, the firm's president of operations, Lee McIntire, was selected to serve as CEO. With an eye toward global challenges around environmental, energy and water resource issues, the firm became involved in projects like the development of the first fully sustainable city—Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates. And through two key acquisitions in 2007, CH2M HILL expanded its services in the oil and gas sector. Other groundbreaking endeavors for the firm in the first part of the 21st century include serving as program manager for the landmark expansion of the Panama Canal, a project that is meeting the need to accommodate the world's largest ships.
The history of CH2M HILL in the new millennium is still being written. And while the company of today, with 28,000 employees and US$7 billion in 2012 revenue, differs considerably in size and capability from the small firm that opened its doors in 1946, it remains fundamentally unchanged. Like other successful companies, CH2M HILL is built on the hard work of dedicated employees who want to do the right thing, a bit of luck over the years, and the ability to respond to client needs and values with innovative solutions.