BEST OF STATE 2015
Achievement in the Industry
Dreaming Big in Utah
Dreaming Big in Utah
On August 1, 2013, a dream of greater things to come became increasingly more real for Steve Anderson as he looked over the 2013 Zweig Hot Firms List. The little one office engineering business started by Steve and his father, Virgil, had now been ranked as the 15th fastest growing engineering firm in the country and the top firm in Utah. The same excitement would settle in again as Steve and his fellow colleagues posed for pictures outside the 2014 Best of State Gala. A little dream founded in Utah, had traversed the highs and lows of entrepreneurship to achieve lasting success.
“When my Father and I started the company, it was just me, my Dad, and my Mom typing letters on an old typewriter. We were in a small one room office in Ogden, Utah and had recently purchased a new 5 MB hard drive computer. Slowly we started to add a few people.”
Now the company has grown to over 50 employees spread throughout the country. As Anderson Engineering celebrates the company’s 30th anniversary, we offer a look back into what has made Anderson Engineering the “Best of State.”
Anderson Engineering Company Inc. EstablishedJanuary 1, 1985
1985: Anderson Engineering Company Inc. opens for business. Co-founder Steve Anderson recalls the experience, ” “When my Father and I started the company, it was just me, my Dad, and…
Yerington ReclamationMay 14, 1986
1986: Anderson begins work on their first “major” project near Yerington, Nevada assisting site remediation of the former Empire Nevada Mine. Site History: Copper was discovered in the Yerington District in 1865,…
International SmelterJune 5, 1987
1987: Anderson is contracted to begin the reclamation of the International Smelter in Tooele County. Active work to transform this expansive EPA Superfund into usable open space would continue for approximately 20…
Great Falls Copper and Zinc RefineryMarch 5, 1988
1988: Anderson is contracted to begin the site clean up of the Great Falls, MT. Copper and Zinc Refinery facility. Site History: The Boston & Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining…
Bluewater Uranium MineJanuary 10, 1990
1990: With the passing of the Uranium boom, Anderson opens a permanent office location in Grants, New Mexico to help close the once largest open-pit uranium mine in the world. The…
Bingham Canyon CleanupFebruary 1, 1992
1992: Anderson completes the clean-up of portion of the historic Bingham Canyon in the southern Salt Lake Valley. Mining activities have a long history in the ore rich Oquirrh Mountains. Today,…
Copperton TailingsJanuary 5, 1993
1993: Anderson’s team of engineers and geologists begin the design to recontour the former Anaconda Minerals Copperton Tailings impoundments. About the Design: The impoundment design included the creation of five earthen cells,…
LDS Conference CenterApril 3, 1997
1997: Anderson is retained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to participate in the civil design and project management of the 1.4 million square foot (130,000 m2) Conference…
2002 Olympic GamesFebruary 5, 2002
2002: With the world watching, Anderson was hired to perform the survey layout for the Olympic cross country skiing course at Soldier Hollow and the illuminated mountain olympic rings….
Top Engineers AwardOctober 1, 2005
2005: Anderson receives the Top Engineering Firm award from the F.W. Dodge Intermountain Contractors Magazine
Pine Canyon Conservation AreaAugust 10, 2010
2010: The International Refinery and Smelter (IS&R) project, which began in 1987, area is removed from the EPA NPL Superfund listing. The former smelter site is converted to over 1,200…
Mobile Island ModelApril 20, 2011
2011: Anderson enhances coastline oil well decommissioning by introducing the Mobile-Island Model (MIM). The MIM would first be deployed along a diminished shoreline in southwest Louisiana. After successful completion of…
10 Consectutive Perfect Safety AwardsJuly 8, 2012
2012: In 2012, the Utah Safety Council awards Anderson Engineering with their 10th consecutive Perfect Safety Award. The “Perfect Record Award” recognizes organizations that have completed a period of 12 consecutive…
Top Growing FirmJuly 1, 2013
2013: In 2013, Anderson was ranked #15 on the ZweigWhite Hot Firms List and the only firm representing Utah. The ZweigWhite Hot Firm List has become one of the most…
Best of State 2014May 1, 2014
2014: Anderson wins the Best of State award for outstanding Civil Engineering and giving back to Utah. About the Best of State Award: The Best of State Awards were created…
New Office BuildingJune 1, 2014
2014: Anderson moves from their long time home in Salt Lake City to a newly built office in Saratoga Springs, Utah. The new facility doubled the amount of usable office…
Solving and Creating
Mobile Island Model – Historical Well Decommissioning
One of the biggest challenges of engineering is dealing with Mother Nature. One area which has become particularly difficult for major oil and gas companies is capping legacy oil wells along the Gulf Coast and in other marshy wetlands.
In the case of the Gulf Coast, coastal inlands have been steadily diminishing over the past ten years. Because of this, water areas are expanding and many historic oil wells, once covered by soil, are visible above the sediment or water line. This causes an environmental risk and navigational hazard for boats and barges. In addition to these environmental changes, many of these well plugs do not meet today’s well abandonment standards and are leaking oil. Anderson Engineering transformed the way these wells are repaired and re-plugged.
These well projects present the very difficult challenge of accessing the wellheads which are now situated in water. The greatest difficulty results in the water being too deep to be accessed by land equipment, but too shallow for traditional barge mounted equipment. Preceding Anderson Engineering’s innovation, common practices for re-plugging such wells included building a caisson around the wellhead and pumping out the entrapped water. This process results in a muddy, slippery working area nested below sea level; which also creates a dangerous confined space. Within these treacherous circumstances, workers then must perform a perilous task of dealing with compressed wellhead pressures while surrounded by water and threatening wildlife.
Anderson and its sub-contractor team pioneered a new approach that proved to be successful and much safer. Rather than removing the water, the Anderson team turned it into their ally. Engineering a customized river barge, Anderson created three “mobile islands” which allowed access to the wellhead. These mobile islands allowed for the easy transfer of large equipment and workers from a local dock to the shallow marshland. Work could then be completed above the well with no need for water extraction. This innovation was selected as a finalist for the client’s yearly international innovation awards and has been repeated on additional Anderson lead projects.
AE STEP Program
Beginning in 2012 Anderson conducted an extensive review of the standard engineering-industry accepted methods for soil sample collection and documentation. Anderson determined the collected data was “touched” five to seven times by four different people between data collection and publication in reporting and mapping applications. Additionally, the standard method of collection relied greatly on the expertise and documentation skill of the field technician resulting in significant differences in quality and standard. The typical time from data collection to processing to report prep was approximately 7-30 days depending on the nature of the sample collected.
Following this review Anderson developed an iOS-based application, AE STEP, which uses standardized forms to complete the soil sample collection and documentation procedure. The AE STEP application is tied in with sub-meter GPS, and custom-developed servers.
AE STEP has significantly reduced errors and omissions in data collection, increased the quality of the sample, and standardized sampling techniques between all field technicians. This information is synced from the field to the office in real-time or delayed synced – depending on the location, and is published in real-time to a custom build soil sampling database and mapping server. This information is available in real-time to management and the client allowing for quick decisions to be made based on actionable data.
As the data collection is now application and database driven, Anderson has been able to decrease the number of touches from five-seven to three and from four people to two, the field technician and the engineer QA/QC review. This method has saved our customers over $1.5 million dollars in sample collection, management and documentation in the last two years.
Improving the Quality of Life
Protecting and Giving Back to Utah
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Protecting Tomorrow through Education
As civil and environmental engineers, Anderson strives to protect both the physical and social environments so Utah can continue to thrive for generations. An important part of this is ensuring that Utah has a competent pool of engineers and scientists ready to solve the complex engineering problems of tomorrow. Anderson volunteers to teach boys and girls in school and scouting about careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). In higher education, Anderson has established the Virgil B. Anderson scholarship fund at BYU-Idaho for engineers and made significant contributions to the construction of BYU’s new engineering facility. Anderson is currently providing real world experience opportunities to BYU engineering students by collaborating with them to design and build a footbridge to provide a safer canal crossing for the community of Saratoga Springs. Additionally, Anderson collaborates with local university programs to aid in the obtainment of federal grant money and to provide paid internships opportunities to increase professional expertise on environmental engineering.
Due to the highly technical nature of engineering, it is often very difficult for new graduates to find quality initial employment—due to their lack of real world experience. Anderson’s innovative sampling process AE STEP has allowed them to accelerate their training and experience requirements for soil sampling and documentation. As such, Anderson has been able to provide opportunities to more entry-level recent college graduates, as opposed to having to focus on mid-level previously experienced individuals. In addition, Anderson provides incentives and tuition reimbursement for employees to encourage continual professional development.
Protecting Utah’s Families and Children
Anderson also invests in the children at Primary Children’s Hospital each year by offering volunteer time and monetary support to the Festival of Trees. This year several Anderson employees stayed late into the night helping take down the festival and prepare purchased trees for delivery.
Protecting Utah’s Safety through Innovation
For large mining operations in Utah, Anderson conducts sampling for arsenic and lead concentrations which are classified as heavy metal contaminants. Traditional sampling methods could require months for data to be reported; and consequently this increased the exposure to field workers and the time required to cleanup contaminants. Anderson’s innovative sampling methods allows for samples to be conducted and reported in real-time. As such, interested parties are able to take measures to decrease the exposure of their workers to metals or other constituents of concern. Additionally, providing the data to stakeholders in real time allows for a faster removal and cleanup of arsenic and lead decreasing the chance of exposure to the public and environment at large. All of Anderson’s projects, some of which included contaminate cleanups for local K-12 schools and Utah neighborhoods, are significantly benefited from the expedited time of completion.
Protecting Utah’s Environment
A significant part of Utah’s economy comes from mining operations and support services. When material is taken from the earth and processed, the concentration of by-product material increases which can sometimes be hazardous to the community’s health and the environment. Consequently, without engineering controls, mining can lead to harmful exposure to humans, plants, animals, and Utah’s precious groundwater. One of Anderson’s principle services is environmental reclamation, which is the process of restoring this contaminated land to a beneficial condition.
A recent Anderson reclamation project is the International Smelter and Refinery located in the hills above Tooele. The Smelter was once an integral part of the mining legacy in the Oquirrah Mountains and Utah’s industry. When the site closed near the end of the 20th century it was placed on EPA’s National Priority List and restricted to the public due to health concerns. Anderson provided civil and environmental engineering services throughout the reclamation process. The 1200-acre site reclamation involved the removal of site structures, the containment of site waste, and the construction of hydraulic structures to preserve the reclaimed areas. The entire site was vegetated with native grasses, forbs, and shrubs. Today the site has been removed from the EPA National Priority List and has been converted into a nature preserve; welcoming back the original inhabitants and providing a place for visitors to once again enjoy the beauty of Utah’s mountains through hiking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and hunting in season.