2 min read May 2022 — Civil engineering firm Bridgefarmer & Associates, Inc. has grown 25% in the last three years and is expecting to grow another 20% in the next two as about 1,000 people a day are relocating to Texas. According to CEO Mansoor Ahsan in an interview with Invest:, that is an opportunity for his company because the state is going to need more infrastructure development shortly.
What were the key successes for your company in the past year?
The last two years have been difficult, due to the pandemic, but Bridgefarmer did very well compared to others in our industry. We were able to sustain the momentum and the deadlines of the projects in our pipeline. We work on some of the highest-profile projects in the country. So, the deadlines are important to our clients; you can’t simply miss them. We were able to adapt and continue working, accepting the new norms. We all took it seriously and being an essential business in the industry helped. So, that worked out well.
What is the most important challenge your company is facing?
The biggest challenge is the labor shortage. The labor shortage has been a problem in Texas for as long as I have lived here. It has always been a challenge in seeking talent. We have never had a surplus of engineers. Talent is the capital of an engineering company. Having the right talent, having the right staff, the right people to do their job and their projects makes a successful project. The lack of supply of talent with specific civil engineer skillsets is the single most important reason for us not growing the organization as much as we could or want to. That’s what we are missing.
What are the recruitment and retention practices that you implement to try to mitigate the labor shortage?
For us, success means having flexibility and meeting the demands of the staff and our clients. Where we don’t give way is in wanting people who are talented and passionate about the work. We must have candidates with a passion for engineering. If you are talented, we have a place for you. We build the job opportunity with you; we’ll figure out how to work with your setup issues and preferences.
What are the most recent trends in transportation infrastructure now?
Multimodal corridors are becoming more prevalent. We are talking about major projects like the IH-635/LBJ in Dallas and so on. They’re busy corridors. Now, every agency likes to do a multimodal corridor. That means smart streets, not interstates but local major thoroughfares which are essentially pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Multimodal has become a big part of transportation delivery and mobility.
The other trends we have started to see are the toll roads and the toll corridors. You have a roadway, then you have a couple of toll lanes and those have been successful. These are relatively newer, emerging good ideas, developed in the past five years or so. At the very least, they give you predictability in your driving time from point A to point B. If you take a toll road, you pay that toll, but you know you can get from point A to point B in a predictable time.
What legislation or regulations are you following closely that could affect your day-to-day business activity?
We do follow transportation trends and transportation funding very closely at a federal level, and at the state, city, and county levels because it impacts us. The passage of the transportation bill, which is $1.5 trillion, is lucrative. We know the roads; the bridges are all dated. They need to be upgraded, they need to be safer, and so on. We believe that’s something that will impact every person in the United States, and it impacts the lives of people in all sectors of the economy. When this bill passed, it was a big success for all states. We all are waiting for those funds to be allocated to the states. Hopefully, every state will get its fair share.
Can you comment on some of the key projects and new developments that are in the pipeline for your company?
In the Dallas metroplex area, we are working on four projects that are very high on the list for the state. They are very high-profile projects. One of them is the IH-30 frontage road bridges across Lake Ray Hubbard. We’re working on that, and it will be completed in a year. The next one is close to substantial completion in another six months or so. It’s the Loop 12/SH-183 interchange. It’s a $302M project. It’s very significant for the city of Irving, and a lot of the coming development is dependent upon its completion. We are also working on IH-35 widening here in Dallas next to our corporate office. We also just started on the Southeast Connector, which is in Fort Worth and it’s equally busy. It’s a $1.5B project on an extremely congested corridor. Once it’s done, people will see traffic relief. We are fortunate to work on these projects and to be part of the fabric of the economy for this area. We take this very seriously.
How has the influx of people and businesses relocating to Texas impacted your business?
A thousand people a day are moving to the state of Texas. We have a huge influx of people from all different states and the infrastructure must be there, which means they must have the roads, the water, the hospitals and so on. To provide all that takes, No. 1, funding and No. 2, dedication of the leadership. The growth has been exponential for us. Bridgefarmer has grown over 25% within the last three years and the goal is to grow to another 20% within the next two years.
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