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Payroll isn’t the only line item that’s growing at the firm. Over the past several years, the Omaha, Neb., civil engineering company has generated about $10 million in revenue. Projections for 2013, though, call for revenue to jump to around $15 million to $16 million, according to Frank Kohl, Fort Collins principal for the firm.
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Lamp Rynearson has nearly doubled the size of its local staff from 11 to 19 in just over a year. It plans to expand further, with more than 20 staffers on its Northern Colorado payroll by year-end. With offices in Omaha, Kansas City and Fort Collins, the firm at the moment has a combined headcount of 135.
The company recently acquired Larkin Aquatics, a Kansas City, Mo., company with 35 employees. The transaction was completed at the end of January and will allow Lamp Rynearson to move into engineering work on wastewater plants and water parks.
Searching for more growth opportunities, the company is part of the Rocky Mountain Wind Consortium, a group of five firms that hopes to encourage a “more unified” approach to developing wind farms.
The consortium, which also includes companies like CPP Wind Engineering and Hensel Phelps, is still looking for a developer who might like to build a wind farm in Northern Colorado.
Because wind-farms are large, multi-year projects, they’re typically difficult to get going, Kohl said, and the contention in Congress over the Wind Production Tax Credit didn’t help matters.
A recent one-year extension of the tax credit gives Kohl a little hope, he said, but one year is “not quite long enough,” a sentiment that has also been expressed by many in the wind-energy industry.
In the meantime, the work that the company has done with the proposed Niobrara Energy Park is on par with the largest projects Lamp Rynearson has completed, and work is still in progress on the park.
As envisioned, the energy park would include several elements that complicate the site-planning and engineering job, including five data centers, microgrids, which are small-scale versions of centralized electricity systems, solar farms and fiber installation.
The biggest challenge with the energy park, according to Kohl, is the often-changing nature of the project.
The man behind the Niobrara Energy Park, Chris Harrison, is known for dreaming up and pulling off complex projects. That, combined with Weld County’s zoning approval for more than 40 energy land uses, means that the possibilities are just about endless for the property.
The entire project is a mammoth 646-acre undertaking, and getting a buyer or buyers lined up has proven to be challenging.
Beyond the Niobrara project, the overall growth in the local economy is helping Lamp Rynearson. Like other companies with direct ties to real estate and construction, the firm has seen improvement as developers and builders begin to pick up their pace.