Spokane Journal of Business

Budinger & Associates sees revenue, staffing growth

Environmental services company projects include big Monroe Street rebuild

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-—Samantha Peone
Budinger & Associates principal Steve Burchett and CEO John Finnegan bought the company from its founder in 1995.

During the past three years, Spokane Valley-based environmental services company Budinger & Associates Inc. has seen about a 25 percent increase in staff, which now consists of 46 mostly full-time employees, says John Finnegan, CEO, principal engineer, and geologist for the company.

The company’s 2017 billings hit $5 million, up from $3.9 million in 2016, and total billings are projected to rise again in 2018, says Finnegan.

Budinger & Associates specializes in geotechnical and environmental engineering, says Finnegan. The company also focuses on construction materials testing, special inspections, and subsurface exploration, which is a specialty of geotechnical construction that involves drilling test borings, he says.

Geotechnical engineering identifies different types of soils and rocks. The science involves analysis, design, and construction of systems such as landfills, retaining walls, roadways, ground slopes, structural foundations, and tunnels, says Finnegan.

The company occupies 10,000 square feet at its headquarters at 1101 N. Fancher Road. That facility houses office spaces, the materials and soils laboratories, and the exploration and specialty geotechnical department. A second office, at 9997 Lyle Loop in Hayden, occupies about 1,600 square feet, says Finnegan. Budinger & Associates primarily operates within the Inland Northwest—meaning Eastern Washington, North Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and western Montana—but it also handles some projects outside of the region, Finnegan says.

The company’s client base includes the city of Spokane, Spokane County, Avista Corp., and Kaiser Aluminum, he says.

Steve Burchett, principal with Budinger & Associates, says the company’s smaller size enables it to provide flexibility to its clients.

“We have a wide variety of services and continuity of service, from site feasibility studies through site-specific design, cleanup, and construction,” says Burchett.

For example, Budinger & Associates can help conduct environmental site assessments for clients looking to purchase a specific property, he says.

An environmental site assessment is a report compiled that determines existing or possible contamination liabilities, he says.

If the client decides to purchase a property, Budinger & Associates can provide further geotechnical characterization for the site and help design structural foundations for developments envisioned on that land. If Budinger & Associates finds possible or existing contamination of the ground, the company can design and manage environmental remediation plans to remove contaminants. The business will also offer construction material testing while the client develops the property, says Burchett.

Finnegan says notable local projects the company has worked on include the Spokane waste-to-energy facility, the Triumph Composite Systems Inc. plant, the Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc. distribution warehouse, the UTC Aerospace Systems site, the Davenport Grand Hotel, and the Spokane Convention Center completion project. The company also has worked on the ongoing Monroe Street redevelopment project and multiple bridges, dams, and combined sewer overflow tanks.

For most of those projects, Budinger & Associates participated in both the initial facility developments and continuing upgrades, says Finnegan.

Budinger & Associates has also been contracted to work on the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility, a contract the goes back as long as he’s been with the company, he says. The facility is in the midst of a $125 million upgrade largely aimed at removing phosphorus from wastewater.

Recently, Budinger & Associates has been busy with its new Washington state Department of Transportation on-call testing contract, which entails road construction material testing and inspection, he says.

Budinger & Associates was founded in 1976. Burchett says he and Finnegan purchased the company in 1995 from F.C. Budinger when he retired. Many of the employees have been working there as long as Finnegan and Burchett have, says Finnegan.

Finnegan holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Washington, and Burchett holds a degree in manufacturing engineering from Eastern Washington University. The two have worked in the environmental services field for 27 and 28 years, respectively.

Samantha Peone
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