History

Explore a timeline of POWER Engineer’s complete history.

1970'S

1976

  • POWER Engineers is established as a three-person (plus dogs) engineering company in 1976. That was in Pocatello, Idaho.

1977

  • Soon after the company’s founding, the Pocatello office burns down! (This event is memorialized in the form of the company’s annual holiday party called The Burnout, held in January.)
  • Faced with rebuilding or relocating in any case, the founders (plus dogs) elect to rebuild somewhere they found more attractive than Pocatello. So they move 200 kilometers or so to Hailey, a small town just south of the Sun Valley ski area. The young company moves into an odd-looking log building near the Hailey airport.

1978

  • The founding families go camping together in the Sawtooth Mountains north of Hailey. And another POWER tradition – the annual POWER Outage – is born.

1979

  • Now with 20 people on board, POWER wins its first major power delivery contract: a large power system project that includes environmental, permitting and design for 100 miles of 230 kV line, 40 miles of 69 kV line, and seven substations and switch stations.

1980'S

1980

  • In an early design/build venture into beverage handling systems, POWER’s staff convert a breakroom soft drink machine to dispense 25¢ cans of beer.

1981

  • The founders offer company stock to employees for the first time.

1984

  • In order to service its growing client base, POWER Engineers buys a Cessna 210 airplane. The company numbers about 45 employees.

1985

  • A number of key engineering staff from a giant Boise-based design-build company elects to join POWER rather than accept a transfer to the giant company’s Cleveland office. Thus POWER’s Industrial Division is born to shelter these corporate refugees, giving the company capabilities to compete for mechanical, process, controls and structural work.

1986

  • POWER Engineers begins its first 345 kV transmission line project for the City of Austin.
  • The legendary “test skid” at Dixie Valley for Oxbow Geothermal is POWER Engineers’ first geothermal design and commissioning project, and one of the first EPC projects.
  • POWER Engineers wins its first international project: an ore haulage control system at the Tong Kuang Yu Copper Mine in China. The company numbers 65 people.

1988

  • The first seat of MicroStation is purchased, and runs on a stand-alone engineering workstation – impressive at the time! The tradition of using cutting-edge design tools is born. Also this year, the first portable PC is spotted in the Hailey office. It is a weighty Compac clamshell with a suitcase handle. Soon after, the company’s EtherNet backbone begins to evolve and PC use starts to become commonplace..

1989

  • POWER Engineers, now consisting of 250 people (plus dogs), builds and moves into a new 30,000-square-foot facility in a Hailey industrial park. Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus comes to Hailey for the groundbreaking ceremony. When the Governor resumes his chair after his remarks, the back legs of his chair slide off the back of the dais. The Governor launches off backward toward the dirt, but is neatly caught by a passing POWER employee! Well done!

1990'S

1990

  • POWER launches its Communications Division. This change recognizes several years of landmark work by POWER in providing engineering and project support for thousands of miles of fiber optic long-distance phone and data lines around the West.
  • POWER Engineers establishes 401(k) retirement plan.
  • Farewell, old friend! The beer machine, a casualty of a maturing consulting business, is hauled away on a dolly, never to be seen again. In a totally unrelated development, firearms are banned from the Hailey office, to keep some office cubicles from looking like a small-town swap meet.

1991

  • POWER Engineers hosts its first Line Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. This becomes an annual event for transmission line engineers throughout the country.

1992

  • POWER Engineers purchases and operates a second airplane, the Turbo Prop Commander.
  • POWER Engineers is awarded the ALCATEL project, propelling the company into the fiber-optic industry.
  • The Denver, Colorado office is established to support T&D and Communications projects.

1993

  • The 1993 acquisition of utility engineering specialist Kuether & Associates establishes POWER’s St. Louis office, and adds significantly to POWER’s staff experience in large and high-voltage transmission line work.
  • The Longview, Washington office is established to accommodate electrical testing needs in the Pacific Northwest. The office later moves to Vancouver, Washington.
  • POWER Engineers leads the 100-mile long Pauline-Moore 345 kV transmission project in Nebraska, the largest EHV project for the company to date.

1994

  • In a double coup for POWER’s early power generation and food process marketing efforts, POWER is hired to engineer two advanced gas turbine CHP plants for potato process plants in Idaho. This was the breakthrough for POWER’s development of a track record in gas turbine power plant engineering.

1996

  • POWER Engineers’ Communications Division adds non-regulated customers, resulting in a multi-state fiber-optic backbone overbuild for Sprint.

1997

  • POWER Engineers sells its Cessna 210 airplane. Since 1983, the little plane has made the equivalent of five round-trips to the moon. POWER now relies on commercial airlines due to the sheer volume of projects and longer-distance locations.
  • POWER Engineers begins a long-standing relationship providing communications services to Touch America.
  • A true arrow in the generation business’ quiver: Mindanao. This 52 MW geothermal plant marks the “arrival” of POWER Engineers’ geothermal team.
  • A project for St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Ketchum, Idaho, becomes POWER Engineers’ first major hospital project.

1998

  • POWER Engineers’ first significant food processing project is for a cheese plant for Glanbia Foods.
  • POWER Engineers begins long-term consulting relationship with TXU (now Oncor Electric), resulting in hundreds of projects each year. This sparks the initiation of the Project Web Collaboration (PWC) software used for many projects.
  • The Atlanta, Georgia office is established to support fiber-optic projects.
  • Rover, move over! Dog days come to an end, and employee pooches are banned from the Hailey office!
  • Major firm ownership transition is initiated, ensuring that employees — now numbering 450 — continue to own the company.
  • The design of a fiber optic backbone from Portland, Oregon to Houston, Texas begins. The 2,367 miles between the cities is equivalent to 41,659 football fields.
  • The Communications Division facilitates the company’s first design-build project at a cost of $23 million.

1999

  • Corks fly when POWER Engineers’ T&D Division wins its largest-ever contract: right-of-way, engineering, and construction management for 230 miles of 345 kV transmission line.

2000'S

2000

  • The 2000 Burnout, because of the popular relish for imminent Y2K disaster stories, is billed months in advance as “Burnout 2000 – The Last Laugh.” However, nothing bad happens.
  • POWER establishes its Portland, Oregon office by acquiring Enron’s highly regarded transmission engineering subsidiary, TDEC, shortly before Enron famously melts down.
  • POWER Engineers acquires Advanced Power Solutions, giving the company a presence in Billings, Montana, and San Diego, California. The employee count rises to 600.

2001

  • POWER Engineers establishes a presence in Europe by opening an office in Ireland. The Irish subsidiary has a nearly unpronounceable name (Erse for “POWER Engineers”) and an office on the grounds of a decommissioned peat plant in rural County Mayo.
  • The Power Delivery Division begins the world’s largest capacitor bank project in Brazil for Furnas Electric Utility – the Itabera 800 kV Series Capacitor Installation. 
  • POWER celebrates 25 year anniversary.

2002

  • POWER Engineers is awarded the engineering for the City of Vernon’s Malburg Generating Station project, the first 2×1 SGT-800 combined cycle installation in the U.S.
  • POWER Engineers launches a new branding initiative, which has some people seeing red!

2003

2004

  • POWER Engineers opens a Northeast office in Yarmouth, Maine. Pass the lobstah!
  • A second office in Europe opens up! PEI UK hangs its shingle in Burgess Hill, south of London, and close to Gatwick Airport.
  • POWER Engineers’ communication services evolve as the Communications Division is awarded its first Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) project for the City of Denver. Additional ITS projects follow in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and Idaho.
  • POWER’s power delivery and generation teams are deeply involved in the speedy post-war reconstruction of power generation and transmission facilities in Iraq, in contracts for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and large Corps contractors.

2005

  • POWER Engineers opens two new offices, in Anaheim, California and Houston, Texas. Disneyland and NASA, here we come!
  • The Communications Division succeeds in winning the high-profile VNETS telecommunications bid with industry giant Trillion.
  • For the third consecutive year, POWER Engineers ranks No. 1 on the ENR Top 10 Electrical Power Transmission and Distribution design firms list. In another sector, POWER rates No. 8 on the Top 10 Food Processing Plants list – a first-time showing!
  • The first seat of Pro/Engineers is purchased. The tradition of using leading-edge design tools/technology continues.
  • POWER establishes a South America office in Santiago, Chile.
  • POWER launches a new web site designed around the company’s three practice groups: Energy, Facilities, and Communication.

2006

  • POWER Engineers completes design and specification for a two-mile, double circuit 46 kV XLPE cable system that connects Oahu to historic Ford Island via a route under Pearl Harbor.
  • The Hailey, Idaho office expands; the second headquarters building is constructed. The company tallies 800 employees.
  • The Yarmouth, Maine office outgrows its space and moves to Freeport, Maine.
  • POWER Engineers marks its 30th anniversary.

2007

  • POWER Engineers oversees the design and rebuilding of the historic crossing of Washington’s Tacoma Narrows, a 6,300’ span on 450’ towers with two 230 kV circuits.
  • The acquisition of System Protection Services, PLLC, establishes the Lewiston, Idaho office.
  • POWER Engineers completes design and construction management of the 21-mile Bethel to Norwalk 345 kV line to help Northeast Utilities secure power reliability in southwestern Connecticut.
  • New offices are opened in Fort Mill, South Carolina; Sacramento, California; and Jackson, Michigan.

2008

  • POWER Engineers celebrates a corporate milestone: 1,000 employees!
  • The acquisition of Visual Genesis boosts our ability to provide visualization technology services.
  • The Arrowhead to Weston project is completed six months early! This 220-mile, ten-year 345 kV transmission project is one of our largest T&D efforts to date.
  • POWER Engineers designs the mechanical components of the cutting edge St. Luke’s Eagle, Idaho, Medical Center. The building is praised for its energy efficiency and eco-friendly design.
  • POWER Engineers is hired to provide engineering for a vital new 100 MW power plant in Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • POWER Engineers’ multidiscipline engineering design and project and construction management turns a vacant dairy facility into a functioning plant in less than one year.
  • Several material-handling projects for large coal-fired power plants in the Southeast US are completed. This new service area is a result of our Atlanta office’s engineering capability expansion.
  • POWER Engineers’ Boise, Idaho office, our largest, moves to bigger digs down the road in Meridian.
  • Building on previous successes, the Wessington Springs Wind project is completed, bringing online a 51 MW wind turbine electrical generation facility in South Dakota.

2009

2010

  • POWER adds a whole continent to the company map with the establishment of PEC Engineers in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new group is instantly elbow-deep in projects in South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, and provides support for ongoing project work in Kenya.
  • POWER Engineers opens a new office in Orlando, Florida. It is now easier to list U.S. cities where POWER does not have an office. 
  • POWER begins a serious inspection of its own intellectual and material practices by undertaking a multi-year sustainability campaign to define engineering practices that can help engineers such as POWER to save the world. This is not an exaggeration – ask us.

2011

  • POWER’s new Federal Division takes a power delivery team way eastward to the Republic of Georgia to design replacement transmission and substation facilities originally destroyed during the 1992 civil war.
  • POWER’s geothermal plant engineering guru Bill Lewis is awarded the prestigious Ben Holt Power Plant Award by the Geothermal Resources Council at its annual meeting.
  • POWER acquires a food facility engineering heavyweight: Food Systems Design, of Minneapolis. The acquisition strengthens the ranks of POWER’s Food Business Unit with 55 seasoned experts in food processing and packaging systems.
  • In a dramatic civil/structural rescue, POWER’s food process facility experts are called on to speedily replace a huge oozing CMU wall about to catastrophically collapse at a food plant in the Northwest. The project is completed in a “feverish” pace.

2012 

  • Setting a new record for low voltage (and high visibility) in a POWER project, power delivery experts from POWER design the cable facilities and installation for daredevil Nik Wallenda’s nationally televised tightrope walk across Niagara Falls. Several POWER employees are briefly famous.
  • POWER Engineers rocks the house in Nashville with a landmark underground line installation serving Nashville’s new Music City Center convention center. The project involves two 69kV lines installed in a 3,300’ tunnel under the city’s bustling downtown area.
  • POWER’s growing RAM division delivered the environmental/permitting goods for the Ruby Gas Pipeline project across four western states, assisting the project with outreach and coordination with Native American tribes to preserve cultural resources near the pipeline routing.
  • POWER adds an office in Austin, Texas, another in Northfield, Minnesota, and a third in Syracuse, New York. That brings the number of offices to 33 worldwide and number of people to over 1700!

2013 

  • POWER expanded its presence in the Hawaiian Islands and Pacific regions with the acquisition of Hilo-based HHMI Corporation, one of the leading consulting and engineering firms in the region.
  • Furthering its ability to pursue architect-led design projects and strengthening its federal presence in the Pacific Northwest, POWER  acquires Belay Architecture, LLC of Tacoma, Washington.
  • BHE Environmental is acquired by POWER. The combined capabilities of BHE and POWER offer a substantially expanded level of environmental service to both companies’ existing clients in the electric and gas industries as well as facilities and manufacturing.
  • Daredevil, Nik Wallenda turned to POWER to engineer the rigging of the cable he used to span across more than a quarter-mile deep remote section of the Grand Canyon.
  • The long-time relationship with client, Oncor reaches its 20 year anniversary.

2014