By Diana Rivas, Membership Consultant
Diana Rivas recently spoke with Larry Romine to learn more about Atkins of North America and the projects they work on. Read more about the behind-the-scenes work that Atkins does to complete its projects and learn more about this “one-stop-shop.”
Tell me a little bit about Atkins. What does the firm do exactly?
I’m proud to be a part of a full-service architecture, engineering, and design provider with a worldwide presence. To better explain what we do, let me provide an example. Let’s say you’re drinking your morning coffee and reading the Dallas Morning News, and you notice an article about a new community center being built-in your area.
Most people won’t give much thought to the details of the community center—except for hoping that it will feature an elliptical exercise machine. However, a lot of work is performed behind the scenes in between groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting. For starters, a team from Atkins could be hired to survey the area to better define the construction parameters and ensure that there are no air quality concerns, drainage issues, or environmentally sensitive species that must be relocated. What if the surveyors find dinosaur bones or human artifacts? We have archaeologists on staff who are equipped to excavate, document, and preserve the finds.
After the site is surveyed, professional engineers provide engineering design to lay the groundwork for waterlines, surrounding roadways, and any supporting infrastructure—and Atkins does all of that. What about architectural design? We do that, too. Next, the project needs a team to manage the construction work, make sure the structure is built true to its design, and ensure the building meets all applicable codes and regulations—Atkins again. After that, the new community center is ready for the finishing touches, such as landscape design; which we also handle. In between, we can provide permitting assistance, electrical or mechanical engineering expertise, stakeholder coordination, or even traffic-signal design.
Simply put, Atkins aims to provide “one-stop-shopping” convenience for clients that are looking for architecture, engineering, and design services.
It is unique, isn’t it? I’m personally delighted to have been a corporate citizen within the Metroplex for close to 30 years.
Atkins has also been in the area for 30 years, and in that time we’ve made positive contributions; such as providing engineering design and construction management services for several high-profile area projects: the Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge; several sections of SH 121 and the President George Bush Turnpike; and transportation improvements to I-635.
Atkins has also done architectural design work for several recreational facilities and fire stations throughout the Metroplex; and we’ve done civil and site engineering for the Firewheel Town Center [pictured above].
We hear a lot about “going green” these days. How has that changed your business model?
Sustainability is something that not only motivates Atkins as a company, but me personally. Atkins is proud to have a corporate “green” commitment, which includes ensuring that our own facilities and business operations—as well as the projects we complete for our clients—minimize harmful environmental impacts. Atkins is fully committed to showcasing environmental excellence in our work, such as:
- Maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for our employees.
- Ensuring the safety of those who might be affected by our operations.
- Promoting excellence in our health and safety practices.
- Complying with all applicable environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, and licensing.
What has been your greatest professional accomplishment?
I’m really proud of my work with the Fort Hood Modularity Program. You may recall the US Army launched its “Grow the Army” initiative in 2007; a plan that’s designed to grow the Army by nearly 75,000 additional soldiers by 2013. Part of the program involves providing better on-base housing for troops stationed at Fort Hood. I found it very rewarding be a part of the construction support team that helped build a $100 million, fast-track facility to accommodate troops returning home after a difficult overseas war deployment.
Being a good corporate citizen, you find it important to give back to your community because …
… Atkins simply wouldn’t exist without the community! We understand that our company exists to serve the community, and we’re proud to regularly do just that. Several years ago, we even set up The Atkins Foundation, a non-profit charitable-giving organization that’s funded primarily by employee contributions. Since 2006, our Foundation has donated nearly $2 million to charitable causes both local and global.
For example, The Atkins Foundation has awarded numerous scholarships to college students through local posts of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME). We’ve also awarded grants to disaster-relief agencies—such as those providing humanitarian aid to Haiti after that country’s devastating earthquake in 2010.
In addition, many Atkins employees donate their time to community service. Locally, our staff has painted houses as part of the Rebuilding Dallas program; we’ve built houses with Habitat for Humanity; and we’ve raised money for Breast Cancer Awareness.