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Tetra Tech Evolves

After pioneering in the industry for 50 years, Tetra Tech takes its next leap forward.

Trans Canada Highway Slope Re-profiling. Yoho National park, BC.

Tetra Tech, Inc. was founded in 1966 to provide engineering services related to waterways, harbours and coastal areas. For 50 years, the company has substantially increased the size and scope of its business and expanded its service offerings through a series of strategic acquisitions and internal growth. Today, Tetra Tech is a leading provider of consulting, engineering, program management, construction management and technical services.

From its start, Tetra Tech has attracted the best and brightest minds in science and engineering, and it has always focused on bringing innovative solutions to its clients’ most complex needs. This focus, along with the quality of the Tetra Tech team, has grown the company to 16,000 employees located in 400 offices worldwide. Tetra Tech also employs more than 3,500 experts in Canada that work with a project from inception to the close of its lifecycle, from 50 offices across the nation.

As Tetra Tech expanded, so too did the company’s capabilities. “Tetra Tech has unique abilities in Canada’s water, environmental, energy, infrastructure, oil and gas and mining sectors,” notes Bernie Teufele, P.Eng. Tetra Tech Canada’s president.

“Our innovations and specialized work in all regions of Canada include major cities, such as Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Montreal, as well as the more challenging environments of the Yukon and Northwest Territories. We help contribute to the vital infrastructure of the country through the development and improvements in roads and bridges; electrical and wind power facilities; oil and gas; ports and harbours; water and wastewater facilities; and municipal, industrial, and waste management infrastructure.”

“Our motto is Lead with Science, and we are true to that,” says Teufele. “We bring world-class expertise to our local environments as well as exporting our local expertise to projects across Canada and around the world. Since 1966, Tetra Tech has been leading with science to address our clients’ most complex needs. Our mission is to be the premier worldwide consulting, engineering and construction firm.”

“Tetra Tech’s head office is in Pasadena, California,” explains Teufele. “In Canada, Tetra Tech is made up from the several companies that merged under the Tetra Tech name. The companies that came together under the Tetra Tech banner include several longstanding and well-established firms in the western Canadian technical consulting landscape, including Wardrop Engineering Inc. (founded in 1955), EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. (founded in 1966), Fransen Engineering Ltd. (founded in 1980) and BNG and Caber Engineering Inc. (founded over 40 years ago). Tetra Tech pulled together the client-focused aspect of these highly technical industry leaders to create the company’s presence in Canada.”

On January 1, 2017, the company underwent an evolution by amalgamating several of the different Tetra Tech companies in Canada to become the basis of Tetra Tech Canada Inc.

Teufele explains, “The amalgamation simplifies some of our internal business practices, but most importantly, it allows us to serve our clients with a much greater depth and capacity. We are much better positioned to take on projects of increasing size and complexity.”

In 2016, Tetra Tech was involved in 14 of Canada’s Top 100 largest projects, illustrating its role as a significant player in the delivery of major infrastructure projects throughout the nation. Notable projects include the Turcot Interchange in Montreal, the Disraeli Bridge in Winnipeg, the North Commuter Parkway in Saskatoon, the Edmonton and Calgary Ring Roads and the major Alberta trade corridors, all of the LRT projects in greater Vancouver, the Site C Hydro project in British Columbia and the MacKenzie Valley Highway in the Northwest Territories.

Some of Tetra Tech’s unique capabilities include geotechnical engineering, hydrological modelling, asset management, road and rail data collection, emergency spill response, disaster recovery, ice road engineering, climate change services and carbon emissions reduction to name a few.

With 50 years in the industry, Tetra Tech has a bird’s-eye view of some of the industries challenging trends. While the softening of some of the company’s key markets (mining, and energy) has had the company achieving a balance between work environment and cost cutting measures, an ongoing concern is the “cost-first approach,” which can undermine the integrity of the project – which is why Tetra Tech always focuses on doing the job right, not on cutting corners and turning in the lowest bid.

“We understand that price needs to be a component of our work; however, we are seeing unhealthy competition that will only lead to reduced quality and service in our industry,” says Teufele with concern. “Many industry studies show that the cost of cheap engineering is paid for somewhere else. Pay now or pay later. There is a price for poor workmanship and poor engineering. Our challenge is to show our clients the value they get from engaging qualified consultants to support their projects, and even more importantly, delivering on that value proposition. Thankfully, we still have many of those clients that understand the value of Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) and it is slowly gaining traction in our various market sectors.

Tetra Tech was founded on providing the highest quality service, and its teams across Canada enjoy the projects and client interaction.

“Working with clients to find solutions to their most interesting and complex problems is very rewarding,” smiles Teufele. “There is nothing more gratifying than the successful completion of a project after working with a knowledgeable client to find solutions to their challenges. We are at our best when we operate as an extension of our clients’ own resources. Through our technical and project management expertise, we love the projects that let us think out of the box to find ways to help solve the problems that keep our clients awake at 3:00 am! Tetra Tech is a unique company of technical and project management staff that are hardwired to find solutions and deliver results.”

Tetra Tech invests in its staff, clients, and the community. For more than 10 years, the company has supported Partners in the Horn of Africa, to empower local communities in Ethiopia to build key community infrastructure, it has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the United Way, supports Engineers Without Borders and has assisted local events and charities with time, money and resources.

In recognition of Tetra Tech’s client-focused expertise, the company is proud to have received numerous awards through the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC) awards, and to have been ranked No. 1 for 13 consecutive years on one of Engineering News-Record’s (ENR) annual lists, among many other recognitions.

Half a century has passed for the company, but it’s a great big world out there with many more engineering puzzles to solve – and Tetra Tech couldn’t be more excited about that.

“[We will continue to] find ways for our clients to succeed,” concludes Teufele. “If we can help the growth and success of our clients, we hope we can take part in their success through trusted client relationships to give us greater opportunities to expand our own services and geographic presence. This will also provide our staff with the kind of opportunities and challenges they want in their own careers. We look forward to expanding our services into new market areas, such as solid waste, leveraging up Tetra Tech’s global strength in water, and building a strong practice in western Canada to support industry demands.”

For 50 years, Tetra Tech has helped to grow and support the nation. The next 50 sees the company continuing to make sustainable impacts that improve Canadians’ quality of life.