Chronicled in this section of the CH2M HILL Alumni History are many of the ways in which the firm grew. At first our growth was primarily in the form of new offices located in major cities that appeared to present an opportunity for growth. In addition, subsidiary companies, usually wholly owned by the firm were created to provide an opportunity for the firm to expand into some new field. Mergers and acquisitions formed the third way in which the firm grew. All of these growth mechanisms are chronicled in this section of the history.
This is a section that is still quite incomplete and would greatly benefit from input from knowledgeable alumni who can assist with submitting information relating to specific expansions that are not now present in this history. Please contact Gordon Koblitz if you can help.
The road to success is fraught with peril but ultimately marked by hard-won victories! CH2M HILL has experienced both ends of this journey! During hard-scrabble times, the staff grunted and groaned but invariably bent their backs to turn near-tragedies into ultimate victory. That is the kind of stuff that most start-up companies still struggle to instill into their ventures today, but CH2M HILL had to invent the unique solutions to such problems as they were encountered during lean times in order to grow and survive in a highly competitive field during its infancy years.
Accessibility to their services was a major issue as CH2M HILL's reputation spread throughout the western states, primarily Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Each of these areas were, on one hand, prime targets for CH2M HILL business ventures, and secondly, were clamoring for the attention of reliable, responsible firms to supply the engineering services required by their burgeoning populations and local business ventures. This need was certainly exacerbated by WW II during which infrastructure in the U.S. was pretty much ignored in favor of the war effort. CH2M HILL responded to the call by opening new offices in Boise, Idaho, Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon. That was the start of the subsequent growth process that CH2M HILL experienced, and became an accomplished master of in later years.
By now, the size and reputation of the budding organization had drawn considerable public attention and a requirement for easy recognition by the public became more and more apparent, so the CH2M monogram was created and adopted as the official logo. In subsequent years, this monogram was replaced by others, especially during the periods when the acquisition of Black Crow & Eidsness and Clair A. Hill & Associates required dual identification for publicity purposes (Logos) (PDF).
Now, with four offices running full tilt toward a perilous future, CH2M HILL jousted with the windmills of competition, regulations, and constantly improving sciences in their engineering portfolios. While growth was inevitable, controlled growth was the key to a successful future. President Jim Howland, by nature a conservative individual, made sure that CH2M HILL's ability to maintain its forward march was constantly in lockstep with all of the requirements of staffing, capitalization, and business potential of new area locations.
As part of this historical record, the story of how CH2M HILL started its expansion into the far distant corners of the world is described in the mini-histories of how these and a few other initial expansion offices were conceived, staffed and supported. Subsequent offices, which now number nearly 800, utilized the lessons learned in these initial ventures in order to become successful components of the CH2M HILL we see today.