A vignette can be defined as a small literary sketch. As used in this history, most vignettes tell the story of a project or a significant occurrence in the ongoing history of CH2M HILL. They each describe a single project or other happening that was instrumental in shaping the future course of the firm.

Little Blue Book

The Little Blue Book or, Living by the Guiding Principles of the Little Blue Book Our founder and former CH2M HILL President Jim Howland wrote and published the Little Yellow Book in 1978 as a [...]

Alexandria, Egypt

The Alexandria Project In 1979, Les Wierson, ever alert for international projects, became aware of a major sewerage project in Alexandria, Egypt. Under the auspices of USAID, the Boston consulting firm of Camp, Dresser and [...]

An Alumni Family Treasure Found

SURPRISE! An Alumni Family Treasure Found One of the features of our Alumni History website is the Biographies section of our retired employees. A few years ago, we decided to "upgrade" the biographies by adding [...]

“And then there was CH2M …”

In November of 1965 the firm finalized the legal and administrative details of creating a corporate shell named "CH2M". Now all that remained was the massive chore of transferring the book entries from the Partnership [...]

Brightwater Story

Introduction By Dave Evans The Brightwater Treatment Plant project is both a "work of art" and an outstanding "application of technologies." While this story was written for the CH2M HILL alumni, readers are urged to [...]

CH2M HILL Laboratory Program

Prepared by: Mark Boedigheimer, with contributions from: Steve Gelman, Earl Hadfield, Larry Well, Cliff Thompson, Bob Chapman, Tim Maloney, and others. January, 2016. As one looks into the historic records of CH2M, and remarkably as [...]

The Clean Water Act

The first meaningful federal legislation mandating clean up of our nation's waterways occurred in 1948. Not coincidentally, both the engineering firms of Cornell Howland Hayes and Merrifield and Clair A. Hill & Associates began rapidly [...]

The Denver Foothills Project

Following is a foreword for a 10-minute video produced in 1986 that captured the design and construction and initial operational results of the Denver Foothills Project. This project resulted in a major new, extremely cost-efficient, [...]

Geotechnical Engineering at CH2M HILL – 1946 to 2011

As recalled by Roger Lindquist, August 2011 And edited by Jim Schneider, Marc Kacmarcik, Vince Rybel, Don Marske, and Susie Gaare, January, 2016 (Editor’s note: The following is a work in progress. The Alumni History [...]

A Topical Outline – The Global Years 2000 to 2009

The challenge facing the authors of this overview of the Global Years decade, has been and continues to be, what to choose as topics. Unlike past decades with the opportunity to look back with clarity [...]

Growth of CH2M HILL

Summary Over a period of 66 years (1945 to 2011), CH2M HILL has grown from the group of 4 employees (a major professor and three former students) into a major, worldwide organization of 28,400 employees [...]

CH2M HILL International

How CH2M HILL Went Global--The History of CH2M HILL International Contributed by Kent Robinson The Formative Years - 1960-1980 CH2M HILL's international activities began in the late 1960s period when one of the firm's founders, [...]

(As recalled by Les Wierson)

Prior to 1974 anyone in CH2M could go anywhere if they had signed a contract. We learned later that a signed contract was only a part of the puzzle. I went to Japan for Toray [...]

The Lake Tahoe Project

It is generally recognized that CH2M HILL's bootstrap project was a Water Treatment Plant, designed and built during the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Its design and completion were the result of a number [...]

Little Yellow Book

Living by the Little (Red) Yellow Book The Little Yellow Book is a pocket-size 4" x 6" book that was written by Jim Howland with illustrations by CH2M HILL staff, Bob Wehnert, and cover by [...]

Matrix Organization

The Matrix System (Excerpts From "Organization for Impact" Memo Dated 19 Feb. 1971 Issued By Jim Howland For General Distribution) "In reaching toward our objectives, we have adopted the tenet that, in today's complex technology, [...]

Middle East Beginnings
Contributed by Otto Vydra

Saudi Arabia Our Middle East involvement began in 1975 in Saudi Arabia with the largest CH2M HILL overseas project at that time. Until then our foreign experience consisted only of a quite significant water resource [...]

Top Environmental Firm in 2012 and 2013

Over a period of 66 years (1945 to 2011), CH2M HILL has grown from the group of four employees (a major professor and three former students) into a major, worldwide organization of 28,400 employees and [...]

UOSA Story

Introduction to the UOSA Story In 2011, CH2M HILL completed four decades of continuous service for a very important and unique client known by the acronym UOSA. UOSA stands for one of the premier wastewater [...]

Vision Versus Reality – 1965 to 1975

Summarized by Dave Evans, February 2013 INTRODUCTION For the first time, the Alumni History committee has had the opportunity to view perhaps the first of many market analyses and the rolling 5- to 10-year business [...]