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AUG. 6, 2001: San Diego Business Journal


There are many construction consultant companies out there, but one Rancho Bernardo-based firm has created its own niche by marketing itself directly to cities and other municipal entities.

Berryman & Henigar assists the engineering staff of cities throughout the nation on projects as diverse as street realignment, stormwater systems, parking lots, garages and more. Sometimes, the company takes the place of the city's engineering staff, since smaller cities may outsource the entire department, said Scott Kvandal, company president.

"Often we will be part of a city in a public-private partnership," he said. "We're building officials for many cities right now. We are their building department and their building officials. We also provide those services, anywhere from being a city engineer, or running a capital improvement program, or being the director of public works."

Berryman & Henigar began in 1975 as BSI named after its two founders, Ray Berryman and Roy Stevenson. The Santa Ana-based company had a more limited role then assisting cities as they sought to incorporate, Kvandal said.

Most of those cities were in Orange County, although the company did play a role in the incorporation of Poway and Temecula, as well, said Michelle Kvandal, senior vice president.

The company began to develop business in San Diego County, and opened a branch office in Escondido. The firm then relocated its headquarters to Rancho Bernardo in 1985, after Berryman moved to the area and saw the opportunity for an increased market presence here, Scott Kvandal said.

In 1994, the company changed its name after a merger with Florida-based consultant company Henigar & Ray. The resulting merger grew the company to 100 employees, and annual revenues of $8 million, he said.

The company has since grown to 350 employees in 15 offices throughout the western United States and Florida. Berryman & Henigar had $40 million in revenues last year, and expects to reach $45 million this year, Scott Kvandal said.

Part of that grown comes from a trend toward increased privatization, which is gaining popularity in the Southwest and in Florida. Berryman & Henigar recently won a contract in the Sunshine State to assist in the privatization of their stormwater management program, he said.

Closer to home, one of the company's most prominent projects is the downtown ballpark project, Scott Kvandal said.

"We're doing the infrastructure design for the city of San Diego on the 26 city blocks not just the ballpark, but all the redevelopment that goes along with that project. A pretty fast-paced project, although it's had its hurdles," he said with a chuckle.

Now the company has now taken on a prominent role in assisting California during its ongoing energy crisis. The California Energy Commission selected Berryman & Henigar on July 19 to provide "chief building official" services for seven new power plants throughout the state, Scott Kvandal said.

Four of these plants including a 49.5-megawatt facility in Escondido will be online by September. This will provide almost 700 megawatts of new electricity generation to the state, he said.

Once all seven facilities are completed by mid-2003, these plants will provide about 2,900 megawatts of power, Scott Kvandal said.

Dennis Klingelhofer, principal of the company, described how the contract came about. Prior to deregulation, power plants belonging to investor-owned utilities were not subject to California's building codes, he said.

Instead, they were regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. But deregulation required that power plants be sold to private entities in essence, putting them under the jurisdiction building codes, Klingelhofer said.

The CEC the agency responsible for siting new plants needed companies that had experience in applying building codes to power plants. Berryman & Henigar had already been providing "building official" services at municipally owned power plants for 20 years, he said.

"We were very familiar with the requirements of the building code," Klingelhofer said. "The CEC saw our track record of having worked with public entities, providing building official services, and as a result, selected us for a number of projects."

Because California's energy crisis required that the smaller power plants be built according to an expedited schedule, the CEC needed building officials who could work quickly.

"Obviously, what the power producers are looking for is to get the projects permitted as quickly as possible, go through the construction process as quickly as possible, and get the facilities on line," he said.

Scott Kvandal agreed.

"We can do it very fast," he said. "All that work is very fast track. We understand the cities, and that's why it's such a win-win for the cities, for the commission, for the private power companies, as well as our firm."

The contract for these seven plants is worth about $2 million to $3 million total. Contracts for additional facilities may happen in the future, Michelle Kvandal said.

Return to: 2001 Feature Stories