MSC Member Spotlight: Gateway Engineers

Earlier this month, the MSC sat down and spoke with Scott Rusmisel of Gateway Engineers, a full-service civil engineering firm, to learn more about their business, as well as their experiences as an MSC member. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q. To start, can you tell us a little bit about who Gateway Engineers is and what you all do?

Scott Rusmisel, Project Manager: We describe ourselves as a full-service civil engineering firm. We are driven by our mission to help clients reach a higher level of success through knowledge, experience, and responsiveness.  Currently, the company serves nine market segments, two of which are energy upstream and energy midstream. Our offices are located in Robinson and downtown Butler.

Q. What does it mean to be a full-service civil engineering firm?

Rusmisel: We like to think that we are comprised of all of the services typically associated with civil engineering.  Surveying, geotechnical, environmental, GIS, structural, land development, traffic/transportation, municipal, inspection and landscape architecture. The ability to have all these specialties in-house allows us to be more efficient and can provide significant value projects.

Q. How did Gateway get started? What’s your history?

Rusmisel: Well, we’re happy to be celebrating our 65th anniversary this year, and we’re still within 10 miles of where it all originated. Gateway was started in 1954, and at that time it was primarily a surveying business. Shortly thereafter we brought on the civil engineering side of things. We currently have 170 employees, with the majority of our projects falling within the tri-state area between Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.

Q. According to your website you complete 5,500 projects annually. How do you ensure that projects are completed on time and on target?

Rusmisel: We focus on project management. We’ve continued to develop it over the last 22 years. We choose not to use a tier system like most of our industry does. We are a flat organization.  We have 33 project managers. Our system is based on efficiency with project managers given matching responsibility and authority to sell and execute projects.  

Q. Of those 5,500 projects, around what percent of those are energy-related work? And when did you get involved with energy?

Rusmisel: Currently 30 percent of our projects are energy-related.  We did very little energy work before 2007.   We would do small projects, like work for shallow well operators. When the markets had a downturn in 2008, the Marcellus activity was really starting to pick up. We didn’t go into it blindly, we consider many factors.  But at the base of the matter, it was a good fit for us.  The characteristics of the projects that upstream and midstream clients faced played very well into our method of project execution. We had the systems, tools and processes to help meet demanding project schedules and were willing to learn and adapt quickly to industry.

Q. What is the value of being an MSC member to you?

Rusmisel: There are numerous things we see as a benefit. I think early on we looked at it as an opportunity to network, support the industry, and contribute to what the MSC was attempting to do. Since then, the MSC has grown, and they offer trainings, which we take advantage of. They’re the voice of the industry, and we recognize the importance of that.

Q. Is there anything you would like to share about Gateway that you think it important for folks to know?

Rusmisel: Last time we did the math, there was close to 150 civil engineering firms within a 100-mile radius of where we are. So, with that type of market saturation, one question is how do you not only sustain the company, but also grow? And I think it comes back to what we talked about earlier, our unrelenting focus on project management.  It has really helped propel us and provided a lot of opportunity to our clients, stakeholders, employees, and the community. 

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