Spring 2012

[Alumni News]

As Firm Grows, Opportunities for HSU Engineering Grads Abound

Winzler & Kelly

AT A TIME when most companies are tightening their belts, engineering consulting firm Winzler & Kelly is expanding operations and providing more opportunities to HSU graduates.

The largest private employer of Humboldt State engineering graduates recently merged with GHD, an engineering, architecture and environmental consulting company with offices worldwide. The merger means that Winzler & Kelly’s 300 people—including some 40 HSU graduates—are now part of a global company employing more than 6,500.

The firm has strong ties to Humboldt County. Two UC Berkeley graduates, John Winzler and Bob Kelly, along with John’s father, George, started the company in 1951 as an engineering consulting company in Eureka.

Over the years, many HSU graduates have moved up the ranks, assuming high-level positions as local and regional managers throughout the company. “The ability for HSU grads to consistently excel at our firm speaks very highly of the caliber of people that come out of HSU,” says Steve McHaney (‘86, Engineering) who came to the firm in the mid-‘90s. “In this business you’re constantly doing things you’ve never done before,” McHaney says. “What Humboldt State graduates bring to the table is the attitude of okay, maybe I’ve never done this before, but I can figure it out.’” McHaney was recently promoted to provide operations support for GHD.

The Eureka office of GHD offers internships to HSU students in Environmental Resources Engineering and a $1,000 scholarship to engineering students who show academic promise.

Brett Vivyan (‘12, Engineering) is a GHD intern working on a feasibility study for a proposed wastewater treatment facility in the small town of Willow Creek, Calif. He is helping evaluate existing and future wastewater service needs and applying for a grant to fund the needed improvements.

“I’ve been able to use software commonly used on the job, take classes to further my career goals and get professional advice,” Vivyan says. “It’s been a great opportunity that has thoroughly prepared me for a career in engineering.”