Two Survey Professionals Added to the Team

May 25, 2017

As construction moves forward on the new, expanded Wightman & Associates, Inc. location in Allegan, the company is also expanding its team of survey professionals based at that location.

Gregory Vaughn brings 30 years of surveying experience to his role as senior surveyor based in the WAI Allegan office. A licensed surveyor in Michigan and Texas, Vaughn began his career as a field artillery surveyor in the United States Army and has survey experience in 7 states and 2 countries.  After leaving the Army in 1988, Vaughn went on to earn degrees from Michigan Technological University in Civil Engineering Technology and Land Surveying. Vaughn has managed the surveying operations for one of the oldest surveying companies in Michigan as well as one of the largest privately owned surveying operations in the United States while working in Texas. 

Vaughn has extensive knowledge and experience in survey project management and staff oversight, review of topographic design surveys, proprietor and court-ordered amended plats, condominium subdivision plans, land divisions, easement documents, legal descriptions, and A.L.T.A. surveys.  He has served as a remonumentation representative for Ottawa County in that county’s effort to reestablish section corner monuments set in the 1800s by federal land surveyors, and has provided expert witness testimony in a riparian boundary dispute.
At WAI, Vaughn will help lead efforts to continue the successful growth of the company. The challenge of leading the business expansion efforts is met with excitement as he returns home to West Michigan, the area where he raised his family and spent most of his career. Greg believes the success of Wightman & Associates lies in its team members who fully embrace the idea that people flourish when they partner with a dynamic team of problem solvers.

Long-time local surveying professional, Kirk Van Order, joins the team in the WAI Allegan office. For 35 years, he has owned and operated Kirk L. Van Order, P.C., a survey company based in Hamilton. He began his career in 1971 after earning an Associates in Applied Science degree in Land Surveying and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Science Education, both from Ferris State College, now known as Ferris State University. He opened his business in 1981 after working for three previous West Michigan survey and engineering firms during the 1970s and early 1980s. To ease into retirement, Van Order is in the process of closing his business and has joined WAI on a part-time basis to work in the field.
Van Order served as Allegan County Surveyor for 32 years. He was first elected to that position in 1984. During his tenure, one of his duties was to administer and oversee the county’s remonumentation effort, as part of a larger statewide effort to locate and remark survey corners throughout Michigan. Van Order chose not to seek re-election in 2016. Another member of the WAI survey team, Kevin Miedema, ran for and was chosen by voters in the November general election to succeed Van Order. Miedema is a 14-year WAI employee. 

WAI Survey Team plays key role in Remon efforts

May 2, 2017

Check out this article that highlights the efforts of the WAI survey team in the remon efforts.

Dowagiac wins first ever Better Streets Better Michigan Award

March 31, 2017

Wightman is proud to be a partner with the City of Dowagiac that was awarded the first ever Better Streets Better Michigan Award for the Commercial and Division Street project. 

Wightman & Associates welcomes new Director of Architecture

March 31, 2017

Wightman & Associates has announced the addition of a new leadership team member. Gregory Monberg joins WAI as director of the company’s Architecture Studio. In this role, he will develop and manage the strategic direction of the company’s design and planning operations, oversee daily operations of the department, extend architectural services to WAI’s existing client base, and develop new client relationships.
“Wightman & Associates is known throughout the region as an excellent provider of engineering and surveying services. But there is also a fantastic team of innovative, collaborative professionals doing other work throughout the organization, including in the areas of architecture, planning, interiors and landscape design,” Monberg stated. “I am looking forward to growing these services with existing and new clients.”
Monberg comes to WAI from the Oakbrook, Illinois-based office of Fanning Howey where he built a 22-year architecture, planning, and design career. Since 2009, he served as director of design research, overseeing design, master planning, scope, scheduling, and budget management. He is a recognized thought leader in K-12 school planning and design. His ideas and designs have been featured in national publications such as School Planning & Management, as well as at multiple conferences hosted by the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE).
As a member of the Association for Learning Environments, Monberg is the Area 3 Governor for the Midwest Great Lakes Region where he received the outstanding service award in 2014. He also serves on the Accredited Learning Environment Planner Commission responsible for governing A4LE’s ALEP credential, the most comprehensive professional program in the educational facility planning industry.
Monberg holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics, Indiana University South Bend, a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame, and a Graduate Certificate in Business from Indiana University South Bend. He is a licensed architect in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, an Accredited Learning Environment Planner, and a LEED Accredited Professional.
In addition to his extensive background in K-12 facility design and planning, Monberg has led projects in the higher education market and with municipalities, including Gainey Hall at Spring Arbor University, the town hall for Long Beach, Indiana, and the Michigan City municipal airport terminal building.
“Wightman & Associates has a strong culture of caring about the success of its clients and employees. I’m glad to be working side by side with a dynamic team of problem solvers who come together in the spirit of collaboration to meet and exceed the expectation of clients,” stated Monberg.
The 14 members of the Architecture Studio are based in the WAI Benton Harbor and Portage offices. The company plans to add design staff to its Allegan location after it relocates from its current office to its new facility under construction, also based in Allegan. The Studio provides a full range of architecture, planning, interior and landscape design services to municipalities, businesses, schools, and non-profit organizations. 

GIS Services Growing at Wightman & Associates, Inc.

March 12, 2017

The GIS department at Wightman & Associates, Inc.(WAI) has experienced recent notable growth serving clients throughout southwest Michigan and other parts of the state. As a result, the company has expanded the department with the addition of several new hires.
GIS, Geographic Information Systems, is software used for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying location-based data.  GIS can “layer” other types of data, allowing users to see patterns and relationships.  It supplies decision makers with easy-to-access spatial data anywhere, anytime, on any device.  
According to WAI GIS Manager Ryan Miller, the growth in this sector of the company’s service line has been primarily a result of increased involvement with municipalities applying for and implementing work related to Stormwater Asset Management & Wastewater (SAW) grants. Awarded by the State of Michigan, SAW provides communities with funds to inventory and assess the condition of their sewer and stormwater systems. Long-term master plans for system upkeep, replacement, and expansion are developed through the program.
In recent months, the company has begun assisting 10 additional communities with SAW grant projects, bringing the total number municipalities WAI is working with in this capacity to nearly 30.
“Each project takes up to three years to complete and requires experts in GIS mapping and analysis to lead the work. To deliver continued exceptional service to our clients, we have expanded our team with the addition of several newly hired GIS professionals,” Miller stated.
Miller went on to state that a variety of other projects have added to the need to grow the department.  By 2018, many municipalities will be required by the State to develop water system asset management plans. WAI is assisting several of its clients prepare for this mandate through the use of GIS technology. The team is also showing municipalities how to capitalize on the broader potential of the GIS software they have as a result of SAW grants.
“Communities can use GIS platforms to proactively manage other municipal assets and capitalize on the reduced price of the software purchase through the grant. We are working with many of our clients to implement maintenance systems that will provide a tool to document work performed, schedule preventative maintenance, and create simple reports.  WAI is involved in developing GIS data-driven, long-term capital planning models so they can be financially ready when it is time to replace or expand municipal assets,” stated Miller.
GIS is also used within the company to support its recently added Planning services delivered by WAI’s Architectural Studio and Engineering Teams.
The four professionals who have recently joined the department to assist GIS service delivery to clients include:
  • Emily Collins of Rochester Hills, MI has been hired as a GIS technician based out of WAI’s Portage office. She holds a Master of Geographic Information Systems degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science, both from Michigan Technical University. She is experienced in using a variety of GIS database and modeling software programs and has worked as a wildlife technician for the United States Forest Service and MTU.
  • Bailey Glassford of Ann Arbor, Michigan, joins WAI as a GIS technician in its Portage office. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Dearborn with a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences/Geosciences and holds a GIS certificate. Glassford has worked as a GIS lab proctor at the university instructing new students on the use of GIS software. He has extensive knowledge of North American geology, ArcGIS software, and holds a 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response certificate.
  • William Munsell of Portsmouth, Virginia, joins the WAI team as a GIS analyst/programmer based out of the company’s Portage office. He has six years of experience as a GIS technician and senior geospatial analyst, with background in geodatabase design and development; data collection, consolidation, and analysis; cartographical map design; integration of AutoCAD and GIS; and automation of geoprocessing workflows. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Development and Associate of Science degree in Database Programming from ECPI University in Virginia Beach, VA, and GIS certification from Tidewater Community College, also in Virginia Beach.
  • Neal Sabin of Gladstone, Michigan, has been hired as a GIS technician based in the WAI Benton Harbor office. Sabin holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University with a major in Geomatics and a minor in Integrative Science and Biology. He previously worked as a GIS/CAD technician as part of Northern Michigan University’s Engineering and Planning Department where he created landscape and utility maps, collected and managed spatial information, and developed interactive maps. 

Wightman & Associates, Inc. begins renovation construction work on new Allegan office location

February 24, 2017

 This week Wightman & Associates, Inc.(WAI) begins renovation construction work on what will become its new Allegan office.  WAI has selected Frederick Construction based in Vicksburg to perform the work on the recently purchased location at 1670 Lincoln Road in Allegan Township. When finished, the site will allow WAI to expand the range of services it provides to businesses and municipalities in the Allegan and Grand Rapids region.
“This is the start of another exciting milestone in our company’s 70 year history. This larger location is a critical component of Wightman & Associates’ strategic commitment to the Allegan, Grand Rapids, and west Michigan areas,” stated WAI President Matt Davis. “By investing in our facilities and providing our employees with an environment where they can do their best work, they, in turn, can focus their talents and problem solving skills on helping our clients achieve their goals.”
The company’s current 2,400-square-foot office location at 264 Western Avenue in Allegan is beyond capacity for the staff of 12 permanent engineering and survey professionals based there. It also lacks client meeting space and adequate storage for equipment and work vehicles.
“We outgrew our office some time ago, so the entire Allegan team is glad to see this project underway,” stated Mickey Bittner, director of WAI’s Allegan office. “Not only will our new location create a welcoming and comfortable environment for our staff and clients, it gives us the ability to hire additional team members and expand our service offerings in the Allegan and Grand Rapids markets”
The company currently provides engineering and land surveying services from the Allegan office. With the expansion, staff will be added to provide GIS, environmental testing,  architectural design and other services provided by the firm from the location.  
“Beyond the ability to expand our permanent team of professionals based in Allegan, the new site will give us the flexibility to have staff from our Portage and Benton Harbor offices work from touch down office stations to provide better collaboration and a wider range of services to our customers,“ Bittner added.
When renovation work is complete, the 4,200-square-foot commercial building WAI purchased last summer will expand to 5,600-square-feet, more than doubling the existing office space out of which the Allegan staff operates. Other planned improvements to the property include a new façade, larger parking lot, and a multipurpose outbuilding. The outbuilding will be a garage for work vehicles, a secure storage area, and a lab for onsite environmental testing services.
“We looked at roughly a dozen properties in the Allegan area. This site provided the space we needed to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced and gives us plenty of room to continue growing as we serve the community,” stated Davis.
WAI’s Architecture Studio created the interior and exterior design plan for the new facility. They met with the Allegan team to find out what they needed and wanted in the new workspace to most effectively serve clients and to be comfortable in their environment. One of the most anticipated features is a multimedia conference room with seating for 10 to 12 people. A moveable wall will open onto the outer seating area for larger, informal gatherings. 
Other features will include two collaborative staff meeting rooms, touch down work areas for staff from other offices, a full breakroom with kitchen appliances and eating area, and a partially covered outdoor seating area. The staff also will have a community vegetable garden similar to the one at the Benton Harbor office.
“This project is a great example of how the team of problem solvers at Wightman work together on projects to make it easy for our clients. In addition to the services provided by our Architecture Studio, project support and assistance was provided by our civil engineering department, survey department and landscape architecture team. The entire WAI team is looking forward to the future location which truly showcases the talent of our team,” shared Bittner.
The first phase of work begins this week with selective demolition and excavation for the foundation of the addition. Construction is expected to be complete in June. At that time, WAI will move its operations to the new facility and place the current office on the market for sale.

Kalamazoo County road project receives statewide award

February 1, 2017

The Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan (APAM) and Michigan Department of Transportation have presented Rieth-Riley Construction Company – Kalamazoo Plant, Wightman & Associates, Inc., and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Kalamazoo TSC with the Award of Merit for paving projects over 30,000 tons.
The award recognizes excellence in asphalt pavement construction for work performed in 2016 to reconstruct and pave a .96-mile section of roadways that make up the I-94 at 40th Street interchange in Kalamazoo County. The project included reconstruction of 40th Street including a new bridge over I-94, East Michigan Avenue, four ramps to I-94, and an asphalt overlay on I-94.
“We are honored to be recognized as part of this award,” stated Steve Carlisle, director of Engineering at WAI.  “This was an important infrastructure project in the Kalamazoo area and we are proud to have worked with Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Benesch and MDOT to ensure a high-quality end product for those who live, work, and visit the Kalamazoo area.”
Rieth-Riley was the paving contractor and WAI provided inspection oversight on the project. The MDOT Kalamazoo TSC manages the interchange and adjacent project roadways honored with the award. Evaluation criteria include:
  • appearance including overall neatness and no overspray or leftover materials
  • smooth ride and uniform texture
  • joints that are straight, well-blended, smooth, and uniform
  • straight and uniform edges
  • approaches that blend well with the mainline pavement
  • utility covers flush with the pavement
  • degree of difficulty including traffic management and night paving
“To keep traffic moving while meeting an expedited schedule, asphalt paving was spread over six stages and included the construction of temporary roadway areas,” stated William Masura, Rieth-Riley Construction Co. project manager. “To receive this award with Wightman & Associates and MDOT Kalamazoo TSC on a complex project like this is truly an honor.”

Wightman & Associates Celebrates 70th Anniversary

February 1, 2017

In 1946, America was still celebrating the end of World War II.  The post-war economy was bright. The births of the suburbs and Baby Boomer generation were just getting started. That same year, a young engineer/surveyor by the name of G. L. Wightman took his career in a new direction; a direction that created a company legacy still going strong seven decades later in the form of Wightman & Associates, Inc (WAI).
November marks an important milestone for the architectural, engineering, environmental and surveying services firm as it celebrates its 70th anniversary on November 8, 2016.  The company, which got its start as a one-man operation in a small office in the Commercial Bank building in downtown St. Joseph, has grown into a company of more than 100 employees with three southwest Michigan locations in Benton Harbor, Allegan, and Portage. 
“Many things have changed in 70 years, but one thing has not.  G.L. Wightman’s commitment to quality service and professional integrity lives on in our dynamic team of problem solvers who are dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals,” stated WAI President Matt Davis. “We know we wouldn’t be where we are today without each and every one of our clients, so the recognition of this landmark moment in our history is really about them.”
Notable events in the company’s history include:
  • The first location move for the growing company occurred in 1958 when Wightman moved his business and its 11-member staff from the Commercial Bank building to 615 Elm Street in St. Joseph.
  • G.L. Wightman sold the business in September 1971 to a group of businessmen headed by Maurice Rushlow, a local engineer/surveyor who had worked for Holland Construction Company. The new owners renamed the company Wightman & Associates, Inc. Rushlow became its second president, and Wightman stayed on for several more years.
  • In 1974 the growing firm moved from its Elm Street location to 920 Broad Street, St. Joseph, where over time three residential homes were converted into professional offices.  That same year, Tom Deneau joined the company as a project engineer. Deneau quickly became an instrumental figure within the company, eventually going on to become the company’s third president. 
  • Wightman & Associates Inc. established its presence in Allegan in 1987 with the purchase of a survey office that became the affiliate office of Wightman Moored, Inc, and later renamed Wightman Jones, Inc. The office has since consolidated into the WAI parent company and has 12 staff professionals working out of this location.
  • The addition of affiliate office Wightman Ward, Inc. in 1993 brought the company to Portage. This office, too, has since consolidated into the WAI parent company and has 20 staff professionals based here.
  • In 2000, the company purchased and relocated to the current facility at 2303 Pipestone Road, Benton Harbor – part of the former Auto Specialties Corporation site and, prior to that, Clark Equipment. Following Rushlow’s death that same year, Deneau took over as president of WAI.
  • Under Deneau, WAI began consolidating several affiliate offices it acquired during the 1970s and 1980s into the parent company to provide a broader range of services outside Berrien County. The final office consolidation was completed in June of 2015 when Wightman Environmental was brought into Wightman & Associates, Inc.
  • Matt Davis took over as Wightman & Associates’ fourth president in March 2015. With the company since 1994, Davis has honed special areas of expertise in identifying, acquiring, and coordinating project funding for clients, as well as the development and preservation of Tribal lands.
  • Wightman & Associates, Inc. was named the 2015 Large Firm of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC/M). The Firm of the Year award recognizes the company’s strides in management, company growth, community involvement, and overall excellence.
  • Leaders from Wightman & Associates, Inc. have held the elected position of Berrien County Surveyor for more than 60 years. G. L. Wightman was appointed to the office in 1953 – a position he held for 23 years. When Wightman chose not to run for re-election in 1976, Maurice Rushlow successfully ran for the position. Following Rushlow’s death in 2000, John Kamer was appointed to his unexpired term -- a position Kamer has successfully been re-elected to ever since and currently holds.
  • The company also employs the Kalamazoo County Surveyor Gary Hahn and Allegan County Surveyor Kevin Miedema.