Case Studies

Coastland Civil Engineering Inc.

Providing design services to the municipalities of northern California

Founded in 1991 by John Wanger and Joseph Machado, Coastland Civil Engineering Inc. has been providing engineering, construction management and Building Department services to the state of California for almost 25 years. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, Coastland has evolved into a company that focuses primarily on government and municipality contracts.

Multiple services

Coastland is comprised of three distinct divisions. The engineering division of the company covers aspects such as the overall design of projects as well as providing in-house staff to certain agencies. Municipalities have hired Coastland to serve as the city municipal engineering department. “Smaller cites tend to do this because it makes sense for them financially,” says Wanger. “We are currently representing eight cities as their engineering department.”

Under a construction management and inspection division, municipalities will hire coastland for the assistance of overseeing the construction of a variety of capital projects. Along with the paperwork that accompanies construction management, Coastland is present on the jobsite with regards to the client’s best interests. “In this capacity we essentially act as the owner’s eyes and ears with our on-site management team.”

The third division of Coastland is associated with building department services. When plans are submitted to cities and counties for building permits, municipalities turn to Coastland for the assistance in processing building permits. “When someone wants to build a house, the city will hire us to review the building plans to make sure that they are compliant with the building codes,” Wanger explains. “We also have building inspectors that cities will hire to do inspections while projects are under construction.”

The multi service niche of Coastland has become an aspect of the company that Wanger and Machado did not necessarily set out to achieve, but are pleased to see the results of. “As the company grew, what we found was that most of the people that were joining us had municipal engineering experience,” says Wanger. “We discovered that there is major value in that kind of expertise. Because someone is a great civil engineer that doesn’t automatically translate into municipal engineering.”

Wanger has been involved in the civil engineering industry since 1982. After receiving his degree from California Polytechnic State University, Wanger began his career working in the research and development department for company that designed offshore drilling equipment. “I graduated from college when the country was in the middle of a recession so I worked in the oil industry in southern California for a few years,” says Wanger. “After that I went to work for a company that specialized in municipal engineering. I learned a lot from them and after about five years I moved back to northern California where I started Coastland with Joseph Machado.”

A growing portfolio

For the past four years, Coastland has been involved in a project with Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) designing and providing program management for a multiuse path for pedestrians and bicyclists. The path will run adjacent to a light rail facility as a 70-mile stretch that will run through multiple cities and jurisdictions. Coastland has been selected to assist in the design and program oversight of the entire path.

In Lake Tahoe, Coastland was hired by Placer County to represent the building department in the construction of the Ritz Carlton hotel at Northstar at Tahoe ski resort. The multimillion-dollar project was constructed over a three-year period and was one of several Northstar projects that Coastland has been involved in. “It was really spectacular to witness the construction of that hotel,” says Wanger

On the horizon for Coastland is the continuation of service to the city of Lincoln, California, a midsize community near Sacramento. As the city embarks on major developments and capital improvement projects, Coastland will be providing representation and design assistance. “We seek out clients like the city of Lincoln,” says Wanger. “We’re looking to provide more services to the East Bay area.”

Building relationships

With the ability to self-perform a majority of its work, Coastland will often hire surveying subcontractors. “We try to hire companies that are local to any jurisdiction that we are working in,” Wanger explains. “We like to see the money go back into the community where we’re working.” Coastland will also hire subcontractors when soil or geotechnical engineering is required for a project.

While Coastland has established a network of strategic partners, the company is always searching to establish new relationships with team-oriented people. “In any given year we will develop six or seven new relationships,” says Wanger. While working with some of the agencies that we deal with we’ll work with people that we have never worked with before and they do a really good job so we’ll make sure to remember them. We also make sure that we are teaming with people who have great reputations and relationships.”

Wanger enjoys the new challenges presented every day in his line of work. “No two days are the same,” says Wanger. “There is so much diversity in the type of work that we do and I have the opportunity to meet and work with some really great people.” Wanger credits the success of his company to the employees of his company. “I’m honored to be a part of this company because of the people that work here. We take our work/life balance very seriously and we have established some great friendships among coworkers here.”

With the growth that the state of California is experiencing, Wanger is optimistic about the future of Coastland as well as the industry. Coastland currently employs a staff of 40 and Wanger is confident enough in the company’s backlog of work to potentially increase the workforce. “We’re concentrating on expanding into new markets and geographical areas,” says Wanger. “I’m sure that if we added another four or five employees we would be able to keep them busy.”

As the company progresses into the future, Coastland Civil Engineering Inc. will continue to be a leader in the service of communities.

Published on: August 4, 2015


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