Case Studies

Costello Inc.

Providing diverse engineering services for development projects in Texas

In 1991, Stephen Costello founded Costello Inc. (CI) with a group of partners and former colleagues of another engineering firm. Each partner joined with decades of experience in different aspects of engineering and development. Initially, the team focused exclusively on building a niche in drainage and land development. Today, CI has diversified into other disciplines of civil engineering, including transportation, structural and municipal engineering.

“We wanted to do something different,” explains Stephen. Therefore, he and his partners built the business on four core values: honesty, quality, service and a positive working environment. These values each help to shape and maintain relationships with clients. Stephen believes that honesty is doing the right thing under any circumstances, a practice his team follows through on with each project.

The team strives to perform quality work, performing efficiently and professionally. Service is the basis of the business, and the team aims to deliver outstanding solutions while building relationships with clients. Finally, the firm provides a positive work environment that offers the proper training, support and resources that will help the team perform well and grow professionally.

A strong portfolio

CI has built up a rapport with clients that has drawn repeat business and new customers. For more than 20 years, the team has offered innovative solutions and peace of mind to a diverse demographic. Recent work includes land and site development, water and wastewater facilities, drainage and flood control, utility work, structural work, streets, highways and other surveying and design services.

In 2010, CI earned the Engineering Excellence Gold Medal from the Texas CEC for a project in Fort Bend County, Texas. Several years before the team began working on the project, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began working to upgrade flood insurance rate maps across the country. With new technology, the project rapidly altered regional understandings of flood patterns.

This change impacted a repeat client of CI, a developer that had built a 370-acre master planned community in Fort Bend along the flood plain. The new maps released by FEMA altered the development’s flood risk level, a change that could add enormous expense for the developer. The client asked CI to come in and more closely analyze flood levels in the area. CI utilized 2-D hydraulic modeling coupled with 1D hydraulic modeling to provide a more detailed analysis. The more detailed modeling resulted in new flood elevations accepted by FEMA.

Staying busy

Despite a dip in residential construction throughout the recession, CI continued to stay involved in a number of residential development design projects; one example being a large master planned community in Fort Bend County. The company serves as district engineer for seven Fort Bend County Municipal Utility Districts and two Levee Improvement Districts that serve the project. Working with these districts, the business provided the infrastructure for the project being developed by the Johnson Corporation. CI provided the design for water, sewage and drainage improvements for the 3,700-acre community, as well as levees, detention ponds, drainage channels and paving improvements for the concerned districts.

CI worked on the Grand Parkway Interchange at U.S. 290 in Harris County, Texas. The team designed the Eastbound-Southbound connector and the Southbound Mound Road overpass for the interchange. The overpass is 324 feet long and the design includes provisions for eventual expansion to five lanes of traffic. The direct connector is 4,252 feet long and included steel and concrete superstructure. The team was responsible for structural analysis and detailing of girders, U-beams, inverted T-cap beams and drilled shaft foundations.

Staying focused

While the construction market has still not made a full recovery, CI has been busy in recent years. The company’s diversity has allowed Stephen and his team to branch out into different sectors when others lose steam. The company is capable of performing public and private work and has a proven track record for quality and safety.

“We have a family atmosphere here,” says Stephen, who has worked with many of his colleagues for decades. “We made the decision to keep everyone employed and we have had no layoffs. We have a great team and we will continue to strive for excellence over the profit of any individual project.”

According to Stephen, the market, as well as CI, is on the upswing, recovering steadily from a few tough years. As the business grows, some of the original partners are looking to retire. CI is working with trusted colleagues to foster the next generation of leadership that will guarantee Costello Inc. will continue to provide a high level of service and professionalism in the coming years.

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Spring 2018

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