Arceneaux Wilson & Cole LLC
Local, talented, experienced
Business View Magazine interviews representatives from Arceneaux Wilson & Cole LLC, for our focus on Top Engineering Firms in the U.S. Construction Sector.
From its home base in Port Arthur, Texas, Arceneaux Wilson & Cole LLC (AWC) has earned a stellar reputation as a multi-disciplined civil engineering firm. Since 2014, AWC has provided engineering study, consulting, planning, design, surveying, and construction management services to governmental agencies, industrial corporations, municipalities, and private entities throughout Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.
Arceneaux Wilson & Cole’s three principals keep the business running smoothly with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Ron Arceneaux, Corporate Secretary/Partner, has 40 years of experience, specializing in regional transportation and watershed planning, and grant administration. Joe Wilson, President/Partner, draws on 40 years of experience in construction management, contract management, roadways, drainage, utilities, shoreline stabilization, and sheet pile design. Keestan Cole, Vice President/Partner, brings 11 years of experience to the fore, with specialties in roadways, underground utilities, shore protection, and land development.
The firm employs a staff of 32 engineers, surveyors, technicians, and administrative personnel, with an experienced project team comprised of specialists in public works, land development, transportation, cost estimating, construction management, and grant administration. State-of-the-art technology, automated plotting, and field equipment are readily available to facilitate the planning and fulfillment of project assignments. AWC is a strong believer that quality is always the result of intelligent direction, skilled execution, and a continuing commitment to excellence.
AWC’s engineers hail from the local community and have over 100 years of combined experience in water, wastewater, and structural design. And the surveying team are masters at quickly and accurately bringing tasks to completion, no matter how large or how dirty, using cutting-edge surveying equipment including GNSS/GPS positioning, Robotic imaging, and 3D/High Density Scanning tools.
According to Ron Arceneaux, “The firm was founded in 1988 and incorporated in 1991 as Arceneaux & Gates Consulting Engineers. In 2014, the company structure changed, and Keestan Cole, Joe Wilson, and I formed Arceneaux Wilson & Cole. So, we’ve been in continuous practice for about 30 years. Primarily, our marketing direction at the founding was for providing land surveying services and general civil engineering services for municipalities, other government entities, private developers, and industrial corporations.”
Emerging opportunities have played a major role in the direction and focus of Arceneaux Wilson & Cole. The company has grown from a staff of five to over thirty, and its capabilities have evolved far beyond normal ‘general-type’ civil engineering. Keestan Cole notes, “We can take projects from start to finish. We do surveying, in-house. We have environmental division, Wild & Associates. We cover a wide range of engineering – water and wastewater treatment, drainage, road construction, pipelines, directional drilling, port/harbor/marine work, airports – we cover a lot of ground for being a small company.”
The firm currently operates from a single location in Port Arthur, Texas, with a territory covering a 250-mile radius around the city. For most local and municipal government projects, there are three to five firms in the region, similar in size to Arceneaux Wilson & Cole, that the company considers its strongest competitors. “From time to time, there are larger projects that require more manpower, perhaps different expertise,” says Arceneaux. “So, in the past, we have joined forces with nationally recognized firms to provide the assistance and innovation needed, typically with regard to large master planning for drainage or water and wastewater systems that are labor intensive and require a lot of analysis, data collection, things of that nature.”
When it comes to government projects in the State of Texas, firms are not legally allowed to bid against each other for professional services contracts. Instead, companies are selected by their qualifications. When a project comes up, AWC and other interested parties respond to a Request for Qualification (RFQ) and most clients have a panel of employees that review all submissions and then rank the firms and select from that list. The chosen company then negotiates a price, afterwards.
Arceneaux Wilson & Cole has been doing much work in the Houston/Galveston area and looks forward to, potentially, having a remote office there that would allow a better response time to clients requiring AWC’s services. AWC is already an active part of the local business community. Company Marketing Director, Darcy Henry, has had positive results meeting with city and county representatives in an effort to expand market operations in that region. “Regarding the competition,” Henry explains, “our sister company, Wild & Associates, gives us an edge over other smaller engineering firms, and our award-winning projects give us the notoriety in the area that the others don’t have.”
Arceneaux adds, “Our sister company is an environmental engineering firm located in Houston. We want to expand that operation to include as much civil-type engineering work as we can accommodate. They have made great strides – the principals are well recognized in their field and have worked in that market for many years. So, even though it was a start-up company, they hit the ground running with a good backlog of work that they’re continuing to build on. We also look outside the area to be involved in things like the Texas Municipal League (an organization of elected representatives from county, city, and municipal governments). We always try to attend those annual conferences to identify the decision makers, and to make a good impression with those folks, so they’ll remember us whenever we submit a qualification statement.”
Arceneaux Wilson & Cole has had several inquiries this year from their marketing efforts at industry events. Though, Arceneaux admits, it’s a slow process to develop when you’re seen as an “outsider,” in the Houston market. It is especially hard to break into because there are so many capable firms there already. Long-term relationships have been invaluable to AWC’s sustainability and growth. Of particular note: The firm frequently works with worldwide engineering and procurement leader, AECOM, and has developed an important connection with them. For geotechnical investigations and material testing services for clients, Arceneaux Wilson & Cole continues looking to Tolunay-Wong as their go-to provider. AWC has also partnered with Freese & Nichols, Inc., a century-old, highly-regarded planning firm based in Dallas-Fort Worth, on a number of municipal projects of various types and sizes.
Dedication to the community ranks high on the Arceneaux Wilson & Cole priority list. “Our commitment to the community is huge, as far as our involvement in Port Arthur, Galveston, and the surrounding areas,” says Henry. “We’re involved in all area Chambers of Commerce; we support many organizations and donate regularly to several charitable contributions because we believe so much in community. That’s a big part of who we are.”
In summing up the chief qualities and capabilities of Arceneaux Wilson & Cole, experience and trust are key to the firm’s success. “It’s important to understand that the principals of this company are beyond being well-experienced,” says Arceneaux. “They’re dedicated to helping communities solve whatever the problems are that require our services. With a commitment to not only do the project, but to make sure the project is still functioning, over time. We’re here for the long haul, we’re not going to disappear. They can count on us for continued service throughout the life of a project. We’re an extension of their staff, and I think most of our clients take comfort in knowing we’re here to help them through any particular situation.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: Arceneaux Wilson Cole LLC
WHAT: Multi-disciplined civil engineering firm
WHERE: Based in Port Arthur, Texas