Specialty: Electrical engineering, technology consulting
Management: James R. Duncan, chairman and CEO; Eric T. Overton, president; Thomas A. Leonidas Jr., vice president; Arne R. Berger, CFO
Year founded: 1947
Headquarters: Seattle
Current projects: Olive 8 and Seventh Avenue at Westlake, residential mixed-use projects in Seattle; Harborview Medical Center, Seattle; Sacred Heart Medical Center, Springfield, Ore.; The Children’s Hospital, Denver; Peace Arch Border Station, Blaine

Image courtesy MulvannyG2 Architecture/Gluckman Mayner Architects
Sparling is providing electrical engineering on the proposed Olive 8 project at Eighth Avenue and Olive Way in Seattle.

Sparling President Eric Overton’s view of the future is a mix of optimism and concern.

Many projects are in design, and that’s good. But he says rising interest rates and increasing energy and material costs could be detrimental. Then there’s the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, which could sap the Northwest’s labor market.

The overall market “could have a lot of budget busts,” says Overton, who worries about the building industry moving from qualification-based selection of consultants to fee-based selection.

IT sector growing

Sparling’s project roster reflects the times with residential mixed-use, health care, security and communications work. Health-care makes up about 60 percent of the company’s work.

Sparling is working on the new Peace Arch Border Station in Blaine as well as technology and communications projects for local and state emergency-response centers. IT consulting represents 30 percent of Sparling’s work and is its fastest-growing segment.


For architecture and engineering companies, technology is driving change and creating collaboration, Overton said, referring to building information modeling. BIM/3-D modeling is streamlining the process “to deliver higher value to our clients. It is still ... in its infancy ... but it is gaining momentum and people are starting to look very seriously at it.”

The 140-employee Sparling has grown by 20 percent in 2005 and expects similar growth in 2006.

Sparling expanded earlier this year by acquiring Michael R. Yantis Associates — creating a new division, Yantis Acoustical Design — to complement Sparling’s performing-arts center projects.

Sparling won an American Council of Engineering Companies award for the Seattle Central Library’s wireless communications system.

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