Omaha-based Alvine & Associates with about 475 active projects, 130 employees and a multi-state reach continues to grow its embrace on innovation in this its 60th year in business. Firm leaders credit the company’s branding as offering an unusual blend of science, art, and business that results in a better outcome for customers across private and public sectors — including work in a myriad of industries.
Three years ago, Alvine Engineering moved into its new 31,000-square-foot headquarters at 1201 Cass St. In addition, the firm has branches at 1800 O St. in Lincoln, plus Des Moines and Oklahoma City.
The firm, founded in 1961 at the former Aquila Court building downtown with just a rotary phone, radio, and coffee pot, grew from three to 30 employees in its first 20 years. Alvine Engineering’s first job was a 50-bed hospital in Aurora, Nebraska.
Brian Hadfield, a Plattsmouth native, lauds the blend of science, art, and business approach taken to inform analysis and design.
“All of our projects must meet economic objectives, but at the same time they also have aesthetic goals and functional needs that can work together for the desired outcome,” he said. “When this is achieved the client looks to us as their partner and trusted adviser —no additional marketing is necessary.
Hadfield started as a mentee with Alvine Engineering while still in high school. He liked the challenge of putting all parts of a puzzle together and honed his skills as an intern.
In commercial real estate, every square foot of a building that can be leasable will contribute positively to the income generated by the property. In his work, Hadfield is an advocate of “rightsizing” the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to maximize the long-term value of the structure.
Tech in Engineering
For principal Patrick Kelly, a Kearney native, the 1999 creation of IP Design Group — the technology division within Alvine & Associates — has been a differentiating factor in the firm’s success. The entity contains professionals who specialize in the consulting and design of low voltage technology systems as well as acoustical consulting for projects across multiple sectors of the business.
The technology has been applied to The Residences at the Mercantile project in downtown Omaha and several bond issue projects of the Omaha Public School district.
“The group was started out of an early awareness that these systems are critically important to success and overall operation of a building over its life and a failure to integrate them into the design process from the earliest stages of project development will ultimately create inefficiencies in construction and an incomplete approach to a holistic design process,” Kelly said.
Fourteen members are assigned to IP Design Group.
A major project IP Design Group participated in was the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Auto Technology on the South Omaha campus of Metropolitan Community College. The 100,000-square-foot remodeling finished earlier this year included many technology and security elements to connect the facility with the main campus. State-of-the-art telecommunications equipment, a security system, as well as acoustical consulting and audiovisual systems were involved.
The facility, in partnership with automakers, gives the Omaha area an auto repair and painting facility that is attractive to both teachers and students.
Projects on the Increase
Samuel Haberman, a native of Imperial, said Alvine Engineering has seen an uptick in projects within K-12, higher education, and health care markets as a direct result of the American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act.
“Our clients are pursuing upgrades in existing HVAC systems to improve air quality within their buildings by replacing outdated equipment and enhance the experience and well-being of building occupants,” he said.
A specialty for Haberman is lighting. He is lighting certified by the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions, an industry group.
Lighting applications include interior and exterior building lighting, lighting controls, streetscape/dark sky initiatives, lighting studies, and airport runway design.
Haberman said overall interest in, and application of architectural lighting is on the increase.
Examples can be found in Alvine Engineering’s new Omaha headquarters building, which is the first structure in Nebraska to receive WELL Certified Gold status. Wayfinding is used in the entry, where linear fixtures are mounted vertically within the acoustic wood paneling, immediately catching visitors’ attention and guiding them up the stairs, rather than to the elevator. Once upstairs, a continuous recess line of light running along the floor, then up the walls, serves as a visible marker of the suggested route to the upper level by the central circulation stair. Also, a curtain wall provides ample daylight in work and recreation areas. The shades and color temperature of the electric light fixtures are programmed to adjust from sunrise to sunset, blending cohesively with the daylight and reinforcing a healthy circadian rhythm.
Other WELL Building Standards relate to air, physical fitness, comfort, mind, and nourishment, among others.
The Cass Street structure has become the first building from Denver to Chicago to attain WiredScore Platinum status, a nod that executives believe shows the bench strength of the Omaha-based IP Design Group staff.
Principal Richard Woodson, who grew up in Sioux Falls and got his mechanical engineering degree from Kansas State, has become a specialist in the health care and senior living markets. He said while Alvine Engineering may have projects in 34 states, no one state or geographic area offers the firm its most solid growth opportunity.
Mechanical system designs focus on functionality and long-term operational efficiency — important elements in helping buildings achieve sustainability goals and a better return on investment.
“Success has come from focusing on our clients and their needs,” he said. “Our client needs have expanded our business from our hometown of Omaha to projects across the nation, but our roots have always stayed in the Midwest.”
Woodson said opportunities have enabled Alvine Engineering to add services. One example in the past couple of years has been food consulting and design work for school districts. That involved the acquisition of Roger Kruse Associates, a specialized firm whose owner retired.
Such addition of services is largely client driven.
402-346-7007 • 1201 Cass St., Omaha 68102