In 1932, Bob Paulette and Murray Wilson formed Paulette & Wilson with offices in Salina and Topeka, Kansas. The majority of their work was involved with design of dams and lakes for the Kansas Fish and Game Commission, and also public works improvements for Kansas’s municipalities. At Bob Paulette's death in 1941, the firm’s name was changed to Wilson & Company, Engineers & Architects.
Wilson & Company was asked to determine the geographical center of the United States, which was found to be near Lebanon, Kansas. World War II created a demand for the design of military air bases, and Wilson & Company rapidly expanded as it was awarded projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Kansas.
A by-product of the Korean conflict was a series of projects including joint-venture responsibility for the design of McConnell Air Force Base at Wichita, Kansas; the rehabilitation of Schilling Air Force Base at Salina, Kansas; and Walker Air Force Base at Roswell, New Mexico.
In 1954, Wilson & Company was awarded design and construction management responsibilities for the Kansas Turnpike from Wichita south to the Kansas-Oklahoma border, fostering another growth phase. This project included design of more than 100 bridges.
The Wilson & Company Chemical and Testing laboratory started operations in 1955 to provide specialized, accurate and timely analytical information.
Wilson & Company’s capabilities expanded into the design and operation of a pilot waste treatment project for Boeing Airplane Company in Wichita, Kansas.
The Interstate highway program and LBJ’s “Great Society” improvement plan meant increased work for our engineers, city planners, and federal grant writers. Major projects included Ft. Riley, 60 SAC Air Force bases and dozens of flood control dams. (A small company airplane helped a growing staff cover a large territory).
In April of 1963, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called upon Wilson & Company to design and build more than 200 miles of highways and 130 bridges. The overseas affiliate of Wilson-Murrow won the design-build project that continued into the 1970s.
The clean water act and its grant program caused a boom in wastewater treatment facilities in this decade. The highway program continued in Saudi Arabia, which expanded to over 1900 miles. The area surveyed to complete these projects was approximately 350,000 square miles, or roughly 40% of Saudi Arabia.
Wilson & Company survived, and eventually thrived, during this decade’s recession, opening offices in Colorado Springs and Phoenix. Wilson Laboratories, the first commercial laboratory certified in Kansas, grew into a major operation.The growth of Survey and Mapping services and several large wastewater plan projects maintained our position as a strong company as we prepared to enter the 1990s.
Wilson & Company pursued a steady strategy for growth. Many railroad project opportunities were announced from various Latin American countries due to railroad privatizations, spurring Wilson & Company’s interest in expanding its services south of the United States border.Wilson & Company became involved in Latin American projects focused on railroads and other forms of transportation, environmental services including water and wastewater, and industrial development, notably including the reconstruction of the Panama Canal Railway, which officially reopened service in November 2001.Wilson & Company continues to serve Latin America via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Wilson & Company Latin America LLC.
The 2000’s continued to test and prove Wilson & Company’s resiliency. With change accelerating at a faster pace, Wilson & Company embraced a new corporate structure, explored new delivery methods, and entered into new markets.Wilson & Company also embraced alternative delivery methods such as design-build, CM/GC, and EPC. By teaming with client-owners, contractors, and other consultants, we explored innovative ways to deliver projects faster, with lower cost, and higher quality. We continued to enter new markets and offer new services disciplines including acquiring Western Air Maps and creating Wilson Railway Inc. (Providing expertise to class I railroads and for public projects). Wilson & Company’s geographic reach extended throughout the West, Midwest, and Southeast.The summer of 2012 was the milestone for Wilson & Company to celebrate its 80th anniversary.
The first decade of the 21st Century came to a close, and the firm has not only survived the economic downturn, but has shored up core areas of expertise, maintained a strong team of professionals, and built a healthy backlog in its diversity of clients and market sectors.After significant external discussions with clients, and internal surveys and discussions, we renewed our commitment to Higher Relationships, which are our principles and foundation of our excellent service delivery, ethics, and integrity. Higher Relationships describes who we are. Our business is all about relationships, and when we’re at our best, we do it better than anyone else.In the mid-decade, we are focused on our core capabilities in the market sectors of highway and interstate transportation, municipal, education, private, tribal, and federal market sectors. We anticipate significant growth in Energy and Railroad business, and have developed strategic relationships with key clients in these areas. A key hire in 2014 positions us well for expansion into Manufacturing and Distribution and Supply Chain Logistics.With a firm grasp of who we are and what we do well, the future of Wilson & Company is bright, and we’re focused on delivering excellent service to clients who expect the best.