News & Events

Terracon in the Community

Welcome to our newsroom! Here you will find the latest information about our company, projects and people. Browse articles published by our engineers and scientists in national publications and conference proceedings, view our press releases and read through news coverage of Terracon.

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Terracon Consultants, Inc. Overall Winner of 2018 ARTBA Foundation’s “Helping Hand” Awards

Terracon is honored to be awarded the 2018 ARTBA Foundation’s Helping Hands Award. The awards “recognize extraordinary programs — outside the scope of normal business operations — that demonstrably benefit and help improve the quality of life in the community where the company is based or conducts business.”

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Brownfield Funding Drives Community Development Project Down the Tracks

[caption id="attachment_13137" align="alignnone" width="825"] Rendering of future park photo credit Jeff Gurrie Pickens Depot Demo[/caption]

Pickens, a small rural town in the upstate of South Carolina, had big dreams of revitalization. Dreams that may never have been realized without an abandoned railroad, support from Terracon’s Greenville office and an EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant.

Revitalization and small towns don’t always go hand in hand. Funding can be hard to come by to make dreams a reality. Luckily for the City of Pickens, one Brownfield grant award set into motion a project consisting of ten local, state, and federal grants totaling $1.5 million in awards and matching funds to create the Pickens Doodle Park.

Starting with an idea

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The cities of Pickens and Easley came together to create a “rails to trails” project along the abandoned Doodle Rail Line and an 8-mile asphalt multi-use trail was born. With the popularity of trail projects sweeping the nation, it seemed only logical to follow suit with the success of the neighboring Swamp Rabbit Trail located throughout Greenville County. There was only one problem, the blighted rail depot which sat at the trailhead in Pickens.

Although most residents saw the dilapidated structure as a roadblock to success, Tice Welborn, P.G., a senior geologist and Jeff Gurrie, senior industrial hygienist in Terracon’s Greenville-Spartanburg office saw opportunity. After coordinating with the local city administrator, Bruce Evilsizor, Terracon set out to identify the issues which needed to be addressed. Upon completion of the site assessment activities, it was determined the best route would be for the City to apply for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Cleanup Grant to fund asbestos abatement from the structure. Once City Council approved, work started on the cleanup grant application. In the fall of 2015, the City of Pickens was awarded $153,000 to remove the hazardous materials from the building.

The impetus of revitalization

[caption id="attachment_13149" align="alignleft" width="298"] Family enjoying the Doodle Trail[/caption]

The Brownfield funding acted as the catalyst for redevelopment. With the help of Becky Horace, former city project manager, the city was able to leverage funds from multiple agencies. A South Carolina Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant was used to demolish the building. A grant from the South Carolina Recreational Trails Program allowed for the extension of the trail through the future park site to Highway 8 to allow for safe passage to the historic downtown. The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded $500,000 to create the Pickens Doodle Park, which will boast an open-air farmers market created in the likeness of the historic train depot, ADA accessible playground and outdoor exercise equipment and a sensory rain garden for children with sensory processing disorders. Additional local and state grant awards will allow for additional amenities including solar lights, a mural, art sculptures, a mobile app, and kiosks.

In addition to environmental services, Terracon is currently providing special inspections and construction materials testing services for the Pickens Doodle Park project and any other environmental work needed for other City projects.

“This has been a once in a lifetime project that will have a tremendous impact on this community that spans many generations. I am honored to have been a part of this undertaking and proud to represent Terracon who was instrumental to the success of this project.” -Tice Welborn, P.G., senior geologist in Terracon’s Greenville-Spartanburg office.

Terracon Foundation Awards $50,000 in National Partner Grants to Girl Scouts of the USA and Society of Women Engineers

OLATHE, Kan. — The Terracon Foundation is pleased to announce the presentation of two National Partner grants: $25,000 to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and $25,000 to the Society of Women Engineers. To date, the Foundation has granted more than $1.6 million to community organizations, universities, dependents of employees, and for disaster relief efforts. The Terracon Foundation encourages employees to submit grant requests for local organizations aligned with the company’s mission.


The grant money awarded to Girls Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) will be used to support the organization’s National STEM Strategy: Math in Nature Badge Program. GSUSA works with 1.8 million girls through 800,000 volunteers in 112 councils in all 50 states and overseas troops in 92 countries. This is the second time the organization has received a national partner grant from the Terracon Foundation.

“In recognizing the need to address the future demand for strong female talent within the STEM arena, Girl Scouts remains committed to programming that encourages girls to embrace the STEM career path,” said Sylvia Acevedo, GSUSA chief executive officer. “This generous grant from the Terracon Foundation will help to ensure our organization - both at the national level and through our Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri council - will have the ongoing support necessary to fortify our STEM leadership development efforts.”

The GSUSA grant was recommended by Karen Rieken, P.E., site investigation group manager in Terracon’s St. Louis office. Rieken’s long association with the organization started when she became a girl scout in first grade and has continued into adult volunteer roles including troop leader and educator. Rieken recently presented the grant check to Bonnie Barczykowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, on behalf of the national organization. For more information about Girl Scouts, visit

Society of Women Engineers Grant

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will use the grant money awarded by the Terracon Foundation to help support its SWENEXT program to engage the next generation of female engineers. SWE has nearly 40,000 members, 100 professional sections, 300 student sections, and global affiliates throughout the United States and around the world.

“Through the generous support of the Terracon Foundation for the SWENext program, SWE can develop new resources to inspire the next generation of female engineers and technologists,” said Jonna Gerken, SWE president.

SWE’s grant request was submitted to the Terracon Foundation from Catherine Rocky, P.G., CSPM, national account manager in Terracon’s Wichita office. She has been a supporter and participant in the SWE local, regional, and national organizations since college, and currently serves SWE Magazine’s editorial board. Rocky recently presented the check to Gerken at the organization’s local conference in Tulsa. SWE was also the 2015 recipient of the Terracon Foundation’s national partner grant.

The Terracon Foundation’s goal is to reach out and become a real part of the lives of Terracon employees and the communities where they live and work. Employees may apply for local community, university, and national partner grants, allowing them to recommend investment in causes in their own communities.

For more information about the Terracon Foundation and other organizations it has supported, visit

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 4,000 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 140 offices with services in all 50 states. Terracon currently ranks 30th on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit

Terracon Foundation Awards $86,390 in Community and University Grants

OLATHE, Kan. ­­– The Terracon Foundation is pleased to announce the award of $86,390 in grants to six universities and 12 community organizations. The Terracon Foundation was established as the community investment arm of Terracon with a goal to reach out and become a real part of the lives of company employees and the communities where they live and work.

University Grants

As part of an ongoing effort to support higher education, the Terracon Foundation presents university grants for graduate-level scholarships, fellowships, and programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

This year, the Terracon Foundation has presented a total of $50,000 to six universities:

  • University of Arizona - graduate scholarships;
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Terracon Foundation Fellowships;
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte - female and underrepresented minority scholarships;
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - Terracon scholarship;
  • University of Washington - graduate geotechnical fellowships; and
  • Virginia Tech Foundation - Terracon Graduate Fellowships.

Community Grants

The Terracon Foundation has also awarded $36,390 in community grants to 12 local, nonprofit organizations that were recommended by Terracon employees involved in these organizations. The Terracon Foundation grants are intended to support education and causes focused on the natural and built environment.

Terracon Grant Employee Champion LocationCommunity Grant Recipient OrganizationGrant Recipient Location
Bettendorf, IowaLeadHerDavenport, Iowa
Bettendorf, IowaJunior Achievement of the HeartlandMoline, Ill.
Birmingham, Ala.Freshwater Land TrustBirmingham, Ala.
Cincinnati, OhioYWCA of Greater Cincinnati, Inc.Cincinnati, Ohio
Dallas, TexasMartha Turner Reilly PTADallas, Texas
Lenexa, Kan.Shawnee Mission Education FoundationShawnee Mission, Kan.
Little Rock, Ark.Boys & Girls Club of Saline CountyBenton, Ark.
Mountlake Terrace, WAChrist the King SchoolSeattle, Wash.
Tulsa, Okla.A New Leaf, Inc.Tulsa, Okla.
Tucson, Ariz.Tucson Clean & Beautiful, Inc.Tucson, Ariz.
White Bear Lake, Minn.Pine Bend Elementary SchoolInver Grove Heights, Minn.
Winter Park, Fla.Field Manor FoundationMerritt Island, Fla.

For more information about the Terracon Foundation, visit

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 4,000 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 140 offices with services in all 50 states. Terracon currently ranks 30th on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit

Brownfields Redevelopment: Revitalizing a Cultural Heritage Center


A touchstone to the Hispanic community in Utah, Centro Civico Mexicano (Centro) is a place where generations celebrate the traditions of their heritage. Centro was first established in 1935 by Mexicans who came to Salt Lake City and surrounding communities to work on the railroads and in the mines. Today, the well-loved cultural center is solidifying its commitment to future generations by revitalizing its downtown property; made possible through a combination of brownfields funding tools.


Originally purchased in the 1950s, the Centro property was facing the all-too-familiar challenges of urban neighborhoods—aging facilities in need of repair, pressure from surrounding development as part of downtown gentrification, and options to sell the property and relocate. Knowing the challenges at hand, community leaders decided it was time to reconstruct and design a new facility at the site of Centro’s existing home.

“The best reason for the cleanup and new construction is to build a showpiece representing the history of Hispanics in Utah and to give them something to be proud of, including taking part in an environmental improvement of the District,” said Brandy Farmer, president and CEO, Centro Civico Mexicano.

Serving as a trusted partner, Terracon helped Centro assess the property’s history, identifying past industrial uses on the site and surrounding properties as part of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Terracon discovered the site had been contaminated by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) from past coal use, and chromium and petroleum hydrocarbons from other past industrial activities. These needed to be cleaned up to meet the requirements of the new development. Development money was raised to cover the new proposed Centro buildings, but not the environmental costs.


Terracon provided solutions to address both the environmental issues identified and the unexpected financial challenges associated with the cleanup. By helping Centro prepare successful applications for both an EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant and a Revolving Loan Fund Cleanup Subgrant from the Wasatch Brownfields Coalition, Centro received $400,000 in funding to aid in the cleanup.

Although a small footprint, this piece of downtown Salt Lake City has a powerful future. The new plan for mixed-use development will include low-income senior housing, offices, classrooms, a multipurpose gymnasium, a rooftop soccer facility, and a black box theater.

“This has been one of my favorite projects. The people working on this are fantastic, and together they are all bringing solutions to the table,” said Craig Eaton, Terracon’s environmental department manager in Salt Lake City. “My thanks go out to everyone at Centro Civico Mexicano, Corroon Development Company, Salt Lake City Corporation, Salt Lake County, Utah’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, EPA Region 8, EPA Office of Brownfields & Land Revitalization, and the generous foundations in the local community.”

Belinda Richard, Terracon's national Brownfields program manager added, “This project is a wonderful example of how local partners, community members, and regulatory agencies can come together to make a project happen—it takes a village.”