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Whitman, Requardt receives Corporate Legend Award


Posted October 15, 2018

As part of our commitment to honoring the work of professional engineers, the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers is proud to award our first Corporate Legend Award to Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP (WRA).

“Whitman, Requardt was the first company that came to our minds,” said MDSPE President Tory Pierce. “They were the original civil engineers and infrastructure designers for the City of Baltimore and eventually the entire state. Their success and their longevity is testament to their commitment to making sure things are done right.”

Founded in Baltimore in 1915, WRA became a pivotal player in the development of essential, modern infrastructure in the city. WRA engineers designed the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Before founding WRA, Ezra 

Whitman had been instrumental in the design and construction of the Montebello Water Treatment Plant – a project that was credited with reducing diseases, including typhoid, in the city by providing residents with clean drinking water. 

In addition to water and waste water systems, the company has developed safer roads, bridges and railroads, as well as more secure, efficient and sustainable workplaces throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic. 

Working under the motto “Limitless Frontiers,” WRA landed the country’s first defense contract designing expansions of arsenals around the world during World War II. It modernized the U.S. Naval Academy after its first 100 years, developed the blueprint for modern commercial aviation at Friendship Airport, designed the first industrial research facility for oceanography, designed the I 895 Patapsco Tunnel K Truss, and led the civil engineering to realize James Rouse's dream – the new planned community of Columbia.

Its recent projects in Maryland have ranged from the headquarters of a Department of Defense command tasked to contain chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and other explosive hazards, to the marine mammal pavilion at the National Aquarium, to the 26th Street Emergency Repair and Wall Reconstruction. 

When a support wall along 26th Street collapsed in April 2014, “we were the ones called in,” said Joe Makar, Managing Partner. “Within an hour, we had our structural engineers, our geotechnical engineers and our surveyors on site, and they did a phenomenal job.”

Consistently ranked as one of the country’s top engineering, architectural and environmental firms, WRA’s focus on large, complex, daunting projects has attracted both clients and talented staff for more than a century. 

“You need big, challenging projects,” Makar said.  “They’re exciting and you keep talent when they know they are going to work on exciting projects. We always try to make sure our staff is challenged technically.”

WRA has also worked diligently to foster talent. Known for its high-quality internship and mentorship programs, WRA does extensive outreach to students and aims to broaden the range of individuals entering the engineering profession.

“Developing a diverse workforce in our industry is critical. Diversity allows us to better understand societal needs in order to design projects that reflect these needs,” Makar said. 

Over its history, WRA has also demonstrated extraordinary business management skill, Pierce said.

“A lot of old Baltimore engineering firms aren’t around anymore,” he said. “A lot were bought up by large, Wall Street-owned engineering companies. Some folded because they didn’t execute a successful transition plan to pass the company from one generation of management to the next.”

WRA, Pierce said, “has successfully managed multiple transitions, maintained their business culture and values, and kept producing impressive and innovative work.”

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