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McGill Associates’ History, 30 Years in the Making

From just a handful of employees in one office in 1984 to more than 100 employees in six offices, McGill Associates continues to grow and contribute valued engineering solutions in communities across North Carolina and Tennessee. And over the past 30 years, the firm has stayed true to its core values of partnership, integrity, service, and respect.

McGill Associates began in 1984 at Executive Park on College Street in Asheville. Engineering Technician Vann Waters started with the firm as an Inspector (now called a Field Representative) in those early days. He remembers how things have changed in the business over the last 30 years.

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“The impact of computer design software and the vast improvement in access to more data such as GIS, aerial photography, flood data and contour information online has improved productivity,” he said. “You can gather more data in an hour on the computer now than you could in days when I started.”

Ever-evolving software and data-crunching online capabilities have allowed McGill Associates to engage the needs of communities in North Carolina and Tennessee with extensive knowledge going into a project.

Current Asheville office Principal, Keith Webb, PE, worked as a project design engineer and project manager when he started at the firm in 1987. Keith spoke about the impact of the firm on the communities they serve.

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“McGill Associates provides services for our clients that improve and modernize many aspects of their infrastructure from water supply and distribution, to sewer collection and treatment, stormwater management and treatment, and sidewalks and parks,” he said. “These improvements protect and enhance the quality of life for all of the citizens of the communities in which we work. At the same time, they help to protect the environment and provide economic opportunities and benefits to each community.”

McGill Associates quickly outgrew its original offices and moved into a new office on Orange Street in 1987. McGill Associates spent several years on Orange Street before settling in at its current address on Broad Street in 1994. The firm opened a second office in 1995 in Sevierville, Tennessee, in order to better serve the burgeoning clientele base in East Tennessee. That office later branched into a second location in Knoxville.

Around that same time, offers to purchase the firm began coming in from larger national firms. Eventually, the firm was sold to a group of eight employees in 1999. Soon after, a branch office was opened in Hickory and services of the firm were expanded to include electrical engineering.

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In 2003, Joel Storrow assumed the position of President. Under his leadership, McGill Associates has opened branch offices in Pinehurst, Cary, and Boone, bringing the number of offices across North Carolina and Tennessee to six.

Today, McGill Associates has grown to include professional services in the engineering, landscape architecture, planning, surveying, and construction administration disciplines. According to Storrow, “It is important for the firm to diversify the services it provides, adding that electrical engineering, surveying, and environmental services are areas for future growth.”

“The firm continues to identity future business opportunities,” he said, “while staying true to the original vision of providing dedicated and responsive service to the clients and communities of North Carolina and Tennessee.”

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