City: Cedar Rapids
1st time on the list
When it comes to structural design, the cheapest doesn’t always mean the most cost-effective. Just ask Matt Miller, owner of Select Structural Engineering, of Cedar Rapids.
“Customers seem to be shopping for the lowest price,” he said, calling it a backward mentality. “We provide excellent, cost-efficient designs. The price is fair, but not the lowest.”
Taking the time and effort to create a quality structural design from the beginning of the project will “save the customer tenfold,” he said.
“We have had success in the design build market. We are contractor-friendly,”
he said. “When everybody is involved at the start of the project, everybody is vested.”
The approach is working as Select Structural Engineering reported 139 percent growth in revenue between 2010-2012, ranking the company sixth on this year’s Fastest Growing Companies list.
Mr. Miller and James Howard started the company in 2009 to help contractors, builders and designers by analyzing structural components. Since then, offices have opened in Waterloo and Bettendorf.
“It’s a niche industry with a dozen or so in the area,” Mr. Miller said, adding that Select Structural Engineering is the largest structural-only firm in Eastern Iowa.
Another key to Select Engineering’s success is its flexibility in scheduling.
“We are not afraid to work off-hours to get projects done,” Mr. Miller said.
Projects such as new buildings at John Deere in Waterloo and Kinze Manufacturing in Williamsburg required working at times that would least disrupt the companies’ ongoing shifts.
Select Structural Engineering is working on several residential projects in downtown Cedar Rapids. The six-story Kingston Village project will renovate several flood-damaged buildings on Third Avenue SW. A portion of the Gazette/KCRG building at Fifth Street and Third Avenue SE will be torn down, making way for a nine-story building which will include two stories of parking and seven stories of residential properties. The former historic Great Furniture Mart building at 600 First St. SW will also be remodeled into a residential structure.
“The neat thing is the urban renewal of historic structures and new buildings,” Mr. Miller said.
Select Engineering is also working with Compass Commercial Services on the design of a new three-story office building for Geonetric in Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia District.