‘A huge advantage’
It was nearly four years ago that Moore Engineering opened a Minot office to get the West Fargo firm closer to more of the action that was occurring across the state.
Brock Storrusten, branch manager in Minot, said a consulting firm’s market analysis convinced the company to open a Minot office. He became the sole employee, leaving a North Carolina company to rejoin Moore, where he previously had worked for 17 years. Within a year, the office added four more employees. Today 15 people work out of the office, including four professional engineers.
Moore Engineering moved in March 2012 from its original office, established in December 2010 in the Main Medical building in downtown Minot, to the Quality Lumber building northwest of Minot at 2730-30th St. NW.
Two survey crews operate out of the office, assisted when needed by any of the nine crews in West Fargo. Moore Engineering has been around for 54 years. It employs 167 people in its offices in West Fargo, Minot and Fergus Falls and Wadena, Minn. The West Fargo office provides a number of support services to the Minot office, but it would be difficult to have an impact in western North Dakota without having a presence, Storrusten said.
The Minot office is near the Bakken oil activity and is closer to some of the communities that Moore Engineering was already serving in northern and central North Dakota in 2010.
“It’s necessary to be out here. It’s necessary to be able to go to the meetings, talk to people,” Storrusten said. “There’s a benefit to be to be out here in the middle so you understand what the dynamics are.”
A local company also knows the local environment and building standards.
“That’s a huge advantage of being here,” he said.
Moore’s focus is municipal services and roadways, although staff also work with developers on residential, retail and industrial developments.
“Taking care of small cities, making sure they have their needs met that’s really what our priority goal is,” Storrusten said.
Moore Engineering provides city engineering services to 14 small towns in the Minot area and to the McLean County Water Resource Board. It has worked on transportation projects with Ward County and the North Dakota Department of Transportation. A current project is reconstruction of Ward County Road 2 in the Kenmare area.
In Minot, Moore Engineering has a hand in the sanitary sewer project on 21st Avenue Northwest. It has been involved with developments that include Stonebridge Farms, Northridge Villas and Prairie View Estates 4th Addition and the construction of 36th Avenue, all in north Minot. It is working on the Southeast Ridge business park in southeast Minot, the Souris River pedestrian bridge restorations and Great Plains Energy Park expansion.
Outside of Minot, Moore Engineering is working with developers and municipalities on a mixed-use development in Watford City, a mobile home park redesign in Parshall, a housing development at Surrey and a water tower in Garrison.
Having now established roots in the region, there is opportunity to influence the growth of area communities, said Storrusten, who has been a proponent of sustainable communities. He has presented on the topic on various occasions.
“We are all very accepting of what’s been given to us, but is it adequate?” he asked. “Can we expect more? I think we can.”
Whether it’s building aesthetic, community-use areas around water retention ponds or just being creative with signage and roadway designs, Storrusten believes it’s possible to pursue both amenities and functionality.
Storrusten said Moore Engineering supports trying new things.
“You want to take a step up and try to do things a little better,” he said. “That’s something we take pride in.”
An example of a small change is the traffic signal project planned for 16th Street and 21st Avenue Northwest and engineered by Moore. Instead of the traditional yellow standards, the signal supports will be black. Storrusten said black improves drivers’ ability to recognize signals, and the black color doesn’t fade over time like yellow does.
Storrusten also has contributed his ideas as a member of a subcommittee on Minot’s zoning ordinance revision, the Minot Area Community Foundation Board and Minot Public Schools Technology Advisory Board.
Moore Engineering anticipates more need for engineering services with the growth coming in the Bakken region over the next several years, and it is prepared to grow if necessary to meet the demand, Storrusten said. The company came to Minot expecting to grow. Already, that growth has more than meet expectations.
“We are actually a little ahead of where we thought we were going to be,” Storrusten said.