NEW CORPORATE MEMBER PROFILES
It’s safe to say that WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff knows Detroit, and Michigan. With a combined 130-year history—102 of that in Detroit—the international company offers expertise in areas including the environment, mining, oil and gas, power and energy, project and program delivery and strategic consulting. The company now employees about 100 people in Michigan, 70 of which are in Detroit. In the United States, the firm’s origins date back to 1885, when William Barclay Parsons founded the company that would become Parsons Brinckerhoff in New York City. Early projects included the design of the original New York City
subway system and the Cape Cod Canal. Coming to Detroit in 1915, the firm created and developed much of the city’s transit plan, including some streetcar work, according to Edwin Tatem, PE, vice president, Central Region Construction Services manager and Chairman of Parsons Brinckerhoff Michigan, Inc. “In 1929, we designed and planned the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and began a relationship with the city that was eventually incorporated in 1978,” he says. Now well into the 21st century, Tatem says global sustainability is a key factor to the continued success of Parsons Brinkerhoff. “We must evolve to meet the needs of the current climate,” he says. “Today the hot topics are connected/autonomous vehicles. We believe that 2017 will mark a
new beginning for connected and automated vehicles and want to be at the forefront of that technology industry. The coming years will be transformational, with more technological advancement in the transport industry.” In the meantime, local projects include serving as owner’s representative for metro-Detroit segments of the I-75 repairs and construction, including the creation of Michigan’s first HOV lane. The lanes, which are restricted to vehicles with at least two people during peak traffic hours, work with traffic to ease congestion and provide a safer operation. “We are working with MDOT to create safe infrastructure for both the current transportation methods, and the vehicles of the future,” says Tatem. For more information about WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, please visit www.wsp-pb.com.
Big, better, faster—that’s what you get with Rocket Fiber, a Detroit-based internet service provider dedicated to bringing affordable gigabit internet and an industry-leading, personalized client experience to residents and businesses in Detroit. Founded in 2014 as part of the Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans Family of Companies, the venture began when Marc Hudson and his then co-workers at Quicken Loans and Bedrock, Randy Foster and Edi Demaj, approached boss
Dan Gilbert with the idea via the company’s “Cheese Factory” suggestion box. Now, Rocket Fiber’s newly-built fiber backbone is designed to transform the way Rocket Fiber clients create, collaborate and communicate. That includes high speed Internet—up to 10 Gigabit— that Rocket Fiber has laid more than 30 miles of fiber to support. Marc Hudson, CEO and co-founder of Rocket Fiber, says, “With super-fast broadband nearly 100 times faster than the current residential average, we are poised to provide a unique service. Our 10-gig home internet speed is tied for the fastest in the country, and is the fastest in Detroit.”
But customers are the focus: “We are looking to offer our customers the white glove satisfaction and you’ll see from our Facebook ratings and feedback that we are already achieving that goal.” Two years into the endeavor, Hudson also says the company is planning to expand into the greater downtown area as well as develop and offer a cutting-edge television product to consumers. Business includes more than 100 residential and commercial buildings online in the Downtown, Midtown, Brush Park and New Center neighborhoods in the city. The company employs 53 people and is looking to expand there as well. For more, visit rocketfiber.com.
8 | TechCentury | SPRING 2017
The Engineering Society of Detroit's TechCentury magazine