Salas O’Brien was founded in 1975 at the height of the 1970s energy crisis. And though we’ve grown exponentially since then, we’re proud to have stayed true to our roots and continued to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship.
O’Brien & Associates was founded by Dan O’Brien at the height of the 1970s energy crisis. Inflation was in the high teens, people lined at gas stations to fill up on “even or odd” days and waited hours to fill their tanks. Dan’s passion was to improve energy efficiency, sustainability, and be a better steward of our environment.
Carl Salas, Roy Goodman, John Salas and Louis Ortega joined the firm.
First big project was a 300,000-square-foot energy audit for San Jose Hospital.
San Jose Mercury News featured Salas O’Brien Engineers as the first “energy auditing firm” in the United States, highlighting the firm’s vision, passion, and experience relating to energy efficiency, sustainability, critical systems, and power generation.
Darin Anderson, Chuck O’Neal, and Paul Silva purchased 85% of the company from Carl and Marianne Salas. Darin became Chairman & CEO, and Paul became President & COO. Revenue was $4,800,000.
Continuing the firm’s community leadership, Salas O’Brien sponsored and supported the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” fundraiser benefiting the San Jose YMCA.
Salas O’Brien was listed as an MEP Giant for the first time at #97. Revenue was $9,800,000. Several leaders were invited to firm ownership, and “principals” were created in the organization. These senior leaders were responsible for the values, strategy, and operation of the firm.
KDW, founded in 1983 and based in Seattle, joined Salas O’Brien. The five owners of the firm continued as principals with Salas O’Brien: Arnold Kraakmo, Steve Boie, Randy Jones, John Siefken, and Doug Diel (founder). Arnold became managing principal of the Northwest region.
The firm was listed for the first time on the Inc. 5000 list of list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Revenue was $18,000,000.
Kalmans Marshall Engineering (KME), founded in 1980 and based in Houston with offices in Dallas and Baton Rouge, joined Salas O’Brien. The five owners of the firm continued as principals with Salas O’Brien: Brad Kalmans, Karl Marshall, David Bonaventure, Keith Gassman, and Mel Kalmans (founder). Brad became managing principal of the Texas/Louisiana region.
Salas O’Brien made Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms list for the first time, listed at #433. Salas O’Brien started the “Orange County Dodge (ball) for a Cause” corporate tournament and raised over $34,000 for the Second Harvest Food bank and Orangewood Foundation.
HESM&A, founded in 1989 and based in Atlanta, joined Salas O’Brien. The eleven employee owners of the firm all continued with Salas O’Brien, including the six principals: Stan Everett (founder), Tim Gilbert, Tom Evans, Toby Hunt, Dan Clifford, and Tim Brawner. Stan became managing principal of the South region.
KLG, founded in 1990 and based in Atlanta, joined Salas O’Brien’s South region. KLG’s primary clients were in higher education, corporate/commercial, and hospitality. The two owners of the firm, Danny Lundstrom (founder) and Robert Zendejas Jr., became principals of Salas O’Brien. Salas O’Brien jumped 133 spots to #300 on ENR’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. Revenue was $42,000,000.
Salas O’Brien became an employee-owned firm, fulfilling the vision of Darin and Paul from 10 years prior. All Salas O’Brien management and principals remained with the firm. Revenue was more than $60,000,000.
Salas O’Brien makes the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the United States for the fifth year in a row, an achievement only made by 10% of companies appearing on the list.
Varo Engineers, founded in 1948 and based in Columbus, Ohio, joined Salas O’Brien. Under the leadership of Tim Burnham, executive leaders Doug Carrera, Andrew Lee, Dane Cox, Karl Holloway, Trent Stepp, and Jeremy Rhodes remain with the firm. Tim became managing principal of the Ohio/Midwest region.
In addition to the merger with Varo Engineers, Salas O’Brien continued its growth by merging San Diego-based T-Squared Professional Engineers and Axiom Commissioning Group, led by Managing Principal Farzad Tadayon; Orlando-based Sims Wilkerson Cartier Engineering, led by Principals Gary Wilkerson, Kyle Cartier, Jeff Kirkman, and Adam Levine; and Concord, California-based Technical Roof Services. Combined, mergers in 2018 brought six new offices to Salas O’Brien, along with 250 new team members.
Revenue exceeded $100 million for the first time in Salas O’Brien history.
Salas O’Brien matched its 2018 growth pace by merging with WMA Consulting Engineers, led by Managing Principal Deirdre McDaniel; OMB Electrical Engineers, led by Principal Dennis McVay; Richardson-based RMS Engineers, led by Principals Mike Rand, JR Schieber, and Bill McDonald; and MEP Associates, led by Principal Jeff Urlaub. Combined, mergers in 2019 brought 12 new offices to Salas O’Brien, along with more than 250 new team members.