This paper presents the author's perspectives on the state of the industry with respect to U.S. private-sector businesses providing geotechnical and geoenvironmental services to clients. The paper discusses: the history and evolution of the business sector; size and attributes of the sector; business models and practice characteristics of companies in the sector; and operational, management, and personnel priorities and challenges of these firms.
The paper also addresses career considerations for personnel in this business sector, and the topics of clients and competition, risk management and contractual liability, mergers and acquisitions, and the author's thoughts on future directions for the business sector over the next 10 to 20 years. Sustained business success is being achieved by both large and small firms practicing geoengineering that can recruit and retain great people, provide superior work deliverables and solutions to their clients, perform their work efficiently and at a reasonable cost, and navigate both the competitive and risk management landscapes. A significant and exciting challenge for the senior management teams of these firms now and in the future is to achieve and integrate excellence in technical practice development, project management performance, personnel development and retention, risk and quality management, financial performance, and equity and ownership management to continually improve their firms and, in so doing, improve the profession.