BLA coverMADISONVILLE, KY (11/16/12) — A civil engineering firm has just established their Kentucky Operations office here in Madisonville. Founded over 30-years ago as a planning firm, Bernardin, Lochmueller, and Associates (BLA) provides engineering, planning, surveying, and environmental services. They’re rated as the 69th fastest growing architectural, engineering, and consulting firm in North America, according to Zwieg Letter’s “Hot Firms List” and among 200 firms that have outdone their economy and competitors in their chosen field.

The firm hasn’t had a branch office in Kentucky since the early 2000s, as told by Manager of Kentucky Operations, Mike Vickers, P.E. That office was located in Frankfort. Primary clients to be served out of the Kentucky office will be the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and a core group of regional municipal and private groups.

Services associated with civil infrastructure and ground transportation projects will be the initial focus, but the range of services will expand based on the regional need. The western half of the state, via area development districts, city/county municipal governments, and KYTC district offices in Madisonville, Paducah, Bowling Green, will be who BLA hopes to serve via lower cost-to-value deliverables.

“Our main goal is to determine a core group of clients from the state, municipal, and private development sectors in need of services that we provide, and we strive to provide long term services and build long term relationships with our clients,” said Vickers.

He stressed the long term commitment to clients and BLA’s ability to identify the real need involved for the client rather than just completing a job. “We want sustainable relationships,” he said.

BLA is also a KYTC pre-qualified firm for a vast array of services. He stated that, to his knowledge, BLA is the only KYTC pre-qualified firm in Hopkins County. In order to do work for the transportation cabinet, firms must be KYTC pre qualified in their area of practice.

Madisonville is centrally located between the district locations, and Vickers feels BLA can greatly benefit the community here. They’re only an hour away from their headquarters, located in Evansville, IN. They also have branch office locations in Indianapolis, IN; Maryville, IL; St. Louis, MO; Chicago, IL; and Jeffersonville, IN.

“Our goal at every branch office is to establish a business that is self-sustaining, not a space with a sign on it,” said Vickers. “We open a branch with the intent to grow it with as much local talent as possible.”

BLA wants to employ prospective team members who call the area home. Vickers is from KY himself and has particular interest in benefitting the community, not simply trying to land jobs for the company around the area. He expressed hopes of eventually becoming a top-20 employer of the city. They will employ engineers, surveyors, administrative and marketing individuals, community planners, PTOE’s, geologists, and more as the office grows. BLA even has associates who assist county and city personnel with funding mechanisms and comprehensive plans on how to get projects done.

Vickers admits it may be a challenge in a community as small as Madisonville to find professional, technical related, consulting engineer minded people but “They’re out there,” he said. “Some of my best friends would rather live on a farm in the country and be able to work from the office close to home rather than live in a big city where most design firms our size are located.”

BLA was a consultant team member for the Environmental Impact Statement work previously done for the I-69 Ohio River Bridge crossing Henderson to Evansville. They continue to be a key project management, planning, environmental, and design consultant for INDOT on I-69 from Evansville to Indianapolis. They’ve done planning studies for the Bowling Green I-66 bypass. They worked as subconsultants to Palmer Engineering on a planning study for a section of the Purchase Parkway. Most recently, BLA was selected to perform the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement for I-66 between Paducah and Cape Girardeau, MO. BLA has and continues to provide significant amounts of planning, environmental, design and survey work for clients throughout Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, and hopes to do the same for Kentucky for decades to come. KYTC has a 6-year highway plan that outlines funding for projects and KYTC determines what is necessary by priority. These priorities are re-evaluated on a two-year cycle, and the current plan provides for a great deal of planning, design, and construction work to take place in the western half of the state.

With the Berry Plastics re-opening adding over 420 jobs, IMS’s buyout of Gemtron’s metals division, which preserved 50% of that plant’s jobs, and one of the fastest growing design and planning firms locating here, Madisonville’s economy may be situated for a shot in the arm.

BLA is located at 113 East Center Street in Madisonville, and more information can be found at their website,

Jessica Frodge
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