It was the early 1950s when Doug Barr first contacted Adolph Meyer, a renowned hydraulic engineer, about the prospect of work in Minnesota. Working with Meyer, Doug’s early projects involved hydraulic engineering and hydrology. One of these was the Nebraska Mid-State Irrigation Project, which involved designing 23 reservoirs, four hydropower plants, flood-control channels and dams, and irrigation delivery systems for a 500,000-acre area. Other early projects were at sites where Barr continues to work today and for clients with whom we have worked for decades.
By 1960, Doug was established as a one-person firm and ready to take on his first employee, John Dickson, who stayed until his retirement in 1997. These early years saw continued growth of Barr’s business with mining clients on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, as well as expansion of our services in the areas of structural and geotechnical engineering.
Barr’s growth led to its incorporation as an employee-owned firm in May 1966. Officially named Barr Engineering Co., it had 16 employees. Several are still with Barr, including senior engineer Len Kremer and Al Gebhard, who succeeded Doug Barr as the company’s president in 1985 and served until 1999. Doug Connell was named Barr’s president and CEO in 2000, and John Lee became Barr’s current president and CEO in 2013.
Today, we often work with clients on large, complex—and sometimes controversial—projects, for which we may provide everything from initial permitting and siting assistance through process and facility design to construction management, operation startup, and closure planning.
Over nearly half a century, Barr’s services have expanded to meet clients’ needs. We have also expanded geographically, opening offices in four states and Canada and merging with other firms to enable us to continue providing the level of service our clients have come to expect.
1966: Incorporated in Minneapolis, MN
1994: Acquired A.W. Mathews of Hibbing, MN
1996: Opened offices in Duluth, MN and Ann Arbor, MI
1998: Acquired Environmental Concepts of Jefferson City, MO
2007: Acquired Service Engineering Group of St. Paul and Kaeding & Associates of Minneapolis
2008: Opened office in Bismarck, ND
2010: Opened office in Calgary, Alberta, as Barr Engineering and Environmental Science Canada, Ltd.
2015: Acquired Horizon Environmental Corporation of Grand Rapids, MI
2016: Open office in Salt Lake City, Utah