McNeilan & Associates Success Story

McNeilan & Associates Makes Deal with LEEDCo After Reconnecting at Network Annual Meeting

By Beth Shields

McNeilan & Associates is a woman-owned, small-business that provides engineering and outreach for the siting, design, construction, and performance of:  1) coastal and near-shore infrastructure and industry 2) offshore renewable energy and 3) flood inundation & flood defense improvements. 

McNeilan & Associates is a U.S. company that has real world experience in offshore wind. McNeilan has worked on European offshore wind projects, performing in situ studies to let developers know what the condition of the ocean floor is where turbines may be planted.

“We are marine geotechnical engineers, which means we’re highly specialized.” McNeilan & Associates tests soil samples, performs in situ testing, CPT’s, and fiber coring, which is used to design the foundation for the structures. Developers may not understand how important this testing is and relegate it to later in a project, which can literally kill an offshore wind project once they find out what lies beneath.

In addition to McNeilan’s experience and knowledge, she regularly networks at industry meetings and conferences.  In April 2015 at the Network’s Annual Meeting, Sally reconnected with Dave Karpinski of LEEDCo about LEEDCo’s Lake Erie project and landed a deal.  “When Dave and I were both in Baltimore for the Annual Meeting in April, we reestablished contact.  We’re talking again.  We followed up the next day with phone calls, and we are [now] LEEDCO’s client rep for the geotechnical work; and we are managing that right now out in Lake Erie, which involves taking samples and doing CPT tests.”

McNeilan says companies need to understand where the U.S. offshore wind industry is, where it’s going, and what their capabilities are and how their service or products fit into the process. “You can’t just think because I’ve got a tugboat, I’m going to get work.  Is my tugboat big enough, do I have the right credentials to participate?  Because I can pull a barge on the river, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be in a position to pull something out in the ocean and help position it, or even [have] the safety training. The safety training is huge. This industry is very big on safety, and that’s something along the East Coast that the U.S. has not been a big part of things, like in the Gulf of Mexico with the oil and gas [industry].  If people don’t get those certifications or make arrangements to have them provided locally, those jobs are going to go to somebody else that has them.”

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