In the 100-plus years since founder Daniel W. Mead started the business, Mead & Hunt has grown substantially, even helping uild the Hoover Dam in 1928. It’s now ranked as the largest Wisconsin-based engineering and architectural professional services firm in Wisconsin.
Mead was an internationally recognized hydrology and hydraulic engineering expert when he established his Chicago-based consulting firm in 1900. He moved to Madison in 1904 to an office on State Street. Henry Hunt, an electrical and civil engineer, became a partner in the firm in the early 1930s. Growth through this partnership allowed Mead & Hunt to diversify into other engineering and architecture areas.
The firm’s services expanded to meet the country’s changing social needs. Civil and highway engineering were added as interstate highway networks were created. Airport planning and design supported the military during the 1940s. After World War II, the firm’s services grew to include architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering when new housing, commercial and industrial buildings were needed.
Mead & Hunt provides professional services in planning, design, engineering and architecture serving nationwide markets that include aviation, dams and hydropower, energy, food, industrial, military, municipal infrastructure, mines and bridges. The company also provides historic preservation services. The business is employee-owned, with about one-third of employees owning company stock.
Their clients include governments at all levels — local, state and federal entities that include military, airports, highways and bridge authorities, power companies, irrigation districts, utilities and mines, food processors and others.
Rajan Sheth, 64, current CEO and chairman of the board, joined Mead & Hunt in 1977 as a structural engineer. Originally from India, Sheth came to Madison in 1970 to attend graduate school at UW-Madison. He was named CEO and chairman of the board in 1994. Under his leadership, Mead & Hunt has grown to more than 30 offices nationwide and from 100 to 500 employees. Last year, Mead & Hunt earned more than $80 million in revenue.
“Next time you fly out of Dane County Regional Airport, you may wonder who designed most of the taxiways, runways and the terminal building. It was Mead & Hunt,” explained Sheth.
Mead & Hunt also was the lead firm designing the reservoir after the dam collapsed on Lake Delton and flooding washed out the highway near the lake in June 2008.