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MPA Member WWC Engineering Expands Montana Presence


Incorporated in 1980, Western Waters Consultants, Inc., doing business as WWC Engineering these days, was one of the most sought after firms in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, where the company got its start.

WWC works with oil & gas companies, mining companies, industrial companies, utilities, cities & towns, counties, state agencies, irrigation districts, developers, resorts, contractors, commercial developers, private individuals and many others.

Specializing in oil, gas, and mining, WWC Engineering was built on a foundation of expertise in permitting and compliance. That background, along with a highly skilled staff of Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors, Professional Hydrologists, Professional Geologists and Scientists, has afforded the company the ability to expand into several other western states, including Montana, and remain competitive after more than three decades.

Helena Branch Manager, Shawn Higley, was first in the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office as a commissioner & Hydrographer near Laramie, WY, managing irrigation demand on a highly regulated river system. Higley has an M.S. in Groundwater Resources. In 1999, he took on the role as the Civil/Water Resources Department Manager, accepting the responsibility for all civil and water resources related projects within northern Wyoming and southern Montana for WWC Engineering. Today, Higley is a senior member of the WWC Board of Directors, the Principal in charge of all Montana operations, and WWC Engineering vice president.

The mid-size, multi-disciplinary company offers a long list of county and municipal services, including transportation engineering, city planning, floodplain assessments, and water/wastewater systems. WWC Engineering is currently providing the wastewater system rehabilitation in Culbertson.

“The town’s rapidly expanding population due to the Bakken oil boom had created a significant need to increase the capacity of the wastewater collection and treatment system with little room for expansion of the existing lagoons due to property constraints. WWC designed a new aerated lagoon system and facilitated easements with property owners to provide a new wastewater effluent discharge to the Missouri River/.”/ –WWC Engineering/.

MSU graduate, Drew Pearson, P.E., L.S.I., based in the Helena office (where the median age is between 30-35) explains that one of the first things the company routinely does when working on a project, is consult with the overseeing regulatory agencies to ensure that their work meets the environmental expectations permitting authorities look for when reviewing a proposal.

With oil and gas activity picking up over the last decade, WWC Engineering expanded its presence in Montana to include an office in Culbertson to meet the demands of well siting surveys and pad engineering within the Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota.

“WWC brings over 30 years of regulatory expertise to the table to help oil & gas operators navigate the complex regulatory framework from the local communities, state  agencies, BLM and other Federal  agencies that pose such a challenge  to oil & gas development,” says  Higley.

Recently, the company also opened a new office in Lewistown, hoping to gain new clients and work in central Montana.

“We’d been doing a lot of work for Arrow Creek Surveying, which has an office in Lewistown,” explained Helena based, Jake Ziska, P.L.S ., also an MSU graduate. “With one of our engineers living nearby in Hobson, it just made sense.”

WWC Engineering has experience with CADD and GIS software, providing the company the means of providing fully integrated spatial databases, complete with graphics and presentation capabilities, to their clients.

The company has also considered opening an office in Billings, where they would have more of an opportunity to directly compete with other engineering firms, and have increased exposure to companies operating in the Bakken.

“WWC has successfully navigated the regulatory environment in Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and many other states where others have not been successful,” explains Higley. “We have an exceptional track record for obtaining permits throughout the Western States, and our ability to work with regulatory personnel to obtain permits is unparalleled. This fact coupled with our expert civil, environment and surveying services has made WWC a preferred provider within the oil & gas industry for over 20 years.

When asked about how the ebb and flow of the oil industry, the recent downturn in drilling specifically, has affected the company, Higley responded, “WWC has been through a number of booms and busts over the past 30 years, and we are still here providing services to the oil & gas industry.”

In an effort to promote their work through a medium often underutilized by similar businesses, the company has begun to use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

WWC routinely attends the Montana State University Career Fair every fall and spring to recruit both full-time and internship candidates for their offices corporate-wide. Montana offices are staffed primarily with graduates from Montana State University, with several Montana natives employed within the company.

The company has offices in Wyoming, in Casper, Sheridan, and Laramie, and in Montana in Helena, Culbertson, and now Lewistown. For a full list of services, and to learn more about the high caliber of work and exceptional staff at WWC Engineering, visit their website at


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