In 1972, civil engineers Dick Kier and Jim Wright founded Kier & Wright Civil Engineers and Surveyors, Inc. They built the company with the firm belief that depth of experience and strong relationships are at the heart of a good business.
Today, we honor their commitment with a team of seasoned engineering and surveying professionals spanned across seven California offices.
Over the decades, our project portfolio has grown and our service area has expanded. The industry has changed and our book of business has evolved with it. Despite our continued growth, we’re proud to maintain the same core values that guided our founders from the beginning. We strive to do great work, working collaboratively to provide solutions to even the most complex project challenges. Like our founders before us, we create opportunities for the growth and betterment of our team members. Above all else, we value relationships. We still complete projects for clients who worked with Dick and Jim back in the 1970’s, and this matters to us. Every client connection is important—we treat each new connection as a relationship that will last decades, and we work hard to show our clients that their goals are our goals.
In 1972, Richard Kier and James Wright open a civil engineering and land surveying firm in the center of the Santa Clara Valley. As a two-man show working out of a machine shop in Santa Clara, Dick and Jim design improvements, prepare maps, complete field work, and provide construction staking services to support commercial land development and construction projects. Through their commitment to consistently preparing quality, constructible plans and their eagerness to go the extra mile for their clients, Dick and Jim begin to build a reputation for their new business.
As the technology sector in the Valley begins to grow, the real estate development market in the region takes off, and the demand for quality civil engineering and land surveying services increases. Dick and Jim hire employees to take over operations in the field and eventually move out of the machine shop and into an office. Before the end of the decade, they outgrow the space and move their growing staff into a unit in a newly constructed complex on Scott Boulevard—that same building houses Kier + Wright’s Silicon Valley office today.
During the 1980’s, Kier + Wright more than doubles its staff and by the end of the decade, opens its second office.
The firm takes on large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the North First Street/East Tasman Drive Assessment District and the Great Oaks Assessment District in San Jose. In 1987, Kier + Wright provides right-of-way engineering for the second construction phase of the proposed state Route 85 and provides services for the improvement of the existing state Route 237.
As Silicon Valley grows, Kier + Wright provides engineering and surveying for an increasing amount of manufacturing facility projects and for large-scale office parks like the 80-acre Cambrian Business Park in San Jose and the 52-acre Shoreline Technology Park in Mountain View.
In the late 1980’s, Kier + Wright takes on a growing number of projects in downtown San Jose and completes design and surveying for the construction of the high-rise Ten Almaden office building and for a renovation project at the historic Hotel DeAnza.
In 1989, with a growing staff and an increasing project load in the East Bay, Dick and Jim send two of their proteges to manage a second Kier + Wright office in Pleasanton.
In the early 1990’s, Kier + Wright provides all surveying, engineering and staking for the construction of Apple’s 32-acre campus at 1 Infinite Loop. Throughout the decade, Kier + Wright prepares civil engineering plans that facilitate the construction of large corporate campus developments for tech giants, such as Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems and Tibco Software.
Kier + Wright provides design services for large retail developments throughout Northern California, including the 24-acre Mercado shopping center in Santa Clara, the 44-acre McCarthy Ranch Marketplace in Milpitas, the 40-acre Broadstone Plaza in Folsom and the 60-acre Hacienda Crossings in Dublin.
Beginning in the 1990’s, Kier + Wright provides engineering and surveying for Costco Wholesale construction projects throughout the Western United States.
The firm’s land surveying staff grows substantially throughout the decade, and Kier + Wright solidifies its reputation as one of the largest and most productive field survey operations in the region. In the late 1990’s, Kier + Wright is awarded on-call surveying contracts with the City of Pleasanton and the Alameda County Zone 7 Flood Control and Water Conservation District. With these contracts, Kier + Wright establishes its experience as an on-call extension of public agency staff and for decades to follow, goes on to provide similar on-call services to municipalities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Kier + Wright continues to contribute to substantial improvement projects in downtown San Jose’s urban center. In the early 1990’s, Kier + Wright provides site development services for the construction of the 14-story high-rise office building at 303 Almaden Boulevard. Beginning in the mid-1990’s, Kier + Wright provides design and surveying for the planning and construction of Adobe’s World Headquarters and the neighboring public park.
By the end of the decade, both Dick Kier and Jim Wright retire. They extend ownership offers to a handful of their senior-most professional staff, most of whom have been with the firm for a decade or longer. In doing so, they begin a Kier + Wright tradition of providing leadership opportunities to some of the hardest working, most productive engineering and surveying professionals at the company. Over the next three decades, the second generation of leaders will go on to retire at varying points, and ownership offers will be extended to a third, and then a fourth generation of principals.
The dot-com bubble bursts, but the Valley keeps expanding. Kier + Wright provides design services for the construction of new Silicon Valley tech campuses, such as Altera in North San Jose, Netflix in Los Gatos and NVIDIA in Santa Clara. The firm further serves the tech sector by providing site development services for a series of large data centers in Santa Clara.
Kier + Wright takes on an increasing number of medium and high-density residential projects, such as Hamilton Park in Menlo Park, Avenue 64 in Emeryville and Chatelaine in Santa Clara.
The firm provides engineering and surveying services that support major expansion projects at John Muir hospitals in Walnut Creek and Concord.
Kier + Wright provides design services that support a series of notable redevelopment and infill projects in downtown San Jose, including the 19-story high-rise office tower at 488 Almaden, the high-rise Fairmont Hotel Annex and the relocation of the historic Hotel Montgomery, one of the heaviest buildings ever moved.
The firm begins work on the City of Livermore El Charro Specific Plan, a 340-acre land use plan that includes retail and major public infrastructure improvements.
Kier + Wright begins broadening its reach far beyond its home in the Bay Area, tackling more and more projects in the Central Valley and a number of developments in Southern California. Notably, Kier + Wright provides engineering and surveying for the planning and construction of new multi-tenant business centers in San Diego, Palmdale, Oceanside, Chula Vista, and Palm Desert.
The Pleasanton office continues to grow. Before the end of the decade, it becomes Kier + Wright’s official headquarters. The headquarters later moves to its current location in Livermore.
In 2007, the California & Nevada Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors Association begins issuing an annual Survey Hours Champion award to the member firm with the most field survey hours logged in a year. Kier + Wright wins the award in 2007 and has received the honor seven times since.
Also in 2007, Kier + Wright provides topographic surveying services for a San Francisco 49’ers practice field in Santa Clara. This survey leads to a series of large land surveying projects that support the planning and construction of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
2010 – 2019
Kier + Wright enters an era of remarkable growth and expansion. Between 2010 and 2018, the firm’s staff nearly doubles. In 2010, Kier + Wright outgrows its office in Pleasanton and moves its headquarters to its current location in Livermore. In 2014, Kier + Wright opens a satellite office in Ventura--in early 2019, this office moves to Camarillo. In 2016, Kier + Wright opens another satellite office in Manteca. In 2017, Kier + Wright opens an office in the Sacramento Metropolitan Area. In 2019, Kier + Wright expands to Orange County with a sixth office in Irvine. Later in 2019, the firm opens a seventh office in Gilroy.
In 2012, Kier + Wright begins work on its biggest land use planning project to date: the 1800-acre Cordes Ranch Specific Plan. The City of Tracy adopts the plan in 2013, thereby approving the 1800-acre International Park of Commerce industrial business park development. Kier + Wright provides design and surveying for the construction of miles of public infrastructure improvements associated with IPC and millions of square feet of new warehouse and distribution centers.
Kier + Wright provides engineering and surveying for the construction of large retail developments throughout the Bay Area like @First in North San Jose, the San Francisco Premium Outlets in Livermore, Santa Clara Town Centre, Sun Garden in San Jose and The Veranda in Concord.
The firm continues to provide services for the planning and construction of corporate campuses for some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s biggest tech sector employers. Kier + Wright provides site development services for Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino, NVIDIA’s new 36-acre phased corporate campus development in Santa Clara, Workday’s new corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, and the ongoing expansion of Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park.
Kier + Wright completes civil design work for several developments located in Southern California, including DaVita Pomona Valley Dialysis, Village Gateway Townhomes in Camarillo, a medical office building at 1090 Atlantic in Long Beach, and Mian Plaza in Camarillo.
The firm takes on an increasing number of projects targeting LEED certification and provides sustainable stormwater quality design for a number of projects that achieve LEED Gold or LEED Platinum certification, including VF Outdoor in Alameda, Delta Americas Headquarters in Fremont, Stacy and Witbeck in Alameda, the ServiceNow campus on Lawson Lane in Santa Clara, 1400 Page Mill in Palo Alto and the AC Hotel in downtown San Jose.
With the demand for housing in the Bay Area at an all-time high, Kier + Wright completes a variety of medium and high-density residential projects, including mixed-use and transit-oriented developments. Notably, the firm provides engineering and survey for four developments within the Santa Teresa Transit Village in San Jose, the transit-oriented Race Street Residential developments in Willow Glen, the transit-oriented Galloway apartment developments in Pleasanton, and the high-rise Century Towers apartments in North San Jose.
In 2019, Kier + Wright welcomes six top-performing, senior team members into positions of company leadership. Their promotion marks the beginning of Kier + Wright’s formalized Associate Program.
At the close of 2019, ACEC California informs Kier + Wright that it is slated to receive a 2020 Engineering Excellence Merit Award for civil engineering services provided to support the planning and construction of MPK 21, a LEED Platinum-certified office development located within the West Campus portion of Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park.
Today, the firm continues to expand, continues to provide services for some of the most exciting projects in California, and is still proud to say that most of our work comes to us by way of client referrals and repeat business. We’re proud that our firm has had a hand in projects that have shaped cities and improved regional infrastructure in the constantly growing San Francisco Bay Area. With our increased resources in Southern California, we’re excited to continue expanding our reach into markets throughout the state. We’re grateful to our clients—both old and new—for bringing such exciting projects our way and for recommending our services to others. We’re grateful to our founders for laying the groundwork for an operation poised to grow for decades to come, to the management and leadership who followed for helping us evolve to meet with the demands of a changing industry, and to the many engineers and surveyors who have contributed to the decades of successful improvement projects that established our firm’s reputation.