As a full-service consulting engineering firm, Triad Engineering does it all, including geotechnical and civil engineering, environmental services, construction testing and monitoring, land surveying and drilling.
The firm was founded in the mid-1970s by two West Virginia University professors and a student. The firm has grown from the original three to more than 200 employees working at seven offices across the mid-Atlantic in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. Several current employees have been with the company from its early days, including Triad’s chief engineer, Randy Moulton – son of founder Lyle Moulton.
The roots of the company are based in West Virginia’s coal industry, explains Rob Mooney, chief marketing officer. CONSOL Energy Inc. was one of Triad’s first clients, and the strong business relationship with them continues today.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, CONSOL Energy is the nation’s largest coal producer and a major natural gas producer. With more than 8,800 employees and $5.2 billion in revenue, it is the namesake of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins arena, the CONSOL Energy Center.
ESOP and Safety
Triad Engineering’s employee stock ownership program (ESOP) enhances achievement and the company’s safety record enables success, Mooney says. Because the company is 100 percent employee-owned, workers strive to attain success and reap the profits of their hard work, he says.
“Since all employees are owners of the company, that translates into pride in the work that we do,” Mooney says. Triad’s outstanding safety training program also allows clients to rest easy, knowing the people onsite think safety first, he explains.
‘Going Very Well’
Business in the Marcellus and Utica shales is “going very well,” Mooney says. As a result of recent U.S. energy policies, domestic use of coal is tapering off. Coal is now exported overseas more as U.S. natural gas production increases. “The current administration’s energy policies focus on reducing carbon emissions and retiring numerous coal-fired power plants,” Mooney says. “This opens the door for more energy production from natural gas, as well as renewables such as wind, solar and hydro power.”
Supply and Demand
“It’s been a cold winter and that’s good for natural gas prices,” Mooney explains. “This has led to more drilling activity, more permitting and higher production levels. As weather goes, so goes natural gas prices, so there is real supply and demand in the market.”
With the upturn in the natural gas market, Triad is entering the market in full force. It has been working in the West Virginia landscape for more than 35 years and has an extensive geotechnical database of the area, unlike other companies that have followed the natural gas majors into the region.
“We understand West Virginia’s geology and morphology,” Mooney says. “We have been here more than 35 years so we know the Appalachian Basin.”
An accurate topographic and sub-surface understanding is even more important for engineering in hilly terrain than elsewhere. To build and design well pads correctly in such an environment, this experience is critical – and often lacking in firms that are new to the region, he says.
Triad offers help to the natural gas industry in other areas, as well, including environmental consulting and water resources management. The firm has performed hydrologic studies, wetlands delineation and endangered species surveys as part of the permitting process. These services are required to obtain permits for upstream production projects and midstream projects such as pipelines and compressor stations.
Triad Engineering’s experience in water resource projects has proven beneficial, especially when drilling in remote locations.
Although coal has been a major contributor to the company’s past success, Triad’s future growth strategy targets renewable energy, natural gas and the economic boom fueled by it, as well.