CH2M: Corvallis roots, global reach

CH2M founders, from left to right: Burke Hayes, Jim Howland, Holly Cornell and Fred Merryfield taken in 1970.

CH2M founders, from left to right: Burke Hayes, Jim Howland, Holly
Cornell and Fred Merryfield taken in 1970.

The story of CH2M — one of the world’s leading engineering companies with 26,000 employees on six continents — demonstrates Oregon State University’s global impact. CH2M’s roots go back to four engineers in Corvallis: Holly
Cornell, James Howland and T. Burke Hayes were studying under civil engineering professor Fred Merryfield when they developed the idea of an engineering partnership.

In 1946, just after the end of World War II, they decided to take action. They created a firm known as CH2M (Cornell, Howland, Hayes and Merryfield) and sought clients in need of innovative solutions to engineering problems. By 1969, the company had a staff of 310 and had completed more than 5,000 projects.

The firm became CH2M HILL in 1971 after a merger with Clair A. Hill & Associates of Redding, California, a partner in many projects, including a groundbreaking wastewater treatment plant at Lake Tahoe.

Returning to its original name in April 2015, CH2M is headquartered in Colorado and maintains offices at the HP campus in northwest Corvallis.

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