Magnusson Klemencic Associates

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Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Private company
Industry Structural and civil engineering
Founded 1923
Headquarters Seattle, Washington
Key people
John Skilling
Jon Magnusson
Ron Klemencic
Number of employees

Magnusson Klemencic Associates is a structural and civil engineering consulting firm with its headquarters in Seattle, Washington. The company has completed projects worth more than $73 billion in 47 states and 51 countries. Significant MKA projects through its history include the World Trade Center, the Columbia Center, Aqua, the Doha Convention Center Tower, and the Olympic Sculpture Park.


Magnusson Klemencic Associates was founded in 1923 as the W.H. Witt Company [1] in Seattle. In 1929, Witt died in a railroad crossing accident and the company passed to partners Harold Worthington and George Runciman (who was referred to as “a leading structural engineer in Seattle” [2]). During this time the firm designed several notable Seattle buildings, including the Joseph Vance Building and the 1223 Spring Apartment Building.[3]

After the end of World War II the building industry in the United States picked up and the firm grew in size. In 1955 the firm was renamed Worthington and Skilling, reflecting the addition of John Skilling as a partner. John Skilling, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, remained a partner in the firm for over 45 years.[4] Notable projects under Skilling’s leadership include the World Trade Center, IBM Building, and the Columbia Center. During the design of the World Trade Center the firm maintained offices in Seattle as well as New York City. However, in the early 1980s partner Leslie E. Robertson split the New York City office from the firm to become Leslie E. Robertson Associates.

In 1976 Jon Magnusson joined the firm, having recently graduated from Berkeley. By age 30 Magnusson was a principal, and at age 34 he was CEO of the company. In 2003 Magnusson was recognized as an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).[5] Ron Klemencic joined the company in 1992, having spent the previous six years at KPFF Consulting Engineers in Seattle.[6] He was eventually promoted to president, and in 2003 the firm changed its named to Magnusson Klemencic Associates, the first time since 1955 that the name did not reflect John Skilling’s leadership. To date, the tallest building designed in the firm’s history is the 1,808 ft Doha Convention Center Tower, currently under construction.

Below is a summary of the firm’s name changes since its inception.

  • 1923-1955: W.H. Witt Company
  • 1955-1960: Worthington & Skilling
  • 1960-1967: Worthington, Skilling, Helle, & Jackson
  • 1967-1983: Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, Robertson
  • 1983-1987: Skilling Ward Rogers Barkshire
  • 1987-2003: Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire
  • 2003–present: Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Honors and awards[edit]

Since 1996 MKA has won the Grand Conceptor Award three times. The Grand Conceptor Award is the highest award given by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).[7] It is awarded to the best overall engineering project in the country each year. MKA was given the Grand Conceptor Award for the KeyArena(1996),[8] the Seattle United States Courthouse (2006),[9] and the Olympic Sculpture Park (2008).[10]

Magnusson Klemencic has employed many notable engineers. John Skilling,[11] Leslie Robertson,[12] and Jack Christiansen,[13] three of its former partners, are members of the National Academy of Engineering, the most prestigious honor that can be given to an engineer. In his Election Citation, John Skilling is described by the NAE as a "pioneering building engineer." Other awards include Engineer of the Year, awarded by the Structural Engineers Association of Washington, which has been given to several MKA engineers, including Bill Ward, John Skilling, John Hooper, Jon Magnusson, and Michael Valley.[14]

Notable projects[edit]


The following is a partial list of notable skyscrapers[15] designed by MKA. The World Trade Center was designed by partners of the firm, including Leslie Robertson, before he departed to found his own company, Leslie E. Robertson Associates.

Stadiums, public spaces, and other projects[edit]


  1. ^ MKA, Corporate Website, retrieved 2013-03-26 
  2. ^ Historic American Engineering Record, Written Historical and Descriptive Data, retrieved 2013-06-28 
  3. ^ SEAW, SEAW Hall of Fame, retrieved 2013-06-28 
  4. ^ SEAW, SEAW Hall of Fame, retrieved 2013-06-28 
  5. ^ AIA, Honorary Member Recipients, retrieved 2013-06-28 
  6. ^ Purdue College of Engineering, Our People – Ron Klemencic, retrieved 2013-06-28 
  7. ^ American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards, retrieved 2013-06-12 
  8. ^ American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC News Release, retrieved 2013-06-12 
  9. ^ American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC 2006 Engineering Excellence Awards Publication, retrieved 2013-06-12 
  10. ^ American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC 2008 Engineering Excellence Awards Publication, retrieved 2013-06-12 
  11. ^ National Academy of Engineering, NAE Member Directory - John Skilling, retrieved 2013-03-26 
  12. ^ National Academy of Engineering, NAE Member Directory - Leslie Robertson, retrieved 2013-03-26 
  13. ^ National Academy of Engineering, NAE Member Directory - Jack Christiansen, retrieved 2013-07-29 
  14. ^ Structural Engineers Association of Washington, Engineer of the Year/Seattle, retrieved 2013-03-26 
  15. ^ Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, The Skyscraper Center, retrieved 2013-03-26 

External links[edit]