Magnusson Klemencic Associates
|Industry||Structural and civil engineering|
Number of employees
Magnusson Klemencic Associates is an American 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  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" ). During this time the firm designed several notable Seattle buildings, including the Joseph Vance Building and the 1223 Spring Apartment Building.
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. 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.
In 1960 the firm name changed to Worthington, Skilling, Helle & Jackson, reflecting the addition of Helge Helle and Joe Jackson as partners. In 1967, John V. Christiansen and Leslie E. Robertson would become partners and the firm would be named Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, Robertson. However, in the early 1980s partner Robertson split the New York City office from the firm to become Leslie E. Robertson Associates. And in 1983 the firm name changed to in 1983, Skilling Ward Rogers Barkshire and Bill Ward was named a partner.
In 1976 Jon Magnusson joined the firm, having recently graduated from Berkeley. By age 30 Magnusson was a principal, and in 1987 the firm was renamed Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire. At age 34 Magnusson was CEO of the company. In 2003 Magnusson was recognized as an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Ron Klemencic joined the company in 1992, having spent the previous six years at KPFF Consulting Engineers in Seattle. 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
Magnusson Klemencic has employed many notable engineers. John Skilling, Leslie Robertson, and Jack Christiansen, 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.
Current Chairman and CEO Ron Klemencic received the 2018 ENR Award of Excellence for "daring to innovate, for spearheading the age of cooperative R&D and for his relentless pursuit of a better and more constructible built environment." He was the volunteer chairman of the nonprofit Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat from 2001 to 2006. He serves as a director for the Charles Pankow Foundation and with a grant from them, he led the development of performance-based seismic design for structures.
Since 1996, MKA projects have won the Grand Conceptor Award three times. The Grand Conceptor Award is the highest award given by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). 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), the Seattle United States Courthouse (2006), and the Olympic Sculpture Park (2008).
The following is a partial list of notable skyscrapers 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.
- World Trade Center
- Doha Convention Center Tower
- KAFD World Trade Center
- Leatop Plaza
- Russell Investments Center
- 300 North LaSalle
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower
- Louisville Museum Plaza
- The Summit
- 111 South Wacker Drive
- 340 on the Park
- One Rincon Hill
Stadiums, public spaces, and other projects
- Seattle Central Library
- Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum
- Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers
- Avaya Stadium, home of the San Jose Earthquakes
- Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners
- CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks
- Stockton Arena
- Mineta San Jose International Airport
- Olympic Sculpture Park
- Omni San Diego Hotel
- Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
- MKA, Corporate Website, retrieved 2013-03-26
- Historic American Engineering Record, Written Historical and Descriptive Data (PDF), retrieved 2013-06-28
- SEAW, SEAW Hall of Fame, retrieved 2013-06-28
- HistoryLink.org, Skilling, John B. (1921-1998), Engineer, retrieved 2018-05-10
- SEAW, SEAW Hall of Fame, retrieved 2013-06-28
- SEAW, Helge Helle, SEAW Hall of Fame
- SEAW, John V. Christiansen, SEAW Hall of Fame
- SEAW, Bill Ward, SEAW Hall of Fame
- AIA, Honorary Member Recipients, retrieved 2013-06-28
- Purdue College of Engineering, Our People – Ron Klemencic, retrieved 2013-06-28
- National Academy of Engineering, NAE Member Directory - John Skilling, retrieved 2013-03-26
- National Academy of Engineering, NAE Member Directory - Leslie Robertson, retrieved 2013-03-26
- National Academy of Engineering, NAE Member Directory - Jack Christiansen, retrieved 2013-07-29
- Structural Engineers Association of Washington, Engineer of the Year/Seattle, retrieved 2013-03-26
- Post, Nadine M. (April 4, 2018), "ENR Selects Innovation Champion Ron Klemencic as 2018 Award of Excellence Winner", Engineering News-Record, New York: BNP Media, archived from the original on 2018-04-21, retrieved 2018-04-21
- American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards, retrieved 2013-06-12
- American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC News Release (PDF), retrieved 2013-06-12
- American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC 2006 Engineering Excellence Awards Publication (PDF), retrieved 2013-06-12
- American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC 2008 Engineering Excellence Awards Publication, retrieved 2013-06-12
- Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, The Skyscraper Center, retrieved 2013-03-26