SCJ Alliance – Olympia Engineering Firm Tackles Projects Across The Map

scj alliance
SCJ Alliance has been involved in planning and designing buildings on the Saint Martin's University campus.


scj alliance
SCJ Alliance has been involved in planning and designing buildings on the Saint Martin’s University campus.

SCJ Alliance is an engineering firm rooted in Olympia but their projects span the nation. Originally founded as Shea Carr Jewell, SCJ Alliance will celebrate seven years in mid-May.

There are smiles around the table as the principals recount complex projects but also reminisce about how far they have come since the company’s inception. “We started with five people working on Costco tables,” reflects Bob Jewell with a laugh.  Now the company employs almost 40 individuals across five locations.

Perry Shea, Jean Carr, Bob Jewell, Eric Johnston, and Amy Head lead SCJ Alliance.  A quick snapshot of interesting projects includes:

  • Designing a new Las Vegas Ferris wheel,
  • Improving Interstate 5 freeway traffic around JBLM,
  • Planning, design and project management for Saint Martin’s University buildings and campus
  • Replacing sidewalks in Port Townsend while businesses stay open, and
  • Fixing traffic signals to make commuters happy.

“We are a dynamic company. When we started, we had visions to stay small but we have grown as a means to provide opportunities for our people to pursue career paths.  We believe in a strategic, diversified business plan and have invested wisely instead of letting the economy take control of our fate,” adds Perry.

As the company has added offices, the team has remained client focused.  For example, the SCJ Alliance Wenatchee office often works on urban planning for small cities with limited resources, assisting with municipal engineering and street projects in towns like Winthrop and Oroville.

In Colorado, a team is designing glass pods that will hold 40 people on the world’s largest Ferris wheel.  The wheel will stand 550-feet (in comparison, the Space Needle is 600-feet).  The specialty group, focused on engineering people movers, is tasked not only with designing the pods but also the stabilization system, temperature control, and multi-media electrical components.

In addition to the Olympia, Wenatchee and Colorado offices, SCJ has locations in Vancouver, WA and Boise, ID.

Another segment of the SCJ Alliance team is focusing on how to fix freeway congestion at Joint Base Lewis McCord (JBLM).  “This is a multi-year project in its early stages.  We’re identifying a solution to fix the freeway interchanges and how the traffic patterns interface with military operations and communities surrounding JBLM,” explains Perry.

scj alliance
In Port Townsend, SCJ Alliance designed updates to sidewalks that enabled businesses to stay open during construction.

Many of the projects span multiple years, even decades.  For example, Jean Carr has been the lead planner on Briggs Village for almost 10 years.  The City of Olympia’s first urban village, it’s beginning to take shape as first envisioned by the city in the 1990’s.

To keep these diverse projects moving along, SCJ Alliance principals have created a work environment that focuses on creativity and camaraderie.  People are connected via video-conferencing for company-wide staff meetings that always includes personal stories.  Birthday celebrations, bowling teams and Oktoberfest parties are other examples of how the team engages outside of work.

“These activities help to foster increased communication, support and trust amongst the staff.  The end result is a workplace where people feel safe to throw out ideas and creativity between disciplines,” remarks Amy.

While the company’s projects span across the nation, many employees choose to live in Thurston County.  You can find the principals and team members serving as board members for the Thurston County Chamber, Thurston Economic Development Council, and West Olympia Business Association; participating in Leadership Thurston County and civic clubs; and helping non-profit organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County and Rebuilding Together Thurston County.

“We are giving time to these organizations in a big way.  Our team wants to be associated with groups with good missions,” says Jean.

“We like being the local firm and not just a branch office of a mega company.  We’re in everyone’s backyard and it matters to us to do things right as community members,” adds Eric.

As SCJ Alliance has grown, they have established offices with the same culture of community involvement – whether it’s attending government meetings, coaching a little league team or sponsoring a local festival.

It’s clear that the SCJ Alliance team is not only dedicated to designing people movers, improving traffic plans, addressing environmental services, or framing communication messages, but also to creating a congenial workplace where everyone achieves success.

To read more about SCJ Alliance, click here.


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