building of glass windows

2021 Year in Review

Empowering Your Future

At HDR, we believe that the future is determined by those who have the courage to shape it. In 2021, we pushed the boundaries of what’s possible by empowering one another to take ownership in building a better future for our clients, communities and each other. The path we charted is built upon a strong foundation of partnerships, collaboration, top talent and accountability to ensure that we create positive change as we move forward.

We Celebrate These Numbers
Offices around the globe
Countries with permanent offices
Envision-verified projects (more than any other firm)
Eric Keen

Focused on Our Future

Eric Keen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Letter From Our CEO


In many ways, 2021 continued the challenges of 2020, asking us to be strong in a rapidly evolving world. We answered by building on the strengths of our culture, supporting each other and working together to lead our clients and company.

It was fitting that we celebrated our 25th year of employee ownership in 2021. It drives our spirit of working as a team for our shared success, inspiring us to make a great impact for our clients every day. Our culture distinguished us as much as ever as we delivered essential services to the world.

The building engineering services group completed a strong first year of operation under the leadership of Group President Paul Flatt. This expanded our services to several new sectors — including commercial & corporate; hotel, leisure & entertainment; finance; and tech/media/telecom and data — while continuing to support the rest of our organization.

Expanding Technical Excellence

We also welcomed two California-based firms to HDR through acquisition: WKE and WRECO. WKE’s multi-modal transportation expertise expands our full life cycle services to public and private clients while WRECO strengthens our expertise in civil and geotechnical engineering and water resources planning.

Enhancing our design and technical excellence was an important goal of our 2022 Strategic Plan, which we began transitioning to prepare for a new 2027 plan. We began closing out some initiatives and focused on others that we felt would be the most impactful due to the pandemic, societal change and other forces. We prioritized inclusion, diversity and equity; employee growth and learning; advisory services; data acceleration; corporate citizenship; and our One HDR approach.

How we lead our clients, communities and company received greater focus in 2021 as we worked to develop our environmental, social and governance framework. This ensures we take many environmental and societal factors into account in our services and internal business practices. It deepens how we engage with our clients and run our business so we can deliver equitable, sustainable solutions. Our broad-based employee ownership model provides us with a unique ESG framework that is unmatched in the industry. This ESG framework will also inform our 2027 plan.

Engaging Our Communities

ESG includes deepening our community interactions, including through the HDR Foundation in the United States and similar funds created in Canada and Australia in the past year so we can expand our impact. The Foundation also made its largest-ever grant of $100,000 to Denver Urban Gardens.  

Around the world, our teams persevered through the pandemic to innovate for our clients and produce another year of solid financial performance for HDR. We grew over 2020 in net fees earned and net bookings.

We have a solid backlog of work and are well positioned in many of our core markets across the globe. The U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also offers promise for many of our clients. 

I look forward to working with our employee owners as we empower our future and lead our communities. There will be new challenges and new opportunities.  

We’ll continue to share our purpose to make great things possible and improve lives for all generations. 

data center interior

Industry Leadership

No. 2 - Top Architecture/Engineering Firms
Building Design+Construction, Giants 300

No. 5 - Top 100 in Green Buildings Design Firms
Engineering News-Record

No. 6 - Top 500 Design Firms
Engineering News-Record
(Only 100% employee-owned firm in the Top 6)

No. 10 - America’s Largest Majority Employee-Owned Companies
National Center for Employee Ownership

2021 Awards

2021 Rankings

Evolving our Environmental, Social & Governance Approach

Our promise to do things right to make great things possible is at the heart of our environmental, social and governance commitment. While we have been implementing ESG for a long time, we are enhancing efforts to engage even more employees, communities and clients.

ESG is a lens through which we view the impact of our projects, people, and practices. Whether it’s sustainability and corporate responsibility, our philanthropic Foundation, or our inclusion and diversity growth, our impact is purposeful and focused. With client collaboration, we are in a better position to make the world a better place.

At HDR, we’re helping prepare for the future.

Our ESG Commitment

foundation recipients and HDR employees

2021 Highlights

Designing the ‘Hospital of the Future’

The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is one of the most advanced hospitals in the world and a new institutional and architectural icon for Penn Medicine on its extensive academic medical campus in West Philadelphia. As part of the PennFIRST integrated project delivery team, HDR served as architect of record and provided architectural design, healthcare planning, interior design, lighting design and structural engineering. Through deep collaboration and six years of co-location and teamwork, the PennFIRST team executed the largest-ever IPD healthcare project and a blueprint for the ‘hospital of the future,’ with a focus on patient experience and comfort to create a healthcare experience unlike any other.

The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania external view
Blue Grass Airport Runway | Lexington Kentucky

Blue Skies Ahead in the Bluegrass State

The Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, needed a newly paved runway, as it does every 15 years or so. Many airports complete this work by repaving small stretches at night over the course of months. Blue Grass Airport, with assistance from HDR, opted for a different approach, shutting down air traffic to repave all 7,004 feet of its sole commercial runway in a single weekend. The strategy reduced project risk, and the continuous paving will mean less future maintenance costs. It also required careful choreography of hundreds of crew members and dozens of pieces of heavy machinery on a precise schedule, an audacious and award-winning effort delivering maximum benefit with minimal disruption.

Blue Grass Airport Runway Rehabilitation | Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America

A Gathering Place for Health

The Orléans Health Hub was born from the desire to create a future community-oriented place of care centred in health and sustained wellness within the province of Ontario. The result is a first-of-its-kind delivery model that brings together seven distinct healthcare and community organizations under one roof for an accessible and integrated hub of outpatient services and care. Extending its influence beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar approach to healthcare, the Hub provides community outreach, support programs and retail options, all within the message of sustainable health and wellness. It serves as a prototypical model of care for a progressive healthcare future that co-locates typically disparate health and community services in traditional delivery.

Orléans Health Hub | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Orléans Health Hub | Ottawa Ontario

Transforming Energy Transmission

Stretching across a vast expanse of arid Wyoming topography stands one of the largest transmission projects in the United States. The Gateway West Transmission Line is replacing ageing infrastructure with a reliable, higher-capacity transmission line covering approximately 1,000 miles in Wyoming and Idaho. HDR is delivering an expansive list of services for the initial 138-mile segment as a subcontractor to QEPC, who’s overseeing construction for energy provider PacifiCorp. HDR’s contributions include environmental permitting and monitoring, coordinating with landowners and government agencies, design and procurement of transmission structures, and more. When complete, the new high voltage system will support renewable energy integration while increasing capacity.

Gateway West Transmission Line | Wyoming, United States of America

Gateway West Transmission Line | Wyoming
Hubbard Center for Children exterior | Omaha Nebraska

Expanding a Legacy of Pediatric Care

As a result of its integrated project delivery process, the design team for the new 10-storey Hubbard Center for Children embraced a unified design vision that guided every design decision, from the architectural form that is responsive to its urban context down to the smallest material detail in family-centred patient rooms. The result is an advanced facility that combines technology with flexible space to maximize its ability to adapt to future changes in pediatric healthcare delivery while continuing to provide world-class care to more than 600,000 patients from throughout the United States. 

Hubbard Center for Children | Omaha, Nebraska, United States of America

Renewable Energy Infrastructure in the Atlantic

Miles from the nearest land, wind turbines rise 600 feet above the Atlantic Ocean as part of a pilot program for the first offshore wind farms in the U.S. Together, Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm and Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm generate enough power to serve 20,000 households, and plans call for much larger buildouts. HDR is gathering data on how installation and maintenance of the turbines affects the ocean environment to streamline the regulatory review process for future development. Using state-of-the-art equipment, including remotely operated vessels, our team is helping to chart the course for responsible ocean wind energy generation.

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm | Virginia, United States of America
Block Island Offshore Wind Farm | Rhode Island, United States of America

Block Island Offshore Wind Farm
Grand Canyon National Park

Modernizing Infrastructure for a Timeless Wonder

In a breathtaking setting perfectly carved out by water over millions of years, the manufactured 50-year-old water system that serves Grand Canyon National Park’s 6.2 million annual visitors is anything but perfect. The 12.5-mile pipeline experiences approximately 25 breaks or leaks every year, affecting visitors, staff and residents, and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. The National Park Service selected HDR to design and oversee construction of replacement water and wastewater systems and the park’s aging electrical system. The massive infrastructure project builds on HDR’s expertise with more than 20 similar National Park Service projects throughout the United States, including Denali, Mount Rushmore and Bryce Canyon. Construction of the water and electrical systems begins in 2023.

Grand Canyon National Park Water System | Northwestern Arizona, United States of America

A Modernizing Movement in a Metro

Merging three interstates into a growing metro can test travel times, safety and risk. Roadways require updated design, new infrastructure and modernized systems. Take a drive through the Omaha, Nebraska-Council Bluffs, Iowa corridor in the central U.S., and you’ll see this in motion. Travellers enjoy a safer, more efficient journey. As program manager and general engineering consultant, HDR is improving over 14 miles of interstate, accommodating corridor development and reducing traffic congestion. We’ve partnered with state transportation staff for the USD 1.5 billion program, streamlining construction plans. A first-in-the-region dual, divided freeway and modern intelligent transportation systems are just some of the innovations making this journey a joy. 

Council Bluffs Interstate System Program Management | Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States of America

Council Bluffs Interstate aerial sunset
Holbein Gardens Reception Greenery rendering | London United Kingdom

Repurposing With a Purpose

Office structures in the 1980s weren’t always designed with sustainability in mind. But times change, and buildings can, too. See London’s Holbein Gardens for proof. From repurposing existing onsite materials to integrating the latest eco-friendly materials and methods, international developer Grosvenor Property U.K. is setting a new standard for responsibly reconstructed workspaces. HDR oversaw the strip-out of the building, diverting 99.95% of waste from landfill, and is consulting on electrical/mechanical/public health, vertical transportation, and energy. The all-electric development is expected to achieve net-zero carbon in line with the U.K. Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework and is slated to open for business in early 2023.

Holbein Gardens | London, United Kingdom

Reviving and Repurposing in a Sustainable Way

Along the coast of New South Wales, 198 miles north of Sydney, a former retail/warehouse space is now an award-winning local government complex that honours local Indigenous culture. Yalawanyi Gunyah means sitting or meeting place in the Gathang language, and the reimagined facility is that and more for 400 MidCoast Council employees, while simultaneously offering the community a modern and friendly space to interact with their local government authority. HDR engineered a complete restoration of the 106,000-square-foot building, including mechanical, electrical, fire protection, hydraulic, HVAC, acoustics insulation, and lighting design, while reusing existing infrastructure elements for a sustainably built finished product. 

Yalawanyi Gunyah, MidCoast Council Administration and Customer Service Center | Taree, New South Wales, Australia

MidCoast Council Communal Work Space
Diablo Dam digital rendering

Digital Twin of Diablo Dam Comes to Life

Regular maintenance and inspections of dam structures can be time consuming and costly. For Seattle City Light, a hydropower technology leader, a digital twin model was developed for the Diablo Dam. During a six-hour drone flight, more than 82 million data points were captured to create a digital version of the physical structure. High-resolution imagery of the Diablo Dam was captured efficiently and safely, providing a baseline for future observations. The digital twin model, built from drone data, is paired with artificial intelligence to support predictions of future repairs, and is updated as conditions change. This data capture and development of the subsequent digital twin model mark a key milestone in serving SCL and the community for years to come.

Diablo Dam Digital Twin | Washington, United States of America

Merlot 3 exterior rendering | West Footscray Australia

A Data Centre Knitted Into the Community Fabric

Data centres are fundamental infrastructure in today’s digital environment. Merlot 3 is a data centre located in West Footscray, a suburb of Melbourne, resting at the junction between large industrial developments and low-scale residential dwellings. The design of the data centre is sensitive to its local environment. The bulk of the building form, which contains the data centre and mission critical offices, has been set back from residential streets while lower forms are positioned between the residential streets and the data centre. As a result, the project blends into the residential neighbourhood and is designed with the well-being of local residents in mind. 

Merlot 3 (M3) | West Footscray, Victoria, Australia

Minimizing the Impact of Sound on Sea Life

The sound environment in the world’s oceans is experiencing massive, sudden change. Marine life now contends with the sounds of ships, sonar, and port activity, potentially impacting a way of life that’s evolved over millions of years. As part of the U.S. Navy’s renowned environmental stewardship efforts, HDR professionals are at the leading edge of scientific research to better understand these impacts and how to mitigate them. From acoustic monitoring to satellite tracking endangered animals, the team is collecting critical data to help the Navy make informed decisions and accommodate the needs of the natural world.

Marine Species Monitoring | Worldwide

humpback whales surfacing the ocean
passenger rail aerial | northern California

Transforming Public Transportation in a Mega Region

Transforming passenger rail service in Northern California’s diverse 21-county region between Sacramento, the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Area is critical to maintaining mobility and access while building a resilient community and economy. HDR will play a major role in educating the public about LINK21, which will connect and upgrade urban and intercity rail in the area. HDR is leading engagement and outreach to help the Bay Area Rapid Transit and the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority achieve their vision for better mobility through sustainable solutions. A new trans-bay rail connection and other key improvements will create a seamless and integrated system connecting people and places. 

Bay Area Rapid Transit/LINK21 Engagement & Outreach | Northern California, United States of America