MORE ABOUT US
From Humble Beginnings
Nearly 40 years ago, Robert Peccia decided to take a risk and open an engineering firm. The Montana State University civil engineering graduate and a handful of employees, wedged themselves into a tiny downtown Helena office and created RPA. The fledgling firm worked on small transportation, planning, and other miscellaneous projects. The company vehicle fleet consisted of Bob's personal Honda and a beat up Datson hatchback, fondly referred to as the "dustpan". The drafting was
done by hand and "state-of-the-art" was considered the IBM
programmable typewriter with a changeable font head.
Robert J. Peccia, PE, Founder, 1979
Fast forward nearly 40 years.
Bob has sold the company to the employees and RPA has transitioned into a successful ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company. There is a second office in Kalispell, Montana, and a third office in Fort Collins, Colorado. The firm’s staff has grown from a “handful” to over 50. Professional services now include Land Surveying, Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE), Structures, GIS, and Landscape Architecture.
Advanced tools of technology are common, with staff using field laptop computers, robotic survey equipment, and video conferencing between clients and multiple offices. Staff members work alone or team up on interesting and complex projects at diverse locations across the United States.
RPA staff works in Alaska to complete the design and develop the plans, specifications, and estimate (PS&E) package for road reconstruction projects accessible only by air or water. In Montana, engineers reconstruct streets, and design safer water and wastewater systems. Airport improvements save lives with navigational aids and automated weather reporting equipment. Bridges are inspected. Land is surveyed – even in Golfito, Costa Rica. Children play in new parks, and learn in unique gardens. Tourists gather at visitor centers and recreate on mountain trails designed and constructed to preserve the environment while showcasing history.
Built on a solid foundation that Bob first began nearly 40 years ago, RPA continues to design for future generations!
Robert Peccia, PE, Founder, Chairman of the Board
As the retired founder of RPA, which is now a 100 percent employee-owned firm, Mr. Peccia continues to provide policy guidance, financial, and management direction to the officers of the firm as Chairman of the Board. He has an extraordinarily successful background as a businessman and a respected history of work in civil engineering, business finance, and management. Robert is an organizer and director of the Valley Bank of Helena, and was instrumental in the merger of the bank with Glacier Bank Corporation, a NASDAQ listed bank corporation. He has been on the Executive Management Committee, the Loan Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee since the bank’s inception. He is or has been on the board of several other companies including Bison Engineering, CIPP Corp, PEC, Inc., Padbury Ranch Properties, LLC, and Carroll College Board of Trustees.
Jeff Key, PE, President
Jeff Key’s responsibilities as the new President will be to provide leadership, direction, and guidance, while developing and implementing policies and procedures. Jeff will also be responsible for the management and general operations of the firm that includes finances, staffing, organizational structure, and marketing. Jeff joined RPA in 1995, after graduating from Montana State University with a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. His career at RPA progressed as he worked in different disciplines, and he served briefly as a past Vice President. In 2008, he became a member of a large international firm, gaining not only broader project experience but a more comprehensive understanding of the consulting business. In 2011, he returned to RPA as the Traffic and Transportation Group Manager. A skilled public facilitator, Jeff is respected for his traffic engineering and transportation planning expertise. In addition, he has managed large, multi-disciplinary general civil infrastructure planning, design and construction projects. He has contributed to national, regional and statewide projects in addition to many public meetings and conferences throughout the Pacific Northwest. He is a licensed and registered Professional Engineer, and a member of the American Planning Association, Institute of Transportation Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers Past-President, ASCE Montana Section, ASCE Pacific Northwest Council (PNC) Past-Chair, and American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association. Jeff’s long-term vision for RPA is one that continues to realize a sustainable business practice, provides good paying jobs with great benefits, provides employees with rewarding careers, and are pillars of support in the communities in which RPA’s offices are located.
Rick Donaldson, PE, Vice President of Human Resources & Business Development
As the Airports Group Manager, Mr. Donaldson has completed master planning, airport layout plans, environmental assessments, land acquisition, airport design, construction inspection, and overall project management for many airports. He is a Montana State University graduate, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Upon his college graduation, Rick worked for Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company for several years. He joined RPA in 1992, and since that time he has been recognized with significant industry awards from the Federal Aviation Administration and Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Aeronautics Division for airport projects. Rick is a member of the Montana Airport Managers Association, Idaho Airport Managers Association, Montana Pilot’s Association, Elkhorn Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and is Board President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Montana.
Brian Wacker, PE, Vice President of Business Management & Development
Mr. Wacker is the Streets, Highways and Drainage Group Manager. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Montana State University, and since 1997, Brian has served as the Project Coordinator/Contract Administrator on consecutive Indefinite Quantity Indefinite Delivery (IDIQ) contracts with the Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration. He has managed over 100 Task Orders throughout Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, and Oregon, totaling over $20 Million in fees (ranging from $5,000 to $3.5 Million). He also serves as RPA’s primary point of contact with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT). In addition to doing repeat work for the federal government, RPA has long-standing term contracts in a number of areas of roadway project development and is currently rated #1 on MDT’s list of prequalified consultants for comprehensive road design services.
Giving Back to Our Community
As a 100 percent employee-owned company, we pride ourselves in supporting local no-profit agencies as well as taking an active role in community support through our many charitable contributions. Our Board of Directors must approve all contribution requests. You are encouraged to submit your request but it must be received in writing - phone, fax or email solicitations are not accepted.
Address your request to:
RPA Board of Directors
P.O. Box 5653
Helena, MT 59604
RPA contributes more than $40,000 to non-profit and charitable organizations annually. A few organizations are listed below.
Carroll College Endowment
Carroll College EWB - ShamROCK Soiree
Carroll College ASCE Student Chapter - Corp Sponsor
Helena Education Foundation
MSU (Engineering Scholarship Endowment Fund)
American Cancer Society
Big Brothers and Big Sisters - Bowl for Kids Sake
Eagle Mount Helena - Lucky Leprechaun Fest
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies
Kalispell Regional Medical Center Foundation
Lewis and Clark Community Foundation
Lewis & Clark Search & Rescue
Lewis & Clark County Snow Rodeo 2011
Love of Aviation / Montana Aeronautics Division
Montana Meth Project
Shodair Children's Hospital
St. Baldrick's Foundation
St. Peter's Hospital - Mandy Bell Endowment Fund
Susan G. Komen Foundation
The Friendship Center
4H Contribution - Bought Pig
Florence Crittenton Home - Paint the Town Pink
Kay McKenna Youth Foundation
Montana Special Olympics
Senior All Night Party
Vigilante Parade Committee
YMCA (FOY Campaign)
Carroll College Poker Run
Carroll College Stadium Club
Archie Bray Foundation
Grand Street Theater
Helena Symphony - Symphony Under the Stars
Helena Symphony Society
Holter Museum of Art
Kiwanis Travelogue Program
Lewis & Clark County Library
Myrna Loy (Business Sponsorship)
Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare in the Schools Program
Growing Friends of Helena
Prickly Pear Land Trust - CBS Corporate Steward
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
The Foundation for Animals