Holly Manning, PE, Promoted to Group Manager

Holly Manning, PE, has been promoted to Site Development Group Manager. In this new leadership role, Manning will promote the growth and development of the Site Development Group, assure the highest quality of work, and ensure the group continues to meet the needs of our clients with innovative, practical solutions. When asked of her promotion, Manning said, “I am humbled, honored and excited at the opportunity to lead this incredible group here at RPA.”

Beginning as an intern in 2001, Manning joined RPA full-time as a member of the Water/Wastewater Group in 2002, working her way from Engineering Designer to Project Manager. In 2017 she transitioned to the Site Development Group and has since provided excellent site accessibility, drainage, site grading, storm water detention and treatment, utility, parking lot, and sidewalk design for projects throughout Montana. Manning’s well-deserved promotion is a testament to her hard work, dedication, and key contributions to RPA’s success for the past 22 years. Manning serves on RPA’s Board of Directors and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Montana State University.

Sarah Nicolai, PE, PTP, Promoted to Group Manager

Sarah Nicolai, PE, PTP, has been promoted to Transportation Planning and Operations Group Manager. In her new position, Nicolai will continue developing and managing projects for numerous state, federal, and municipal transportation agencies, as well as private clients throughout the northwest. “I am honored to step into this new role in support of the RPA team and in service to our clients,” says Nicolai. “I greatly appreciate the opportunities RPA offers for career advancement and personal growth.”

With nearly 20 years of experience, Nicolai has extensive knowledge and background with the development of highway corridor studies, transportation planning and safety assessments, statewide policy documentation, environmental evaluations, and public and stakeholder outreach. She has served on RPA’s Board of Directors since 2022 and is the Past President for the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Montana Section. Nicolai holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Civil Engineering from Carroll College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Carleton College.

“Sarah has been an immensely valuable member of RPA since she joined the firm in 2020,” says Scott Randall, RPA Vice President and former Transportation Planning and Operations Group Manager. “She is a highly respected leader in the transportation industry, with a focus on outstanding client service. We are thrilled to see Sarah take on this new role, and we are grateful for her continued steady leadership as we move forward.”

Helena Food Share – Kid Packs

A team of RPA volunteers put together over 1,100 Kid Packs for the Helena Food Share this week. These Kid Packs are distributed to students in our Helena area community on a weekly basis. Each Kid Pack contains a variety of kid-friendly foods that provides a source of nutrition over the weekend during the school year.


Ryan Seyler, PE, Promoted to Project Engineer

Ryan Seyler, PE, has passed the Principles and Practices of Engineering Examination and is now a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Montana. In recognition of this accomplishment and his contributions to RPA, he has been promoted to Project Engineer in the Water/Wastewater Group. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Montana State University. He joined RPA in 2019 and has proven himself an invaluable team member of the Water/Wastewater Group. Outside the office, he enjoys spending time outdoors with activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing.

RPA Site Design

RPA’s Site Development team assisted the owner with a pre-design site assessment, while our Survey team completed a boundary line adjustment to kick this project off.  Once completed, RPA’s Structural and Site Development teams partnered with CWG Architecture and Dick Anderson Construction to bring Prickly Pear Pediatric Dentistry’s brand-new facility to life!

Prickly Pear Pediatric Dentistry Office

RPA’s involvement on the project included:

  • Boundary Line Adjustment 
  • Site, Utility, and Topographic Survey 
  • MDT System’s Impact and Permitting 
  • City of Helena Coordination 
  • Site Layout 
  • Site Grading 
  • Access and Parking Lot Layout and Design 
  • Exterior ADA Compliance 
  • Stormwater Design 
  • Utility Services
  • Conventional Wood Light-Framed Structure Using Parallel Chord Manufactured Wood Trusses
  • Partial Basement and Crawlspace Foundation

Welcome to RPA, Aaron Peters, EI

Aaron Peters, EI, has joined the Robert Peccia & Associates (RPA) Helena office as an Engineering Designer in the Site Development Group. Aaron has over five years of civil engineering experience with a primary focus in municipal and transportation engineering. At RPA, he will utilize his experience and education to complete various aspects of site design, including data collection, alternatives analysis, and preparation of construction documents. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology from Montana State University – Northern. His attention to detail, strong work ethic, and dedication to his profession make him an excellent addition to the RPA team.

RPA Celebrates Employee Ownership Month

Every October, we celebrate our employee-owners, who are the backbone of RPA and what makes this company special. We believe that employee ownership is key to our success at RPA and, as a 100% employee-owned company, we don’t just have employees at RPA, we have employ-owners who begin earning a piece of the pie starting from day one. As employee-owners, our employees also have an exciting retirement benefit through our Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). An ESOP is a retirement plan that gives employees ownership in the company in the form of shares of stock. This means our employees are directly invested in RPA’s success and as the company grows and succeeds, so do our employee-owners.

We are proud to be an employee-owned company and our employees are too! Check out what some of our employee-owners here at RPA have to say about employee ownership and what that benefit means to them.

Being an employee owner empowers me to take ownership of my career and my future. I enjoy being surrounded by like-minded people who are all motivated to go above and beyond for our clients and driven to see the company succeed. And although I love my day-to-day work and have no plans to retire anytime soon, I take a lot of comfort in knowing RPA’s ESOP is helping me build a healthy retirement savings!

Kerry Lynch, PE, RSP1

Once I made the decision to pursue another job, the ESOP structure was one of the key factors in coming back to work at RPA. The culture at RPA is strong due in part to an increased sense of pride and buy-in from employee owners. Employees have more emphasis on improved business practices and focus on everyone rowing in the same direction for greater firm success. Working for an ESOP company like RPA makes me feel like a valued team member with less stress on individual metrics and financial performance.

Jeremy Perlinski, PE

Being an employee-owner at RPA gives me a vested interest in the company that goes beyond my salary and that is both motivating and inspiring. Wins feel more personal, every new project or client represents a new opportunity to excel and succeed. I see the rewards from my hard work as my retirement account grows, and that’s a powerful motivator since I know I am directly working for myself and for my coworkers.

Forrest Walker, EI

Being part of an ESOP means every employee has skin in the game, and that’s what makes it so wonderful – we’re all in this together, contributing and building something amazing! Since we’re all owners, there’s no typical divide between owners and employees like you see in other firms.

When the employees own the company, and the owners are the company, it means that what the employees want and care about is also what the company wants and cares about. Their goals and interests are the same because they are all in the same boat!

Jessica Eaton, PE

RPA Recognized By PSMJ Resources, Inc.

For the ninth time, PSMJ Resources, Inc., the premier management consulting firm for the architecture and engineering (A/E) industry, has announced that Robert Peccia & Associates (RPA) made the 2023 Circle of Excellence exclusive list. Only 68 exceptional architecture and engineering firms across the United States made it on the exclusive list this year. PSMJ’s exclusive Circle of Excellence highlights firms that demonstrate outstanding business achievement in the architecture and engineering industry.

 “The A/E/C Circle of Excellence award-winning firms represent the best of the best in terms of financial management. These organizations apply the best business practices to every phase of their operations,” says Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA, Founder and CEO of PSMJ Resources. “The top-performing firms just think and act differently from the rest of the pack to achieve extraordinary performance.”

PSMJ designed the Circle of Excellence to highlight successfully managed firms that demonstrate outstanding achievements in areas such as profitability, overhead management, cash flow, productivity, business development, staff growth, and turnover. The Circle of Excellence represents the top 20 percent of participants in PSMJ’s annual A/E Financial Performance Benchmark Survey, based on 13 key performance metrics.

“The firms recognized in the Circle of Excellence set the standard for outstanding and sustainable business results,” says Stasiowski. “Some firms have been in this prestigious group year after year!”

RPA is a 100 percent employee-owned civil engineering, transportation, planning, and land surveying firm. With over 70 employees, RPA is headquartered in Helena with offices in Bozeman and Kalispell.

Justin Millar Passes his PE

Justin Millar, PE, has passed the Principles and Practices of Engineering Examination and is now a registered Professional Engineer in both the State of Montana and the State of Nevada. Justin holds a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) as well as a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from OIT. He joined RPA in 2017 and has proven himself an invaluable team member of the firm. Outside the office, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and long-distance backpacking.

International Women in Engineering Day

In honor of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), we’ve highlighted some of the amazing women here at RPA.

KERRY LYNCH, PE, RSP1 When I was in college I got a job counting cars for a research project at the Western Transportation Institute. With the guidance and support of one of my mentors, this simple job quickly blossomed into an interest in, and eventual passion for, traffic and transportation. I love working in the transportation industry because it’s so relatable and ingrained in our daily lives. Everyone who walks, bikes, drives, or takes the bus knows something about transportation! As I’ve progressed in my career I’ve evolved from the engineering side of things to the planning side, becoming what we in the industry lovingly call a “plan-gineer”. I love working with communities to think about the transportation system 5, 10, and even 20 years down the road and being able to put a plan in place to help achieve a shared vision. These days, I’ve really enjoyed working on projects in the realm of sustainable transportation, safety for all users, and planning for all transportation modes.

HANNAH SCHWEIKERT  Hey, I’m Hannah! I’m a Junior at Carroll College, playing volleyball and studying Civil Engineering. Go Saints! I became interested in civil engineering because of the real-world application. Being able to face a challenge and see your solution come to life is a goal I strive to achieve. I was so excited to intern at RPA to explore different fields of civil engineering and get the chance to learn from some of the best! One project I’m helping work on is the Kootenai National Forest campgrounds. I grew up in Northwest Montana and love the outdoors so redesigning the campgrounds I grew up going to is pretty special, and I’m excited to see them come together.

ELIZABETH BARTON, EI  My favorite part about a career Civil Engineering is that each day is different, no two projects are the same, and I anticipate a lifelong career of learning. I originally chose to study engineering at college because mathematics was my favorite subject in school. My high school math teacher, Ms. Bleken, was a driving force behind the reason I pursued Civil Engineering. Women in engineering continued to inspire me at college, where I was taught by multiple female professors who had walked my footsteps years before. Dr. Plymesser, my academic advisor and Open Channel Hydraulics professor, and Dr. Matteson, my Structures professor and ASCE group advisor, were two women in particular that I really looked up to. Once I started taking upper-level courses at college, I found my niche in transportation and hydrology/hydraulics. Luckily, my position at RPA in the Highways group incorporates both those interests. With only a year of professional experience, I am excited to further explore my interests and watch the population of women in engineering continue to grow.

APRIL GERTH, PE  I’m not sure I really chose to be a Transporation Engineer, I feel like it chose me. Jobs were scarce when I graduated and I felt grateful that Montana Department of Transportation offered me a position designing roadways. 30 years later, I have had the opportunity to collaborate on a wide variety of projects, from living snow fence to interstate interchanges with multiple roundabouts. Auto crashes can have devastating impacts on families and communities, and I hope I have contributed in making Montana a safer place for residents and visitors.

SARAH NICOLAI, PE, PTP  I really enjoy the opportunity to make a positive difference through transportation projects. After collecting data and conducting technical project reviews, one of my favorite aspects of my work is meeting with people in person to understand their concerns and hear their perspectives. For me, public and stakeholder meetings really reinforce the human impact and importance of engineering.

“International Women in Engineering Day began in the UK in 2014 as a national campaign from the Women’s Engineering Society. Since then, INWED has grown enormously, receiving UNESCO patronage in 2016 and going truly global the following year.”

“In 2017, National Women in Engineering Day became international for the first time due to the interest and enthusiasm developed by the international audience and participants in the previous years. International Women in Engineering Day was born to enable the celebration of women in engineering to become global.”

To learn more check out this link! https://www.wes.org.uk/