GEI Consultants to complete stormwater management plan

Dave Campana, mayor, city of Marquette

MARQUETTE — The Marquette City Commission voted recently to enter into a contract not to exceed $100,000 with GEI Consultants Inc. to develop a stormwater management plan per a stormwater, asset management and wastewater grant.

The city of Marquette was awarded the funding, typically called a SAW grant, for roughly $1.08 million in December 2015. A component of the grant involves developing a stormwater management plan. City officials have been working on a broad review of the stormwater system, including regulations, a financial plan and a field inventory of the related infrastructure. The goal of the stormwater management plan is to retain a consultant that has experience in stormwater systems like Marquette’s and to meet requirements of the SAW grant, according to city notes.

A request for qualifications, or RFQ, was advertised in May and three consultants responded. The RFQ was evaluated by the city hydrologist, director of municipal utilities and the director of public works. Stantec Consulting of Ann Arbor received 260 points, while GEI Consultants of Marquette got 231 points and U.P. Engineers & Architects of Ishpeming received 197 points.

While it was suggested that the city enter a contract with Stantec Consulting, the commission in a 6-0 vote agreed to hire GEI Consultants instead. Mayor Pro Tem Frederick Stonehouse was excused from the meeting.

George Meister, project manager of GEI Consultants in Marquette, along with several other GEI employees, attended the commission meeting to ask that they be considered for the job.

“Our score came out very close to Stantec’s and I think maybe if we worded some things differently or presented some things differently, staff would agree with us that we believe that we’re more qualified than our competitors,” Meister said. “We have high-qualified staff … One of the things we’ve grown into over the years is the perception that perhaps we don’t have experts here locally — we like to reach out to the metro area, somewhere in a big city — but the fact of it is several people in our office, myself included, present at national conferences for our peers and experts in our fields. We have experts here in our office.”

GEI Consultants has offices around the country with several in the Upper Peninsula. Meister said there are about 37 employees in the Marquette office, 20 at the Iron River branch and around 12 in Iron Mountain.

“We live here, we work here, we are personally invested … we’re committed to good work and value the work,” Meister told the commission. “We’re a local company, we’re here, we (won’t) have travel expenses, mileage and time, lodging, … we’ll be able to put more time and effort into the final product.”

Mayor Dave Campana commended the GEI crew for attending the commission’s meeting.

“I appreciate that Stantec applied, but they’re not here tonight. You guys are here. That makes a big impression,” Campana said. “You’re here, you want the business, that says something … and you’re local. You’re going to spend your money here. That’s important to a city like Marquette that doesn’t have that much business going on compared to downstate, where you have a dense population and lots of businesses and lots of building happening.”

Commissioner Jenna smith, who made the motion to partner with GEI Consultants, said GEI is fit for the job because the company is qualified and local.

Commissioner Paul Schloegel asked Curt Goodman, director of Marquette’s utilities department, if there was any reason to reconsider contracting GEI Consultants. Goodman said he doesn’t anticipate any problems.

The completion date for the stormwater management plan is Oct. 1.

For fiscal year 2018, $62 million was appropriated for SAW awards, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s website.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.