HISTORY

It all started back in 1950. Dr. Albert H. Halff hung out his shingle in Dallas and started the one-man consulting firm that has become one of the largest engineering companies in the Southwest. What was his vision? A company dedicated to developing smarter solutions.

Today, we continue Dr. Halff’s legacy of delivering smarter engineering and architectural solutions. Our Texas-based, employee-owned firm boasts a diverse professional staff across 23 unique offices. Halff delivers multi-disciplinary projects that provide the smartest solution and the best value.

Through a smart, agile management strategy, Halff has become an integrated provider of full-service engineering, architecture, environmental, planning, landscape architecture, right of way, surveying and information technology services for public and private sector clients in the government, corporate, development, education, oil and gas, and transportation markets.

CULTURE

Our culture is what defines us; it’s who we are at the core. Halff’s culture is defined by five distinct characteristics:

People

We wholeheartedly believe that it is people who drive our firm. We would not be who we are without our exceptional employees who are keenly focused on providing outstanding service. Equally important are the relationships we have with our valued clients who entrust Halff to bring forth optimal solutions to the challenges they face.

Autonomy

You will never hear Halff described as “bureaucratic.” Yes, our leadership is involved and accessible, but our structure provides every opportunity for our professionals to be innovative and to grow and think outside the box.

Teamwork

Across all of our offices, Halff is a place where people collaborate rather than compete. It’s a place where there are no dumb ideas and every idea has the possibility of greatness.

Integrity

There is no cutting corners here. Our clients deserve honesty and transparency, and we believe success only matters when it is achieved by always doing the right thing.

Quality

Quality is our cornerstone. Where other firms boast it, we actually provide it. And we are proud to be known for it.

“By far, Halff Associates has always been one of the best civil engineering consultants I’ve worked with. Their quality and attention to client satisfaction is first-rate.”

– Commercial client

“We continually use Halff on projects due to the great quality of work and service provided.”

– Development client

“Halff provided excellent service and high quality through every aspect of the project. The City and project benefited from the firm’s expertise, collaboration and professionalism.”

– Government client

Beliefs

Legacy

Dr. Albert H. Halff, P.E., Ph.D.

Albert Henry Halff was born in Midland, Texas, on Aug. 20, 1915. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1937 from Southern Methodist University (SMU), and his Master of Science in Civil Engineering in 1942 from Illinois Institute of Technology. He married Lee Benson in Chicago on Aug. 24, 1940. In World War II, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. After the war, he became an associate professor of civil engineering at SMU. He earned his Doctorate of Engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1950.

On Dec. 4, 1950, Dr. Halff founded “Albert H. Halff Consulting, Sanitary Engineers” in a one-room office in Snider Plaza, near SMU in Dallas. In 1953, Dr. Halff and his partner Allen Hundley each contributed $1,000 to form “Hundley and Halff.” In 1960, Dr. Halff amicably split with Hundley, and formed “Albert H. Halff Associates” in Dallas. Under Dr. Halff’s leadership, the firm became a pioneer in hydraulics, hydrology and floodplain management, and grew to be one of the largest independently-owned consulting engineering firms in Texas.

Dr. Halff has a legacy of distinguished service to his profession. In 1981, he was named by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers as “Texas Engineer of the Year.” He is a Fellow and Honorary Member of the Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and, in 1984, was awarded the “Award of Honor,” the highest award of the ASCE Texas Section. On Feb. 27, 2004, Dr. Halff was awarded the School of Engineering “Hall of Leaders” award from his beloved SMU. Dr. Halff holds 13 patents on engineering advances, including innovations in desalinization, water treatment, industrial-waste treatment and ion exchange.

Values

Our actions will be driven by these values:

  • Ethical dealings at all levels based on the standards of our professions and the principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, candor and respect
  • Protection of the health, safety and welfare of the public
  • Delivery of excellence and exceptional value to our clients
  • Active support of our professions
  • Innovation
  • Protection and enhancement of the environment
  • Commitment to continuous improvement in technological skills and quality of our services
  • Participation in and service to our communities
  • Support of our employees and their families

Balance

 

The practices of engineering and architecture are the front line of influence on the natural world and its ecosystems. Because of this, our firm has a special responsibility to protect the environment for future generations.

Sustainable solutions have been integral to Halff’s design practice since its founding. Early in the firm’s history, our floodplain management studies included extensive inventories of flora and fauna in watersheds at a time when flood protection was the only real public concern. In the 1960s, the firm pioneered the preservation of floodplains in Texas.

Today, sustainability is at the core of Halff’s design practice. The firm creates sustainable designs that appropriately conserve materials, energy and water, and enhance the relationship between the built and natural environment. We recognize our responsibility as stewards of the environment and seek balance between technology and nature.

Trust

Our firm strives to develop long-term relationships of loyalty and trust with our clients. We do not see our services as a commodity, but rather we focus on delivering the best value. We see quality and innovation as differentiators between Halff and other firms.

We only provide services for which the firm is competent and can provide full value for the client.

We proactively seek the best, most creative solutions to our client’s needs.

We rigorously apply the firm’s quality management program to all projects to ensure that work products meet the firm’s standards, satisfy client requirements, fit the purpose, and are right the first time. We see every Halff employee having a role and responsibility in delivering quality to clients.

Purpose

We improve lives and communities by turning ideas into reality.

Our founder, Dr. Halff, had a deep commitment to innovation in engineering—not to gain any fame or monetary reward, but to better serve the public. He had an abiding faith in, and love of, people. He expressed that love in his work, his friendships and his boundless commitment to help others in any way he could.

He started it all, and now we carry it on.

 

WE …

This means everyone at Halff—employees who have been here for more than 40 years and people who started a week ago. We have a shared vision and a shared purpose.

… IMPROVE LIVES …

We improve the lives of the people of Halff by providing challenging and rewarding career opportunities, as well as people in our local communities through Halff Community Initiative and the work that we do.

… AND COMMUNITIES …

We improve communities through every service we offer. We design safe roads, highways and bridges. We develop better water, sanitary sewer and storm drain systems. We help prevent flooding. We create beautiful cities and parks. We improve our environment. We facilitate the flow of energy. And so much more. We visualize the future.

 

… BY TURNING IDEAS INTO REALITY.

We solve our clients’ problems by being creative in our thoughts and designs. The finished product is something our employees can point to and be proud of by saying,
“I helped do that.” The concept of turning thoughts and ideas into reality is part of
Dr. Halff’s legacy. We do create smarter solutions!

Leadership

Halff’s results-oriented management team has long been committed to providing smarter solutions that result from collaboration and a distinctly personal touch. This passion for personalized service flows directly from Albert Halff’s belief that a company is nothing more than the sum total of its people. By nurturing individuals and providing trust and autonomy, all the teams of the organization are unleashed to pursue the best possible solution, the best possible way. Our clients deserve no less.

Mark Edwards, PG President/CEO

Todd Jackson, PE COO

Russell Zapalac, PE CSO

Joseph Sagel, PE CFO

Mark Edwards, PG

Mark started his career as a petroleum geologist in 1984 and joined Halff in 1990. He started with the Environmental practice and initiated the Oil and Gas Services practice in 2006. “I’m truly inspired by the exceptional people of Halff and driven to expand our reach through growth, as growth creates opportunities for our people. The environment at Halff is entrepreneurial. We provide our people autonomy and flexibility to achieve their goals while working collaboratively to provide a responsive quality service to our clients.” Mark served on the board of directors from 2013 to 2015, joined the management team and became executive vice president in 2015 and now serves as president/CEO. He is passionate about creating a culture that ensures all employees are reaching their full potential.

Mark is on the Halff Community Initiative (HCI) board of directors and is a past member of the steering committee. Mark lives in Plano and is married to Desiree. Their favorite pastime is spending time with their three adult children. Otherwise, you may find Mark painting or “recharging” at the lake.

Todd Jackson, PE

Engineering has always been “in the blood” for Todd, with his father and brother working as engineers and his mother as a math teacher. He joined Halff’s Public Works practice after graduating from Louisiana Tech University in 1996. He helped open Halff’s Austin office in 2002 and began overseeing the Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Conroe and Tyler offices when he was named executive vice president in 2018. During his career with Halff, one thing has remained unchanged: “Halff has great people, great projects and great career opportunities.” As the chief operating officer, Todd is leading the operations team and managing firmwide processes. He resides in Austin and will work primarily from the Austin and Richardson offices.

Todd serves on the HCI board of directors, is a member of ACEC’s Austin Chapter, and served on Halff’s board of directors from 2016 to 2019. Todd’s community leadership pursuits include serving on the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Williamson County ESD No. 4 boards. He has also been an elder at his church in Georgetown and has coached more than 40 basketball and baseball teams for his three children: Tyler, Reed and Kate. In his free time, there’s a good chance you find him hunting, kayaking or singing and playing music with his kids.

Russell Zapalac, PE

Russell joined Halff’s management team as chief strategy officer and executive vice president in 2016. Prior to coming to Halff you could say, in the famous words of Johnny Cash, he’s been everywhere, man. Not only did he move around Texas as a young boy, but his career has taken him from Miami to Anchorage and almost everywhere in between to work on all sorts of civil engineering projects, primarily large transportation facilities. He’s worn many hats—contractor, consultant and owner—and he is known nationally as an expert in public-private partnership projects. Like Todd, Russell also resides in Austin and works primarily from the Austin and Richardson offices. He comes to work every day thinking about how to grow Halff in strategic ways.

Russell earned his BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a former board member of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and was the organization’s 2014 Public Sector Entrepreneur of the Year. Russell “grew up on the water” and is an avid outdoorsman. When he’s not working, you will likely find him spending time on Lake Travis in Austin or in Colorado with his wife, Kim, and his son’s family.

Joseph Sagel, PE

Joseph’s career at Halff began with a newspaper ad fresh out of college in 2005 and a call from then-Chief Operating Officer Pat Kunz. Joseph became an engineer in Halff’s Land Development and Public Works practices, working at three offices over nine years. He joined the Accounting department in 2014 as financial manager before quickly advancing to finance director. As an engineer working in accounting, Joseph said he “bridged the gap” between the Accounting and production teams throughout the company. He began serving Halff as chief financial officer in 2020 with his unique background and varied skillset. “At Halff, you have the ability to design your own path. I always wanted to work toward having more responsibility and being a person people can rely on. I get a lot of purpose coming to work every day and fulfilling that.”

Joseph graduated from Trinity University in 2005 and earned his MBA from Southern Methodist University in 2009. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Cassie, and his three young children: Mirabelle, Lillian and Grayson. The Sagels can be found cheering on their kids at soccer games and gymnastics meets during the weekends.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Halff is not just committed to our clients; we’re committed to our communities. That’s why we’ve established the Halff Community Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to give back our “time and treasures” to the communities in which we live and work. We’re busy giving back through initiatives such as Ronald McDonald House, Meals-on-Wheels, Salvation Army and many, many more.

We are also committed to helping develop the next generation of engineers and architects. That’s why we help provide scholarships for gifted students at a variety of universities across the Southwest. It’s also why our leadership actively serves on university boards and remains active in a variety of professional organizations.

Awards

2019

Award: Top 500 Design Firms (No. 121); Engineering News-Record

Award: Top Design Firms (No. 16); Engineering News-Record Texas & Louisiana

Award: No. 36, Engineering and EA Firms; BD+C Giants

Award: 2019 Hot Firm; Zweig Group

Award: 2019 Top 100 Workplaces; Austin American-Statesman

Award: 2019 Top 100 Places to Work; The Dallas Morning News

Award: Dallas Business Journal Middle Market 50

Project: Rolex Building
Award: 2019 Global Best Project (office category); Engineering News-Record Texas & Louisiana

Project: BRA-Lower Brazos River Floodplain Protection Planning Study
Award: 2019 ACEC Texas Engineering Excellence Award — Silver Medal

2018

Award: Trifecta Award; Zweig Group

Award: Best Firms to Work For; Zweig Group

Award: 2018 Hot Firm; Zweig Group

Award: Marketing Excellence Award; Zweig Group

Award: 2018 Top 100 Places to Work; The Dallas Morning News

Award: 2018 Top 100 Workplaces; Houston Chronicle

Award: 2018 Top 100 Workplaces; Austin American-Statesman

Award: Dallas Business Journal Middle Market 50

Award: No. 27, Engineering and EA Firms; BD+C Giants

Project: Tallahassee Solar Farm Number 1
Award: Project of the Year (Environmental category, greater than $25 million); Big Bend Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA)

Project: FAMU Way Phase 2 Roadway Improvements and Capital Cascades Trail Segment 3d‐A
Award: Project of the Year (Multifunction category, greater than $5 million); Big Bend Chapter of the American Public Works Association (AWPA)

Project: City of Sugar Land Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan
Award: H-GAC Parks and Natural Areas 2018 Planning Award

Project: Bay City Parks Master Plan
Award: H-GAC Parks and Natural Areas 2018 Special Recognition

Project: TWDB-FEMA CTP Technical Pilot Project
Award: 2018 ACEC Texas Engineering Excellence Award — Gold Medal

Project: Apodaca Blueprint
Award: Innovations in Planning; APA New Mexico Chapter

2017

Award: 2017 Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Ethics

Award: Top 100 Workplaces of 2017; Austin American-Statesman

Award: Top 100 Workplaces of 2017; Houston Chronicle

Award: 2017 Hot Firm; Zweig Group

Award: Dallas Canstruction 2017, Best Original Design

Award: Engineering Firm of the Year, Rio Grande Valley Chapter Associated General Contractors

Project: Allen Fire Station #2
Award: Firehouse Station Design Awards; Satellite Gold

Project: Old Spanish Walking Trails and Flood Control Basin
Award: ACEC Texas Engineering Excellence Awards; Gold Medal Winner

Project: Old Stone Dam, Allen Station Park
Award: Preservation Texas 2017 Honor Award

Project: Old Stone Dam, Allen Station Park
Award: Celebrating Leadership in Development Excellence (CLIDE) Award for Special Development

Project: Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Plan
Award: American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Texas Chapter 2017 Planning and Analysis Merit Award

Project: Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Plan
Award: Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS) 2017 Excellence in Planning Award

Project: Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Plan
Award: Texas Chapter American Planning Association 2017 Project Planning Award

Project: Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Plan
Award: Society for Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP) 2017 Project Excellence Award

Project: I-635 Visualization
Award: 2017 Telly Award, Non-Broadcast 3D Graphics/Animation

Project: Dallas North Tollway Lane Expansion Visualization
Award: 2017 Telly Award, Non-Broadcast 3D Graphics/Animation

Project: Bastrop Comprehensive Plan (2016-2036)
Award: APA Central Texas Section 2017 Comprehensive Planning Award

Project: The Colony Veterans Memorial Park
Award: 2017 Award of Excellence for Design; American Society of Landscape Architects (Texas Chapter)

2016

Project: Marble Falls Comprehensive Plan Update 2016
Award: APA Texas Chapter 2016 Comprehensive Planning Award

Project: Marble Falls Comprehensive Plan Update 2016
Award: APA Texas Chapter Central Texas Section 2016 Comprehensive Plan of the Year Award

Award: Austin American-Statesman Top 100 Places to Work

Award: Houston Chronicle Top 100 Places to Work

Award: Southern Methodist University Cox Dallas 100

Award: Dallas Business Journal Middle Market 50

Project: Old Spanish Walking Trails and Flood Control Basin
Award: 2016 American Public Works Association Texas Chapter Project of the Year Award for Environment Projects $25-$75 Million

Project: GBRA/USACE/TWDB Interim Feasibility Study
Award: ACEC Texas Engineering Excellence Awards; Gold Medal Winner

Project: Trinity Forest Spine Trail
Award: Texas Trails Network Great Texas Trail Head-Planning/Design Award

2015

Project: Trinity Forest Spine Trail Master Plan
Award: 2015 Excellence in Planning Award; Texas Recreation & Park Society

Project: TRWD Real-Time As Built Solution
Award: ACEC Texas Engineering Excellence Awards; Silver Medal Winner

Project: Bryker Woods Waterline Rehabilitation
Award: ACEC Texas Engineering Excellence Awards; Silver Medal Winner

Award: 2015 Hot Firm; Zweig Group

Award: The Dallas Morning News Top 100 Places to Work

Award: Southern Methodist University Cox Dallas 100

Award: Austin American-Statesman Top 100 Places to Work

2014

Award: 2014 Best Firms to Work For; Zweig Group

Project: Cedar Hill Parks, Recreation, Trails & Open Space Visioning Master Plan, Cedar Hill, Texas
Award: 2014 Planning Excellence Award; Texas Recreation & Park Society (State Award)

Project: Cleburne Downtown Master Plan
Award: Midwest Section Texas APA 2014 Award

Project: Cedar Hill Parks, Recreation, Trails & Open Space Visioning Plan
Award: Texas Recreation and Parks Award – Excellence in Planning

Project: Sugar Land Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan
Award: Texas Chapter American Planning Association 2014 Project Planning Award

Project: Brownsville Bicycle and Trail Master Plan
Award: Texas Trails Network 2014 Award

Project: Richardson Heights Recreation Center
Award: 2014 Topping Out Award

Project: SM Wright Freeway Reconstruction
Award: Greater Dallas Planning Council Urban Design Award – Dream Merit Study

2013

Project: Kennedale Comprehensive Plan, Kennedale, Texas
Award: 2013 Comprehensive Planning Award; American Planning Association (Texas State Award)

Project: Southwest Nature Preserve, Arlington, Texas
Award: 2013 Park Design Excellence Award; Texas Recreation & Park Society (North Region)

Project: Belleview Pedestrian Bridge, Dallas, Texas
Award: 2013 Merit Award for Design; American Society of Landscape Architects (Texas Chapter)

2012

Project: Cedars West Urban Mixed-Use Development, Dallas, Texas
Award: 2012 North Texas LID Design Challenge Winner; Texas Land/Water Sustainability Forum

Project: Buda 2030 Comprehensive Plan, Buda, Texas
Award: 2012 Comprehensive Planning Award; American Planning Association (Texas State Award)

Project: 2012 Project Planning Award; American Planning Association (Texas State Award)
Award: 2012 Merit Award for Design; American Society of Landscape Architects (State Award)
2011 Park Design Excellence Award; Texas Recreation and Park Society (State Award)
2010 Park Design Excellence Award; Texas Recreation & Park Society (North Region)

Project: Ponte Avenue Bridge, Addison, Texas
Award: 2012 Gold Medal Award Winner; American Council of Engineering Companies - Texas

Project: West Fork Trinity River 2-D Analysis, Grand Prairie, Texas
Award: 2012 Gold Medal Award Winner; American Council of Engineering Companies - Texas

Project: FloodFUND Research Project, Texas
Award: 2012 Gold Medal Award Winner; American Council of Engineering Companies - Texas

Project: San Antonio Bicycle Plan, San Antonio, Texas
Award: 2012 Great Texas Trail Head Planning/Design Award - Public Entity; Texas Trails Network

Project: Lewisville 2011 Trails Master Plan, Lewisville, Texas
Award: 2012 Great Texas Trail Head Planning/Design Award - Public Entity; Texas Trails Network

2011

Project: Coppell Town Center Plaza, Coppell, Texas
Award: 2011 Park Design Excellence Award; Texas Recreation & Park Society (State Award)

2010

Project: Notre Dame Catholic Church, Houston, Texas
Award: 2010 Excellence in Worship; Texas Construction magazine

Project: Remington Medical Resort of Richardson, Richardson, Texas
Award: 2010 Excellence in Health Care Project; Texas Construction magazine

Project: Downtown Oak Street Renovation, City of Roanoke, Texas
Award: 2010 Best Public Improvements Award; Texas Downtown Association

Project: Coppell Town Center Plaza, Coppell, Texas
Award: 2010 Park Design Excellence Award; Texas Recreation & Park Society (Region III)

Project: Historic Fort Worth Stockyards Master Plan, Fort Worth, Texas
Award: 2010 Project Planning Award; American Planning Association (Texas State Award)

Project: South Tributary Regional Flood Control Project, New Braunfels, Texas
Award: 2010 American Public Works Association Texas Chapter Project of the Year Award for Environment Projects $2-$10 Million

Sustainability

Halff encourages and guides our clients to consider sustainability as an important factor in creating and developing projects that take into account the well being of people, economic stability and environmental integrity. Our goal is to design projects that use energy and resources sustainably, at a rate that does not compromise the natural environment or the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Halff’s LEED Accredited Professionals and Envision Sustainability Professionals have the expertise to provide guidance and support in designing buildings that meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s criteria for sustainable design as defined by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program and civil projects that meet the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s criteria for sustainable design as defined by the Envision program.

Halff’s philosophy for developing sustainable projects is as follows:

  • We aim to design buildings, sites and infrastructure that use less energy, water and natural resources; generate less waste; and minimize the impact on land compared to conventional design, construction and maintenance techniques.
  • We regard site and landscape design as an opportunity to clean air and water, sequester carbon, reduce pollution, and restore habitat and biodiversity, while providing social and economic benefits to the immediate site and surrounding region.
  • We utilize stormwater management techniques that include bio-retention, rain gardens and permeable pavement for green infrastructure/LID (low impact development).
  • Our goal with green infrastructure is to promote infiltration, reduce stormwater pollution through bio-filtration, reduce impervious cover and reduce long-term maintenance costs.