From left, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, Century Engineering senior vice president Alan Marteney, Century Engineering’s CEO Francis Smyth, DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan, Gov. John Carney and Century Engineering executive vice president Scott Rathfron move some dirt at the engineering firm’s groundbreaking event on Thursday.
(Delaware State News/Ian Gronau)[/caption] DOVER — Century Engineering hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of what will soon be the firm’s new 25,000-square-foot Delaware operations headquarters on Thursday. They were joined by Gov. John Carney, DelDOT secretary Jennifer Cohan, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and other delegates and well-wishers at the occasion at the new site on 550 Bay Road in Dover. Ms. Cohan welcomed the groundbreaking as a neighbor — the Delaware Department of Transportation headquarters is a half mile south on Bay Road. “We’re really excited for you guys because you’re one of our best contractors,” she said to a gathering of Century Engineering employees. “Your firm does amazing work — always steady and always there when we need you. We’ve do a ton of work together and we look forward to continuing that relationship.” The firm will be relocating from its current location on 4134 DuPont Highway in Dover. Century Engineering executive vice president, Scott Rathfron, recalled the company’s humble beginnings at the event. “It’s hard to believe that a little over 30 years ago we started with a two-story townhouse in downtown Dover with only a few employees,” he said. “Now, we’ve grown to over 120 people, have an office in Newark and we’re breaking ground on this new facility.” Century Engineering’s original Dover office opened in 1987. As one of the largest private engineering firms in the state, they service both public and private sector clients. They’ve done a significant volume of work with DelDOT in the development of the state highway infrastructure such as the Del. 1 corridor and bicycle/pedestrian facilities throughout the state. According to Mr. Rathfon, the engineering firm expects to invest a total on $7 million in the construction of the new building. Two parcels at the front of the property may also be eventually developed, which would add to the overall investment. Their parent company is a multi-discipline consulting engineering group engaged in the planning and design of a variety of infrastructure projects for the transportation, environmental, buildings, water and power industries. Century serves the entire mid-Atlantic region with over 400 employees, from multiple regional offices. The Delaware operations is host to approximately 120 technical and support personnel. Francis Smyth, Century Engineering’s CEO, feels the groundbreaking on the project is a timely investment in a part of central Delaware that’s quickly growing. “This facility is going to be a beautiful addition to all the excitement and vitality that’s happening in this area, and our employees are going to be too,” he said. “We’re investing heavily in a very high quality building here.” For his part, Mayor Christiansen believes the groundbreaking, along with several other projects in the area, is heralding a new lease on life for the stretch of Bay Road that used to house the Blue Hen Mall “We’re actively going to market the Bay Road area to hotels, motels and places to eat,” he said. “Century Engineering and the $26 million Chesapeake Utilities building across the street are going to be a few of the drivers that bring more people to come live, work and play in the city of Dover. When dirt is moving in Dover, Dover is moving ahead.” The engineering firm expects to complete the new building in late spring/early summer of 2019.