Responding to needs of aging populations and sustainability, Twin-Cities engineering firm moves robustly into third decadeSteen Anniversary

One of the Upper Midwest’s leading design firms for geothermal, senior care, multi-family living and medical projects, Twin Cities-based Steen Engineering has distinguished itself in the industry with its high quality-design solutions and customer service focus. As this full-service mechanical and electrical engineering firm celebrates its 20th Anniversary, its experience and expertise has uniquely prepared Steen Engineering for the demands of the next decade.

Guided by founders Gene Striefel and Steven Youngs’ “client-first” philosophy, Steen Engineering embraced the competitive design-build culture that exists within the construction industry and formed a solid foundation of partnerships with general contractors and subcontractors as well as the architectural community. Through these partnerships, Steen has been able to prosper despite fluctuations in the economy.

“Being in business for 20 years is a milestone accomplishment in itself for any business — despite the highly competitive and economically dependent engineering industry,” said Mark Brengman, principal and president of Steen Engineering. “We have been able to grow and sustain because of the trust we’ve earned from our clients and our partners. That trust comes from our commitment to delivering designs that provide sound engineering expertise tempered with cost-effective solutions. A commitment we’ll carry forward into the next decade.”

As the population continues to age (an estimated 19 percent of the U.S. population in 2030 will be over the age of 65), Steen Engineering’s extensive experience in Senior Living environments, Skilled Care and Medical Facilities will fuel the company’s growth. Currently, Steen Engineering has several such projects scheduled to be completed in Spring 2014 including: the Unity Hospital Transitional Care Facility in Fridley, Minn., Presbyterian Homes and Senior Housing Partners’ West Block complex in Wayzata, Minn. as well as Waters of Oakdale, an Assisted Living Facility in Oakdale, Minn.

“Today the infrastructure isn’t in place to support the needs and wants of our aging population,” said Brengman. “Looking beyond long-term care, there is an absence of housing options and services to support this population. A perfect example of filling this need is the Carondelet Village project.”

A new vision for older adult living in St. Paul, Minn., Carondelet Village offers residents a continuum of care from independent senior apartments to licensed long-term care with a wide array of wellness and support services. For this project Steen Engineering worked closely with the architect and developer to enhance the living conditions while balancing all elements essential to improve energy conservation, facility operating budgets and ongoing maintenance. A critical part of this project was the installation of a 172 well geothermal system drilled almost 200 feet deep through solid granite that preserved the site’s valued old-growth trees. The project was recognized with an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota.

To meet the increasing demand for energy-efficient sustainable designs, Steen Engineering has invested in developing its geothermal expertise and has provided dozens of unique designs incorporating this technology. Despite the harsh winters in the Upper Midwest, the earth’s temperature remains a constant 48-52°F at eight feet below the surface — providing ample heat energy for commercial, industrial and residential applications.

In recent years, Steen Engineering has completed many commercial geothermal projects including the Becker Elementary Primary and Middle Schools in Becker, Minn., —the largest system in Minnesota (containing 2,000 wells). Other commercial geothermal projects completed by the firm include the Olmsted County Public Works facility, Orness Plaza in Mankato, Minn. and historical courthouse renovation with the Lac Qui Parle County seat in Madison, Minn.