In 1957, after years of frustration with the local contractors serving the design overload of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Art Anderson decided he could do better. With the help of his wife Bea and designer Frank Gallenger, Anderson and Gallenger was born. The first few years typified a startups vulnerabilities competing for small drawing packages in fixed price competitions with a developing staff. The first generation Andersons were able to survive largely through Bea’s fiscal sagacity and early establishment of a family environment. As years progressed three of four of the Anderson children, a nephew and extended family would find learning experiences while progressing through school.
In 1974 the naval yard established term contracts for support beginning a ten year period of growth that included major design support contracts in Bremerton, Philadelphia, Portsmouth and with PERA CV, the navy’s planning arm for aircraft carriers. In this role Art Anderson helped create the carrier (SLEP) Service Life Extension Program. In 1978 this would open the door to commercial programs as the steel electric class Washington State Ferries neared the end of their 50 year life. Following Art Anderson planning, these same vessels continue to serve today.
In 1976 Eric Anderson returned to Bremerton and joined the firm after the seagoing obligations of his U.S. Naval Academy commission. Primarily a naval design firm, Art Anderson had occasionally extended licensed engineering talents to projects such as a community theater and municipal improvements. The younger Anderson marked the beginning of a transition as Bea relinquished the business end and employees had another Anderson with engineering interests.
Retiring in 1981 Art saw an established naval design firm become the base for diversification and transition to broader consulting roles. Through the eighties more than a dozen former design firm entrepreneurs helped the firm transition into second generation leadership. Top level talents included architecture, civil engineering, industrial, naval architectural and construction management. As the cold war wound down the firm had made naval design support a complementary core competency.
Remaining a family owned business had enabled opportunistic and non-traditional business approaches in established traditional fields. As the firm realized the unique view and insights available from its diverse and talented professionals the firm excelled in areas such as value engineering, transportation planning, forensic engineering and practical research, all on the strength of a broad business base.
As we move forward, Art Anderson will continue to be firmly grounded in concept and detail design with a unique array of disciplines and set the stage for improving the industry of engineering. The body of knowledge inherent in Art Andersons’ work and people will be the test bed for leveraging enterprise experience, across disciplines and international borders.