Schnabel Engineering

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An Engineering News-Record Top 250 design firm, Schnabel Engineering provides specialized expertise for the planning, study, design and construction of geotechnical, tunnel and dam engineering projects in the United States and abroad. The employee-owned company has worked in more than 140 countries since its founding in 1956 and has pioneered the use of new technology and foundation systems and sustainable infrastructure. Headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia, Schnabel’s workforce exceeds 300 people in 18 offices primarily along the East Coast.

The company’s presence in the region began in the early 1970s, with the Newport News location opening a decade later. The office is managed by Donald Smith, PE, who assumed branch leadership duties in 2015. A staff of seven technical professionals in Newport News provide an array of geotechnical and environmental engineering services, with an active soils and construction materials lab serving public and private clients in the region.

For the past 44 years, Schnabel has provided geotechnical engineering services for more than a thousand projects for Newport News Shipbuilding, its longest continuous client, ranging from office and manufacturing buildings to dry docks and piers. Recently the Joint Manufacturing Assembly Facility (JMAF) has been a major focus for the local office.

The longevity and success of Schnabel’s Newport News office is attributable to the philosophy that no job is too small or too large to tackle, and that every project—regardless of size or scope—is important. Staff are well versed and experienced in tackling technical challenges and have done so for Hampton Roads clients such as the cities of Newport News, Portsmouth, Chesapeake; Dominion Virginia Power; Liebherr International; Virginia Port Authority; VDOT; Busch Gardens; and the College of William and Mary.

Among the office’s recent major work requiring subsurface exploration, soil laboratory testing and geotechnical engineering analysis was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway extension project from the Midtown Tunnel for VDOT and I-64 widening in Newport News. For more about Schnabel Engineering, visit