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Business Member Highlight: Houston Engineering

Below is a message from business member Houston Engineering. To find out more about their work, please visit

Founded by George Houston in 1968 in Fargo, ND, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) is a multidisciplinary consulting firm that provides engineering, surveying, environmental, landscape architecture, and planning consulting services. HEI offers a full range of services that cover water resources, environmental issues, water supply, municipal, transportation, surveying, land and site development, waste management, and GIS.

They utilize the latest technology to provide innovative solutions that produce results now and continue to provide value well into the future. Today, HEI has 11 offices with 250+ employees throughout North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa (visit HEI’s website to view a complete list of our locations).

HEI’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our communities. Parks and trails are crucial components of a community’s infrastructure, providing a range of benefits for residents, visitors, and the environment.

From promoting health and social connection to supporting the environment, parks and trails complement many of the services HEI provides when designing infrastructure solutions for various clients. Overall, parks and trails projects offer a diverse range of unique and challenging design and construction opportunities the team enjoys finding solutions to while also allowing the team the fulfillment of making a positive impact on the community and the environment.

HEI serves a mix of public and private clients, including local governments. Recently, they provided services to assist in the development of the Heart of the Lakes Trail in Otter Tail County. Several years ago, the Otter Tail County Highway Department began an ambitious trail project that would create a trail system between Pelican Rapids and Perham. Creating a multi-use sidepath trail between these two cities will provide cyclists, joggers/hikers, and others with more than 30 miles of new trails.

Importantly, this new trail will run through Maplewood State Park, making the park’s existing and extensive trail system a natural extension of this new multi-use trail. HEI was retained by the Otter Tail County Highway Department to complete the preliminary and final design, surveying, environmental permitting, aquatic resources (wetland) delineation, culvert sizing, and public engagement. Additionally, HEI’s team designed the maps displayed along the trail.

The full trail system is being designed and constructed in multiple segments:

  • The eastern segment stretches from Perham nearly 7 miles west to OTC CSAH 35.
  • The western segment begins in Pelican Rapids and extends 7 miles east to Maplewood State Park.
  • The middle segment stretches from the north entrance to the Maplewood State Park along TH108 to the intersection of CSAH 35 and CSAH 34.
  • The Maplewood State Park segment will connect the segments to the west and east and is anticipated to be constructed in 2023 or 2024.

Because the project limits extend nearly 30 miles with some rough terrain, the trail alignment went through several iterations, meeting design standards while also engaging with and listening to the local landowners and users to determine the best fit for the area. Construction is completed for all but one segment—the final segment through Maplewood State Park will be constructed in 2023 or 2024.

To learn more about the work HEI does and how they can help develop your next parks and trails project, please visit their website or contact Civil Engineer Adam Ruud at