On March 16, 2020, LAN celebrated another milestone – the firm’s 85th anniversary. As the firm celebrates this landmark, a brief glance of its history and achievements along the way will shed some light on the journey
Engineering Excellence Since 1935
Creative Solutions, Measurable Value, and Exceptional Quality
The Early Years
In 1941, the two young engineers got their breakthrough when they were awarded a major engineering contract for the San Jacinto Ordnance Depot, a site of approximately 5,000 acres located along the north side of the Houston Ship Channel. Numerous buildings, wharves for ships and tugboats, ammunition storage, miles of concrete roads, a network of railroads, a railroad yard, shop areas for multiple trades, and utility systems were designed and constructed quickly. This military contract catapulted the firm into major civil engineering projects, establishing it as one of the few multi-disciplined firms in the Southwest.
Growth and Expansion
In 1946, Frank H. Newnam, Jr., a civil engineer and a classmate of William Andrews at Texas A&M, joined the firm as a partner, further diversifying its services. With its growing capacities and abilities post-war, the list of clients grew and business boomed. The firm took on work for ports, municipalities, other government agencies, industries, and institutions. Projects included several large incinerators for the City of Houston, a section of the Gulf Freeway, and wharves for the Port of Houston. In 1956, the firm changed its name to Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (LAN). The firm was incorporated in 1961. In 1966, Lockwood and Newnam initiated a plan for the orderly transfer of ownership and management.
Acquisitions, Mergers and Offices
In 1991,LEO A DALY, an international planning, architecture, engineering, and interior design firm, acquired LAN, which then became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Daly organization. This enhanced LAN’s ability to provide services for a wide range of projects and assignments throughout the world.
Changing Texas’ Landscape
Developing Texas’ Infrastructure
Becoming a National Firm
With a vision of the future, a small consulting firm opened its doors in 1935. The firm’s founders — Mason Graves Lockwood, a 1927 graduate of Rice Institute with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and William McIntosh Andrews, a 1931 graduate of Texas A&M with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering — were two young engineers with a dream. This was during the Great Depression and a difficult time to start and establish a new business. They realized they needed assistance to get started. Through the course of their work, they had met Jack Burrus, President of Burrus Mills, Inc. He was impressed by their ability and determination and agreed to provide them a yearly retainer to enable them to begin. So, along with J.R. Dowdell, a mechanical engineer, they formed the new firm of Dowdell, Lockwood & Andrews. Offices were opened in the Esperson Building in downtown Houston. Mr. Burrus had widespread grain storage and grain operations interests in Texas and neighboring states. His first two jobs for the new team were the design and construction of new grain elevators in Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas. This relationship continued until Burrus Mills was sold and Mr. Burrus retired in 1966.
As would be expected, the first few years were very tough. Dr. Dowdell withdrew in 1936 and the name of the firm was changed to Lockwood & Andrews. Through persistent effort, they obtained additional clients and work. Retainer arrangements were made in many cases, which placed the firm on call for plant operation problems and for additions as needed by the client. This was valuable to the client and it aided the fledgling firm by assuring a basic income.
The Depression, with its accompanying unemployment, was still dominating the economy in 1940, but the threat of war initiated major military construction programs. In the spring of 1941, Lockwood & Andrews, along with the consulting engineering and surveying firm of David M. Duller, were awarded the engineering contract for the San Jacinto Ordnance Depot. The San Jacinto Ordnance Depot occupied a site of approximately 5,000 acres, located along the north side of the Houston Ship Channel across from the San Jacinto Monument. Carpenters Bayou flowed through it near the downstream end. This site has been converted to present-day Jacinto Port. Because the world crisis situation leading to World War II was escalating, many buildings and services had to be designed and constructed quickly. Bill Andrews stayed at the downtown office while Mason Lockwood took direct charge of the engineering at the job site. A slip was dredged with wharves for both ships and tugboats. Two hundred igloos of concrete barrel arch construction topped with layers of earth were built for ammunition storage. There were miles of concrete roads, a network of railroads and a railroad yard. The shop area included a locomotive shop, carpenter shop and shops for other trades...Read more
The San Jacinto Ordnance Depot catapulted the firm into the field of major civil engineering projects and established it as one of the few multi-discipline firms in the southwest. Contracts for the design of additional military projects followed. They formed the main workload for the firm for the rest of the war years.
HARRIS RESERVOIR PROJECT ADDS RESERVOIRS, PUMP STATIONS AND LARGE WATER SUPPLY LINES TO COMPANY RESUME
These were other war-related projects, such as reservoirs, pump stations and large water supply lines from river sources to the ship channel and other industries, and product lines between distant industrial plants. The Harris Reservoir on the Brazos for the Dow Plant at Freeport was one of the water supply facilities. What was later to become Jacinto City was planned for the influx of additional workers to the channel industries, and the streets, drainage, utility systems and treatment plants were designed. Another project, financed by the federal government, was the design and the construction of the original plant for Converted Rice, Inc. (now Uncle Ben’s, Inc.) on Clinton Drive in Houston. The plant was based on a process that preserved the vitamins in the rice grain, giving the product long life and resistance to deterioration, which appealed to the military services during the war.
With the growth of the firm, Mason Lockwood and Bill Andrews realized they needed additional help to run it. Frank H. Newnam, Jr., a classmate of Bill Andrews at Texas A&M, had been Chief of the Engineering Division at the Galveston District, US Army Corps of Engineers and subsequently, Chief Engineer at the China Theatre. He joined the firm as a partner in 1946. Frank Newnam was a civil engineer and provided the varied expertise Mason Lockwood wanted to expand the firm in diverse directions. During the war years, Mason Lockwood was increasingly involved in directing civil projects and projects that included multiple fields of engineering. Frank Newnam relieved him of some of that load, enabling Lockwood to spend more time directing the firm, although all three partners continued to direct projects. With its growing capacities and abilities in the period shortly after World War II, the firm took on work for ports, municipalities, other government agencies, industries and institutions. Projects included several very large incinerators for the City of Houston, a section of the Gulf Freeway and wharves for the Port of Houston. Over the next few years, the firm did all the design for the major expansion of..Read more
In its professional engineering capacity, the firm has been associated with some of the major development accompanying the remarkable industrial and commercial expansion of the Texas Gulf Coast and southwestern United States. Paralleling this growth, the firm established offices in other Texas cities or, when necessary, acquired other design firms to supplement Lockwood & Andrews’ abilities. Each of these offices was staffed to carry its own workload but enjoyed the advantage of working with the Houston office for excess or specialty requirements.
In 1948, an office was opened in Victoria, Texas, initially to provide topographic and property surveys for the duPont plant near Victoria. The office was sold in 1984.
MAJOR PROJECTS INCLUDE LAKE HOUSTON PUMP STATION; MASTER PLANS FOR THE PORT OF HOUSTON AND STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND BASES
The firm was now off and running with a constantly increasing number of jobs and an ever-increasing list of clients. A major 1950s project was the intake structure and main pumping station at Lake Houston with 12 miles of concrete-lined canal from the pumping station to the city’s treatment plant. Other projects included master plans for the Port of Houston and Port of Galveston and master plans for Strategic Air Command Bases in several states. The company also completed projects on other military bases, including the Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi, Texas.
An office was opened in Corpus Christi in 1951 as a Resident Engineers’ office for construction of a runway for jet aircraft at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. The office was sold in 1984.
The Houston office moved from the Union National Bank building in the downtown district to 1010 Waugh Drive, three miles from downtown to a building specifically designed for LAN.
In 1956, the name of the firm was changed to Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (called LAN hereafter). Until 1960, the three partners remained owners of the firm, assisted by key personnel or division heads. After the death of the original partner and founder Bill Andrews in that year, it was decided to continue the firm name. The firm was incorporated in 1961.
For the master planning and complete design of the Houston Intercontinental Airport, the firm participated in a joint venture called Engineers of the Southwest with two other Houston engineering firms. Two firms furnished the architectural services to the City. LAN furnished the Managing Partner and the Project Manager. This arrangement started in 1961 and continued over twenty years for the phased growth of the airport.
The firm provided the excavation and sub-drainage (sunken playing field), electrical design and plans and specifications for the Astrodome, Houston’s unique, domed stadium. Electrical design included the $2,000,000 scoreboard. Land development became more and more important as numerous housing areas and business parks were planned and detailed plans and specifications were prepared. New streets, drainage, water and sewer systems for subdivisions such as Quail Valley, Las Colinas, Lakewood Forest, Greenwood Forest, West Oaks and Greenspoint provided major projects for the firm.
In 1966, LAN acquired Lowry & Seale, Inc., a surveying company in Victoria. The company was subsequently merged into Geogram Corporation, another surveying subsidiary. The Corpus Christi and Victoria surveying operations were subsequently sold in 1984.
In order to avoid the problems that have beset engineering firms upon the death or retirement of the original principals, a plan initiated in 1966 by Mason Lockwood and Frank Newnam detailed a process for the orderly transfer of ownership and management. LAN remained a wholly employee-owned company until its merger with the LEO A DALY Company in 1991.
In 1967, LAN opened an office in Beaumont to provide mechanical, electrical and structural services to a group of architects. The office was closed in 1970.
In 1969, the firm suffered the loss of its distinguished Founder and first President Mason G. Lockwood. Since his death the leadership of the firm has been as follows: Frank H. Newnam, Jr. President — 1969-1973 Chairman of the BOD — 1973-1974 Edward A. Brinkman President — 1973-1974 Chairman of the BOD — 1974-1975 Bill W. Klotz President — 1974-1984 James K. Wilhelm President — 1984-1981 Chairman of the BOD — 1991-1992 James R. Cole President — 1992-1997 Chairman of the BOD — 1997-1999 Dennis W. Petersen President — 1997-2017 Wayne Swafford President — 2017-present
In 1971, an office was opened in Austin to manage the Highland Lakes Septic Tank Licensing Program for the Lower Colorado River Authority. The office remained open until it was closed in 1992.
In 1973, Geogram Corporation, a small surveying company in Houston, was acquired. Geogram Corporation was sold in 1997. LAN also acquired Settles Engineering Co. in Brownsville in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The operation was sold in 1984. That same year, LAN purchased Fowler & Grafe, Inc., a well-known consulting firm in Dallas. In 1976, Fowler & Grafe, Inc. integrated into the LAN organization and became the Dallas office of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc.
To gain more space for the growing firm, the Houston office moved to a new multi-story building at 1900 St. James Place near the Galleria area. Additional space was leased nearby at 1900 Yorktown.
In 1977, LAN merged with the Houston-based architectural firm, Koetter, Tharp, Cowell & Bartlett, Inc. (KTC). KTC operated separately until 1982 when it co-located as a division of LAN. The acquisition of KTC represented the achievement of a long-standing goal to develop LAN into a full-service professional design firm. Also in 1977, LAN opened an office in Saudi Arabia to establish an international presence and serve the project under construction at Al Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia.
LAN acquired Fensten Engineering Co. in Denver, Colorado and Carter Engineers in Los Angeles and San Diego, California in 1978 to expand its services geographically. These offices were closed in 1984 and 1985, respectively.
In 1979, LAN established an office in San Antonio to carry out the Sanitary Sewer System Evaluation Survey and the San Antonio Wastewater Improvement Program. LAN was the lead firm in a joint venture with two San Antonio firms.
LAN headquarters moved to another location at 1500 CityWest Boulevard in 1982.
In 1991, the LEO A DALY Company, a national architectural and engineering firm, acquired LAN, which then became the wholly owned subsidiary of the Daly organization. This enhanced LAN’s ability to provide services for a wide range of projects and assignments throughout the U.S. and internationally.
In 1997, the Dallas Architectural Group became a part of the LEO A DALY Company, and the Omaha Civil Engineering Group joined LAN. This established an office for LAN in Omaha, Nebraska. Also in 1997, Geogram was sold.
LAN opened a new office in Austin, Texas at a temporary location in 1999. The office moved to its new permanent address in early 2000.