The Vermont Secretary of State issued a Certificate of Incorporation for Dufresne & Associates, PC on February 19, 1999, which formalized the start of business for what would be known as Dufresne Group. Dufresne Group was founded by Robert E. Dufresne, PE, (RED) who until 2014 was the sole stockholder. The company is now owned by three stockholders who also serve on the Board of Directors. Each of these directors are registered Professional Engineers and include RED, Naomi Johnson, and Christina Haskins.
The corporate start-up process in 1999 was anything but straightforward. The first order of business cards was tossed out when the Secretary of State disallowed the originally requested name of Dufresne Consulting, PC. The Secretary indicated that Dufresne Consulting was too close to the former (and unrelated) company Dufresne-Henry, Inc. RED suggested Dufresne & Associates, PC and the Secretary of State indicated that although the new name was better, it still was not sufficiently different from Dufresne-Henry, Inc. The Secretary indicated that RED could file for an engineering business under any corporate name which did not include the name "Dufresne". After retaining an attorney and meeting with the Secretary, RED pointed out that he was already a director and 50% owner in the firm of Dufresne-Henry, PC, which for some reason allowed her to authorize registration under Dufresne & Associates, PC. We practiced under our formal corporate name of Dufresne & Associates, PC up until November of 2008 when we registered the Trademark name of Dufresne Group and have been doing business as Dufresne Group ever since.
After solving the initial corporate name issue with the Secretary of State, to say that we hit the ground running is an understatement. We immediately accumulated a backlog of work from RED’s former employer Phelps Engineering, Inc., who became our largest client. Besides RED, Roger Ward was the first employee and served for over 15 years before he left the engineering profession for the construction industry. Within two months of startup, we located a top-notch Office Manager and Computer Aided Design (CAD) technician and we started to act like a real engineering business. The first year called for long hours and low pay. We were overbooked with workload, which included the first New England municipal membrane wastewater treatment facility in Cabot, Vermont as well as engineering during the construction phase of the 4.0 MGD water treatment facility in Montpelier, Vermont, which RED had previously designed. In addition to technical workload, there were the administrative tasks of setting up the foundation of what would become a successful engineering firm. These tasks included set up of a 401k program, health insurance, dental insurance, telephones, computer networks, and a digital identity. Fortunately, Naomi Johnson joined us as Vice President and provided a calm, professional approach to the chaos that was Dufresne & Associates, PC.
Looking back now it seems inconceivable that we purchased Wayne D. Lawrence Civil Engineering & Surveyors in September of 1999. At the time, we were flat out on a multitude of large municipal projects, but we made it through our first acquisition in our first year of business. With this acquisition, we now had a senior engineer with significant VTrans experience and an additional staff of four engineers/surveyors in Barre, Vermont doing mostly individual on-site septic designs. We made our first year billing goal of just less than $300,000 but as a credit business, we confirmed that there is a huge difference between billing and cash received. The first year was a challenge, but within a year our staff was expanded and our billing had grown to over $1,000,000 per year.
During the first six years, we continued to provide service to the municipal water works and wastewater sector, which was our area of strength. Our projects in that period included design and engineering services for large water treatment facilities such as Bennington, Vermont and large water storage and transmission main projects such as the 1.0 mg cast-in-place concrete tank and 24-inch water main for the City of Barre, Vermont. Many of our Vermont projects received the attention of our peers and received engineering excellence awards including:
- The Membrane Wastewater Treatment Process for the Town of Cabot
- The Berlin Pond Source Protection Plan for the City of Montpelier
- The 20 Year Master Plan for the Champlain Water District
- The Source Protection Plan for the Town of Chester
- The Water System Master Plan and Capital Improvement Plan for the Town of Bennington
- The Trunk-line Evaluation Report for the City of Barre
- The Municipal Swimming Pool Filtration System Rehabilitation for the Town of Springfield
- The St. Johnsbury Center Water Distribution System Replacement Project using directional drilling
The past decade has been one of growth and transition with the addition of two additional office locations in Vermont to better serve our clients and our staff. At Dufresne Group, family values are a priority. Our offices are located first near where area office managers live and secondly at key client locations. Driving an hour or two to work detracts both from work efficiency and most importantly from family time. Generally if you are in Vermont, we have an office near you. Our wide area network is strong and independent of office locations. For instance, the largest project yet undertaken by Dufresne Group included $32,000,000 of water works and infrastructure replacement for the Town of St. Johnsbury. Engineers and technicians from all four offices completed portions of this work seamlessly using advanced design software as well as tried and true project review and management techniques. The project made the cover of the June 2014 issue of the New England Water Works Journal.
Seventeen years later, Dufresne Group employees five licensed Professional Engineers as well as several highly qualified project engineers, field engineers and technicians. Our expertise has expanded to include all aspects of water treatment and distribution system design, wastewater system design, water and wastewater system modeling, water and wastewater master plans, infiltration and inflow investigations, water quality investigations, stormwater collection and treatment, asset management, permitting, funding assistance, topographic surveying, on-site wastewater design and permitting, sidewalk & pathway feasibility studies and design, land development planning, erosion prevention and sediment control, and construction services
We continue to look for areas to learn and grow to better serve our clients. If you would like to learn more about Dufresne Group please browse our website or feel free to contact us directly.