Kristina Leal, Business Development; Vice President Robert Saenz; Team Leader Jose Delgado;
Operations Manager/Senior Vice President Trey Murray; and Team Leader Raul Garcia
We improve lives and communities by turning ideas into reality.
Halff Associates engineers Trey Murray, P.E., senior vice-president and operations manager, and project manager Miles Bullion, P.E. described their company’s work as being the “behind the scenes” team, handling everything you don’t see.
“We’re the ones who keep it from falling down, from sinking, and who keep it lit up, powered, cool or warm,” Murray explained. “We get water to it and sewer out of it. We get the telephone in and the wi-fi working. We make sure the fire alarm system and smoke alarms work. That’s what we do in a building. Outside we design roads to get you there and keep the bridges from falling.”
“I liked my teacher, Mr. Blackwell, and physics at Harlingen High School, and I was good at it,” Murray said. “I knew I didn’t want to be an attorney like the rest of my family so I decided to become a mechanical engineer.”
For Bullion, becoming an engineer was his second career.
“I was a firefighter for the City of Weslaco for almost 10 years,” Bullion said. “I liked construction but wanted to build with my brain instead of my body. So, I became an engineer.”
For Murray, finding his way to Halff Associates was a process.
“I didn’t know I was going to be into air conditioning. I ended up working in West Texas and learned air conditioning before moving back down here. I used my skills to work on the McAllen Chamber building before going to work for Halff Associates,” he said.
While building up the office he learned about civil, structural, and electrical engineering from members on staff.
Coming from a west Texas ranching family, Albert H. Halff had attended SMU. After receiving his engineering degree, he became an environmental sanitary engineer and started Halff Associates in Dallas in 1950. The employee-owned company has now grown to more than 900 employees in five states. Opening a Valley office 26 years ago in order to work with the Hunts in developing Sharyland Plantation, Halff Associates has added an impressive array of clients.
Procuring the presidential permit for the Anzalduas International Bridge took them 10 years and three presidents, and was finally accomplished as part of the Sharyland project to connect the US and Mexican sides of the development. Working on Palms Crossing was yet another of their projects.
“We did all the civil improvements there such as drainage, sewer, water, roads, how it looks, the platting of it all, surveying, and grading.” Murray said.
“We did the Performing Arts Center,” he continued. “I’m proud of that one. There’s a little six-inch diameter grill under every other seat in that theater which is how we designed the air conditioning. If you’re 15 feet tall your head would be warm because we only air condition six to eight feet from floor up. If it was cooled from the top down that would mean conditioning a lot more space.”
Due partly to their designs, the company was able to reach a NC (noise criteria) 19, warding off the roars of the 757s that fly regularly overhead. That rating is “crazy quiet” Murray said. With the stage able to handle about 99 percent of all Broadway shows, Halff Associates is well-pleased with its work on the air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, lighting, and telecommunications.
A little further away was a project renovating Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island. Using landscape architects, civil, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineers to surveyors and even their environmental staff, Halff Associates teamed with a local architect to develop the project in three phases. Included were road and building redos, and constructing an 826 fixed-seat amphitheater (which overall offers a 4,200 seating capacity including grass areas) and event center, to name a few.
An upcoming Halff Associates project is the eagerly anticipated new county courthouse in Edinburg.
The McAllen office has 44 members on staff and the company anticipates expanding its presence in South Texas with additional offices.
“We’re so diverse,” Murray said. “We’re very proud of our technical ability because we’re good at what we do. We’re proud of the role we’ve had in developing the Valley, whether it’s working on the flood control systems, roads, ports of entries, or insuring drainage from a school does not flow into local homes in the area.”
Engineers are remarkable individuals. When they walk into a building, they don’t see the carpet or paint. Instead they see the structure, the “stuff” other people don’t.
“We’re the guys behind the scenes,” Murray reiterated.
“We’re good for the community. We benefit everyone. But engineers don’t do it for the credit,” said Bullion. “It’s our job. It’s what our purpose is in life.”