Biloxi — The Wink Engineering office has been in business here for almost 20 years and is a full-service branch of Wink Inc., a multi-discipline professional firm established in 1970 in New Orleans. The company’s first Gulf Coast project was for a new Mississippi Air National Guard jet fuel storage facility in Gulfport. That success was followed by other projects in the surrounding area.
Since it opened in 1985, the Biloxi office has offered a full range of engineering disciplines. Those include civil, process, instrumentation/control systems, environmental, mechanical, electrical, structural, surveying, design and drafting, estimating, scheduling and project controls for work in the public and private sector.
The 20 employees in Biloxi are part of Wink Inc.’s 375-employee base. According to Biloxi manager Dreux Seghers, they perform all facets of engineering services.
“We are mostly involved with civil engineering for municipal, commercial, roadway reconstruction, parks and recreation, utilities, casinos, restaurants, business parks and subdivisions,” he said.
Being in an area with a lot of water resources, Wink Engineering also does a lot of marina development, breakwaters and boat launches.
“We all have to get into environmental engineering and are required to have knowledge of the laws to keep our clients compliant with regulations,” he said. “It’s becoming more involved; there’s more we have to do and it can add a lot of cost to projects.”
A list of some of Wink’s clients includes the cities of Biloxi and Gulfport, the airport authority, Biloxi Port Commission, Harrison and Hancock counties, Biloxi Seafood Industry Museum, Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, Bienville Industrial Park, Wellman Chemical Corporation and Beau Rivage Casino Resort.
The firm is especially proud of two current, high-profile projects for which they’re doing all the engineering. One is the $235-million Hard Rock Casino and hotel being built adjacent to Highway 90 in Biloxi. That’s an enterprise that will employ 1,000 people when it’s up and running next summer.
The other current big project is the $65-million Hope VI housing community in what was formerly a blighted area of east Biloxi. It’s a federal program, the first of its kind in Mississippi, and the ground breaking was held recently.
Wink Engineering is adding more process and mechanical engineers to work with the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery and other industrial clients.
“We’re a one-stop shop for our clients and give them all the services they need,” he said. “That includes design-led engineering that helps them get a better handle on the scope and costs of a project. We call it front-end engineering.”
Seghers, who is a civil engineer, said Wink Engineering provides a knowledge base, expertise, efficiencies in terms of what they’re trying to achieve, options to achieve better results and cost-effective service in a safe manner. He adds that public safety is paramount in what they do.
“The challenges of engineering are to provide efficient, economical designs with dwindling resources,” he said. “Everything is getting squeezed these days and everyone wants their money to go as far as it can.”
On the other hand, he sees many rewards from the work that engineers do, including providing necessary engineering for public services, producing and creating final construction products and contributing to the public benefits of clean water, sewage, bridges, roads and safety.
“Engineering also provides an economic impact because we increase and expand the economy by the services we provide,” Seghers said. “What we do puts people to work, and they in turn buy things and pay taxes.”
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.