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Parametrix: All for One

As an employee-owned company Parametrix has its perks, but staffers also embrace the work

By Heidi Mills May 3, 2023

Parametrix employees, shown here at a Mariners game at T-Mobile Park, say they're driven by the company's mission.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of Seattle magazine.

It sounds counterintuitive: Seattle engineering company Parametrix thinks “beyond the dollars.”

So says Jeff Peacock, who recently vacated his position as CEO to become chairman of the board of directors. It’s why Parametrix moved to become employee-owned more than 30 years ago. And it’s a key reason why employees voted the firm onto the Best Companies To Work For list for the second consecutive year.

“There’s a common shared sense that we are all in it together,” says Peacock, who served as CEO for more than 14 years and as executive vice president for nine years before that.

Peacock himself says he was attracted to Parametrix in 1990 in no small part because of its then-new ownership structure. Each employee’s stake is tied to longevity, so the front desk receptionist has the same formula for receiving shares as the CEO.

Parametrix, of course, has the requisite perks, including ping-pong tables. It gave employees computer accessories and a furniture allowance for home use once the pandemic hit, and also shipped snack boxes and company clothing to workers’ homes. It launched virtual events to maintain camaraderie, including a talent show, golf tournament, a 5K walk and run, and happy hours.

That, however, is only part of the story. Peacock says the company is committed to work that creates vibrant, sustainable communities and protects the environment. One of Parametrix’s biggest engineering projects is the State Route 520 corridor between I-5 and 405, which must be managed in a way to preserve wetlands, consider natural habitats, add parkland, and enhance neighborhoods.

Another project partners with the Quileute tribe to move facilities out of a floodplain. Parametrix started with the school system and is moving on to public service buildings.

“Our people are drawn to the types of projects we are doing,” Peacock says, “because they have purpose.”

Parametrix’s offices are also a nod to the environment. The company now has 650 employees in 12 offices and aims to locate them in spots that are accessible by modes of transportation other than a car. Some, such as the Bend, Oregon, office back up to trail networks that employees can use to exercise and enjoy nature.

Peacock acknowledges that remote work is still an experiment in progress. Some pandemic hires are accustomed to being fully remote and rarely come into an office. The company tries to draw staff members in with free lunches and breakfasts.

Mondays and Fridays tend to be quieter, but more workers increasingly turn out in the middle of the week. The impact of remote work, Peacock adds, has yet to be fully discovered.

“How that will be reflected in our company culture,” he says, “remains to be seen.” 

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