Our History

Now Playing: "Fortifying the Future: The Lasting Impact of CDM Smith"

 

CDM Smith has been changing the world for the better since 1947. Join us as we talk to some of the folks who were there from almost the beginning and others who shaped some of the pivotal moments in the firm's history, including the powerhouse addition of Wilbur Smith. This documentary looks at how our founding principles propelled us to where we are today, and how we have shaped the world around us with pioneering innovation that has helped solve some of the greatest challenges facing our built and natural environment. Challenges like the cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee that pushed innovation in water treatment, lifesaving Superfund cleanup of contaminated sites such as Libby, Montana, aligning design and construction with our move to design-build, using data to alert the city of Newark, NJ that they had lead in their drinking water, and more.

Proud History. Bold Future.

In 1947, Thomas Camp left the Mass­a­chu­setts Institute of Technology to set up a consulting practice with partners Herman Dresser and Jack McKee. Together, they pioneered drinking water treatment tech­nolo­gies, advanced approaches in water quality protection and groundwater recharge, and established our enduring culture of innovation and ingenuity. 75 years later, that pioneering spirit has grown in more ways than one—size, services, expertise and perspec­tives—and has emboldened an unwavering passion for making life better and the world more resilient. Our legacy and success is as diverse as it is far reaching, thanks to the 5,000+ men and women who comprise CDM Smith today. Every one of us is fortunate to have inherited the proud legacy started by Camp, Dresser and McKee, and we are inspired to continue being the independent force in our industry. They say age is just a number (and we don’t feel or look 75!), but this is a milestone achieved by very few. So, in 2022, we’re taking a moment to honor our 75th anniversary and get charged up for an amazing future. We feel like we’re just getting started!
Bob Marini Bob Marini
I think that we should get inner satisfaction from knowing that our work and our experience and knowledge are helping mankind to improve.
Bob Marini Former CEO
Saarinen Lawler Signing Saarinen Lawler Signing
A Culture of Growing
Our long history of proudly joining forces with industry leaders represents smart and deliberate decisions to not only strengthen our offerings and accelerate our growth, but to carefully shape our culture into who we are today.

Our legacy by the numbers

years of service
projects delivered
clients served
countries
Fun Fact:
Internet Pioneers
CDM Smith’s first website debuted on the World Wide Web in 1996.
Fun Fact:
R&D Gets Real
CDM Smith established a formal research & development program in 1993.
1947
Thomas Camp provides studies and designs for water treatment plant improvements for the city of Cambridge, our first client.
1947
Camp, Dresser & McKee officially formed a partnership.
1949
Expanding beyond New England, the firm wins a pollution abatement report project on the Clarion River.
1947
Thomas Camp provides studies and designs for water treatment plant improvements for the city of Cambridge, our first client.
1947
Camp, Dresser & McKee officially formed a partnership.
1949
Expanding beyond New England, the firm wins a pollution abatement report project on the Clarion River.
1954
Design of the 1st dual-media, multiple-tray water treatment plant establishes the firm as a water-treatment innovator and leader.
1958
Design and services during construction for a wastewater treatment plant help to rehabilitate the polluted river, leading to WWTP designs for the greater Boston region.
1959
Performing water supply studies for the city and 11 surrounding communities, the firm designs the state's largest filtration plant, a 45-mgd facility.
1954
Design of the 1st dual-media, multiple-tray water treatment plant establishes the firm as a water-treatment innovator and leader.
1958
Design and services during construction for a wastewater treatment plant help to rehabilitate the polluted river, leading to WWTP designs for the greater Boston region.
1959
Performing water supply studies for the city and 11 surrounding communities, the firm designs the state's largest filtration plant, a 45-mgd facility.
1960
Continuing to grow, the firm wins our first international project, a 10-year wastewater master plan for the city of Bogotá, Colombia.
1965
The firm becomes the public health engineering consultant for East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
1968
This innovative water reclamation plant treats wastewater to the high quality that it can discharge into Salt Creek without disturbing the ecosystem.
1960
Continuing to grow, the firm wins our first international project, a 10-year wastewater master plan for the city of Bogotá, Colombia.
1965
The firm becomes the public health engineering consultant for East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
1968
This innovative water reclamation plant treats wastewater to the high quality that it can discharge into Salt Creek without disturbing the ecosystem.
1973
The EPA retains the firm to prepare the country's first comprehensive guidelines, and subsequent updates, for design, construction and operation of U.S. water pollution control facilities.
1974
The firm plans, designs and oversees construction for a regional wastewater treatment system in the rapidly growing Southeastern market.
1978
Conducted water resource studies of aquifer capacity over a 225,000 square-mile area to define a water supply strategy critical for economies of 6 Southwestern states.
1973
The EPA retains the firm to prepare the country's first comprehensive guidelines, and subsequent updates, for design, construction and operation of U.S. water pollution control facilities.
1974
The firm plans, designs and oversees construction for a regional wastewater treatment system in the rapidly growing Southeastern market.
1978
Conducted water resource studies of aquifer capacity over a 225,000 square-mile area to define a water supply strategy critical for economies of 6 Southwestern states.
1983
The firm designs a 10-mgd plant that can be expanded to 90-mgd when other communities join the system, providing significant cost savings.
1984
Signing a $168 million Superfund contract, the largest awarded by the EPA, the firm begins cleanup for National Priority List hazardous waste sites across the country, entering the federal remediation market.
1983
The firm designs a 10-mgd plant that can be expanded to 90-mgd when other communities join the system, providing significant cost savings.
1984
Signing a $168 million Superfund contract, the largest awarded by the EPA, the firm begins cleanup for National Priority List hazardous waste sites across the country, entering the federal remediation market.
1986
Our comprehensive wastewater facilities plan for the conveyance, treatment and biosolids management of 500 million gallons of wastewater per day becomes the blueprint for the Boston Harbor Cleanup.
1993
The firm completes 30-mgd Eagle Mountain Ozone Facility in TX, that features a compact layout to simplify operations.
1995
Chosen for design-build of a system to clean 2 million gallons of contaminated groundwater and soil at a rail-yard and tank farm in Sparks, NV.
1986
Our comprehensive wastewater facilities plan for the conveyance, treatment and biosolids management of 500 million gallons of wastewater per day becomes the blueprint for the Boston Harbor Cleanup.
1993
The firm completes 30-mgd Eagle Mountain Ozone Facility in TX, that features a compact layout to simplify operations.
1995
Chosen for design-build of a system to clean 2 million gallons of contaminated groundwater and soil at a rail-yard and tank farm in Sparks, NV.
1999
Commencing with the largest single-season screening study performed in the United States, this project helps the EPA restore a 180-square-mile community polluted with asbestos from decades of vermiculite mining.
Learn More
2003
Planning, designing and managing geotechnical installations for Leipzig Tunnel, the firm contributes to a world-class rail system in Germany.
1999
Commencing with the largest single-season screening study performed in the United States, this project helps the EPA restore a 180-square-mile community polluted with asbestos from decades of vermiculite mining.
Learn More
2003
Planning, designing and managing geotechnical installations for Leipzig Tunnel, the firm contributes to a world-class rail system in Germany.
2005
Responding to Hurricane Katrina, the firm assesses damage to wastewater treatment, collection and distri­b­u­tion systems, aiding in recovery and protection against future storms.
2008
Designing the largest advanced water purification facility in the world in Orange County, California.
2009
Following a devastating earthquake, the firm provides design-build services for 150 schools, health clinics and hospitals designed.
2005
Responding to Hurricane Katrina, the firm assesses damage to wastewater treatment, collection and distri­b­u­tion systems, aiding in recovery and protection against future storms.
2008
Designing the largest advanced water purification facility in the world in Orange County, California.
2009
Following a devastating earthquake, the firm provides design-build services for 150 schools, health clinics and hospitals designed.
2011
In a joint-venture, the firm provides design-build services for sustainable LEED-Gold facilities, supporting 2,300 personnel from the Department of Defense.
2012
Marking the firm's entry to the trans­porta­tion market in Qatar, improved trans­porta­tion to the North and West of Doha.
2011
In a joint-venture, the firm provides design-build services for sustainable LEED-Gold facilities, supporting 2,300 personnel from the Department of Defense.
2012
Marking the firm's entry to the trans­porta­tion market in Qatar, improved trans­porta­tion to the North and West of Doha.
2012
CDM and Wilbur Smith Associates - a successful transportation and infrastructure firm in South Carolina - joined forces to become CDM Smith.
2016
In a joint venture, we begin work on Houston's Northeast Water Purification Plant expansion, the largest U.S. progressive design-build project of its time.
2012
CDM and Wilbur Smith Associates - a successful transportation and infrastructure firm in South Carolina - joined forces to become CDM Smith.
2016
In a joint venture, we begin work on Houston's Northeast Water Purification Plant expansion, the largest U.S. progressive design-build project of its time.
2018
Assisted Newark, NJ, replace 18,000+ lead service water lines at no cost to residents.
2020
Helped Westfield, Mass., pioneer a proactive approach to protecting its residents from perfluorinated compounds--PFAS.
2021
CDM Smith acquires Milestone Solutions to become the leader in road usage charging an transportation funding strategies.
2018
Assisted Newark, NJ, replace 18,000+ lead service water lines at no cost to residents.
2020
Helped Westfield, Mass., pioneer a proactive approach to protecting its residents from perfluorinated compounds--PFAS.
2021
CDM Smith acquires Milestone Solutions to become the leader in road usage charging an transportation funding strategies.
Fun Fact:
Safe in the Smithsonian
Dr. Thomas Camp’s books and technical papers are archived at the Smithsonian Institute.
Fun Fact:
Bogotá beginnings
Our first project outside the U.S. was a 10-year wastewater master plan for Bogotá, Colombia.
Dick Fox in blue shirt sitting in chair Dick Fox in blue shirt sitting in chair
Stand by your findings and serve your clients well. We've done it over generations and it's paid huge dividends.
Dick Fox Former CEO
Steve Hickox Steve Hickox
Why has this firm survived for 75 years? It’s the people. And we haven't been afraid to take risks. Having that attitude coupled with the best people in the industry: nobody's better than CDM Smith.