Walter J. Pilch Engineering and Land Surveying (Pilch Engineering) was founded in 1968 by Walter James “Walt” Pilch. Walt was born June 14, 1926 in the coal mining area of Monarch, Wyoming to Polish immigrants John and Susie Pilch. During World War II, Walt enlisted in the U.S Air Force and served until the war ended. After the war, he attended Colorado State A&M (now Colorado State University) on the GI bill and graduated in 1951 with a degree in civil engineering. With his degree in hand and eager to apply himself, Walt went to work for the United States Bureau of Reclamation in north central Wyoming where he was able to prime his engineering skills while working on the planning phase of Yellowtail Dam and reservoir in south central Montana and facilitating electrical service into and throughout Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. He worked on several other significant Big Horn Basin projects for the Bureau of Reclamation before retiring from the agency in 1956. He then purchased Arrowhead Lodge, west of Sheridan, Wyoming in the Big Horn Mountains and did consulting engineering and surveying on the side.
In 1968, Pilch Engineering was born, and Walt’s timing could not have been better – Sheridan was transforming into a vibrant and thriving community. Coal mines were opening to the north, the railroad was transporting goods into and out of the Sheridan area and influential people were moving in from across the region, nation and world. With a small clientele and passion for business and real estate development (and being both a Wyoming professional engineer and surveyor), Walt spent his early years at Pilch Engineering cultivating relationships and building the business. It did not take long for Pilch Engineering to distinguish itself and it quickly grew into a very prominent and respected business in the region.
With the community taking notice to how hard-working and focus-driven the company was, notable projects and clients soon came to include:
Water, sewer and street design for the City of Sheridan;
Design and construction of critical public water supply reservoirs across Sheridan County, including: Park Reservoir and Dome Lake, as well as irrigation reservoirs on prominent legacy ranches, including the Padlock and Twin Creek Ranches;
Professional engineering consultation on projects for the Homer Scott family businesses; and
Development of subdivisions in Sheridan County, both personally and for clients, including: Scott Addition and Colony South.
To this day Pilch Engineering still proudly represents these clients and projects.
Pilch Engineering also has a rich history of community involvement and accolades. In 1979, Walt accepted appointment by Governor Ed Herschler to start the Wyoming Water Development Commission where Walt served as founding chairman until his retirement. He was an expert in the region for land development and many of Sheridan’s current subdivisions were either owned or designed by him. In 1988, Walt was named Businessman of the Year for his contributions to the real estate market. Walt’s accomplishments and service in the region included the Perkins Foundation, two terms on the Sheridan College Board, Wyoming Water Development Commission, City and County Engineer, State Board of Examining Engineers, Wyoming Engineering Society State President and First Wyoming Bank Board. In 1984, Walt was given Wyoming’s highest engineering honor when named Eminent Engineer of Wyoming by the University of Wyoming. Walt also trekked back to familiar grounds by serving as the commencement speaker at Colorado State University in 1984 for the College of Engineering.
Sadly, Walt passed away in 2000—but Pilch Engineering and its reputation for professional integrity and excellence continues. Thomas J. Pilch, Walt’s son, also a Wyoming Professional Engineer (PE #6262) and Geologist (PG #617), took over the business in 1994. Prior to that, Tom worked for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) in both the Solid and Hazardous Waste and Water Quality Divisions and at Chen-Northern as the environmental manager and project geotechnical engineer where he gained valuable engineering, natural resource and business experience.
Tom has carried on the great tradition and name recognition of Pilch Engineering established by his father. Through Tom, the firm remains to perform engineering as well as geological consulting services and continues to work on Park Reservoir and Dome Lake and projects for the Padlock and Twin Creek Ranches. Tom has also planned, designed and developed notable subdivisions in the Sheridan area, including Mountain Shadows. Additionally, through his professional geologist credentials and expertise, Tom has diversified the business by providing permitting and follow-up groundwater monitoring services for municipal landfills and many environmental sites throughout Wyoming. Like his father before him, Tom has continued Pilch Engineering’s numerous contributions to the community. He has served on the Sheridan County Conservation District, Sheridan County School District #2 and Whitney Foundation Boards; as well as State and National Boards of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Tom is also actively involved in youth sports by sponsoring and coaching local teams; and is a supporter of youth in 4H and the University of Wyoming’s Cowboy Joe Club.
Pilch Engineering and its core values—Professionalism, Integrity, Community Involvement, Loyalty and Creativity—are engrained in our culture, and our commitment to provide exceptional service to both new and longstanding clients remains true.