Growing up in a family of developers, Mike Juneau fondly recalls trekking through construction sites alongside his father and aspiring to go into business for himself one day. After earning a geotechnical engineering degree from LSU in 2008, he started his career as a project manager at Professional Services Industries Inc., where he met Jason Engen, who joined PSI as a department manager after retiring from the U.S. Air Force. Juneau considered launching his own firm but the timing wasn’t right—he was young and didn’t have the relationships to make it work. In 2011, he began working for Southern Earth Sciences Inc. and two years later returned to LSU to pursue an MBA, all the while incorporating what he was learning into his business plan.
As fate would have it, Engen joined the Southern Earth Sciences team in 2015. Last summer, Juneau took a leap of faith and approached Engen about going into business for themselves. “One day it hit me—this is my time,” he says. “If I don’t do this now, I never will, and I’ll be damned if the stars didn’t align. Where Jason’s strong, I’m weak.” They founded Premier Geotech and Testing, aiming to fill what they perceive as a gap in the geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing industry. Rather than providing technicians who perform tests at a site and leave, they provide inspectors who are engrained with a project from start to finish, working hand-in-hand with property owners, developers and contractors. “What we’re trying to change is the engineers themselves and how they look at things,” Juneau says.
UP TO THE TEST
The firm serves a variety of clients from multiple industries, including commercial, LNG and light commercial. The diversity is by design. Juneau and Engen identified 10 clients from each sector to focus on so the company can withstand a slowdown in any given sector. “Our growth is not governed by the projects we can bring in,” Juneau explains. “It’s driven by the quality we can put out.” In the coming year, they plan on expanding their 23-person staff and increasing training for inspectors.