Beton celebrates 9th anniversary as niche concrete consulting firm

Beton Consulting Engineers celebrated its 9th anniversary in February by expanding its office space and testing lab to accommodate the company’s growing services and staff. The company started with Kevin MacDonald, PhD, and has grown to eight full-time and two part-time employees.

“Beton started with a focus on concrete specifications, thermal modeling, and concrete production troubleshooting,” said Mary Vancura, PhD, PE, principal engineer and Beton’s second employee. “We’ve expanded to include petrography, new product development, non-destructive testing, specialized testing, and sustainable and resilient construction.”

Beton holds a niche in the concrete consulting field. Clients seek out the firm’s petrographic services for a microscopic examination of what went wrong with concrete, historic mortars, and grouts. Beton’s petrographer and material scientist, Mark Lukkarila also focuses on new product development, finding new sources of aggregate, shotcrete applications, and bagged goods.

The company’s larger lab allows Beton to conduct such specialized testing as durability tests, which determine how fast chloride ions can migrate through concrete. The lab staff includes Brad Ahrens, Samantha Prince, and Christine Snider.

“We’re currently working on making our lab ASTM Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory (CCRL) certified,” said Vancura. “We’re excited to expand our capacity for specialized testing and mix design development for state and federal projects.”

A few years ago, Julie Buffenbarger, a LEED-certified scientist, joined Beton, so the firm is now well-suited to help owners, architects and contractors produce fewer carbon emissions and waste to achieve net-zero construction goals.

“Julie can assist with calculating global warming potential for construction materials and help companies implement sustainable construction practices,” said Vancura. “It is possible to follow the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), which is starting to impact residential and nonresidential construction codes in other states.”

Finally, Beton has two materials engineers with excellent writing skills in addition to extensive knowledge about concrete. Rachel Detwiler, PhD, PE, writes our website blog posts and supports multiple consulting projects, project bids, and reports. Sara Shuga is a junior civil design engineer who most recently worked for a ready-mix concrete company.

Amid Beton’s growth, Lori MacDonald joined the company to keep everything running smoothly as office manager. She has a background in banking, education, and organizational management.