Here’s to Jim!

Founding Principal Jim Coughlin retired this summer after 28 years with the firm and more than 40 years in the AEC industry.

Jim’s career as a structural engineer is an impressive one. He feels blessed to have worked with the best owners, owner’s representatives, developers, architects, contractors, and engineering colleagues in the region on myriad projects. Jim served on the Bellevue College Foundation Board for many years, and serves his alma mater as a long-standing member of WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Executive Leadership Board. There, he established the Coughlin Distinguished Professorship in Structural Engineering. Jim has also been working with WSU Dean Mary Rezac’s committee dedicated to replacing or modernizing the Voiland College precinct on the Pullman campus. The first building, funded by corporate and individual donors and the state legislature, will go into construction in March of 2024. Jim also serves as a WSU Foundation Board Director.

One of Coughlin Porter Lundeen’s founding principals, Jim’s mark remains clearly on the firm. In the work we do today, we echo Jim’s dedication to quality and getting the details right. His approachability, sincerity, and willingness to help. His creativity. And even his craftsmanship!

As a master furniture maker, Jim fashioned his own workstation in the early days. And then created about 25 more! For several years, when hired on at Coughlin Porter Lundeen, building your own workstation was a part of the gig! Onboarding looks a bit different these days, but we love to think of Jim overseeing those builds.

With this news comes reflection about the firm’s growth and future. The journey it’s taken from Jim, Terry, and Steve’s founding vision in 1994, to a company of more than 100 strong, designing some of the most expansive, impressive, and inventive projects in the Pacific Northwest. Young staff and a growing team bring energy and fresh ideas, which are well complemented by the firm’s extensive experience and expertise in the Pacific Northwest’s key markets and jurisdictions. Through it all, the pillars and values remain constant, and the vision established in 1994 holds true.

We celebrate and honor this milestone, extend a heartfelt “congratulations” to Jim and his family, and recall his leadership, mentorship, and extraordinary career through the eyes of those who worked alongside him.

“A lot of ventures like ours don’t last more than five years. They’re killed by poor partnerships, egos, or greed, but that didn’t happen for us. We were, and continue to be, dedicated to integrity, solid engineering, and quality. Above all else, Jim was the quality control guy. I have hope that the things Jim has displayed – integrity, hard work, dedication to the details – trickles down to future generations of engineers here.
– Steve Porter

“One thing that’s special about Jim is that he has always been available for people to approach him. And he somehow gets more work done in a day than I get in three days! And still, as he’s working hard, he’ll stop and answer questions and help.”
– Terry Lundeen

“When you’re an engineer, sometimes creativity doesn’t come naturally. But when working with Jim, you saw things differently. Never was this more evident than in client meetings. He’s so great at exploring new avenues and saying ‘what if…’ He’s focused, disciplined, and a true creative mind – traits that have inspired me and those who were able to come up under his mentorship.”
– Chris Duvall

“When I graduated from intern to full-time at Coughlin Porter Lundeen, my desk was next to Jim’s. And there it stayed for 15 years. We worked on so many projects together, and so much of what I know about design comes from Jim. It was amazing. This firm wouldn’t be what it is today without him and his dedication.
– Cory Hitzemann

Congratulations, Jim. Thank you for your leadership, mentorship, and friendship. Cheers to this new chapter!