Our Legacy

Commonwealth was established in 1988, following the closing of another engineering firm’s Jackson, Michigan office. Our founders had worked closely together on domestic and foreign electric transmission and distribution projects for many years out of the Jackson office. Rather than leave Jackson, this team of individuals took action to incorporate under a name – Commonwealth Associates, Inc. (“Commonwealth”) – that was, and is, well known and respected in the electric power industry. The group devoted itself to structuring a new employee-owned company with the intent of upholding the previous Commonwealth Associates, Inc.’s reputation for providing high-quality engineering and consulting services.

Other talented individuals, many of whom had worked previously with the founders, were brought in to add their expertise. The new company flourished and in 1992, Commonwealth opened an office in the state of Washington to serve clients in the western United States. Another office was opened near Atlanta, Georgia in 2008, followed by a Columbus, Ohio, office opening in 2012. In 2013, Commonwealth expanded again – this time with an office in Spokane, Washington, to serve the Mountain West and Canada. In 2016, Commonwealth expanded East, establishing a Lancaster, Pennsylvania office.

Today, Commonwealth’s staff of approximately 280 professional and technical employees represents one of the most skilled, experienced technical resources available to analyze, plan, design, and construct electric power generation and delivery projects. In addition to licensed engineers and engineering specialists, we have experts in environmental sciences, permitting, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), surveying, right-of-way acquisition, and construction management, many with more than 20 years of experience in their field of expertise. Many of our professional engineers are active members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, Edison Electric Institute, and National Society of Professional Engineers, which allows for interaction and collaboration with our peers and access to influence the conversation in the power generation and T&D industries.

Commonwealth’s methods and tools have evolved over the years to incorporate emerging technologies and meet new challenges, and our commitment to engineering excellence and client satisfaction has never wavered.

We’d love to see how we can support your project needs. Contact us today.

We've seen a lot of changes in the industry and have to remain agile to meet future challenges.

Dave Shafer, P.E.
Co-founder & Dept. Manager - Electrical Systems Engineering

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The Foote brothers experiment with an arc light generator at a mill in Adrian, Michigan.


The future firm’s engineering arm, essentially “Commonwealth Associates,” is established.


Jackson Electric Light Works is incorporated.


Trowbridge Dam is built near Kalamazoo, Michigan. It includes a 1.5 MW generator and 22 kV transmission line to transport the power into the town of Kalamazoo.


Brothers W.A. and J. B Foote, co-founders of Jackson (Michigan) Electric Light Works, design Rogers Dam near the town of Big Rapids.


Croton Dam is constructed on Michigan’s Muskegon River and features a new, extremely high-voltage (110 kV) transmission line. Engineers from Russia, France, England, Japan, and Italy visit the revolutionary line and meet its designers.


Commonwealth Power Railway and Light Company is formed.


Cooke Dam is built on the Au Sable River.


Following a series of public utility consolidations, the billion-dollar holding company, Commonwealth and Southern, is established.


Commonwealth Services, Inc., of New York and its subsidiary, Commonwealth Associates, Inc., of Jackson, are created.


Commonwealth goes international by establishing several overseas offices.


Commonwealth Associates is purchased by Computer Sciences Corporation.


After being acquired by Gilbert Associates, Inc., of Reading, Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Associates becomes Gilbert/Commonwealth.


Gilbert/Commonwealth closes its Jackson, Michigan office. In the same office, former Gilbert/Commonwealth employees start Commonwealth Associates, Inc.


Commonwealth opens its Pacific Northwest regional office in Mount Vernon, Washington.


Commonwealth opens new corporate headquarters at 2700 West Argyle Street, Jackson, Michigan.


Commonwealth constructs a two-level addition to its Jackson, Michigan headquarters.


Commonwealth opens an office in Atlanta, Georgia. Total number of employees exceeds 200.


Commonwealth opens its Columbus, Ohio office.


Commonwealth expands its power generation services.


Commonwealth opens the Spokane, Washington office to serve the Rocky Mountain region and Canada.

Our Team

For any and every project, a deep, talented Commonwealth team can come together to create the ideal solution. read more

Giving Back

With everything we do, we help make a transformative, positive impact on the world around us. read more


Services, Solutions, and Markets. read more