The McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group, a Division of Merrick & Company, understands the challenging nature of dynamic whitewater environments on rivers like yours. We can redesign flowing water to provide hours of fun for anglers, waders, swimmers, surfers or boaters while meeting the needs of regulators, project managers and funders. Our team has been engineering whitewater and river restoration as well as providing strategic planning for the outdoor industry and grassroots advocates for decades. In addition, our team’s whitewater paddling experience includes national championships and international competition:
Rick McLaughlin, P.E.
Rick, a senior project manager with the McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group, has spent nearly thirty years practicing civil engineering as a part of a third generation family tradition. He learned whitewater fundamentals and worked on some of the earliest projects with the firm and the engineer who started the field of whitewater design in this country. Rick specializes in hydraulics, hydrology, design, and construction combining his passion for paddling and pursuit of engineering excellence.
He has made his mark on the design of whitewater parks and multi-use recreational civil projects by applying technical rigor to the challenging dynamic environment of whitewater design, physical modeling, river stabilization design and environmental protection. He holds patents on the Wave Shaper and the McLaughlin Chute Screen used to divert water almost undetectably by fish and whitewater recreationists. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University, an MS in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and is a registered professional engineer in over ten states. He has published numerous technical articles including five on whitewater design, and he has tested whitewater courses via a full scale physical whitewater model seven times.
Aaron Asquith, P.E.
Aaron, a senior project engineer, has more than twelve years of hydrology and hydraulic design and construction experience. Aaron received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, specializing in water resources and water quality investigations.
Prior to joining MWDG, Aaron worked as a field inspector for road and bridge work for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. and as a surveyor and engineering intern for City of Rapid City sewer, water and street projects. Since joining MWDG, he has worked as an inspector, project engineer and project manager for numerous water-related projects.
His current and recently completed projects include the whitewater park in Green River Wyoming, Malvern Arkansas, Raleigh North Carolina, a fish passage in Delta Colorado, whitewater improvements on the Susquehanna River near Holtwood Pennsylvania, a fish passage and diversion for the City of Lafayette, the Adventure Sports Whitewater Venue, and design and testing of physical models (including a roughened channel and full scale Coanda screen model) for the Placer County Water Agency.
John contributes his artistic design skills as an architect and experience as a competitive boater to the design of whitewater courses and recreational facilities. Anderson has specialized in whitewater recreation for the last twelve years and has worked with over 20 communities on whitewater recreation projects, dam removals, and river restorations.
His whitewater recreation projects include creative solutions to barriers to river boating: dam by-pass courses, stream bed modifications and dam modifications or removal. A former competitor on the US Whitewater Slalom Team, John has visited and studied major artificial whitewater courses in Europe and in North America. Simply put, John is the “art” behind the team’s award winning designs and outstanding courses.
Risa adds to her design engineering degree from Stanford University a professional lifetime of strategic marketing and product development (Procter & Gamble, M&M/Mars and Coca-Cola USA). She has spent a major portion of her career as a marketer and product innovator in the paddlesports industry for Perception Kayaks and Paddlesports Accessories, and Watermark. She has served as a leader of American Whitewater, the nation’s only river recreation-based conservation organization. Risa’s role is to develop and maintain the system of communication and collaboration among the variety of parties involved in river restoration or retrofit projects to insure stakeholder needs are acknowledged and met. She understands the needs of project advocates, river managers and municipal leaders and the importance of balancing immediate project needs with service to the resource and future generations.
Ben Nielsen, P.E., L.E.E.D. A.P.
Ben is a design engineer specializing in open channel hydraulics, recreational whitewater, fish passage, irrigation diversion, water distribution, pumping systems, and hydraulic modeling. He graduated with honors from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California with a BS in Civil Engineering. As a licensed professional engineer, he is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). His passion for kayaking, fly fishing and the river environment complement MWDG’s design focus and his technical expertise. Ben is an avid surfer, regularly traveling on surf trips to locales such as Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Hawaii. His expertise in surfing is a valued part of the team effort to provide river surfing opportunities. When not on the river, Ben spends his time mountain biking, mountaineering, and skiing. Ben’s love for the outdoors has led to his commitment to sustainable design illustrated by his certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D.) Accredited Professional through the US Green Building Council.
Brooke Seymour, P.E.
Brooke is a design engineer specializing in hydrologic and hydraulic design with a particular interest in whitewater recreation. Her experience includes a wide-variety of drainage and flood control projects, including hydrologic studies and hydraulic modeling of storm sewer systems, culverts, and natural and man-made channels. Brooke also has experience in infrastructure design for commercial and residential developments, floodplain analyses, and storm water management plans. Brooke graduated with honors from Colorado State University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. She is a member of CASFM and Engineers Without Borders. Brooke spends her free time enjoying the outdoors with snowboarding, swimming, hiking, and running.