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.
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.
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. He has been the design engineer on a multitude of whitewater projects including the National Award winning Hartland Dam Fish and Boat Passage, the Boise River Park, Gunnison Whitewater Park Replacement project, and South Platte River Run Park.
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.
Quinn earned his B.A. in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College and B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth where his coursework centered on fluid dynamics, mechanics and human-centered design. Quinn thrives at the confluence of his love for paddling and passion for creation; for an independent study in fluid-body dynamics, he designed and built a composite freestyle kayak. A certified EIT, Quinn holds several patents and is the inventor of the Mobile Virtual Player (MVP) robotic tackling dummy.
Quinn is a graduate of World Class Kayak Academy, where he returned to coach and teach Physics, Calculus and Media Productions to the next generation of elite paddlers. A lifelong kayaker, Quinn’s experience ranges from international freestyle competition to first descents, wilderness expeditions and everything in between.
Frances is a Civil Engineer-in-Training (EIT) who joined McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group in 2014. Since then, she has been involved with a variety of recreation and flood control projects. In particular, Frances has extensive experience using two-dimensional hydraulic modeling for recreation, ecosystem restoration, and floodplain applications. Frances is an avid whitewater kayaker who has a personal interest in the design of whitewater recreation projects. Frances graduated with honors from Dartmouth College in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. Outside of work, Frances enjoys spending time outside – either on the river in her kayak or raft, mountain biking, or skiing.