The technical details of a large public infrastructure project can often be too much for many people to grasp.
That’s where AE2S Communications comes in.
AE2S, which stands for Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, is a Grand Forks-based engineering company that created a new division at the beginning of the year for its communication and marketing services. While the company has been offering those services for years, it’s now making more of a push to market them externally.
The company’s work can be found across the state, from projects such as the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project and the Western Area Water Supply Project. Its website lists communications planning, public information, speeches, graphic design, social media and events as some of the services its provides.
Andrea Boe, communications practice leader at AE2S, said the firm is focusing on what it knows best by working with public agencies and economic development entities. She said they don’t plan on being a public relations or marketing firm “for the masses.”
“Infrastructure is not a very sexy topic,” Boe said with a laugh. “But it is vital to our communities. So it’s really important to communicate the value of infrastructure, why it’s important, why people should care about it.”
AE2S is in a good position to communicate that message, given its work on those kinds of projects over the years.
“Our team is really skilled at taking technical information and boiling it down to specific stakeholders and the general public,” Boe said.
AE2S Communications has grown somewhat “organically” over the past couple of decades, company CEO Steve Burian said.
“We had already put most of the pieces together in an effort to either brand or market ourselves internally or to help out the very specific clients who had asked for very specific services,” he said.
The firm’s executives determined they could do more and decided to put together a business plan for AE2S Communications. Boe pegged the creation of the communications division to the beginning of this year.
“What we realized is that for the things that we know — infrastructure, water, engineering — that we’re quite good at providing those services,” he said. “We’re probably not going to compete on a general level where we don’t have a unique knowledge base.”
That history of working on infrastructure projects helped it create marketing materials such as a “mini documentary” for the Western Area Water Supply Project, for which AE2S is also the engineer.
“I think with their knowledge of our project, working firsthand with it, and the expertise in their company has allowed them to promote our project in a positive manner,” said Jaret Wirtz, the project’s executive director.