Best of Colorado News article on RMG

Rocky Mountain Group, architects & engineers aren’t just for skyscrapers.

 February 7, 2017

staff writer

INTRODUCTION – I’ve tapped into a sentiment in the public that believes architects and engineers mostly work on elaborate projects such as skyscrapers, water diversion projects (like moving West Slope mountain water from the headwaters of the Colorado River and diverting it to Colorado’s Front Range and plains – google The Colorado-Big Thompson Project).  Or Austin Powers like top secret aerospace campuses … But finally, we ran into a locally owned firm called Rocky Mountain Group that offers design-build solutions for citizens that are involved in a variety of construction projects including working with the first time homeowner. We like this because they are willing to sit down with everyday people. The purpose of this article is to learn more about one of Colorado’s most agile, pragmatic and innovative construction firms called Rocky Mountain Group who has offices in Colorado Springs, Englewood, Evans and Monument Colorado…this is precisely what we mean by the title COLO RAD OWNED™


BOC – Engineers and architects are among the first to get a sense of what types of projects are arriving in Colorado. What is your gut feeling as to the pipeline of jobs (quantitative ) representing people wanting to invest & develop in Colorado (relative to 2009 height of recession )

RMG – The recent increase in migration to Colorado has really been the catalyst to the boom in residential market along the Front Range. Rocky Mountain Group believes this trend will level off slightly, with an increase in commercial and infrastructure projects to support the increasing population. Additionally, the changing demographics, Millennials and 55+ Kids, is something RMG believes is a great opportunity for communities that share common grounds.

BOC – What makes your engineering firm unique?

RMG is really focused on each project, whether a single family first-time buyer or a large project with many technical challenges. We work with many residential homeowners and understand the importance to each family. We like to offer a unique line of services that covers all the needs of a home builder, from geotechnical, structural, to architectural design. Additionally, RMG is always looking for innovative solutions, such as the Tella Firma foundation system designed for soils with high clay content (expansive soils). A foundation that is elevated above the ground. RMG is always trying to bring innovative realistic solutions to the industry and homeowners. Provide a one-stop-shop for the critical points of building in Colorado’s unique landscape.

BOC – What is the 2017 greatest challenge for your firm?

RMG – Adjusting to our growth and the increased market demand! We are growing, and that is a great thing, but it does come with its unique challenges that require special attention to the market. One of the largest challenges is finding the type of qualified professionals RMG would like to have on board. We are happy to be a 30-year-old Colorado firm during these great times and are continuously looking forward to servicing the Front Range.

BOC – What is your plan to address the challenge?

RMG has recently acquired a local Denver boutique geotechnical firm with the objective of adding some great professionals onto the RMG team and help penetrate specific markets. RMG is looking to service complex projects which require added value engineering, know-how, and 30 years’ experience in Colorado.

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RMG Founder John Clarke’s interview was published in his Alma Mater – SCU – School of Engineering


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The Best Parts About Being An Owner


RMG Named “2016 NSPE Res Project of the Year”!

2016 NSPE Res Project of the Year

10 Things That Make Red Rocks the Most Amazing Venue on the Planet

10 Things That Make Red Rocks the Most Amazing Venue on the Planet

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If you live in or near Denver, or just love music, you’ve probably seen a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Listening to your favorite music with great friends, against the backdrop of the Colorado sky, is a memory many of us share.

Although having concerts played here since 1906, Red Rocks as we know it today wasn’t officially finished until 1941. The city of Denver purchased it from John Brisben Walker in 1927 and after construction began in 1936, it still took 5 years for it to be completed.

Here at RMG Engineers and Architects, we really appreciate the amazing geotechnical and structural engineering that went into making Red Rocks Amphitheater what it is today. It’s construction truly was a wonderful venture that not only created jobs for unemployed men during the great depression but created a place for Coloradans and all Americans to be proud of for decades to come.

There is more to Red Rocks than just these 10 things. There’s more to it than being an amazing engineering feat. Red Rocks is a place that Coloradans hold dear to their hearts. It is a place that makes them feel proud of where they live. John Hickenlooper, current Governor of Colorado, calls Red Rocks “a true icon for Colorado”.

In 2015 Red Rocks was named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. This was an accomplishment made possible by a 14-year effort by the nonprofit Friends of Red Rocks, a label held by 25 locations in Colorado.

Red Rocks Amphitheater is more than just a place, it is an experience. You can’t just take someone’s word on what it feels like to be surrounded by the red sandstone and the perfect acoustics that result from them, you have to be there. You have to feel it for yourself. It’s a feeling that almost all Coloradans know. And it’s one that they are proud of and love to share.

What’s YOUR favorite thing about Red Rocks? Let us know in the comments below!

Response: Male Engineering Student Perfectly Explains Why Female Classmates Aren’t His Equals

Late in 2015, Jared, a male engineering student, wrote a letter to the editor of his school’s newspaper, The Easterner.

It is addressed to the women in his engineering class and explains from his point of view why women “are in fact unequal”.

explains from his point of view why women 'are in fact unequal' #ILookLikeAnEngineer Click To Tweet

Here is the original letter from the newspaper:

Jared- Letter to the Editor

We decided to have Colette, one of our fellow engineers here at RMG Engineers, write a response. We think you’ll find it interesting. Here it is below:

To Jared Mauldin:


Dear Jared, thank you for your impassioned letter to the editor addressed to your fellow women engineering students. While I appreciate your sensitivity to our possible up-hill and unfair fights to become engineers, I believe this is what has made many of us become the professionals we are today.

I tend to agree with you that we are often overlooked in math and science because it’s thought to be too hard for girls. And, maybe, we had to study harder and perhaps put in more hours than our male counterparts based on our lack of back ground math and science skills established in our younger years, but I believe this has led us to persevere in our chosen field of study.

Having to overcome the “boys clubs” and the stereotypical pictures of females has helped us survive in a “man’s world” and, in turn, made us fight for recognition. Perhaps it is overcoming these certain obstacles that has made us stubborn and determined to succeed.

Having to overcome the “boys clubs” and the stereotypical pictures of females has helped us survive in a “man’s world” #ILookLikeAnEngineer Click To Tweet

We don’t need the acknowledgement of others to realize our successes and we take personal pride in our work and work ethics.

Jared, I am honored to be your peer and appreciate your awareness of our struggles. Maybe your letter to the editor will make more people cognizant of the hurdles women have in the math and science fields and they, in turn, may start to treat us as equals.


Colette Smith, P.E.

Colette Smith

Colette Smith is a structural engineer and works for RMG Engineers in Colorado. She has a Bachelor and Master of Engineering Degrees from the University of South Carolina.

Expansive Soil Foundation Concerns Solved With Tella Firma™ Technique

Colorado Springs, CO – A groundbreaking new building foundation system is being introduced to Colorado. This innovative system provides solutions for expansive soil foundation problems that are prevalent throughout our State.

Tella Firma™ Solves Century Old Expansive Soil Foundation Problems

RMG Engineers, a Colorado Springs-based architectural and engineering company, is the pioneer of the technique that is gaining fast recognition throughout the Front Range as a viable solution to a century’s old problem. RMG is excited to announce that the Tella Firma™ Foundations system is becoming the answer to most expansive soils problems. “Builders are constantly asking us for better ways to address our expansive soils problems,” says John Clarke, President, and Owner of RMG Engineers.

A new home is now being constructed by Vanguard Homes on this advanced new technique. The home will utilize the Tella Firma™ system in the basement and garage. This unconventional system, designed by RMG Engineers, lifts the foundation supporting the house off the ground from a grid of deep foundation piers, creating a more stable structure.

What Does An Expansive Soil Foundation Mean for a Building Project?

An expansive soil foundation contains clay that swells when it is wet and often shrinks when it dries, creating havoc for many buildings foundations. When RMG conducts a soils test on a future home site, they may determine that the soil has certain expansive characteristics that could affect a traditional foundation system. The most common solution in the El Paso County area is to recommend an over-excavation scheme which involves the removal of three feet or more of the expansive soil and replacement with non-expansive soil. “The conventional approach of overdigging these sites is getting more expensive every year,” says Clarke. However, to avoid this costly over excavation option and promote a more stable foundation for the new home, Vanguard Homes has chosen to incorporate this innovative foundation design known as Tella Firma™. This patented system greatly reduces the potential for foundation and slab movement caused by expansive soil by literally suspending the foundation platform above the troublesome soils.

How does Tella Firma™ Work?

The patented process works by installing a grid of deep piers designed for the anticipated expansion in the soil. A structural concrete slab floor is poured on top of the ground and then raised six or more inches above the soils with the use of specially engineered lifting mechanisms supported on the piers; this creates the desired gap from the harmful effects of the expansive soil.

Constructing a structural floor above expansive clay soil has typically been considered the best approach to maintain a stable floor. Most structural floors require crawlspaces that are difficult to ventilate and involve deeper excavations and taller foundation walls. Using a concrete structural floor eliminates these requirements. But in the past, it had been costly to construct concrete structural floors which require elaborate form systems that were necessary to support the floor above the ground. This process was limited to more expensive homes and commercial buildings. Tella Firma™ Foundations system offers a unique and patented approach by lifting the concrete foundation without the use of the form system (as described above) at a more affordable cost, significantly reducing the required material, labor and construction time.

Tella Firma™ Foundations system also utilizes a post-tensioning structural concrete floor that is based upon existing engineering principals that have been in use for many years in commercial buildings and parking garages. Adapting a similar fundamental approach, RMG Engineers, has designed a stronger structural concrete floor that requires fewer support piers, further lowering the cost.

This current project is a residential home that will utilize the Tella Firma™ Foundations system for the basement and also the garage. While Tella Firma™ is not the only foundation system for a new home; it is the most cost effective in terms of protection from our volatile soils. “This system has already been used on the highly expansive soils in Texas in over 1000 homes,” adds Clarke.

Colorado Foundation Solutions (CFS) is the only supplier of the Tella Firma™ lifting mechanisms in Colorado. CFS also provides cost estimates to compare Tella Firma™ to traditional systems and training of, or references for, installation contractors. RMG, or your engineer, designs these foundations through our elaborate finite element analysis software systems.

CFS and RMG will be demonstrating the revolutionary process at the Vanguard Homes building site in a local Colorado Springs subdivision. RMG will be providing tours of the home site to all interested parties. Engineers, Architects, residential and commercial Builders, General Contractors, Land Developers and future home buyers are encouraged to tour the site and observe engineering innovation take place.

About RMG Engineers

RMG Engineers is a multi- service line architectural and engineering firm, headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO., with offices throughout the Rocky Mountain Front Range. The firm has been serving the Western States and Mid-West for 30 years. Staffed with a diverse team of licensed engineers and design professionals who are committed to delivering the highest level of quality in design, land planning, and engineering services. Project experience ranges in scale from residential to large commercial structures, land planning, geotechnical, forensics and providing an onsite lab for materials testing. Whether it’s a brand new design for a building, land development, a renovation, a remodel of a living space, or an addition to their home, RMG offers personal service and innovative design solutions through close collaboration with everyone involved.

More About Tella Firma™ Foundations

Tella Firma™ Foundations is revolutionizing the way home foundations are built. Tella Firma translates “strong home” in Latin. The leadership team is leveraging a proven technology that was patented in 2011. Foundations with the Company’s product have been installed in Colorado and Texas.

Please contact RMG to schedule your tour or to learn more about how the revolutionary Tella Firma™ technique can solve your expansive soil foundation problems.

RMG Engineers
(719) 548-0600 –