Ifland Engineers

Our History

In January of 1962, Glen Ifland asked two of his brothers, Don, who had been working for an engineering firm in San Francisco, and Richard, who had been designing houses for the Westlake area in Santa Cruz, if they would like to start an engineering firm in Santa Cruz. Glen outlined the opportunities that he saw and said that he could get things started and Don and Richard could join him when the workload could support them.

In 1963, Gintert, Schwenne and Warne, an insurance adjusting firm, bought a lot at 125 Mission Street. They had hired our firm to design a new two-story office building for the site and asked whether we would be interested in moving into the building. On December 1, 1964, we moved into a brand new second-story office overlooking downtown Santa Cruz. There the firm continued to grow and in 1972 took over additional space on the ground floor doubling the amount of floor space. By then, the number of employees had grown to nine.

By 1976-77, the subdivision development in Santa Cruz County had reached such a pace that in those two years, we took in 34 subdivision design projects. It was during those years that we became the dominant land development engineering firm in Santa Cruz County.

Two structures which have become closely identified with Santa Cruz and are possibly the most photographed subjects in our city are the lighthouse on West Cliff Drive and the town clock at the head of Pacific Avenue. Designed by our firm in 1964, the lighthouse, along with Lighthouse Field, serves as a focal point for those enjoying the panoramic views of Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. The town clock, originally part of the Oddfellows building (seen here in a 1920’s era photograph) was moved to its present location in 1976 where it marks the entrance to Santa Cruz’ award-winning downtown area. Having provided the structural design for the clock’s tower, we are proud of our involvement in what is one of Santa Cruz’ most historic landmarks.

In 1979, we were hired to design a new two-story office building at 1100 Water Street. While performing the design the decision was made to move into the building as the new facilities would allow for the future expansion of the staff. 

In November, 1992, Richard decided that he could afford to retire from the business and turn his corporate position as secretary over to his son, Gary, who had joined the firm in 1986 and assumed control of the land surveying operations. In 1989 and 1993, Jim and Jon Ifland, Glen’s sons, joined the firm, building a second generation of Ifland's to guide the business into the future.

In 1999, a strategic decision was made to split off the surveying operations into a separate business entity, thereby allowing the design and surveying departments to more closely focus efforts on their respective areas of expertise. Thus, on November 1, 1999 Gary opened his new land surveying business as Gary Ifland and Associates (now Ifland Survey).  Although the businesses are now separate we continue to work closely together as a team to continue providing the services our clients have come to expect.

In 2008, after nearly 28 years on Water Street, we made the decision to move our offices to Live Oak Business Park at 5200 Soquel Avenue, a project for which we had provided civil engineering and mapping services.  This allowed us to consolidate staff that had occupied separate buildings on Water Street and grow the firm.

Since 1962, the extent of the methods used in providing engineering services has seen overwhelming revolution. The drafting tools have evolved from T-squares, scales, pencils, triangles and templates to electronic computer design and computer driven drawing plotters. Large clumsy rotary calculators and trigonometric function tables have been replaced with hand held computers.

From humble beginnings, Ifland Engineers is one of the most well-known and respected civil engineering firms in Santa Cruz County. It has been a fascinating journey. We look forward to continuing this adventure and hope that you’ll come along with us.

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