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AFTER ONLY FOUR years in business, Bonton Associates is drafting a reputation as the little engineering firm that could. Specializing in hydraulic and transportation infrastructure, this up-and-comer has taken on a large and impressive list of clients around the state.

With his background in engineering and public works consulting, founder and Principal Darius Bonton brought an array of tools to the table when launching Bonton Associates in 2012. Currently, Bonton’s two areas of focus are: hydraulic infrastructure design—the conveyance and collection of wastewater, storm water and potable water; and transportation infrastructure design—from sidewalks up to interstate interchanges.

The firm’s first job was for the East Baton Rouge City-Parish’s Sanitary Sewer Overflow program. Bonton’s management of force main pipeline and lift station projects did not disappoint, and Bonton has delivered a total of 22 projects on the SSO program to date.

Those achievements opened up opportunities beyond the SSO program. For instance, Bonton has teamed with global environmental firm Burns and McDonnell on revising the City of Shreveport’s water system master plan. It has partnered with engineering giant AECOM to deliver improvements to the East Bank Wastewater Treatment Plant in New Orleans. East Baton Rouge Parish has hired Bonton for four sidewalk projects, and BREC has called on Bonton to improve pavement and restrooms at various parks. 

And there’s no letting up. Bonton has seen exponential growth in the last four years and continues to grow through the solicitation of opportunities that can be delivered efficiently, effectively and with the utmost quality.

Part of the company’s secret to success, Bonton believes, is its “process-driven approach” to project delivery. “Process-driven” means utilizing a  standardized quality management approach to ensure consistency, minimize variability and improve product quality. Generally, larger firms have the means to offer a process-driven outcome.

“We have ways of executing our projects to ensure that we are not exposing ourselves from a burden perspective and that we are expending only the resources needed to implement,” Bonton says. “We have documented our processes really well.”

Bonton is also attempting to unlock the full potential of traditional engineering and design software in a way that few small firms ever have. The company’s BIM or “built information model” will allow projects to be completed from concept to delivery using one software program.

“We plan to package this technology and make sure our clients understand we have something different to offer,” Bonton notes.

Bonton’s savvy staffing practices further sharpen its competitive edge. Bonton and his wife, LaMiesa Bonton, who oversees the company’s back office operations, are currently the only full-time employees. Eight contract employees round out the team.  In an effort to work more efficiently and effectively, Bonton explains “as a small business we are required to think outside of the box and in order to support our growth plan we currently use a demand-driven staffing model, which means we permanently staff a core management team, but we hire additional staff on an as-needed, real-time basis.” “The goal is to reduce our overhead and pass those savings on to our clients.”

“Even though we are small, the way we do business allows us to add value to your projects,” says Bonton.

Always seeking to improve, the company is currently enrolled in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. “We are really digging into how we DO things and further define processes, we are challenging every aspect of the way we do business to see if we are delivering services in the best manner that we can, we want to work smart and we want those that need our services to know that,” notes LaMiesa Bonton.

As a minority-owned firm, Bonton is DBE-certified by the State and the City of New Orleans and Fair Share-qualified in Shreveport. Bonton holds the 8(a) certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration and as part of this year’s growth strategy is working to position the company to compete for federal government projects.

Meanwhile, the Bontons, both Baton Rouge natives, gratefully give back to their community. Besides having served on the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning and Zoning Commission, Bonton mentors Southern University engineering students and participates in charity events through his college fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Bonton also serves on the board of directors for the Shaw Center for the Arts and the associate board for City Year of Baton Rouge.

“We are small,” Darius notes, “but we are nimble. We deliver personal service, are hands-on every step of the way and we are serious about what we do. Our clients are confident in knowing that we are going to deliver.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Planning, design and construction administration of municipal hydraulic infrastructure and transportation, site/civil and program management

TOP EXECUTIVE: Darius Bonton

NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 10 (includes contract personnel)


PHONE: (225) 588-3843



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