PACE Introduces Its New Executive Leadership!

PACE Engineers introduces its new executive leadership. Marty Penhallegon, PE, is now CEO, and Ken Nilsen, PE, is now President. Phil Cheesman, PE, is now Executive Vice President, and Jon Turcott, PE, is now Vice President. Together, they will oversee all work of the four PACE offices, including 135 staff members.

After graduating from the University of Washington in 1971, Marty spent his first 21 years at a Seattle-based civil engineering company, where he progressed to President and CEO. In 1992, he left that company and founded PACE. Under his leadership, PACE has acquired eight firms, was voted one of Zweig’s Best Places to Work, and has been on the Puget Sound Business Journal’s top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Northwest eight times! In Marty’s role as CEO, he will oversee long-term planning (including future acquisitions) and the overall financial performance of PACE.

Ken joined PACE 25 years ago where he quickly became a firm leader. Prior to PACE, he was a pioneer in developing King County’s Surface Water program. Ken has more than 39 years of industry experience and has held many roles at PACE, most recently as Executive Vice President. While he specializes in solving complex stormwater and surface water challenges, He is known for his ability to understand how new and rehabilitated infrastructure and facilities fit into the built environment. Ken often brings opposing perspectives together for optimum solutions. As President, He will oversee the overall operations of PACE.

Phil joined PACE in the first weeks of Penhallegon, opening its doors 30 years ago. He started the land development department. With hard work and strategic hiring, he built a talented and diverse department regionally recognized for its land development solutions. Phil transitioned to oversee all of civil engineering at PACE 5 years ago and, through his data-oriented style, has guided the departments to the success we have today. In his development-focused career, he has specialized in the civil design of commercial business parks, K12 schools, and parks and trails. Phil has taken on a new role as Executive Vice President, focusing on collaboration between PACE’s four offices and multiple disciplines.

Jon has over 25 years of civil engineering experience. He joined PACE four years ago with the acquisition of Site Development Associates (SDA). His most recent experience is managing highly collaborative design-build projects. Jon earned a track record of solving unsolvable problems. At age 27, Jon co-founded SDA, a civil engineering firm which PACE acquired in 2019. His anything-but-typical career path has made him a great mentor to young engineers looking for out-of-the-box opportunities. He has focused expertise in stormwater management, utility design, and culvert and fish passage design. Jon has a track record of solving insurmountable engineering problems to the direct benefit of clients, the public, and the environment, including pushing the state of science in habitat restoration. As Vice President, Jon will lead PACE’s Civil Engineering Department.

Congratulations on the well-deserved new roles!



  1. AND…what a team! Wow, I can’t wait to see what’s next for PACE. The four of you are a remarkable team – so much respect for you! Congrats to all of you!