This year marks Anvil’s 50th anniversary. Since our start in 1971, Anvil has come a long way in our employee growth, expansion into new industries, and opening of offices across 5 states. Join us in celebrating by exploring our company history, major milestones, fun facts, and employee interviews.
Larry Levorsen founded Anvil Corporation on February 2, 1971 to provide engineering services to Pacific Northwest refineries. Larry traveled extensively throughout his career, including to Washington State. In the 1950’s he helped build what is now the Phillips 66 Refinery in Ferndale and the Marathon Refinery in Anacortes. He fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and was ready to settle down and start his own company.
Ron Vekved was Anvil’s first employee. Larry and Ron had worked together on projects in Alberta. Ron had family in the Whatcom County area, so Larry hired him to help establish a local engineering company. They opened a small office in Ferndale, WA. Initially, their goal was to provide small project, maintenance engineering for local clients. Since both were Civil Engineers they focused on “seeing stuff get built.” They hired a few employees, including a mechanical engineer and a designer and added more people to the team as work allowed. In 1972 they started offering Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) services to clients.
In 1974, Larry Levorsen and W.M. Snelson established Snelson-Anvil, Inc. to serve companies who were developing Alaska’s Cook Inlet and North Slope regions. Snelson-Anvil provided multi-functional professional and skilled-craft services. Many of Anvil’s engineers and designers worked on projects that built and loaded large modules onto seagoing barges. The Snelson-Anvil marine yard in Anacortes, WA was the largest private yard for major construction projects. It became a leading marine yard for fabrication and assembly of process plant modules for the oil & gas industry.
Larry believed that “Our work, not our words, speak for us. If you do good work you’ll be rewarded with more work.” Thanks to his knowledge and extensive industry relationships, the Anvil team grew and in 1977 moved to its current headquarters in Bellingham, WA. We’ve continued to build and establish our reputation for providing client-focused, multi-discipline engineering and procurement services. We currently have over 300 employees and 5 branch offices and serve clients throughout the United States and Canada.
Anvil Corporation is founded by Larry K. Levorsen in Ferndale, WA. Larry founded Anvil after 20 years of engineering and construction experience with refining and petrochemical projects in the United States, South America, and Canada. Larry selected northwest Washington State for Anvil’s headquarters because its location had easy access to several area refineries.
The ARCO Cherry Point Refinery was one of Anvil’s first major clients. Anvil’s focus was refinery work, but we also served local commercial and industrial clients. Anvil continued to broaden its work base and was eventually working in all 4 local refineries: ARCO, Mobil, Texaco, and Shell.
Anvil’s Nondestructive Examination Department (NDE) is established. The NDE Department specialized in measuring vessel and piping thickness and x-ray and corrosion monitoring for local plants and fabricators. Anvil also provided NDE inspection on many of the modules that were fabricated in Anacortes and sent to the North Slope of Alaska. The NDE Department was based in Burlington, Washington.
Larry Levorsen and W.M. Snelson established Snelson-Anvil, Inc. to serve companies engaged in developing Alaska’s Cook Inlet and North Slope regions. The Snelson-Anvil Yard produced and shipped 230 modules, totaling 83,000 tons, primarily for Alaska clients.
Anvil built its main corporate office building (Building “A”) and moved from Ferndale, WA to its current headquarters in Bellingham, WA. At that time, about 40 people from all disciplines worked in the main building. Anvil has designed and built all of its Bellingham campus facilities, which now has 11 buildings.
Alaska Anvil Incorporated is formed with a one-man office in Anchorage, AK. Alaska Anvil was a wholly owned subsidiary of Anvil created to better serve the needs of Anvil’s Alaskan clientele. From 1985 – 1987 the Alaskan Oil Industry suffered hard times and the office stayed small. In 1988, the market saw improvements and Alaska Anvil began to grow.
Anvil is awarded our first large project in Alaska for MAPCO Petroleum. This project includes a grassroots crude unit and gasoline unit. This was Anvil’s first large project outside of the Bellingham area. It was executed in Bellingham and accelerated our growth and allowed us to hire some key employees – many who are either still with Anvil or retired from Anvil after long and successful careers.
Awarded the ARCO Alaska Prudhoe Bay fuel tankage, fuel depot, and crude topping plant upgrade project. This project established Alaska Anvil’s presence and continued work in Alaska. It was the beginning of a long and successful relationship with ARCO Alaska.
Alaska Anvil continued to grow after being awarded and completing projects for two new clients: the Valdez Power House Upgrade for the Trans Alaska Pipeline and the Crude Unit Upgrade for Petro Star’s Valdez refinery.
Anvil became an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company. As Larry Levorsen was approaching retirement, he decided to sell the company to its employees and have them own the stock. He believed that long-term employees deserved a good retirement plan.
Anvil held the first of many blood drives on the Bellingham campus to support Bloodworks Northwest. This continues today and we’ve collected over 2,764 units of whole blood supporting over 8,292 patients.
Anvil engineered a major Gas Turbine Power Generation project on the Alaska North Slope. The project installed a Frame 6 turbine generator to provide 40 MW of generation capacity with power generated at 35kV and distributed to 3 central processing facilities. This was the first Frame 6 installed at grade on the North Slope, which eliminated a heavy steel-based substructure and significantly reduced costs.
Anvil completed two new grassroots drillsite and support facilities for the TARN reservoir in Alaska’s Kuparuk River Unit. Initial development was 20-40 wells, but 80 wells were developed. Detailed planning, efficient permitting efforts, and engineering, procurement and construction innovation enabled this project to progress from kickoff to production in 15 months.
Anvil completed the design of a Coke Drum Replacement project for a Washington refinery. Anvil worked closely with the constructor to develop rigging concepts and a lift plan to remove the four existing 26-foot diameter coke drums and replaced them with new 27.5-foot diameter coke drums. The designed structural steel changes allowed the drill deck and 4 derricks to be lifted in one piece.
Anvil revamped an existing FCCU by upgrading the Regenerator Cyclone System and increasing the regenerator’s tangent length by 10 feet. The project also removed and replaced all refractory in the regenerator and replaced the Flue Gas Line, including the expansion joint. This was one of our first major FCC projects and started building our reputation for FCC revamps.
Anvil completed a FCCU Revamp/Technology Upgrade project for a Hawaii refinery. Anvil converted an existing Exxon Model IV (circa 1950) design FCCU to a UOP Pressure Balanced Unit. The project included replacing the existing cold wall reactor with a new hot wall reactor. The reactor was built and shipped from Korea.
Anvil completed an Isomerization Complex project at a Washington refinery. Anvil completed all engineering services to support the new Isomerization Complex, which was designed to meet or exceed anticipated future clean gasoline specifications and provided an alternative to using MTBE to produce CARB 3 gasoline.
Anvil began a long-term relationship with Bellingham Technical College to help develop and sponsor students in their 3D modeling and Piping Design programs. The Anvil Corporation Scholarship was established in 2011 supporting students in the Engineering Programs at the college. The Anvil Corporation Endowment became ‘fully realized’ in 2020 – hitting the $25,000 level. This scholarship will benefit students for many generations to come.
Anvil successfully completed the Sulfur Recovery and Relief Reduction (STARR) and Sulfur Recovery and Tail Gas Unit (STG) projects for a Salt Lake Refinery. At the time, the client considered these projects to be in the top 25% of all of their capital projects worldwide. We executed these grassroots projects in parallel and proved our ability to execute large capital projects.
Anvil completed a Tier III Light Naphtha Hydrotreater project for a Washington refinery. Project included providing facilities necessary to allow a Pacific Northwest Refinery to reliably produce Tier III quality gasoline. This was an EPA compliance-driven project that reduced the amount of sulfur in gasoline production to less than 10 ppm. This project won the NWCCC 2018 Distinguished Project Award for Best Private Project Over $10MM and the Patrick K. Lyneis Memorial Safety Award.
Anvil completed a Refinery Wharf Improvements project for a California client. The project upgraded an existing wharf to bring it into compliance with the Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards (MOTEMS) in the California Building Code. This project installed a new Berth to replace the old wharf. It also included relocating and replacing some of the pipelines on the approach trestle to the new Berth.
Anvil reached 8MM hours without a lost time injury. This milestone took over 9 years to reach and is Anvil’s greatest safety milestone to date.
Fun Facts for 50 Years
Project Engineering Hours
Data collected from 1999-2020
Alumni & Employee Interviews
Anvil's greatest asset is and always has been our people. They are the key to our success and why we have made it to where we are today. Read about their experiences and memories from their time at Anvil.
RON VEKVED Former President & First Anvil Employee 1971-2003
Anvil Corp is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer. We are committed to cultivating a workplace in which diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, disability (physical or mental), marital or veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, or membership in any other legally protected class. We encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds to apply. Read the EEO is the Law poster here.