Life in Bellingham: The Perfect Juxtaposition

Life in Bellingham: The Perfect Juxtaposition

Mount Baker. Photo taken by Bret Macaleer.


Anvil has five full-service engineering, procurement, and project management branch locations. Set across Six different states, with employees working on-site at client facilities as well, we’re proud to operate out of Anchorage, AK, Bellingham, WA, Billings, MT, Concord, CA, Denver, CO and Salt Lake City, UT. As “One Anvil” we operate as one seamless organization, sharing resources as required to execute programs and projects across the country for consistent engineering services – regardless of location.

While our branches were strategically placed near major clients and cities, they were chosen for a far more important reason: the work-life balance they provide our employees and the abundance of nature and activities they offer.

Anvil’s headquartered in Bellingham, WA – the final major city before Washington’s border with Canada. Cradled between the shores of the Pacific Ocean and the slopes of Mount Baker, Bellingham is poised in the heart of the Pacific Northwest and is home to some of the area’s most exciting businesses and university.

As one of our planet’s most beautiful locations, there’s always something to see in Bellingham. Whether it’s a hike through Whatcom Falls – a set of wooded trails woven through a series of small waterfalls – or even a trip down Chuckanut – a beautiful, twisting drive along the cliffsides of the Salish Sea – the city offers an incredible selection of breathtaking views.

“My favorite thing about living in the Bellingham area has to be our accessibility to the mountains – my family hikes, backpacks, skis, and climbs near Mt. Baker,” Michelle Hawkins, Anvil’s HR Manager, says. “I’m also a big fan of exploring tidepools. During low tide, the sea animal diversity is incredible.”

Bellingham is home to a variety of rare wildlife – including these underwater creatures photographed by Anvil’s own Michelle Hawkins.


“Living in Washington, you really can be outside, pretty much all year-round. Although we do get a handful of hot days in the summer and cold days in the winter, it’s nothing compared to other areas of the country,” Michelle continues. “I also enjoy landscape photography, and nothing beats a Mt. Baker sunrise or a Mt. Shuksan sunset.”

Featuring its own unique collection of mountains, ridges and foothills, Bellingham is practically surrounded by highlands; with Mt. Baker to the East, Chuckanut Mountain and Oyster Dome to the South, along with the best of what Canada has to offer (Whistler, anyone?) to our North, fans of winter sports are truly spoiled in Bellingham.

“Skiing at Whistler, Baker, Mission Ridge, Snoqualmie, Crystal, and Stevens Pass – there’s just so much to do in the winter,” Ben Taylor, Anvil’s Control Systems Resource Manager, says. “Growing up I dreamed of skiing at Whistler, and now I do. The North Cascades have the most remaining glaciers of any state in the Lower 48, and the mountains here are just spectacular.”

Bellingham’s Mt. Shuksan photographed at sunset by Michelle Hawkins. Bellingham is home to a handful of mountains, ridges, and foothills.


“Throw in the occasional trip to Seattle for a Seahawks or Sounders game,” Ben continues, “and it really is a pretty great place to live – we have such amazing access to so many activities.”

As Ben alludes, if the traditional outdoors isn’t really your thing, don’t worry – Bellingham is uniquely positioned between two of North America’s most exciting cities: Seattle, WA and Vancouver, B.C.

With Bellingham situated about two hours between both cities, a weekend spent in Seattle or Vancouver is a great escape for anyone wanting to spend some time away from home, do some shopping, or even catch a concert. However, despite the luxury of lying between these two major metropolises, Bellingham is very much its own city.

The City of Bellingham – as of 2022, Bellingham is estimated to have a population of over 92,000. Photo courtesy of the Bellingham Herald.


Bellingham has its own art museum, the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, the Bellingham Music Festival, an Art Walk every month, Mount Baker Theater, the Pickford Film Center, and so much more.

A haven for students – Bellingham is home to Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, and Bellingham Technical College – the city often pushes cultural boundaries and is home to a plethora of exciting restaurants and breweries.

“I believe Bellingham was voted to have the most breweries per capita of all local cities,” Danny Kaiser, Senior Piping Designer, says. “In my opinion, Bellingham is the perfect size for a city. It’s comfortable, small, but there’s always something to do. I’m also a member of the Bellingham Golf and Country Club, which is only five minutes away from Anvil’s campus!”

Even with a youthful identity, Bellingham has become an increasingly popular destination for families to settle down in recent years.

A busy downtown Bellingham. Photo courtesy of the City of Bellingham.


“Bellingham is safe, has good schools, and provides children with plenty of room to grow and live,” Paul Duersch, Project Manager, says. “It’s a fantastic place to start a family.”

“My wife and I were drawn to Bellingham because we thought it would be a great place to raise our kids,” Jim Holien, VP Operations, Bellingham Branch, confirms. “We’ve loved our time here and the longstanding family traditions we’ve developed.”

No matter how you like to unwind, you can do it in Bellingham.

“It’s a nice place to be weird,” Bret Macaleer, Civil/Structural Workgroup Lead, lovingly jokes.

Adoringly nicknamed the ‘City of Subdued Excitement,’ Bellingham has the potential to be just about whatever you want it to be; a progressive city, an outdoor haven, or even a quiet town to raise a family – Bellingham will welcome you with open arms.

“Bellingham is the perfect juxtaposition between the hustle-and-bustle of city life and the serenity of the great outdoors,” James Song, Process Engineer, sums up.

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