NEW YORK — Transportation consulting company Sam Schwartz Engineering, PLLC (SSE) announced that effective Aug. 1, 2011, SSE is officially open for business with its new office in Los Angeles. The opening of the new office allows SSE to improve on the efficiency of its deliverables while ensuring on-the-ground first-rate customer service, the firm said.

“SSE continues to increase its footprint across the country, even in these tough economic times,” said Rob Phillips, SSE’s executive vice president and COO. “Los Angeles presents some unique urban transportation challenges, and we look forward to sharing our innovative ideas and being an important part of the Los Angeles community.”

In recent months, SSE has been providing the city of West Hollywood analysis of the draft environmental impact report regarding the Westside Subway Extension. SSE was also recently hired to assist in an operational review of LA Metro. SSE will be able to offer the same scope of services it currently provides in all branch offices including transportation planning, traffic engineering, transit consulting, safety, and civil design.

Heading the new office as vice president and general manager is Eric Widstrand, P.E., PTOE, who has nearly 20 years of transportation experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining SSE, Widstrand spent the last five years working as the city traffic engineer for the Seattle DOT where he oversaw various divisions from Neighborhood Traffic Control to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Program.

“When I first came across SSE at a conference not too long ago, I knew I wanted to be a part of their dynamic team,” said Widstrand. “I’m thrilled they felt the same way about me, and I’m honored to be playing a significant role in shaping SSE’s expansion to Los Angeles and other unique cities.”

The opening of SSE’s Los Angeles office comes roughly seven months after SSE expanded its Chicago-Midwest operations with the acquisition of Metro Transportation Group Inc, a transportation consulting firm based out of Chicago.