Engineering firms and engineering/architecture firms—those that earn more than 50% of their revenues from engineering—have their sights set on foreign shores. Many are jumping headfirst into international waters.
“Instead of overseeing projects from New York, our firm has established offices in Mumbai, Moscow, and other cities outside North America, aiming to overcome the challenge of navigating the local landscape or hiring practices, tax law, and business practices,” says Thomas Z. Scarangello, PE, CEO and Chairman of EA Giant Thornton Tomasetti.
Other firms are just dipping their toes into foreign waters, still looking for international business but choosing not to establish additional offices. Brad Harmsen, AIA, Chairman/CEO of BRPH, says that although his firm is actively working in locales across the globe, they’re partnering with domestic firms to do so, partly because of “the learning curve that comes when working with different currencies and legalities.”
SCROLL DOWN FOR GIANTS 300 ENGINEERING & ENGINEERING/ARCHITECTURE FIRM RANKINGS
Shanghai and Dubai are hot spots for E and EA Giants these days. Glumac, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, and Syska Hennessy Group have opened or expanded their offices in Shanghai. KJWW and Syska Hennessy opened new offices in Dubai. Thornton Tomasetti bucked the trend and opened offices in Beijing and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, while Arup Americas opened new offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, just in time for soccer’s World Cup in 2014.
Establishing an office abroad is one thing; getting the business is something entirely different. Referring specifically to the Middle East, Paul VanDuyne, PE, president of KJWW, says, “It takes approximately two years to develop the appropriate relationships, name recognition, and reputation to be successful in obtaining projects in this region.”
Despite the difficulties, an increasingly large share of engineering Giants’ yearly revenue is coming from international projects. Magnusson Klemencic President Ron Klemencic, PE, SE, says that 20-30% of MKA’s gross revenue comes from international business, while KJWW anticipates that 10% of its 2013 revenue will come from international projects. Syska Hennessy Group’s goal is to beef up its international activity by 25% over the next five years.
KEY ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
Beyond establishing an international presence, technology is also a crucial differentiator for E and EA Giants firms.
Syska Hennessy Group’s new Information and Communications Technology group is offering an expanded scope of services for organizations looking to upgrade their IT platforms with the latest technologies. “Our new offerings include tools and expertise to apply virtualization of existing client environments, data center relocation management, disaster recovery and IT security services, and network and Internet/intranet design and implementation,” said Co-CEO/Co-president Cyrus J. Izzo, PE.
Thornton Tomasetti launched a new Building Sustainability practice in January and now offers LEED consulting and administration, energy and daylight modeling, and sustainable business strategies. The firm also has an advanced computational modeling team; it leverages new technologies by developing custom digital tools that utilize generative and parametric modeling, which enables its engineers to collaborate more effectively with architects in the early phases of design.
HELPING CLIENTS FIND THE MONEY FOR PROJECTS
New financing solutions are also playing a part in E/EA Giants’ business strategies. With the U.S. construction market still in recovery, alternative financing methods are being sought out to help clients put together the dollars they need to complete projects.
At Syska Hennessy Group, public-private partnerships are on the radar. “We are observing an increase in P3 projects across geographies and market sectors,” said Syska Hennessy Group’s Izzo. “The first building being delivered as a true P3 is the Long Beach courthouse in California, which will top out this summer.”
Others are bringing on experts to find the money. Graef hired an economic development specialist, Ronald Van Straten, who has more than 25 years’ experience in helping mostly municipal clients seek grants, low-cost loans, and other funding streams for their capital projects, including tax increment financing.
HEAVY CONCENTRATION AT THE TOP 10 FIRMS
As is true of most of the categories in our Giants 300 rankings, there is a great deal of concentration at the highest level in the E and EA markets. The top 10 engineering firms generated 47% of total revenue for the category, while the top 10 engineering/architecture Giants generated a hefty 85% of the dollars in their group. +
|Rank||Company||2011 Total Revenue ($)|
|4||Syska Hennessy Group||98,744,701|
|6||KPFF Consulting Engineers||89,000,000|
|9||TTG/TMAD Taylor & Gaines||56,820,300|
|10||Smith Seckman Reid||53,497,000|
|11||R.G. Vanderweil Engineers||49,823,500|
|12||KJWW Engineering Consultants||43,784,892|
|13||Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers||40,100,000|
|15||TLC Engineering for Architecture||36,387,033|
|18||ESD/Environmental Systems Design||34,465,000|
|19||Rolf Jensen & Associates||34,300,000|
|20||Walter P Moore||34,231,775|
|23||Magnusson Klemencic Associates||32,306,973|
|25||Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch||28,836,967|
|26||Aon Fire Protection Engineering||28,200,000|
|27||Birdsall Services Group||27,500,000|
|31||H.F. Lenz Co.||22,799,000|
|36||Newcomb & Boyd||18,454,021|
|38||Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Eng.||17,650,492|
|40||Eaton Energy Solutions||16,694,769|
|41||Rutherford & Chekene||16,538,000|
|43||Joseph R. Loring & Associates||15,000,000|
|45||James Posey Associates||13,500,000|
|47||Lilker Associates Consulting Engineers||12,500,000|
|50||RMH Group, The||11,864,683|
|51||Peter Basso Associates||10,400,000|
|53||French & Parrello Associates||9,782,762|
|54||Bala Consulting Engineers||9,360,000|
|55||Allen & Shariff||8,610,036|
|56||Wick Fisher White||7,821,928|
|59||O’Dea, Lynch, Abbattista Consulting Engineers||5,900,000|
|62||Apogee Consulting Group||2,485,000|
|Rank||Company||2011 Total Revenue ($)|
|2||AECOM Technology Corp.||1,487,000,000|
|8||Science Applications International Corp.||185,390,000|
|9||Merrick & Co.||111,000,000|
|10||Day & Zimmermann||109,909,604|
|14||Burns & McDonnell||94,711,826|
|16||Michael Baker Jr., Inc.||80,730,000|
|19||Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates||64,080,000|
|20||Simpson Gumpertz & Heger||59,170,000|
|22||H&A Architects & Engineers||39,064,020|
|23||Walker Parking Consultants||34,422,898|
|27||Atkins North America||23,620,537|
|28||Ross & Baruzzini||20,377,769|
|29||Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon||20,100,000|
|30||Paulus, Sokolowski and Sartor||18,300,000|
|39||Davis, Bowen & Friedel||4,680,714|