Business Achievement: Mergers & Acquisitions


NV5 Holdings, Inc. (Hollywood, FL) for completing a series of acquisitions after taking the company public in April 2013. Through underwriter Roth Capital Partners, NV5 executed its initial public offering (IPO) of common stock, selling 1.61 million units at a price of $6 per unit, to provide a common of valuation for the company and to support its strategy of growing through acquisition. In its first acquisition since going public, it acquired Consilium Partners LLC, a Colorado-based program management firm. NV5 followed up this deal with the purchase of the Tampa office of Pitman-Hartenstein & Associates, a 10-person operation with strength in transportation engineering and a solid backlog. In mid-August, NV5 added Dunn Environmental, Inc. (El Dorado Hills, CA), a small provider of environmental and hydrogeology services to the northern California market, including major agro-business clients like ConAgra. And in November, NV5 acquired 68West, Inc. (Denver, CO), an infrastructure design, entitlements, and permitting firm that is being combined with Consilium Partners to provide turn-key civil planning, design, and program management services to NV5's public and private clients in the Rocky Mountain region.

TRC Companies, Inc. (Lowell, MA) for acquiring Heschong Mahone Group, Inc. (HMG; Gold River, CA), a 40-employee provider of building science, policy development, and program management services in the energy efficiency marketplace; the air emissions testing business of GE Power & Water, strengthening a practice that had been a foundational business for TRC and remained a core capability; the Covina, California, operation of Ocampo-Esta Corp., a power delivery engineering company; Utility Support Systems, Inc. (USS; Douglasville, GA), an engineering company providing technical services to the power utility markets; and the Energy Engineering Services (EES) operation of EMCOR. Altogether, these five acquisitions added 240 full-time employees and 250 on-call staff to TRC's operations and expanded its presence in California, the Midwest, and the Southeast.

Jacobs Engineering Group (Pasadena, CA) for successfully completing what may have been the largest deal in the environmental engineering industry in 2013-its acquisition of Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM; Sydney, Australia) in a transaction valued at $1.2 billion. SKM is a 6,900-person global consultancy, which generated revenue of approximately A$1.3 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of A$193 million during its most recent fiscal year. It provides consulting, engineering, planning, architecture, scientific, and construction management services to the mining, building, infrastructure, water, and power industries from 40 offices in the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. "The combination of Jacobs and SKM further diversifies our geographic offerings and the end markets we serve," Craig Martin, Jacobs' president and CEO, said when the deal closed in December. "We look forward to integrating the two companies and see many excellent opportunities ahead to support our clients, develop our people, and grow our business."

Louis Berger Group (Morristown, NJ) for its acquisition of Spanish engineering firm Apia 21, a Spanish firm with principal expertise in structural engineering but also with significant capability in planning and environmental engineering, at a time when the Spanish economy, along with the European economy generally, was struggling. When Apia 21 came on board in February 2013, employed about 400 people, including 250 to 280 in Spain and another 120 distributed among offices in South America, Central America, the United States, and the Middle East, according to James Stamatis, president of Berger International. Strategically, the addition of Apia 21 was meant to support Louis Berger's growing business in the Middle East and Africa. Apia 21 "understands how to work on the international market with international contractors, especially the Spanish contractors, who have a great presence globally," says Stamatis. "They've been able to help us come in and do a lot of value-engineering throughout the Middle East," and "they've been key components of some of our winning projects in the Middle East, the U.S., and South America."

Terracon Consultants, Inc. (Olathe, KS) for its acquisitions of three companies during 2013. In January, Terracon acquired Liesch Companies - Environmental Consultants & Engineers (Minneapolis, MN), a 50-employee environmental services firm. In June, the company added Florida-based Dunkelberger Engineering and Testing, Inc., a provider of geotechnical engineering, construction materials and inspection, environmental assessment, and building inspection services to the South Florida marketplace. And in August, Terracon picked up New England EnviroStrategies, Inc. (Concord, NH), an environmental consulting and water resources services firm employing seven people.

Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pasadena, CA) for completing three significant acquisitions that added more than 1,450 staff during 2013. The acquisition of American Environmental Group (AEG; Richfield, OH), a specialty waste management firm, brought on board more than 500 staff and approximately $95 million in annual revenue. AEG provides specialty environmental, construction, and maintenance services to industrial clients. Tetra Tech next acquired Parkland Pipeline, an Alberta-based company that serves the oil and gas industry in western Canada. Parkland Pipeline expands Tetra Tech's water and environmental services to the North American energy market with the addition of 900 staff and approximately C$140 million in annual revenue. Finally, Tetra Tech expanded its Brazil presence with the acquisition of Sao Paulo-based Applied Science Consultoria Ltda. (ASA Brazil), a 50-employee provider of oceanic modeling and engineering services primarily to offshore oil and gas companies.