Who Is the Industry’s Most Innovative Acquirer?

Our Excellence in Acquisitive Growth Awards series recognizes the most accomplished acquirers in the AE and environmental industry. The series consists of three annual awards as follows:

  • Most Prolific and Proficient Acquirer: The 2023 recipient of this award is IMEG (ENR #71) in recognition of the nine acquisitions that this leading design firm made in the U.S. last year. The award was announced and presented at our Southeast M&A, Strategy, and Innovation Symposium in Miami last month. IMEG leadership chose the ACE Mentor Program as the recipient of the $1,000 donation that accompanies the award.

The application period for the Most Innovative Acquirer award opens today and closes May 5th. Eligibility is limited to those 350 firms that have made two or more acquisitions of AE or environmental consulting firms since January 1, 2018. Eligible firms are being notified this week.

To be considered for the award, applicants must describe a specific innovation that they have made in their deal-making or deal-integration processes that has resulted in measurable improvements. All applicants will receive a detailed, anonymized summary of the innovations and resulting improvements shared by the other eligible acquirers.

We will present the Most Innovative Acquirer award to the recipient at our Western States M&A, Strategy, and Innovation Symposium in June. The symposium will be held at the five-star Encore Resort in Las Vegas with over 200 AE industry executives and investors in attendance. In addition to the award, we will make a $1,000 donation to an AE industry-related 501(c)(3) organization to be chosen by the recipient.

If your firm has made two or more acquisitions since January 1, 2018, and you would like to be considered for the award, we invite you to complete the application below. It should take no more than 30 minutes to complete.

The recipient of the award will be notified at the end of May. As always, if you have any questions, please contact Corinne McCanse, Director of Events and Sponsorship, at [email protected].

You Know, Some of Your Websites Aren’t So Bad

I took a spin through a number of AE firm websites to see what’s new and interesting—and was heartened to find an industry getting increasingly serious about picking up its marketing game. That’s not to say it’s an e-sinless world out there. Cliches, unreadable blocks of text, and sheer blandness still haunt many a site, but overall, creativity and differentiation are on the rise.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll highlight some AE firm websites (in alphabetical order) that pop for one reason or another, starting with A-H:

AO (Architecture, Orange, CA, ENR #192): I could watch the time-lapse video of the modular project on the home page carousel all day. CLICK HERE

Atwell (Engineering, Southfield, MI, ENR #81): One of the more clear-headed websites I’ve come across. There are no attempts at poetry. It’s all concrete, meaningful communication. The website tells you what you need to know, and what you need to know is easy to find. CLICK HERE

Barge (Engineering/Architecture, Nashville, TN, ENR #171): The animation on the home page is smooth without being frantic. Everything is clean and crisp. The simple scroll with current jobs is smart. CLICK HERE

Becker Morgan
Becker Morgan (Architecture/Engineering, Salisbury, MD): Great videography on the home page. The drone shots highlight the firm’s projects really well. CLICK HERE

CDM Smith
CDM Smith (Engineering/Architecture, Boston, MA, ENR #23): The video on the home page emanates a noticeable pulse and beat without causing a headache. CLICK HERE

Crafton Tull
Crafton Tull (Engineering/Architecture, Rogers, AR, ENR #405): The first slide on the home page carousel (“100% employee owned”) says this is a people-first business. CLICK HERE

DOWL (Engineering, Redmond, WA, ENR #204): The home page leverages video vignettes to showcase what makes the firm’s people tick—and the kind of personalized experience clients can expect. CLICK HERE

DRMP (Engineering, Orlando, FL, ENR #228): The site effectively promotes the firm’s new strategic partnership with Trilon, setting the stage for a clear explanation of who it is, what it does, and how it does it. CLICK HERE

ESA (Environmental, San Francisco, CA, ENR #96 environmental firm): The spotlight features are insightful and humanize the firm. CLICK HERE

ETM (Engineering, Jacksonville, FL, ENR #322): ETM’s home page features a snappy video that quickly covers what life is like at ETM, from projects to the employee experience. CLICK HERE

Fisher (Engineering, Rochester, NY): “GivePower” feature is, well, powerful. CLICK HERE

Freese and Nichols
Freese and Nichols (Engineering/Architecture, Fort Worth, TX, ENR #104): The peppy “About Us” video showcases the firm’s energetic people and gives good insight into what kind of interaction a client would have with them. CLICK HERE

Garver (Engineering, North Little Rock, AR, ENR #102): The “invested” themed video on the home page succinctly captures what the firm is all about. CLICK HERE

GRAEF (Engineering/Architecture, Milwaukee, WI, ENR #369): DEI is promoted as a band across the top of the home page, effectively broadcasting the firm’s priorities in a way that can’t be missed. CLICK HERE

Hitchcock Design Group
Hitchcock Design Group (Landscape Architecture, Naperville, IL): The carousel on the home page is colorful, clean, and has some terrific photography. It’s interesting and fun. CLICK HERE

HKS (Architecture, Dallas, TX, ENR #43): The prominent positioning on the home page of meaningful, interesting topics set off with intriguing images tells me this firm gets marketing. CLICK HERE

Stay tuned next week for I through Q.

Need some pop in your marketing strategy? Call Mark Goodale at 508.254.3914 or send an email to [email protected].

Market Snapshot: K-12 Education (Part 2)

Weekly market intelligence data and insights for AE firm leaders.

Last week’s post featured overview, size, and outlook information about the K-12 education market. If you missed it, you can check it out here. This week we will cover drivers, trends, and hot spots.

  • Local and state government investments
  • Funding sources:
    • Local government property tax revenues
    • State income and sales tax revenues
    • Federal grants
  • Population growth and geographic dispersal
  • Demographics (e.g., birth rates, age, income)
  • The primary and secondary education sector has had to implement policies that accommodate challenges experienced during the pandemic. Design, construction, and MEP engineering will need to be consistent with many of the new operational guidelines adopted by schools, which may involve areas such as remote learning and infectious disease prevention programs. 
  • Health and wellness will continue to be a focus. Open-air learning spaces and natural elements incorporated to buildings will increasingly be used by school designers and builders.
  • More schools are focusing on the students’ abilities to connect to nature through the use of certain materials as well as leveraging and maximizing natural light and ventilation.
  • Energy efficiency will be another priority for schools. Many new materials and HVAC systems continue to become available and be improved to maximize energy cost savings. Additionally, schools may be interested in the use of their own and community renewable energy sources.
  • School transport is another area where infrastructure may need to be adapted to accommodate the fleet electrification implementation with charging stations and related facility improvements.
  • Demand for more advanced technology platforms is on the rise for schools not only for instruction and learning purposes, but also to enable safety. With that also comes the need for support with cybersecurity issues. These advancements may require efficient options for retrofitting facilities. 
  • A potentially feasible solution for schools to address technology issues is hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), as it reduces costs and complexity in managing storage, computing, and networking components.
Hot Spots
  • Remodeling and repair project opportunities in aging school structures, primarily in the Northeast and Central states.
  • Suburbs around metro areas experiencing high population growth. 

To learn what’s ahead for other markets, check out Morrissey Goodale’s 2023 Market Outlook for the AE Industry. Click here to access recording and materials.

To learn more about market intelligence and research services offered by Morrissey Goodale, schedule an intro call with Rafael Barbosa. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Weekly M&A Round Up

Congratulations to ARM Group (Hershey, PA) (ENR #150): The earth resource engineering and consulting firm acquired Brickhouse Environmental (West Chester, PA), a full-service environmental consulting and engineering firm. Brickhouse brings to ARM Group a team of geologists, engineers, soil scientists, water resource specialists, and related technical experts who provide services in environmental due diligence and compliance, site remediation, environmental permitting, solid waste engineering, hydrogeology and water resources, and expert witness and litigation support. We’re thankful that the ARM Group team trusted us to initiate and advise them on this transaction.

A busy week with 22 total deals: Last week saw 14 additional domestic deals announced in PA, NV, MD, NY, WI, VA, FL, GA, IL, CA, and DC. Overseas we report eight new transactions. You can check all of last week’s M&A news here.


Searching for an external Board member?

Our Board of Directors candidate database has over one hundred current and former CEOs, executives, business strategists, and experts from both inside and outside the AE and Environmental Consulting industry who are interested in serving on Boards. Contact Tim Pettepit via email or call him directly at (617) 982-3829 for pricing and access to the database.

Are you interested in serving on an AE firm Board of Directors? 

We have numerous clients that are seeking qualified industry executives to serve on their boards. If you’re interested, please upload your resume here.

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