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Weekly Briefing: April 24-28, 2023

Week of April 24, 2023

Thank you to all ~150 attendees and speakers who joined this year's EFCG CFO Conference to engage on today's biggest financial and strategic industry challenges. To the 66 first-time participants and others who have joined us for multiple years now, we are grateful for your candidness and the new ideas you brought to each discussion. Special recognition goes to Shawn Cannon, Tom Butcher, William Crayon, Renan Anonce Pierre-Louis, Patrick Sheridan, Chuck Kemp, David Pavey, and Denis Henry who have frequented our conferences for 10+ years. Your contributions to these industry-wide leadership events have enabled further growth and opportunity for the AEC Industry. You are an inspiration to current and future AEC leaders! We look forward to what you will all bring to our 2024 CFO Conference from April 3-5! Early registration is now available.

With ESG being a growing concern for many in the AEC industry, we would also like to highlight Environment Analyst's new Net Zero and ESG leadership report for an assessment of how the world’s major environmental & sustainability (E&S) consultants are responding to the rapidly evolving climate and ESG disclosure landscape.

US Natural Gas Gets A Boost With FERC Ruling On Rio Grande LNG

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has reaffirmed its initial approvals for NextDecade's big new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility on the Texas Gulf Coast by a 3-1 margin, which will allow the project to move forward. NextDecade's CEO, Matt Schatzman, has confirmed that the FERC's decision paves the way for a final investment decision (FID) on the project.

  • The project has gained strong support from local leaders and the community due to NextDecade's commitment to environmental mitigations, and because the project is expected to create an estimated 5,000 jobs during the initial and subsequent construction phases, lasting for a decade, with a commitment to filling at least 35% of the jobs with the local workforce.

  • The facility benefits from its location near the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin, which have an immense natural gas reserve available, approximately 700 trillion cubic-feet of gas collectively.

  • NextDecade's plans for the LNG export facility have been under development for 8 years; if all goes according to plan, the first train of the facility could be up and running in a little over four years after the onset of construction. According to Schatzman, the company has received the green light and no further steps are needed with regards to obtaining permits from either state or federal agencies.


Small Towns Chase America’s $3 Trillion Climate Gold Rush

  • Generative artificial intelligence or AI technologies, including the highly popular ChatGPT, could expose around 300 million full-time jobs around the world to automation, a report by Goldman Sachs predicts.

  • The report added that although the impact of AI on the labor market is likely to be significant, most jobs and industries are only partially exposed to automation and are thus more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by AI.

  • Of all industries examined within the report, Office and Administration Support, Legal, Architecture and Engineering, Life Sciences, and Business and Financial Operations had the highest exposure rate regarding the share of work tasks that could be automated by AI.


Facing Engineer Shortage, ACEC Seeks Visa Program Changes

  • The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) has requested changes in federal workforce-related programs, including the H1-B visa, to help engineering firms attract and retain skilled professionals amidst a shortage of engineers.

  • With the U.S. engineering workforce already at full employment levels before new infrastructure projects were introduced, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, ACEC has suggested that increasing the overall number of H-1B visas and modifying the Optional Practical Training program could be beneficial for the industry.

  • ACEC also proposed a streamlined process for Material Change Amendments and supported expanding STEM education in the long-term, aiming to address the shortage of engineers, which is widely considered one of the biggest challenges facing the industry.

April 11, 2023

H.I.G. Capital, a Florida-based private equity and alternative assets investment firm, has acquired Tower Engineering Professionals (TEP) from Cognitive Capital Partners (Cognitive Capital), a Chicago-based private equity investment firm. TEP is a market-leading firm based in North Carolina, providing telecommunication engineering and construction services to customers throughout the United States and Canada. Cognitive Capital's focus on long term value creation allowed TEP to continually reinvest in the business, exemplifying Cognitive Capital's strategy of partnering with management teams to grow and develop middle-market companies, and creating value for shareholders and a broad group of employees.


April 24, 2023

Colliers Engineering & Design (Colliers), a New Jersey-based multi-discipline engineering, architectural, design and consulting firm, has acquired Rogvoy Architects, PC (Rogvoy), a Michigan-based architectural firm. This step reinforces Colliers' existing footprint in providing exceptional services to its clients while continuing to serve and expand Michigan’s architectural needs. It also establishes Colliers' third office in the state of Michigan, providing the firm with another important engine for growth. “Rogvoy has been dedicated to the evolution of the greater Detroit area for many years,” said Kevin L. Haney, PE, President and CEO of Colliers.


April 24, 2023

Brungardt Honomichl & Company, PA (BHC), a Kansas-based civil engineering and surveying firm, has acquired Savoy Company, PA (Savoy), a Kansas-based surveying firm. As leaders in their fields, BHC and Savoy embrace new technologies and value education, preparing for the next generation of land surveying professionals. “We’re confident in Savoy’s team and know they value their clients, their work, and their employees as much as we do,” says Kevin Honomichl, President at BHC. “Savoy has a deep rooted legacy and remarkable reputation as a premier surveying firm in the Wichita area and across Kansas. This new partnership is one of the best values we can provide to our customers.”


April 26, 2023

Atwell, LLC (Atwell), a Michigan-based consulting, engineering, and construction services firm with technical professionals located across the country, has acquired Dexter Bender & Associates Environmental Consulting (DexBender), a Florida-based environmental and marine consulting firm. DexBender works with private and public clients to provide services such as protected species assessment, wetland mitigation, preserve monitoring and compliance, state and federal wetland permitting, and other environmental services. “We’ve had the opportunity to get to know Atwell over the years, and we’re excited to join their team,” said Tyler King, President and Principal Biologist for DexBender. “We’re excited to add Tyler and the DexBender team to Atwell,” said Ron Waldrop, Senior Vice President at Atwell. “Their environmental expertise in Florida will allow us to better serve our clients as we continue to grow our capabilities to best serve their project needs. We have worked together for many years, so it was a natural fit for us to join together!”


April 27, 2023

RTM Engineering Consultants (RTM), an Illinois-based multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm, has recently merged with J&M Engineering (J&M), a Missouri-based structural engineering firm. Founded in 2011, J&M is comprised of a team of professional engineers and drafters providing a full range of structural engineering design as well as seismic engineering analysis, forensic investigations, construction administration, and permitting assistance. Over the years J&M has built strong relationships with clients and partners within the AEC industry. “With so many commonalities between J&M and RTM, we are confident that this merger will allow us to enhance our capabilities with existing clients, and also provide additional opportunities to our growing team,” said John Miller, Principal and Co-Founder of J&M.

This May 9-10, EFCG will host our annual HR Leadership Conference in Boston, MA!

EFCG has been hosting its annual HR Leadership Conference since 2010. Each year, HR leaders from across the AEC Industry come together to share their insights and lessons on HR strategies, policies, and metrics, as well as the impact of broader current events, while EFCG brings its extensive financial, HR, and compensation data and expertise in talent strategy and financial analysis.

Visit our HR Leadership Conference page to sign up, see the agenda, and view the current attendee list. Please note, this event is almost sold out.

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