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Weekly Briefing: April 29, 2024

Week of April 29, 2024

ENR Releases Top 500 Design Firm List for 2024

  • From 2022 to 2023, global Top 500 design revenue rose 12.5% to $137.8 billion, reflecting a growing demand for design services. This increase underscores the industry’s pressing labor recruitment and retention challenges.

  • A study released by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Research Institute found that 51% of firms surveyed turned down work due to workforce shortages. As a result, 88% reported being more selective about the projects they accept.

  • Supply chain disruptions linked to global political and climate crises, along with higher loan interest rates set by the Federal Reserve, are driving up materials and construction costs.

  • The Top 500 Design Firms in 2024 have shown a shift towards integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations to complement design services, as a potential solution to ongoing labor challenges, rising interest rates, and supply chain disruptions.


Wage Growth Stalls in Q1, Fed Maintains High Interest Rates

  • The Federal Reserve is expected to hold its benchmark federal-funds rate steady at around 5.3%, the highest level in more than two decades.

  • The inflation in the first three months of the year was firmer than anticipated, which has likely postponed rate cuts for the foreseeable future. This could impact the cost of materials and services.

  • The Fed’s rate outlook hinges on its inflation forecast. If inflation continues to move lower but in an uneven and “bumpy” fashion, a delayed and slower pace of rate cuts is still possible this year.

  • A key measure of wage growth showed that a sustained cooling in wage growth last year may have stalled in the first quarter.

  • Fed officials could announce their plan to slow the runoff of their $4.5 trillion in holdings of Treasury securities, which are part of their $7.4 trillion asset portfolio. This could impact the availability of funds in the financial markets, which could in turn affect the AEC industry.

April 26, 2024

Clark Dietz, an Indiana-based multi-disciplined engineering firm, has acquired RS Engineering, a Michigan-based civil, structural, traffic, and construction engineering firm. The acquisition bolsters Clark Dietz's presence in Midwestern markets and strengthens both firms' career development opportunities. Wes Christmas, CEO and President of Clark Dietz, commented, "RS Engineering's expertise and reputation align seamlessly with our own values and objectives, enhancing our position as a leader in the industry. This opportunity not only strengthens our firm's capabilities...but also augments our ability to deliver innovative solutions to our expanding market in the Midwest."


April 30, 2024

Goldman Sachs Alternatives (Goldman Sachs), the alternative investments arm of The Goldman Sachs Group, has acquired a majority stake in Adler & Allan, a UK-based environmental risk reduction and advisory services firm. The partnership will accelerate Adler & Allan's growth plans both organically and inorganically through targeted M&A. Jose Barreto and Mihir Lal, from the Private Equity business at Goldman Sachs Alternatives, commented, "Adler & Allan has a 100-year heritage in supporting operators of critical infrastructure assets with their most complex environmental challenges...We have been impressed with the Company's leading reputation for high service quality, deep technical expertise and the breadth of their service offering."


May 1, 2024

Dunaway, an Ohio-based civil engineering, structural, landscape architecture, surveying, and construction inspection services firm, has acquired CRIADO & Associates (CRIADO), a Texas-based public infrastructure firm. CRIADO's 60 employees will join Dunaway's Dallas office and broaden the firm's capabilities through CRIADO's experience serving municipal clients. Kervin Campbell, Senior Vice President and Principal of Dunaway, commented, "The addition of CRIADO to the Dunaway team marks an exciting chapter in our growth story and is a testament to our commitment to vision. Together, we are poised to tackle even more ambitious projects, offering collaborative multi-disciplined solutions and unparalleled service to our clients and communities."


May 1, 2024

IMEG, an Illinois-based engineering and construction services firm, has acquired Rushing, a Washington-based MEP, fire protection engineering, lighting design, energy services, and commissioning firm. The acquisition bolsters both firms' growth across the Pacific Northwest. Paul VanDuyne, IMEG CEO and President, commented, "We are extremely pleased to welcome the Rushing team into our company and obtain their talent and expertise. IMEG has a long history in sustainable design and by blending both firms' MEP, lighting, and sustainable design capabilities with IMEG's full-service engineering design portfolio we have created a strong synergy for future growth. This ultimately strengthens our commitment to helping create positive outcomes for people, communities, and our planet."


May 2, 2024

Kimley-Horn & Associates (Kimley-Horn), a North Carolina-based engineering, planning, and design consultancy firm, has acquired VICUS, a California-based urban planning, design, and environmental consulting firm. The acquisition enhances Kimley-Horn's urban planning and development services and brings the entire VICUS team to Kimley-Horn. Jason Matson, Principal at Kimley-Horn, commented, "Monica and the VICUS team bring to Kimley-Horn a wealth of experience tackling complex urban planning challenges. Together with their focus on creating inclusive, transit-rich environments, we will leverage our collective skills and experience to drive positive change in communities across the country and redefine urban landscapes."

This week, Bohler spearheaded the "Cornhole for a Cause" event put on to support United Way of Northern New Jersey. The event was originally founded with Evos Construction as a cornhole competition between the two firms. Since its inception, the event has grown to include participants across New Jersey's AEC and construction industries and raised over $340,000. "Cornhole for a Cause" provides an opportunity for AEC clients and partners to come together to support their local community. This year, organizers aim to raise $100,000 from the event. The United Way plans to use these funds to support financial equity for households that are "asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed."


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