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Weekly Briefing: Jan. 8-12, 2024

Week of January 8, 2024

DOT Allocates $645M for Rural Infrastructure Projects

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $645.3 million to 18 projects through its Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program, aimed at improving highways, bridges, and tunnels in rural areas.

  • The largest grant award is $70.4 million for the Utah Department of Transportation’s Interstate 15 South Iron County Freight, Mobility and Safety Project to construct a northbound climbing lane and interchange improvements.

  • Funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, the program aims to address the poor condition and high rate of deaths on rural roads by enhancing safety and efficiency.

  • Despite this funding round, DOT received over $7.4 billion in requests from 174 applicants, indicating a significant demand for rural transportation project funding.


U.S. Inflation Decline Continues as the 2023 Year Closes

  • In December, there was a rise in core prices by 0.3%, indicating a slight increase in inflation which excludes the volatile food and energy items.

  • Last year marked a significant change in the economy as real wages, which are adjusted for inflation, saw an increase of 0.8%. This was the first time in three years that such a positive change was observed.

  • The Federal Reserve, observing the cooling down of inflation from historic highs, is likely to maintain the current rates steady for now and is contemplating the possibility of cutting them later in the year.

  • According to David Kelly, the chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, the most probable path for inflation from this point onwards is a downward trend, rather than an upward or sideways movement.

  • If the decline in inflation continues, most officials have indicated a preference for lowering rates. The market widely anticipates that the Federal Reserve’s next move will be to lower rates, with many expecting the first reduction to occur in March.

January 8, 2024

ALL4, a Pennsylvania-based environmental, health, safety, sustainability, and digital consulting services firm backed by JMH Capital Partners, acquired Whatcom Environmental Services Inc. (Whatcom), a Washington-based environmental services firm. The acquisition expands ALL4’s presence into the Pacific Northwest region and adds additional technical expertise to the ALL4 team. Colin McCall, Chief Technical Officer of ALL4, commented on the transaction, “The addition of a premium consulting team in Washington is another step in ALL4’s growth and a great addition to our award-winning culture. We are looking forward to connecting our new Pacific Northwest clients with additional technical expertise and bringing our regulatory knowledge to a geographic region with a quickly evolving regulatory and policy landscape”.


January 9, 2024

Stantec, a Canada-based sustainable design and engineering firm, has signed an agreement to acquire Morrison Hershfield, an Ontario-based engineering and management firm. The acquisition expands Stantec’s presence in most major Canadian markets and further strengthens its US presence in buildings engineering. Additionally, Morrison Hershfield will increase Stantec’s Canadian workforce by approximately 10%. Gord Johnston, President and CEO of Stantec, said of the acquisition, “Our firms have shared a mutual admiration over many years. Stantec and Morrison Hershfield have a similar history from our roots in the Canadian market, growing and diversifying services both by geography and service line. And, importantly, our values and culture are very well aligned”.


January 9, 2024

Verdantas, an Ohio-based firm backed by RTC Partners specializing in environmental consulting, sustainable engineering, modeling, and digital technology, acquired Peterson Brustad, Inc. (PBI), a California-based engineering consulting services firm serving the water industry. The addition of PBI strengthens Verdantas’s water services offering and its presence in the Northern California region. Karl Brustad, Principal at PBI, said of the transaction, “Our union with Verdantas is geared towards broadening our service spectrum, offering comprehensive solutions in flood control, storm drainage, and water resource management. This expansion will bring added value to existing clients in Northern California, allowing us to provide a more comprehensive set of engineering solutions to our clients”.


January 9, 2024

J.S. Held, a New York-based consulting services firm, acquired Forensic Resolutions, Inc. (Forensic Resolutions), a New Jersey-based forensic and investigative accounting firm advising law firms and insurance clients. The acquisition adds key resources to J.S. Held’s services to advise law firms and insurance clients in complex insurance claims, fraud and corporate investigations, forensic and investigative accounting, and economic damages and financial disputes. David Weiner, Executive Vice President at J.S. Held, said of the acquisition, “The addition of Forensic Resolutions expands our team of uniquely qualified economic damages and valuations experts and strengthens our presence in the Eastern United States. We are excited for what this addition brings to our clients as they navigate complex business problems and insurance claims”.


January 9, 2024

TRC Companies, Inc. (TRC), a Connecticut-based global consulting, engineering, and construction management firm backed by Warburg Pincus, acquired Critigen LLC dba Locana (Locana), a Washington-based developer of geospatial technologies software intended to serve government, utilities, commercial, clean energy, and construction clients. The acquisition strengthens TRC’s geospatial technology and location intelligence capabilities and expands their geographical presence to include the U.K. Christopher Vincze, Chairman and CEO of TRC, said of the transaction, “As we continue to build TRC into the top global, technology-forward firm, this acquisition further deepens our ability to provide end-to-end solutions, from advisory to design to asset management and everything in-between.


January 11, 2024

Atwell, a Michigan-based engineering, consulting, and construction services firm, acquired BEI Engineering Group, LLC (Banks Engineering), a Florida-based civil engineering, planning, and land surveying services firm. The acquisition strengthens Atwell’s resources and capabilities in Florida, especially in the Fort Myers and Port Charlotte regions. Ron Waldrop, Senior Vice President at Atwell, said of the acquisition, “We’ve worked with the team members at Banks Engineering for years and have firsthand experience of their excellent work and commitment to clients. We have added the outstanding professionals at Banks Engineering to our company because we want to continue investing in this market for the benefit of our clients and the success of their projects”.


January 4, 2024

Poole & Company, an Alabama-based architecture and design firm, has merged with Line Scale Form, an Alabama-based architecture firm. The merger brings the two well-known Birmingham entities into an expanded team and combines the experience and expertise of Poole & Company principals John Poole, Kyle D'Agostino, and Kelly Mullins with Line Scale Form former owner Bruce Herrington.

The Wade Trim Foundation recently announced its first wave of grant recipients. Five nonprofit organizations will receive $5,000 each to complete projects that align with the foundation's 2023 theme, Investing in Our Communities. The inaugural recipients include Chippewa Nature Center, Downtown Small Business Association, Heritage Park Petting Farm, Pepin Academies, and Tutoring Chicago. Their projects will improve local student education, fund holiday festivals, support wildlife education, and invest in campus infrastructure for disabled students.


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