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Weekly Briefing: March 13-17, 2023

Week of March 13, 2023

This April 19-21, EFCG will host our 23rd Annual CFO Conference in Denver, CO!

As the only major CFO Conference in the AEC Industry, this event will provide the first view of the industry’s reported 2022 performance and 2023 projections, and delve into the major strategic and financial decisions CFOs are focused on today.

Visit our 23rd Annual CFO Conference page to sign up, see the agenda, and view the current attendee list. Please note, this event is almost sold out.

New Labor Dept. Program Aims to Promote Construction Workforce Diversity

  • The U.S. Department of Labor announced a new program to provide free assistance to construction contractors, subcontractors, and project owners in gathering diverse workforces for major projects funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

  • The program initially targets IIJA-funded projects valued at $35 million or more, with possible future expansion to projects funded by the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Commerce Department.

  • The program aims to offer equal opportunity and remove barriers for underrepresented communities, focusing on recruitment, hiring, and fair-employment practices.

  • Some industry representatives argue that the compliance assistance is misplaced and should be directed more towards small contractors.


Microsoft Adds the Tech Behind ChatGPT to Its Business Software

  • Microsoft recently announced it is incorporating generative AI technology from OpenAI into its Microsoft 365 suite of software, including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook.

  • The technology will enable users to create presentations, write documents, and summarize emails based on natural language inputs.

  • The main feature, Microsoft 365 Copilot, will offer users different options for rewritten text in Word, generate PowerPoint presentations from a document, and offer analysis and charting help in Excel.

  • Microsoft will start with 20 customers, including eight large US firms, and says it could take months to roll out the technology fully.


Extreme Storms Will Punish Cities That Aren’t Prepared

  • A report by the nonprofit First Street Foundation has warned that 13.4 million additional US properties will be menaced by hurricane damage within the next 30 years.

  • The report also predicts that the annual loss from storms across the country will increase by $1.4 billion by mid-century, with $900 million of that concentrated in Florida alone.

  • The report highlights the need for cities to adapt to a wetter and windier future, by updating building codes and improving stormwater infrastructure.

  • Accurate risk models are particularly important as the focus on private markets means US cities place a lot of emphasis on making insurance work.

March 13, 2023

SAM Companies, LLC (SAM), a Texas-based provider of professional geospatial and inspection solutions to customers across the utility, transportation, and broader infrastructure industries, has acquired Axis Survey & Mapping, Inc. (Axis), a Washington-based professional geomatics solutions company. The acquisition of Axis advances SAM's strategic growth plan by expanding its capacity, experience, and geographic presence in the greater northwest region. “As we continue to expand our client solutions and geographic presence, we are excited for Axis to join our team,” said SAM President and CEO, Chris Solomon. “Their excellent leadership will allow us to expand SAM’s geographic footprint to the Pacific Northwest. Expanding our reach to new areas will continue to serve as a key pillar of our strategic growth plan.”


March 14, 2023

Universal Engineering Sciences (UES), a Florida-based engineering and consulting firm providing geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, building code compliance, threshold inspections, and environmental consulting services, has acquired Faulkner Engineering Services, Inc. (FES), a Florida-based environmental services, geotechnical engineering, and construction materials testing firm. The acquisition of FES expands UES' service offerings in Florida, particularly for commercial, municipal, industrial, and FDOT projects. "We're excited to add Faulkner Engineering to our portfolio of companies," said UES CEO, Dave Witsken. "This acquisition bolsters our growth and development initiatives in Florida, and we look forward to having the Faulkner team as part of UES."


March 14, 2023

RMA Companies (RMA), a California-based provider of environmental consulting, geotechnical engineering, geophysics and subsurface imaging, pavement engineering, quality management, non-destructive testing, construction inspection, and product certification services, and portfolio company of OceanSound Partners (OceanSound), has acquired PRI Group (PRI), a Florida-based provider of third-party testing, inspection, certification, compliance (TICC), and other technical services to the asphalt/bitumen, building materials, chemical, construction/infrastructure, and energy markets. The acquisition of PRI will expand RMA’s TICC service portfolio and geographic presence in the Southeast and Midwest.


March 16, 2023

RMA Companies (RMA), a California-based provider of environmental consulting, geotechnical engineering, geophysics and subsurface imaging, pavement engineering, quality management, non-destructive testing, construction inspection, and product certification services, and portfolio company of OceanSound Partners (OceanSound), has acquired A.J. Edmond Company (A.J. Edmond), a California-based provider of inspection, sampling, and analytical services. The acquisition of A.J. Edmond will expand RMA’s TICC services to include analytical chemistry capabilities. “A.J. Edmond is one of the leading providers of mechanical sampling and analytical testing services for petroleum and solid fuel byproducts,” said Ed Lyon, CEO of RMA. Their strategic positioning in ports and refineries adds new clients in the petrochemical industry to supplement our range of laboratory testing services for critical infrastructure end-markets, following our previous acquisition of PRI. We look forward to providing these services and driving cross-sell opportunities across the RMA companies.”

Arcadis was recently named one of the world’s Top Female Friendly Companies, according to the results of a global survey by Forbes. The results are based on a global survey of 85,000 women working at multinational institutions in 36 countries worldwide. The feedback is used to identify which companies stand out for gender equality when it comes to career advancement opportunities, parental leave, and more. The final ranking also assesses female representation at the executive and board levels and how companies use their platforms and marketing messaging to promote gender equity.

Virginie Duperat-Vergne, CFO and Sponsor of Arcadis’ Global Gender Affinity Group, said, “As we pause to celebrate International Women’s Day this month, we are reminded that equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are deeply embedded in our DNA and are cornerstones of our global business, but we also need to remember how important it is for us as individuals to make an impact via our sphere of influence."


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