Aecom Technical Services

Specialties: Design and planning, environment, transportation, water, building engineering, architecture, energy, government, program management/construction management

Management: John Dionisio, Aecom CEO and president

Founded: 1990

Headquarters: Los Angeles

2009 worldwide revenues: $6.1 billion gross for fiscal year 2009

2010 worldwide revenues: $6.3 billion gross during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2010

Current projects (Seattle office): Snoqualmie Falls park and recreation facilities; Richmond, B.C., waterfront design; Joint Base Lewis-McChord Growth Coordination Plan; Navy Northwest Regional Integration Plan; WSDOT I-405 Corridor Program; Sound Transit’s University Link final design; DOE Hanford Reservation remediation; Lower Duwamish Cleanup feasibility study; BNSF Skykomish remediation

Photo courtesy of Aecom Architecture
Aecom designed improvements to the park at Snoqualmie Falls.

Charles Everett, managing principal/vice president, leads the design, planning and economics business line for Aecom’s Seattle office. Overall, he said it’s been a mixed market.

Private work is obviously down and some clients are still delaying projects. But the Seattle office is seeing a gradual recovery with an increase in bidding opportunities. There’s been a real uptick in federal agency work, especially in design-build projects, Everett said, with busy sections including the Navy, Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Everett sees federal work continuing, with work ranging from early planning to design and design-build. “There’s just a huge backlog of need there and a more reliable funding source.”

Much of that work is set aside for small businesses, so Aecom has been doing a lot of teaming with smaller partners. Teaming as a whole, Everett said, is a critical focus for Aecom, which has 48,000 employees in 100 countries around the world. To manage those employees, it uses a matrix system with regional leaders and global business line leaders. Everett said the organization allows Aecom to pull experts into a project locally, globally, from inside the organization or from outside it.

“We will put the right team together whether it is local experts who the client may like or different firms that we think add value to the project. We have no limitations about teaming and we often team with a number of experts if they’re the right person for the job.”

A few new hires

Overall, the Seattle office has remained pretty steady during the past year. Everett said his section has not laid anyone off and is looking to hire a number of people. The office has a lot of proposals it is waiting on, many in the transportation side that could allow the Seattle office to grow.

Everett said Aecom offices in the Pacific Northwest tend to be well diversified between private- and public-sector clients, which has helped keep things steady in recent years. The Seattle office’s work also tends to be driven by regulations and aging infrastructure so it is less reliant on growth than other offices.

One area that dropped off for the Seattle office has been resort planning, though it did pick up a resort project in Telluride, Colo.

“I think one of the strategies is to work regionally rather than just in your backyard,” he said. “Since we are a larger company, we can do that.”

Climate action plans

Aecom is being more strategic about new pursuits and has been collaborating more within itself.

Everett sees sustainable work growing in being both a requirement and an expectation. California requires climate action plans to make communities more sustainable and Everett said Washington and Oregon will soon do the same. Aecom is already working with the state and Seattle on plans. “It is not yet a legislative requirement but it will be before too long.”

Aecom recently acquired Davis Langdon, a global construction management and sustainability company, whose largest clients are the University of Washington and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Everett said the new business, which has a few hundred employees around the world, will help Aecom get more involved at the front and back ends of a project.

“We’ve certainly grown in the areas I’m involved in and continued to expand in niche markets like bringing Davis Langdon on board and project management/construction management. We see those as growth areas.”

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