ABMB Engineers, a Baton Rouge transportation and engineering firm with 130 employees, has signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Stantec, of Alberta, Canada, the companies said Thursday.
Mike McGaugh, one of ABMB’s four managing principals, said the deal gives Stantec access to ABMB’s Gulf Coast market and its “continuous flow intersection” design concept. ABMB will have access to Stantec’s markets across North America and the wider array of engineering services it provides.
When the deal is done at the end of May, however, ABMB will become part of Stantec. It won’t be a subsidiary or operating unit, though the name change and other particulars will happen gradually. McGaugh said there won’t be any management or employment changes locally.
Stantec, he said, “has a philosophy that if a firm is in place, is well-managed and doing good work for their clients, they don’t disturb that. That’s another thing we liked about it.”
“With ABMB as part of our team, we’ll continue to strengthen our U.S. transportation practice and create a strong foundation for growth across the Gulf Coast region,” Bob Gomes, Stantec president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “ABMB has a reputation for innovation and thought leadership in transportation design, which makes them a great fit with Stantec,”
Stantec bills itself as one of North America’s largest full-service design firms, providing services in engineering, architecture, surveying, environmental sciences and project management for infrastructure and facilities projects. It supports public- and private-sector clients and has about 11,000 employees in 170 locations in North America.
The firm’s 1,150-person transportation group provides comprehensive planning, engineering and infrastructure management services for the aviation, bridge, rail, roadway and transit sectors.
Stantec trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol STN.
McGaugh said the deal has its roots in personal relationships through an unrelated deal about five years ago. When the two companies sat down and looked at a map, the union was obvious. Stantec had a hole right in the area where ABMB concentrated: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.
Stantec has an office in New Orleans and one in West Monroe, but those focus on geotech and pipeline work, respectively, so there was no overlap with ABMB.
McGaugh said Stantec was impressed with ABMB’s CFI design, which was put in place locally at Airline Highway and Sherwood Forest Boulevard. The concept moves turning traffic to the side to let cars driving straight ahead keep going. McGaugh said it is a more affordable alternative to other infrastructure-intensive solutions, such as ramps and flyovers.
ABMB has designed CFIs in states including Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas. With Stantec’s 170 offices in North America, “we can have a bigger audience for this idea,” McGaugh said.
He said Stantec has expertise in urban planning and landscape architecture that it can bring to local projects, as well as industrial and environmental engineering services.
“We’re hoping we can leverage some of that for our clients, too,” he said.
The Mayor’s Office issued a statement lauding the deal as an endorsement of the Baton Rouge area’s market potential and business climate.
“With the expertise of ABMB and the capacity Stantec brings to bear with its international reach, I predict Stantec will find this to be a growth center, and I join the local business community in welcoming them to Baton Rouge,” Mayor-President Kip Holden said.
Founded in 1985, ABMB has offices in New Orleans and in Jackson, Vicksburg and Madison, Miss. Clients include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Departments of Transportation in Louisiana and Mississippi; Baton Rouge General Medical Center; BlueCross and BlueShield; and a number of cities and counties.
ABMB’s recent projects include: site design and associated services for L’Auberge Hotel and Casino in Baton Rouge; the Interstate 12 widening project; the Liberty Road interchange and bridge near the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi; and design of new roadway interchanges in environmentally sensitive sections of two state roads in Mississippi.