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History

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has a combined 130-year history, with roots in companies founded in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Over the years, dozens of companies based in these countries and internationally were merged to create the firm known today as WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

 

WSP | PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF TODAY

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is a globally-recognized engineering professional services firm employing 34,500 people.

In October 2015 we marked the one-year anniversary of the completion of the acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff by WSP. Other highlights in 2015 were the acquisition of MMM Group, one of the largest privately-owned engineering consulting firms in Canada and the acquisitions of Levelton and SPL Consultants in Canada and Faveo Group in Scandinavia. In 2015 the Corporation also launched its 2015-2018 strategic plan, which aims to support its vision to "Always be the first choice for clients, partners and employees".

HISTORY IN CANADA

In Canada, two engineering services firms, G.B.G.M. Ltd and Les Consultants Dupuis Côté, Inc. began operating in Quebec City in 1959. The two firms merged in 1987 to become Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc., which acquired two more companies at the beginning of the 1990s, thus establishing its multidisciplinary approach. In 1993, geographic expansion began with the acquisition of three firms in Montreal and the company name changed to GENIVAR. Between 1993 and 2006 GENIVAR acquired at least 30 firms, establishing operations all across the province of Quebec. The company also entered the Ontario market. Between 2006 and 2012, over 60 firms were added and GENIVAR became one of the largest professional services firms in Canada, with offices in all regions.

In 2012 GENIVAR acquired WSP, a multidisciplinary consultancy based in London, U.K, creating a professional services firm with 15,000 employees working in 300 offices worldwide. In January 2014, the company reorganized as WSP Global Inc. and adopted WSP as its brand. In the first quarter of 2014, Focus Group Holding Inc. joined the Corporation, strengthening the Corporation’s presence in the province of Alberta.

HISTORY IN THE UNITED STATES, CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

In the United States, the firm’s origins date back to 1885, when William Barclay Parsons founded the company that would become Parsons Brinckerhoff in New York City. Early projects included the design of the original New York City subway system and the Cape Cod Canal. Chas H. Sells, Inc. was founded in New York in 1925 and was acquired by WSP in 2007, becoming WSP’s transport and infrastructure engineering group in the United States.

WSP entered the U.S. market in 2000 through the acquisitions of Cantor Seinuk, a structural engineering firm established in 1953 and of Flack + Kurtz, a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering business founded in 1969. Environment & Energy, an environmental and energy consulting business established in 1986, became part of the company in 2006.

International expansion of GENIVAR began with the opening of a Caribbean office in Trinidad and Tobago in 2004. In 2012, WSP strengthened its presence in Colombia through the acquisition of Consultores Regionales Asociados CRA S.A.S. In 2014, the Corporation acquired Dessau CEI S.A.S., also in Colombia.

HISTORY IN EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, INDIA AND AFRICA (EMEIA)

Parsons Brinckerhoff in the U.K. traces its roots back over 125 years through three consulting engineering practices: MRM Partnership, Kennedy & Donkin and Merz and McLellan.

MRM Partnership, a multi-disciplinary consultancy first established in 1887, was acquired by WMX Technologies Inc. in the U.S. in 1993, and in 1994 became Rust Consulting Limited. Kennedy & Donkin, originally focused on power generation and distribution projects, was founded in 1889. In 1994, Kennedy & Donkin was also sold to WMX Technologies Inc. and became Rust, Kennedy & Donkin.

In 1995, Parsons Brinckerhoff acquired Merz and McLellan, another century-old power engineering consultancy, based in Newcastle. In 1997, Rust, Kennedy & Donkin and Rust Consulting integrated their expertise, and the company was purchased by Parsons Brinckerhoff in 1998.  

The William Sale Partnership was established in 1969 as a building services consultancy in the U.K. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1987 as WSP. Between 1990 and 1995, UK-based acquisitions added structural and civil engineering capability to WSP’s skills portfolio. From 1996 to 1999, acquisitions were completed in the U.K. and South Africa, and then in 2001 WSP acquired Jacobson & Widmark in Sweden and two smaller Finnish consultancies. In 2003, further acquisitions in Finland increased our presence in the Nordics.

Parsons Brinckerhoff has been active in the Middle East since the 1940s. From 2005 to 2006, WSP gained a meaningful presence in the Middle East with two acquisitions in the region. In 2007, further acquisitions in Germany and the Middle East reinforced WSP’s profile as a global consultant. In 2014, the acquisition of Technip TPS, specialising in building and infrastructure engineering, enhanced our presence in the French market.

HISTORY IN ASIA-PACIFIC (APAC)

In 1970, Parsons Brinckerhoff established offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and in 1978, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Hong Kong office was the first location established in Asia. However, prior to 1978 Parsons Brinckerhoff provided an alternative design for the first Cross Harbor Tunnel project in Hong Kong, which was adopted and the tunnel opened in 1972. During the 1970s and 1980s Parsons Brinckerhoff’s experts were instrumental in the development of the mass transit systems in Hong Kong, Singapore and later Taipei.

In 1995, overseas expansion of WSP began with the formation of WSP Asia and in 2000, WSP increased its presence in Asia. In 2007, WSP completed a further acquisition in Australia. In 2014, the acquisition of WINWARD Group, a specialist structural engineering consultancy, strengthened WSP’s presence in Australia prior to the Parsons Brinckerhoff transaction.

KEY DATES IN OUR HISTORY

2014    WSP acquires Parsons Brinckerhoff

2014    GENIVAR and WSP reorganize as WSP Global Inc., and adopt WSP as the corporate brand

2012    GENIVAR acquires WSP

2009    Balfour Beatty acquires Parsons Brinckerhoff

2006    GENIVAR is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as an income fund

1993    Three Montreal firms are acquired by Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc. and the company’s name is changed to GENIVAR

1987    G.B.G.M. Ltd and Les Consultants Dupuis, Côté Inc. merge to become Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc., based in Quebec

1969    William Sale Partnership is established in Surrey, U.K.

1959    G.B.G.M. Ltd and Les Consultants Dupuis, Côté Inc., begin operating in Quebec City, Canada

1885    Parsons Brinckerhoff founded in New York City