To cover graffiti, municipal officials in Australia have been slapping beige paint on many public spaces. That trend spurred the graffiti artists to “take their own action against the beige whitewash,” restoring the colorful urban art, as one website demanded. Brisbane-based engineering firm Cardno Ltd. is also in the process of adding color to its beige persona, expanding its traditional geographical reach and offerings and raising its low profile to become a bolder, world-class contender. Wrapping itself in red, white and blue, the firm is making a targeted foray into the U.S. market as a base for ambitious global growth and market diversification.
The strategy appears to be working. The 56-year-old engineer that struggled to keep its 200-person staff during Australia's mid-1990s recession has become a well-capitalized public giant with 4,200 employees in 160 offices in 72 countries. About 60% of the employees are based outside Australia.