After decades of steady growth, design firm Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson now is making more dramatic moves. During its 44-year history, the firm, based in Sparks, Md., earned a place among the region's largest design firms through consistent organic expansion. Last year, JMT took more aggressive steps, making four acquisitions that strengthened its Mid-Atlantic base and stretched into other areas. Thanks to its acquisitions and continued work on prominent Mid-Atlantic infrastructure projects, the multidisciplinary firm saw its 2014 revenue jump by nearly 20%.

Because of the firm's long record of success, its new strategic actions to expand business opportunities and its continued contributions to significant infrastructure projects in the region, ENR MidAtlantic has named JMT its Design Firm of the Year.

Strategic Plan

JMT's business path reached a milepost in 1995, when it developed its first strategic growth plan, says Daniel Cheng, the firm's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. That year, JMT recorded about $8 million in revenue and ranked No. 464 on the national ENR Top 500 Design Firms list. Five years later, revenue had climbed to $20 million, propelling the firm to No. 271 on the Top 500.

"We're aggressive with goal-setting," Cheng says. "Never being satisfied, [after 2000] we created JMT 2020, which is our strategic plan to grow into a national firm. We're working on that now."

A central component of JMT's original plan called for diversifying the services it provides and the markets it serves. In 1995, the firm was a highway and bridge engineer. Five years later, JMT had moved into aviation, marine, transit and rail.

At present, JMT is busy on high-profile transportation projects in the region. For example, it is the lead designer on the $390-million 11th Street Corridor project in Washington, D.C., as part of a design-build team led by a joint venture of Skanska and Facchina.

The project, which will provide a direct link between the Southeast Freeway (I-695) and the northern segment of the Anacostia Freeway (I-295), is the District of Columbia Dept. of Transportation's first design-build job and the largest construction project in the agency's history.

JMT's portfolio includes plenty of recent transportation megaprojects. It was engaged on portions of the $2.5-billion Intercounty Connector in Montgomery County, Md., which was completed in 2011. JMT now is a consultant on the $2.1-billion Midtown Tunnel project underway in Hampton Roads, Va.

The firm is also on one of the teams bidding to build the proposed $2.5-billion Purple Line—a 16-mile light rail system that would run between Bethesda, Md., and New Carrollton, Md. The administration of Maryland's new governor, Larry Hogan (R), is reviewing whether to proceed with that project.

JMT's notable transportation work isn't limited to megaprojects. Last year, it worked with Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation to test accelerated bridge construction techniques on a bridge replacement project in Lawrence County.

JMT's structural engineers, working with contractor Joseph B. Fay, Pittsburgh, developed a cost-effective 80-ft-long concrete arch bridge that could be completed in less than a month. The existing crossing was closed for seven days, and the new bridge was constructed in seven days, well ahead of schedule.