Thornton Tomasetti acquired Simon & Associates Inc. (S&A), a San Francisco sustainability consulting firm last month in a move that expands its West Coast and green practice footprint. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, follows Thornton Tomasetti's early 2012 purchase of Portland, Maine-based Fore Solutions, another green building consulting firm.

S&A is a six-person firm that will become part of Thornton Tomasetti's Building Sustainability practice, created last year with the purchase of Fore and headed up by Fore's founder Gunnar Hubbard. S&A founder Lynn N. Simon will lead the West Cost practice, collaborating with Hubbard and the firm's California leadership.

"We've been actively pursing opportunities to grow through acquisition and through adding key leadership both on the geographic and service side," says Robert DeScenza, president of Thornton Tomasetti. "Geographically, we're looking at where our existing services can gain some traction," including certain regions in South America, Southeast Asia and the Mideast, he says. On the service side, Thornton Tomasetti is interested in adding "non-commodity" practices that are compatible with and advance its existing practices, DeScenza says.

S&A is similar to Fore, he says, and the deal "brackets the country and gives us two key leaders who are well-known throughout the green world."

Both the S&A and the Fore Solutions purchases better position Thornton Tomastti in the sustainability marketplace, which is gaining traction both domestically and internationally, DeScenza says. "In new buildings, residential and commercial developers see an advantage to getting some sort of LEED certification," he says. "I expect that, within the next few years, the majority of commercial and institutional work will have some form of green building [standard] associated with it."

Meanwhile, other recent mergers and acquisitions in the tri-state region include Chicago-based Alfred Benesch & Co.'s purchase last October of Purcell Associates, Inc., a Glastonbury, Conn.-based civil, structural and transportation engineering firm.