Facing a cash crunch linked to the default of a former subcontractor on a $54-million embassy contract in Taiwan, design-build firm Weston Solutions Inc., West Chester, Pa., has shuffled top management and plans a reorganization that includes layoffs, ENR has confirmed.
A spokeswoman for the employee-owned firm said on March 18 that William L. Robertson now is president and CEO. A board member, he had been CEO previously, from 1997 to 2003.
Weston won a $54.4-million design-build contract from the U.S. State Dept. in 2009 for the first phase of an office complex for the American Institute, which is based in Taiwan and represents U.S. interests there, a State Dept. spokeswoman says. The project had been set to finish last fall.
The State Dept. spokeswoman says it will be completed this fall but could not confirm if the current cost has risen. The second phase was won by American International Contractors Inc., Arlington, Va. The entire $222-million project will finish in 2015, the spokeswoman says.
Neither spokeswoman identified the sub, but a 2011 news report in Taiwan noted a contract dispute between Weston and Taiwan firm Wei Chuan Arch Contracting Co.
According to the Weston spokeswoman, arbitrators have ruled that the sub defaulted and that Weston is entitled to seek damages. Additional arbitration will determine the amount, she says. "Weston is seeking a substantial damage award," she notes, not specifying the amount.
In an internal email obtained by ENR, Robertson notes "a long way to go" before the firm can recover funds.
He notes layoffs and other restructuring steps "to make up for the cash that this project has drained" from the firm.
The Weston spokeswoman confirms the layoffs, but not the number. One former executive says there have been about 150 layoffs.
The spokeswoman also confirms the March 22 departure of Kathleen A. McGinty, senior vice president and managing director for strategic growth, to pursue a bid as a Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.
McGinty, who the firm says joined in 2010 to lead its green development business, also is a partner in a clean technology investment firm and is a former director of the state environmental protection department.
Weston ranks at no. 68 on ENR's list of the Top 500 Design Firms, with $171.2 million in 2011 engineering-construction revenue.