Granite Construction Inc. said on June 14 that it completed its acquisition of global water management firm Layne Christensen Co., valued at about $536 million, including net debt assumption. About 2,000 staff join the new parent.


Granite CEO James H. Roberts said that adding Layne and the recently purchased LiquiForce pipeline firm will position the parent “to accelerate growth in the water infrastructure and pipe rehab markets.” Richard Watts, Granite senior vice president and general counsel, was named manager of the new water and mineral services operating group that includes Layne, LiquiForce and the underground unit of Kenny Construction. Granite bought Kenny in 2013.

The firm’s board of directors also elected as chairman Claes J. Bjork, a director since 2006 and former CEO of Sweden-based global contractor Skanska AB, and it named as a new director Jeffrey J. Lyash, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation. Also joining the Granite board is Alan Krusi, a two-year Layne Christensen director and a former unit president of AECOM.


Diane Stearns, associate vice president for research at Northern Arizona State University,  was named interim dean of its newly formed College of Engineering, Informatics and Applied Sciences. It will split this fall from the existing College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences. The new college includes the combined civil and environmental engineering and construction management department; mechanical engineering department; and School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems. The university now seeks a permanent dean. “A smaller, more focused college will allow for targeted efforts” in recruiting, research and student career preparation, says NAU. 

The University of Virginia School of Architecture has selected as architecture program chair Felipe Correa, associate professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and director of its urban design master’s program. His new role begins on July 25. Correa also founded and manages Somatic Collaborative, an architecture and urbanism studio based in New York City and Quito, Ecuador. His forthcoming book, “São Paulo: A Graphic Biography,” which probes the fast-growing Brazilian city’s design and socioeconomic issues, will be published in October.

Mark Lee, principal of Johnston Marklee, will chair the Harvard design school’s architecture department, effective July 1. He has taught at the school since 2013.

The Trump Administration on June 12 nominated Mary Neumayr to be chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, the key White House environmental adviser. An attorney and council chief of staff since 2017, she also was deputy chief counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee and served in the George W. Bush administration.

Neumayr’s nomination follows the February decision by the first nominee, former Texas environmental official Kathleen Hartnett White, to withdraw after her views on climate change sparked strong opposition during 2017 Senate confirmation hearings. Neumayr has “a reputation as a pragmatist,” said The Washington Post. The council, created in 1970 in the Nixon administration, coordinates environmental compliance across agencies. In the Trump administration, it has focused on streamlining infrastructure permitting rules.

Mike Myers was elevated to Southern California region president of McCarthy Building Cos. Formerly executive vice president, he succeeds Randy Highland, who retires in August. Myers, a former McCarthy project engineer, rejoined the firm in 2014 with its purchase of Castle Contracting LLC, of which he was chief operating officer.