Firms participating in ENR California & Northwest’s annual Top Design Firms survey reported mixed 2020 revenue results due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but most say they anticipate growth in 2021 and into 2022 thanks to more government investment in infrastructure.
AECOM has topped the California region’s top design ranking for over a decade. The firm reported 2020 regional revenue for California and Hawaii of $761 million, down from 2019 regional revenue of $788 million. The firm ranks 8th in the Northwest (Alaska, Oregon and Washington) with $92.1 million in 2020 regional revenue, up from 2019’s $91.2 million.
AECOM’s Travis Boone, executive vice president and chief executive, U.S. West, says the Los Angeles-based firm is optimistic the industry will bounce back from pandemic impacts. AECOM has seen benefits from relief bills, particularly in transportation. Clients are spending significant received funds for job creation and infrastructure.
“As the conversations about an infrastructure stimulus bill continue, we are bullish on transportation and transit funding providing some strong backlog over the next year,” says Boone, who expects capital influx to brings added optimism for water and civil infrastructure. “We continue to expect growth in the energy market and further development of sustainable solutions to provide for resilient infrastructure.”
Stantec took California’s third place, up from fourth last year, with 2020 regional revenue of $371.5 million. In the Northwest, Stantec ranked fifth, with 2020 regional revenue of $115.6 million, 30% of which came from water projects. Sarah McIlroy, Stantec’s vice president and regional leader, U.S. Pacific, says the firm expects climate change and aging infrastructure to drive growth in energy transition, renewables and infrastructure.
HNTB Corp. held its 7th spot on the California list with 2020 regional revenue of $202 million, up from $178.3 million in 2019. In the Northwest, HNTB jumped to third from sixth, with 2020 regional revenue of $122.2 million, a rise from $98.3 million in 2019. Transportation accounted for all revenue. John Friel, Western U.S. president at HNTB, notes that transportation agencies paused major capital projects to assess the pandemic’s financial impact. “With minor exceptions, the programs are now moving forward again, although agencies are reprioritizing programs and projects as a result of the shifting financial status of their individual agencies,” says Friel. Tolling agencies are seeing the earliest return to pre-pandemic levels.
“The momentary pause did result in several future opportunities sliding into the second half of 2021, which will flatten the market until the fall,” says Friel, who expects federal assistance and an infrastructure bill will spur growth from fall 2021 through 2022 in all transportation market sectors.
Rashmi Menon, vice president and general manager of California offices at Burns & McDonnell, expects growth in all its California sectors. “The continued movement to sustainability and carbon neutrality is causing massive investments in renewable energy,” says Menon, who points to the increasing electrification of transportation fleets.