It was a banner year for design firms across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma in 2023, largely due to massive government spending and energy construction investment.

ENR’s regional Top Design Firms survey shows companies with familiar names dominating the top 10 spots—reporting a total of well over $2.3 billion in revenue in 2023, up slightly from the previous year.

Nearly three years after enactment of federal legislation targeted to fund domestic infrastructure upgrades and expansions, investment is filtering to states in the region. In addition, energy owners and developers are boosting spending on new and improved facilities.

Firm Revenue

In South Texas, two giant liquefied natural gas facilities are under construction. More are on the way, pending the outcome of the recent U.S. Energy Dept. facility approval pause that likely will last into early 2025. The new LNG terminals now being built in Texas total around $20 billion, according to ENR’s Top Starts rankings.

Average regional revenue for design firms in 2023 was $92.93 million for the 95 firms reporting this year—up from $83.22 million one year prior and well above the $43.51 million reported a decade ago. Responding firms posted a total of $8.7 billion in revenue last year, inching up from nearly $8.1 billion in 2022, the survey found.

Louisiana and the Port of New Orleans

Louisiana and the Port of New Orleans are set to start construction next year on an estimated $1.8-billion international port terminal on a 1,200-acre site in St. Bernard’s Parish that could be used by ultra-large container ships.
Rendering courtesy Port of New Orleans

But design firms continue to face challenges in finding qualified talent to execute revenue-producing work. One vice president told ENR of a Boston Consulting Group study reporting that one in three engineering jobs could remain unfilled until 2030.

“Efforts to bridge the gap today face a number of hurdles, including a struggle to increase diversity and inclusion, insufficient reskilling and upskilling efforts and limited coordination,” the consultant’s analysis said.