- Two prominent Florida-based engineering firms with focuses on civil work have joined forces. Chen Moore and Associates, a civil engineering consulting firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has acquired Fred Wilson & Associates (FWA), a Jacksonville, Florida-based engineering company.
- The integration will add electrical engineering to Chen Moore's service offering, expand its reach into the Jacksonville market and bring the Florida DOT into its highway engineering project portfolio.
- With the acquisition, three of FWA's four managing principals, all members of the Wilson family, have exited the company, Chen Moore CEO Peter Moore told Construction Dive. The remaining FWA executives will continue to run FWA's transportation and electrical engineering teams.
The acquisition, which brings Chen Moore's employee count to about 105, means the company is "poised and ready for growth," Moore said.
"Fred Wilson really had a lot of the key measures that we were looking to do," he said. "We were already in south Florida and central Florida, and our goal really was to expand all the way into north Florida. And then from a service line standpoint, the fact that they did prime work for the Department of Transportation and electrical engineering, those were all skill sets that we didn't necessarily have in house."
The first electrical engineer in Chen Moore's Fort Lauderdale office started work in early November. The company intends to expand electrical engineering services across all offices in the near future, and conversely to extend its civil engineering, environmental engineering and landscape architecture practices into the Jacksonville area.
Chen Moore was most recently involved in the completion of a 7-mile-long, 48” redundant sewer force main in the City of Fort Lauderdale, built following a series of force main failures in late 2019. Its current transportation engineering projects include the statewide expansion of the Brightline (pictured above), a passenger rail system between major cities in Florida. The newly acquired Jacksonville team is working on roadway rehabilitation on Main Street in downtown Jacksonville.
“Our goal is to be an Engineering News-Record 500 company by the year 2025,” said Moore. "I think we're probably going to hit it in the next two years...But we're not growing for growth's sake, we're really growing to provide career paths and opportunities for our employees."
According to Moore, the firm operates on an 80/20 split of public sector and private sector projects, with many of the latter as public/private partnerships. The recent passage of the federal infrastructure bill will create huge opportunities for public sector investment in Florida — projects that would be a boon to Chen Moore's business, Moore said. However, availability of labor could affect the ability for companies like Chen Moore to execute on the work available to them, especially over the five-year period outlined in the bill.
"There's just not that many people that are willing to do something which is, honestly, it's a very dangerous job, [whether you're] building highways, you're building bridges or you're building large water or sewer systems," said Moore. "I really see that being the biggest drawback to trying to accomplish everything in five years."