Burns & McDonnell to acquire bridge design specialist
Burns & McDonnell to acquire bridge design specialist
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Burns & McDonnell to acquire bridge design specialist
06/16/2010 2 minute read

Transaction to acquire Harrington & Cortelyou, Inc., takes firm back to its roots in downtown KC.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Burns & McDonnell has reached an agreement to acquire Harrington & Cortelyou, Inc., a consulting engineering firm with a well-established national reputation for engineering design of fixed and movable highway and railway bridges. Based in downtown Kansas City, Harrington & Cortelyou (H&C) has been providing engineering and construction management services since 1907. The firm has designed and supervised construction of more than 800 bridges in Missouri, including several major bridge improvements in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The transaction is expected to be complete on or before June 30. At that time, 12 H&C staff members will join Burns & McDonnell and operate as Harrington & Cortelyou, Inc., a Burns & McDonnell Company. H&C will continue to operate from offices at 911 Main St. in Downtown Kansas City.

"Burns & McDonnell has traditionally not pursued acquisitions as a growth strategy, but this opportunity to merge with a highly respected firm with historic roots in Kansas City was too good to pass up," said Burns & McDonnell Chairman and CEO Greg Graves. "The addition of Harrington & Cortelyou makes perfect strategic sense for both firms. We see exciting growth opportunities going forward."

"This will be a terrific combination of expertise between H&C and Burns & McDonnell," said Benjamin J. Biller, associate vice president and leader of the Burns & McDonnell Surface Transportation Group. "H&C has a long track record of innovative bridge design, and Burns & McDonnell has an established record of success with design/build project delivery, which is increasingly the contracting method of choice in the industry."

"We are thrilled to be joining one of the most highly respected and successful engineering firms in the country," said Kevin Eisenbeis, PE, managing principal with Harrington & Cortelyou. "With this combination, we will be an even stronger player to compete for some of the signature transportation engineering projects that need to be done throughout our country."

Harrington & Cortelyou has been providing civil engineering design and construction services for highway, road and bridge projects since the firm's founding in 1907. For decades, its specialty has been design and construction of fixed and movable highway and railway bridges. Harrington & Cortelyou traces its origins to 1887 when John Alexander Low Waddell teamed with John Lyle Harrington to open a firm specializing in engineering design of long span and movable bridges. In 1909, the firm secured a patent for a span drive lift bridge that led to projects designing approximately two dozen vertical lift bridges, including the ASB Railroad bridge that once connected North Kansas City with downtown Kansas City before completion of the Heart of America Bridge.

H&C also designed and managed construction of the new Chouteau Bridge over the Missouri River and the new Missouri 291 span over the Missouri River connecting Sugar Creek and Liberty. Additionally, several bridges improving safety and access around Missouri's major lakes were designed and built by H&C.

This will be the second acquisition for Burns & McDonnell and the first since 1983. That year, Burns & McDonnell acquired the C.W. Nofsinger Co., a specialist in chemical process engineering. That transaction allowed Burns & McDonnell to enter emerging new markets in petrochemical refining and industrial processes and led to creation of its current Process & Industrial Group.

The transaction takes Burns & McDonnell back to downtown Kansas City after a 50-year absence. In 1898, founders Clinton S. Burns and Robert E. McDonnell opened a small office in the still-standing New England Life Building on Ninth Street. As the firm grew, it moved to several other downtown locations. In 1959, Burns & McDonnell settled into a large new building on East 63rd Street near Swope Park. In 1996, the firm moved into its current world headquarters at 9400 Ward Parkway, after the purchase and renovation of a complex that was originally constructed by Ewing Kauffman as the headquarters for Marion Laboratories.

Read the follow-up news release about the completion of the acquisition >

Read about Harrington & Cortelyou's bridge design expertise in BenchMark >

Visit the Harrington & Cortelyou website >

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