Timmons picks up two N.C. firms

Timmons’ headquarters in the Boulders office park. (BizSense file photo)

A Richmond-based engineering firm is extending its reach in the Tar Heel State with a pair of acquisitions.

Timmons Group announced last week it has purchased two companies in North Carolina: Raleigh-based obs landscape architects and Elizabeth City-based E.T. Hyman Surveying.

Both deals closed Aug. 1. Terms were not disclosed.

Timmons CEO Brian Bortell said the deals came about from relationships forged with both companies. Timmons opened an office in Elizabeth City in March to extend engineering services in eastern North Carolina, and the company had collaborated on Raleigh-area projects with obs’s Brian Starkey, Bortell said.

“Brian Starkey has a landscape architecture practice down there that focuses primarily on public spaces, and we were really intrigued by the work that he had done,” Bortell said. “After getting to know him a little bit better, we decided to join forces, and he’s joining us with his entire staff.”

Brian Bortell

Brian Bortell

The obs deal adds five employees to Timmons, while the E.T. Hyman purchase adds three. Timmons employs upwards of 500 employees, more than 300 of those in Richmond. The company is based in Chesterfield’s Boulders office park and is active in all states in the continental U.S.

Bortell said the additions will allow the company to increase its services in those markets while also making those teams available to Timmons’ other offices.

Referring to obs’s focus in particular, Bortell said, “We feel like it’s going to help us provide a unique expertise associated with public spaces everywhere we have an office. We think that’s a service that can travel with the firm.

“As we grow in those other markets, we don’t provide all of the services there that we provide here (in Richmond), so a lot of times those projects require that we support them from here,” he said. “As those offices grow, it also helps us grow our Richmond office as well.”

Obs had been in operation in Raleigh for nearly 25 years. The company shared clients with Timmons, including NC State University, Wake County Schools, City of Raleigh and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. E.T. Hyman had been active in and around Elizabeth City for three decades.

The acquisitions are the latest for Timmons, which picked up Vogel Engineering in Maryland last year. In January, the company expanded to Texas, where it opened an office after recruiting an engineer in Dallas.

Bortell said Timmons is on the lookout for more deals but is keeping its focus on internal growth.

“We’ve grown much more organically than we have by acquisition,” Bortell said. “I don’t know if it’s by luck or by happenstance, but we seem to have run into a lot of really good people that, after they get to know us, have approached us about joining forces, and we’ve found that to be a good way to go.”

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