Canadian Consulting Engineer

Giant U.S. Bechtel joins with Quebec consulting firm BPR

The international engineering giant Bechtel Group is poised to gain a firmer foothold in the consulting engineering...

June 21, 2002  Canadian Consulting Engineer

The international engineering giant Bechtel Group is poised to gain a firmer foothold in the consulting engineering industry in Canada. Last week it announced that it will combine with BPR Group of Quebec City, a consulting engineering firm established in 1961.
BPR has over 750 employees in 12 offices in Quebec, plus one in France and one in the U.S.
Bechtel, based in San Francisco, dwarfs the Quebec company, with its workforce of 50,000. Bechtel has previously been involved in engineering construction in Canada, including the James Bay hydroelectric project and the recent Suncor oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, but its joint venture with BPR takes it into the consulting field.
The new company is to be called BPR-Bechtel and will focus on the aluminum and heavy industry sectors. It will be based in Montreal and Bechtel has said it will relocate its North American mining and metals headquarters to the city from Denver. It also plans to make Montreal the home of its Centre for Aluminum Excellence, which will be a base for executing large projects worldwide.
Quebec is a world centre for aluminum with the giants Alcan and other companies based in the province. Riley Bechtel, chairm and chief executive of the family owned Bechtel Group, said that 1,200 jobs will be created in Montreal from the joint venture during the next few years.
Though they are initially concentrating on the heavy metal and industrial sectors, Riley Bechtel hinted they would be using the Montreal office as a platform for involvement in a wider field in the province where engineering has hitherto been dominated by firms like SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier. Bechtel’s website announcement says Bechtel “believes the company can plan an important role in helping Quebec develop other sectors of its economy, including power generation, civil infrastructure, petrochemicals and telecommunications. He also mentioned Bechtel’s success at forging public private partnerships, and said “We’re interested in contributing our expertise in any way that makes sense to maintain Quebec’s economic momentum.”
Bechtel’s web site lists numerous projects around the world, many of which are in the power generation, oil and mining sectors.

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2 Comments » for Giant U.S. Bechtel joins with Quebec consulting firm BPR
  1. Franco Vivona says:

    Why don’t you close or at least update this site? It is almost twenty years old and the information is obsolete. Bechtel no longer exists here in Quebec, or if it still exists, it has a nominal presence, with no major projects handled here. Its heydays were in the ’70s, with major projects like the Churchill Falls and James Bay Hydro-electric projects.
    As to the Quebec BPR firm, acquired by Bechtel more than twenty years ago, it no longer exists, after being investigated by a Quebec public Inquiry commission into organized crime for its involvment in a fraudulent kick- backs scheme in the award of public construction contracts.
    As to Tetratech, which had acquired BPR, officially it is still listed as having offices in Quebec, but all the links to these local offices bounce back to the corporate US head-quarters, a sign that the company is not active in Quebec..These links look more like empty shells, with the likely purpose of handling local business-related inquiries for this region..
    I just happened on this info because I am a former Canadian Bechtel employee in the 70s. I am now long retired , but just wanted to revisit, with some nostalgia, the times and places of my younger days: Canadian Bechtel was my first job in the early ‘70’s after immigrating to Canada and, I must say, Canadian Bechtel was one of the best companies I ever worked for and of which I have fond memories, especially for its employees relations style..
    With the James Bay and Chrchill Falls( Labrador) Hydro-electric projects , the Quebec economy was really booming in those days .. Canadian Bechtel was based on a 5-storeys buillding, with close to 500 employees, including managers, engineers, draftsmen and procurement personnel.
    Wth the rising French nationalism and the ensuing somewhat vindictive ousting of the English language in Quebec, tolerated, but with no official status, unfortunately Quebec is no longer what it was: with the exception of a few big multinationals like Bombardier and Rolls Royce. Montreal has turned into a string of warehouses serving the manufacturing facilities that have relocated to Ontario or other places in English Canada because of the official French-only government policy for companies operating in Quebec, which is a burden for foreign investors, at a time where English is the common language of business woeld-wide.
    Take care

    Franco Vivona

    • Peter Saunders says:

      Hello, Franco. The site is indeed constantly updated with news. You have found and commented on an item from 18 years ago in our archives.

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