Canadian Consulting Engineer

MMM and McCormick Rankin merger is union of long-time friends, says chief executive officer

Two of the best known Canadian consulting engineering firms who work in the Ontario transportation sector have join...

September 22, 2008   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Two of the best known Canadian consulting engineering firms who work in the Ontario transportation sector have joined forces.
On September 8, Ian Williams, chief executive officer of McCormick Rankin Corporation, and Bruce Bodden, president and chief executive officer of MMM Group (formerly Marshall Macklin Monaghan) announced a merger of the two Toronto-area firms.
MMM Group has 1,100 employees and is based in Markham, northeast of Toronto, while McCormick Rankin has 400 employees and has its headquarters in Mississauga. The two companies have worked on many projects together over the past decade, including Toronto’s Highway 407 extension, and the Fredericton-Moncton Highway in New Brunswick.
Currently they are working together doing construction management for the Toronto Transit Commission and on a major highway project in Algeria, which is a design-build project.
MMM’s experience in design-build and P3 projects, and McCormick Rankin’s expertise and their focus upon transportation is one reason for the merger. However, in an interview, Bruce Bodden of MMM, elaborated more on what prompted the historic marriage between the two Canadian engineering firms.
“For both of us it’s about building capacity and diversity — diversity geographically and by discipline,” explains Bodden. “The strategy was driven by wanting to become one of the strongest transportation companies in Canada.”
“Fundamentally you would describe McMormick Rankin as a focused company, focused on transportation and in a market that is principally Ontario. And they’re among the best in the business, I think. They’re absolutely at the top of their game.”
“I think we have both recognized that the markets are changing,” Bodden continues, “and that a lot of the large scale projects — including transportation projects — are being delivered through public private partnerships. So with us MRC can gain access to two things — the P3 market, and also geographical expansion into western Canada.”
“The other thing that is becoming unusual – and this was very important to MRC,” says Bodden, “is the fact that we’re Canadian and we’re privately owned. We are not a public company, we are Canadian, and we’re a major player in the transportation sector — among others.”
MMM has acquired 10 companies across Canada since 2004, among them Rybka Smith Ginsler in Ontario, and R.A. Duff and Quadra Pacific in Vancouver, which are firms focused on mechanical and electrical engineering. In the transportation sector MMM purchased ND Lea, which gave it a strong presence in western Canada.
Besides having its Mississauga office, McCormick Rankin has offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Halifax and Kingston, in addition to a branch in Edinburgh, U.K. Both MMM and MRC have offices in Ottawa.
As for the company names: “We will operate under MMM and under MRC,” says Bodden. “We’ll retain and promote the MRC brand, which is a platinum brand, but it will be identified as part of the MMM Group.”
It’s clear that Bodden thinks the companies are a natural fit: “We’ve certainly had the opportunity to work together over the last 10 years,” he says. “And in all the experiences we’ve had, we’ve never had a bad one working together. We are kind of the partners of choice. We like each other — it’s a simple way to put it.”
Ian Williams and Bodden will work together on integrating the firms, while Reno Radolli, President of MRC, will be in charge of the transportation sector in eastern Canada.
Bodden says that they will keep the different office locations (MMM has only just moved into a brand new building in Markham) and there will be no mass movements of employees. However, they may allow people to work from an office closer to home if it makes sense and to cut down on commuting.
Ecoplans, an environmental service company that is part of McCormick Rankin Corporation, is also part of the merger and it will continue operating under the Ecoplans name.

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