As for major acquisition targets, firms with expertise in energy, particularly natural gas, and/or environmental sustainability are particularly attractive now, he adds.
Recent deals that appear to have capitalized on those trends are Albany-based CHA Consulting's purchase of Boston-based Coler & Colantonio, a 175-person firm whose services include energy infrastructure, land development, environmental and water and wastewater design and operation. Also, New York-based Thornton Tomasetti acquired San Francisco-based Simon & Associates, a six-person firm that will become part of Thornton Tomasetti's building sustainability practice.
New Law Aimed at Improving MWBE Opportunities
Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently signed into law Introduction 911-A, aimed at improving opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) in New York City by eliminating the $1-million cap on program eligible contracts set forth by a 2005 law. The new legislation, which was signed on Jan. 7, calls for increased city procurement contracts in areas of goods, professional services, construction, standard services and architectural and engineering services. This is estimated to increase the total value of MWBE contracts from $433 million to a projected $2.2 billion.
The legislation also calls for the establishment of a tracking system for contracts, tighter procedures to weed out non-compliant MWBE firms and more on-site visits for pre-certification while allowing cross-certification from other governmental agencies.
Lhota Announces Bid for Mayor; Praises MTA's Post-Sandy Efforts
Former chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Joseph Lhota used a Jan. 14 New York Building Congress (NYBC) luncheon in New York to announce his plans to run for mayor.
"I would not have left the MTA—a job and a position that I love—if I was not going to run for mayor of New York," says Lhota, who resigned from the agency on Dec. 31, 2012.
Most of Lhota's speech, however, focused on MTA's restoration of the city's 108-year-old transit system in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. "MTA is so much better than the reputation that it has," Lhota says, adding that it is unfortunate that it took a tragedy to change public perception. The agency did not lose any rail stock or equipment during the storm, he adds.
Lhota credits what he calls "first-rate planning and great implementation" for MTA's ability to quickly restore the "circulatory system of the entire economy of New York City" in increments, with buses up and running in just seven hours and the subway in 36 hours after the storm. MTA was the first government agency to fill out Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) forms and the first to get money, he says.
Sandy showed the city's vulnerability, Lhota says. Without the city's subway tunnels, the 14-ft surge of water that flooded the city's tunnels would have instead flooded the city's streets and basements, he says. MTA has held three "after-action reviews" since the storm and will do even better in the event of another storm of this magnitude, he says. The city needs a better solution in the event of another storm, but it does not need to "reinvent the wheel," he adds.
Meanwhile, NYBC's current top priorities are storm preparedness and capital project support, says Richard Anderson, NYBC president.