Valuation and Buyside M&A Advisory Services for Morrison-Maierle


PSMJ Client Morrison-Maierle
“We would certainly recommend PSMJ’s mergers and acquisitions consulting team to other firms, especially those who are not very experienced in this area,” Morrison says. “PSMJ has always represented Morrison-Maierle professionally, and has had our best interests in mind, while being fair to the firms we were negotiating with. Their advice has always been sound, and they were always responsive when we needed their advice or work products. Their experience in the M&A field is impressive and they were adaptable in meeting our specific needs.”

The Client

Founded in 1945, Morrison-Maierle offers staff capabilities with nearly 300 professionals throughout the company’s 10 offices. With six in Montana, four in Wyoming and one each in Arizona and Washington, Morrison-Maierle provides a broad range of engineering, surveying, planning, and science services. It is ranked in Engineering News Record’s “Top 500 Design Firms” in the United States.

The Challenge

In 2014, Morrison-Maierle and its employee-owners met to draft what is now called Vision2020. According to Morrison-Maierle, Inc. President & CEO Robert J. Morrison, “this meeting and subsequent work over the next several months defined our Core Purpose: We create solutions that build better communities; our Core Values: Integrity, Respect, Commitment, Excellence; and our Vision: In 2020, Morrison-Maierle is an extraordinary place to work and the pre-eminent engineering firm in the West.”

Morrison-Maierle’s goals for achieving Vision2020 are divided up evenly between each year from 2014 to 2020. One of the firm’s 2014 goals was “Anticipating New Growth”, yet it had been several years since Morrison-Maierle had acquired another firm, and all of its Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) members had not been through an acquisition process.

“The CLT, with the backing of Vision2020, determined that Morrison-Maierle was ready to go beyond organic growth, and needed the guidance from an experienced M&A firm to do so,” Morrison says.

Additionally, Morrison-Maierle had two small offices in Wyoming with a total of six employees. Recognizing the opportunity for future work in the state and to meet employment requirements for project work with many clients within Wyoming, Morrison-Maierle’s CLT decided that help from an M&A firm was necessary to expand in the state and beyond.

The Solution

Consequently, Morrison-Maierle put out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to firms who specialize in A/E/C industry mergers and acquisitions. The leadership team reviewed all of the RFPs and narrowed the list down to three firms; one being PSMJ. Each of the three shortlisted firms was interviewed by key members of the leadership team.

“In the review and interview process, PSMJ had high ratings in the ability to help analyze and match Morrison-Maierle’s company culture to other firms,” Morrison says, “It also scored well with a plan for integration after the merger or acquisition was in place. Finally, as our company had just completed the Vision2020 process, the CLT was impressed with PSMJ’s plans for representing Morrison-Maierle’s brand to other firms.”

PSMJ was able to effectively address integration issues and cultural-fit questions through their Cultural Integration Planning Assessment (CIPA) tool. Morrison-Maierle’s CLT relied heavily on this planning process and its procedural questions. As the leadership team had not gone through an acquisition process, this assessment helped them come up with a plan and strategy for growth.

PSMJ also generally assisted Morrison-Maierle’s acquisition team throughout the process by identifying potential acquisition companies in its target areas, helping with the due diligence process, developing a letter of intent, consulting with legal advisors to develop the final purchase agreement, and guiding its integration activities.

The Results

Morrison-Maierle, according to Morrison, benefited from PSMJ’s consulting services in many ways including steps in the process, cultural identity matching, searching for possible firms to acquire, and laying the groundwork for the rolling an acquired firm and its employees and operations into Morrison-Maierle.

After about a year working towards one or more acquisitions, the final result was three acquisitions within a 5-month period; two in Wyoming and one in Montana. In early January 2016, Morrison-Maierle acquired Holm Blough and Company (HBC) of Cody, Wyoming. HBC is especially strong in surveying and has been in business for many years in the Big Horn Basin area. Morrison-Maierle had a two-person operation in Cody. With this acquisition, the Cody office now has 14 employees.

In late February of 2016, Morrison-Maierle acquired Murtagh Municipal Engineering (MME) of Billings, Montana. MME specialized in water/wastewater engineering projects and grant administration for small municipalities throughout eastern Montana. This acquisition added five employees to Morrison-Maierle’s Billings office in addition to a significant amount of contracted project work to the company.

In late May 2016, Morrison-Maierle announced the acquisition of Vista West Engineering of Sheridan and Casper, Wyoming. This acquisition added 15 employees with several years of experience in civil engineering in Wyoming. As a former partner with Morrison-Maierle on previous projects, Vista West, like MME and HBC, shares Morrison-Maierle’s vision for growth and company culture.