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News / Business / Clark County Business

Portland firm acquires HDJ Design Group of Vancouver

Engineering and design consulting firm will have strong N.W. presence

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor
Published: March 10, 2016, 3:04pm

Portland based consulting firm PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc. has acquired HDJ Design Group of Vancouver in a transaction that will merge the two companies into a nearly 200-employee engineering and design consulting firm with a strong presence across the Northwest region.

The acquisition, which becomes effective  on April 1, will combine the Vancouver offices of the two firms.  HDJ has about half of its 60-person staff based in its Vancouver headquarters at 314 W. 15th St. PBS has about 20 of its 130 employees, including Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, working in Vancouver at 1500 D St. HDJ principal Greg Jellison said it’s yet to be determined whether the existing HDJ office can accommodate the combined staff.

HDJ also has offices in Pasco and Walla Walla. PBS operates out of eight cities in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, with its headquarters in Portland.

Jellison will remain in Vancouver as the office’s principal engineer. Initially, the recognized HDJ name will remain in use and the company will be identified on its website as a division of PBS.

The acquisition has long been in the works. The companies have worked side by side on numerous construction and development projects, most notably the $1.5 billion Vancouver waterfront redevelopment that is just now moving into a major building construction phase. HDJ worked on the master plan and infrastructure design for the waterfront, while PBS provided geotechnical engineering and environmental services.

“We’ve been finding opportunities to team and test out our services across the board,” said Mark Leece, principal of engineering at PBS. “It’s been a good opportunity to test drive those working relationships.”

The two firms are almost the same age — HDJ was formed in 1980 and PBS launched two years later. HDJ primarily provides civil engineering, planning and land-surveying services. PBS specializes in geotechnical, environmental and industrial hygiene services.

The firms say that the combined staff and expertise will allow the expanding company to increase its market share within the engineering industry.

The companies said they would continue to offer engineering internship programs in Washington and Oregon. This year, PBS said it will offer a “shadow program” for young engineers and will increase the number of internships offered in the two states.

Columbian Business Editor