Fishbeck’s newest office near Kalamazoo after acquiring Envirologic Technologies. Fishbeck’s newest office near Kalamazoo after acquiring Envirologic Technologies. COURTESY PHOTO

Fishbeck boosts environmental practice in deal for SW Michigan-based Envirologic

BY Friday, January 20, 2023 05:02pm

CASCADE TWP. — Architecture and engineering firm Fishbeck is growing its environmental practice with the acquisition of Southwest Michigan’s Envirologic Technologies Inc.

The deal for Envirologic, which was founded in 1989 in the Kalamazoo area and specializes in brownfield redevelopment, environmental investigation and due diligence and ecological services across Michigan and surrounding states, will add 25 employees to Fishbeck. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition took effect Jan. 1. 

Envirologic pursued the sale after a Fishbeck employee suggested there might be mutual interest in an acquisition.

“This provides an opportunity for my employees to grow in their careers and have opportunities to grow in the work that they do,” Envirologic founder and co-owner Jeff Hawkins told MiBiz. “It also provides an opportunity for our clients to continue to get the service they have had in the past, but also to have the additional services that Fishbeck offers that we didn’t before.”

Adding the Envirologic team will shore up Fishbeck’s environmental offerings, said Jenny Waugh, director of sales and marketing at Fishbeck. The deal also gave Fishbeck access to highly skilled people. 

The two firms also have a history of working together on various projects and share similar missions, she added.

“We have expanded in the seven years I have been here, and will continue to grow,” Waugh said. “There are so many clients and government funding right now, and so much work to be done. We need to continue to expand what we can provide to our clients, so we will continue to look for opportunities to bring more staff into the firm.”

The dearth of young people pursuing careers in engineering has the industry struggling to keep up with demand, Waugh said, noting that Fishbeck considers acquisitions as an effective way to add skilled professionals. The company will continue pursuing additional deals as it looks to expand.

“There are so many experts in the field that are retiring compared to how many people are going to college for architecture or engineering, so we can’t possibly replace what we’re losing,” Waugh said. “This model will be common for a lot of firms.” 

Based in metro Grand Rapids, Fishbeck now employs 580 people and operates 17 offices. Fishbeck already had a Kalamazoo-area office before it acquired Envirologic, so the two locations will likely combine over the next few years, Waugh said.

“We have had a backlog for the past few years, and have been busy because of American Rescue Plan Act funds, climate change and a renewed interest in taking care of the environment and natural resources,” Waugh said. 

Envirologic, which is co-owned by David Warwick, had a statewide footprint of clients and projects. The company’s two owners are staying on with Fishbeck after the close of the deal and plan to keep working for at least a couple of years as they enter “the twilights” of their careers, Hawkins said.

“We were looking to give our employees a great landing spot and a good future for our customers,” Hawkins said. “There will be larger projects now that we can go after which we probably didn’t have the capacity for.”

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