Investing in Infrastructure Brings Economic Stimulus
Canada’s Business News Network (BNN) recently interviewed Tom Smith, Global Director, Property and Buildings, and Dave McAlister, Global Director, Transport and Infrastructure, at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff to get a sense of what this means for the company. The interview is available on BNN’s site.
Tom Smith and Dave McAlister were in Canada to meet with shareholders, investors and analysts. We asked them to share their thoughts on this intensive three-day financial marathon. Both Tom and Dave explained how government spending has real economic impact and how WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is capitalizing on its global connectivity.
Infrastructure Is a Catalyst for Growth
“Without infrastructure, you can’t really live. Without roadway and rail transit systems you can’t go to work and your children can’t go to school. Without water treatment plants, you wouldn’t have water to drink. That is why so many elected officials around the world build their platform on infrastructure spending because it creates economic stimulus,” said Dave McAlister.
Tom Smith agrees and believes that infrastructure investment acts as a catalyst for economic growth. “You need good infrastructure if you want to grow a region. You need roads, railways, airports and a good transit system if you want to attract businesses.”
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff can have even more impact when it brings in all its expertise to create a state-of-the-art development project. “It is our job to maximize the overall benefit of a new development. What lines connect the most people? Where should a new station be built so that it becomes a hub? London Bridge Station is a good example of a development that transformed a sector,” explains Tom Smith.
Another example is found in New York, with the No. 7 subway line extension to the Hudson Yards. This new line and station that was designed by WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff generated new development with offices, residential and retail space, many of which were designed by the firm.
“Employees don’t always realize how much we are serving society, how our work can have a direct impact on day-to-day lives,” said Dave McAlister.
Organic Growth and Acquisitions
In their meetings with analysts, investors and shareholders, the two global directors were also questioned about WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s ability to integrate new employees. “We had many acquisitions in the past few years and were asked straightforward questions on how new employees fit in with our culture, if they shared our values, etc.,” says Tom Smith.
“They also wanted to know how we leverage our expertise throughout the world. Acquisitions are one thing, but investors wanted to know more about organic growth. We explained how we use our global network of expertise so that clients around the world can benefit from the best,” adds Dave McAlister
Investors also wanted to know if potential targets for acquisition include companies that are directly involved in construction. The answer is unequivocal: “We are engineers and project managers. We are trusted advisors and design experts. We are not wired for construction, where risk is significant,” said David McAlister.