Our story

From our local beginnings over 130 years ago to our vast international presence today, WSP has enjoyed continuous growth and enrichment of its service offering. Every milestone reached has enabled us to better fulfill our purpose of preparing our communities and environment for the future.

WSP Today

WSP is a globally recognized professional services firm employing approximately 49,500 people. 

We welcomed experts from six different acquisitions in 2019, adding to existing expertise in all our operating regions. We established a presence in the Dutch market, strengthened our Strategic Advisory Services offering in environment, and much more. 

Expanding our horizons to build the premier professional consultancy in our industry
WSP 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan vision

History in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean

In the United States, the firm’s origins date back to 1885, when William Barclay Parsons founded the company that would become Parsons Brinckerhoff in New York City. Early projects included the design of the original New York City subway system and the Cape Cod Canal. Chas H. Sells, Inc. was founded in New York in 1925 and was acquired by WSP in 2007, becoming WSP’s transport and infrastructure engineering group in the United States.

WSP entered the US market in 2000 through the acquisitions of Cantor Seinuk, a structural engineering firm established in 1953 and of Flack + Kurtz, a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering business founded in 1969. Environment & Energy, an environmental and energy consulting business established in 1986, became part of the company in 2006.

International expansion of GENIVAR began with the opening of a Caribbean office in Trinidad and Tobago in 2004 as well an office in Colombia in 2011. In 2012, WSP strengthened its presence in Colombia through the acquisition of Consultores Regionales Asociados CRA S.A.S. In 2014, the Corporation acquired Dessau CEI S.A.S., also in Colombia.  2016 brought the acquisition of Schlumberger’s industrial water consultancy business, enabling WSP to provide water consultancy services and establish a presence in Chile and Peru. CRC Engineering P.C. (USA) and DITEC (Mexico) were also acquired that year. In 2017, WSP acquired three more companies in the United States and two in Latin America. In 2018, the acquisition of US-based international professional services firm Louis Berger added 5,000 employees to WSP’s workforce.

WSP in Knightsbridge

History in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA)

Parsons Brinckerhoff in the UK traces its roots back over 125 years through three consulting engineering practices: MRM Partnership, Kennedy & Donkin and Merz and McLellan.

MRM Partnership, a multidisciplinary consultancy first established in 1887, was acquired by WMX Technologies Inc. in the US in 1993, and in 1994 became Rust Consulting Limited. Kennedy & Donkin, originally focused on power generation and distribution projects, was founded in 1889. In 1994, Kennedy & Donkin was also sold to WMX Technologies Inc. and became Rust, Kennedy & Donkin.

In 1995, Parsons Brinckerhoff acquired Merz and McLellan, another century-old power engineering consultancy, based in Newcastle, UK. In 1997, Rust, Kennedy & Donkin and Rust Consulting integrated their expertise, and the company was purchased by Parsons Brinckerhoff in 1998.  

The Williams Sale Partnership Limited was established in 1969 as a building services consultancy in the UK. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1987 as WSP. Between 1990 and 1995, UK-based acquisitions added structural and civil engineering capability to WSP’s skills portfolio. From 1996 to 1999, acquisitions were completed in the UK and South Africa, and then in 2001 WSP acquired Jacobson & Widmark in Sweden and two smaller Finnish consultancies. In 2003, further acquisitions in Finland increased our presence in the Nordics.

Parsons Brinckerhoff has been active in the Middle East since the 1940s. From 2005 to 2006, WSP gained a meaningful presence in the Middle East with two acquisitions in the region. In 2007, further acquisitions in Germany and the Middle East reinforced WSP’s profile as a global consultant. In 2014, the acquisition of Technip TPS, specialising in building and infrastructure engineering, enhanced our presence in the French market. In 2015, Faveo Group was acquired in Scandinavia.

In Africa, WSP has operated for over 50 years, growing organically and through acquisition to become one of the leading engineering and environmental consultancies on the continent. Our in-depth understanding of our local markets, combined with excellent local technical expertise and access to world-class global capability ensures our clients always receive innovative solutions from passionate people.

As a multi-disciplinary consultancy we provide a strong and committed team who draw upon extensive experience in transport & infrastructure, industrial, property and environment & energy to streamline the design and development process. We employ creative design, planning and lateral thought processes and have a proven track record in managing and delivering our work to programme and budget. 

History in Asia-Pacific (APAC)

In 1970, Parsons Brinckerhoff established offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and in 1978, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Hong Kong office was the first location established in Asia. However, prior to 1978 Parsons Brinckerhoff provided an alternative design for the first Cross Harbor Tunnel project in Hong Kong, which was adopted and the tunnel opened in 1972. During the 1970s and 1980s Parsons Brinckerhoff’s experts were instrumental in the development of the mass transit systems in Hong Kong, Singapore and later Taipei.

In 1995, overseas expansion of WSP began with the formation of WSP Asia and in 2000, WSP increased its presence in Asia. In 2007, WSP completed a further acquisition in Australia. In 2014, the acquisition of WINWARD Group, a specialist structural engineering consultancy, strengthened WSP’s presence in Australia prior to the Parsons Brinckerhoff transaction. The acquisition of New Zealand’s Opus in 2017 enabled WSP to enhance its activities in the region and gain expertise in the water-related infrastructure sector and asset management. In 2018, WSP acquired Irwinconsult, once again strengthening its presence in Australia, particularly in the Property & Buildings sector.

Key Dates in Our History

2019

WSP acquires Lievense, a Netherlands-based multidisciplinary consulting firm, which enabled us to establish a footprint in the Dutch market.

2019

WSP acquires Orbicon, a Danish environmental consulting firm, which will bolster our presence in the Nordics and strengthen our Strategic Advisory Services offering in environment.

2019

WSP announced our intent to acquire Ecology and Environment Inc., US-headquartered environmental consulting firm that provides professional services to governments and private customers worldwide.

2019

WSP is ranked 1st once again in the Transportation sector in Engineering News-Record’s annual list of Top 225 International Design Firms.

2019

WSP unveils its 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan, aimed at building the premier professional consultancy in its industry by the end of 2021.

2018

WSP is 1st in the transportation sector among the “Top 225 International Design Firms” in Engineering News-Record.

2018

WSP acquires Louis Berger, a US-headquartered leading international professional services firm with approximately 5,000 employees.

2017

WSP acquires New Zealand based OPUS and completes its 100th acquisition since the IPO. The acquisition enables WSP to enhance its activities in the Australia/New Zealand region and strengthen its expertise in the water-related infrastructure sector and asset management.

2017

WSP acquires Concol, providing a leadership position in the Colombian market in a wide array of services and sectors, while solidifying the company’s presence in Chile, Peru and Mexico.

2017

WSP acquires Poch, providing the company with a leadership position in the Chilean market, while also strengthening WSP’s presence in Colombia, Peru and Mexico.

2017

WSP unites under one name, one brand and one vision across all geographies, cultures, specialties and backgrounds, anchored by its guiding principles and manifesto.

2009

Balfour Beatty acquires Parsons Brinckerhoff

2016

Alexandre L'Heureux is appointed President and CEO, to lead WSP in the next phase of its evolution.

2016

WSP acquires Mouchel Consulting, a leading UK firm recognized for its broad expertise in the public transportation and infrastructure sectors.

2015

WSP acquires Canadian-based MMM group recognized for its expertise in transportation, and leadership position in public-private partnerships.

2015

WSP acquires leading Nordic project management firm Faveo Group, providing a strong entry-point in the Norwegian market, while strengthening the company’s position in Sweden.

2014

WSP acquires Focus, a Canadian-based Engineering and Geomatics firm, expanding the company’s platform in oil & gas engineering services, and strengthening its presence in western Canada.

2014

WSP acquires US-based Parsons Brinckerhoff, a premier infrastructure consultancy, and becomes one of the largest global pure-play professional services firms.

1959

G.B.G.M. LTD AND LES CONSULTANTS DUPUIS, CÔTÉ INC., BEGIN OPERATING IN QUEBEC CITY, CANADA.

2014

GENIVAR and WSP reorganize as WSP Global Inc., and adopt WSP as the corporate brand

2012

GENIVAR acquires UK-based consultancy WSP, creating a world-class global professional services firm, with expertise in Building, Transport & Infrastructure and Industrial, Energy & Environment segments.

2006

GENIVAR is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as an income fund

1993

Three Montreal firms are acquired by Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc. and the company’s name is changed to GENIVAR

1987

G.B.G.M. Ltd and Les Consultants Dupuis, Côté Inc. merge to become Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc., based in Quebec

1969

Williams Sale Partnership Limited is established in Surrey, UK

1885

Parsons Brinckerhoff founded In New York City, USA.