HGA Acquires Baton Rouge Engineering Consulting Firm

HGA – a global professional services firm based in Ruston, LA – announced earlier today that it has acquired Baton Rouge-based R&D Consulting. The transaction closed on Friday, September 26.

R&D Consulting was founded in 1976 as D.J. Farrow and Associates. Its current owners – Robert Hollinger and David Eccles – purchased the Company in 1996 and changed the name to R&D Consulting. The company is a 30-person engineering consulting firm serving the Gulf Coast petrochemical and fertilizer industries. The firm is well respected for its high quality work, low turnover and long-term client relationships in the South Louisiana market. The company offers a wide variety of engineering services to clients, including structural, process, civil and electrical engineering, as well as mechanical and piping design, instrumentation services, process automation and control services.

Former R&D president Robert Hollinger stated, “We are very excited about joining the HGA family. We considered several options but were attracted to HGA’s long-term vision, proven track record, and focus on building long-term relationships with their clients and employees. We were pleased to see that the companies share the same values and approach to the consulting business.”

HGA – founded in 1997 by Trott Hunt and Jay Guillot – has over 500 employees in 14 offices throughout the US. Most of HGA’s revenue is also derived from engineering services provided to industrial clients. Over the last few years most of the company’s work has been in the energy and chemicals sectors. The firm has averaged over 30% top-line growth for the last ten years and was recently recognized as the 3rd fastest growing company in Louisiana by Inc. Magazine.

HGA’s president – Trott Hunt – stated, “HGA is very optimistic about the outlook in South Louisiana and South Texas. We believe the large supply and low cost of natural gas is going to continue to drive a lot of activity in the chemical and manufacturing industries in the region for the next 10+ years. This acquisition will help solidify HGA’s presence in this region. We are fortunate to have found a couple of great guys in Robert and David who have built a great business and team and are looking for a way to provide more opportunities for the employees and additional resources to their clients.”

When asked about future plans, Mr. Hunt stated, “R&D is doing great work for current clients and we certainly are not going to do anything to upset those relationships and projects underway. In fact, we are hoping our larger workforce will allow R&D to provide additional services to their current clients as needed. We plan to expand around the core R&D team but it will take a little time to find and integrate personnel with the right qualifications and cultural fit.” He went on to say, “And yes, we would like to grow our book of business in the region but we will focus on clients that appreciate quality engineering design services and want to build long-term relationships with their service providers. There is a lot of work to do just with the current R&D client base, so we are not concerned about the volume of work – it is there.”

In addition to its industrial engineering services, HGA also offers disaster recovery services through its Program Management business unit. HGA was responsible for administering over $1.5 billion in hurricane infrastructure relief funds for the State of Louisiana over the last six years. And over the last couple of months HGA has opened three offices in New York and hired over twenty people in that region as the company staffed up to support the State of New York in the Sandy relief effort. HGA co-owner Jay Guillot commented, “We were very honored to be able to assist the State of Louisiana in the hurricane relief effort. Strong references from key leaders in Louisiana were key to securing the work for the State of New York. We are proud we can now bring our experience and tools to New York to help with their relief effort.”

HGA has two additional business units – Staffing and Pipeline Services. The Staffing unit provides technical personnel to work at its clients’ facilities and under the clients’ direction. The Pipeline Services business unit provides services such as surveying, right of way negotiation, routing, mapping, and construction management. “We believe that clients in the region will definitely be interested in these additional services. On-site personnel is one area of the business that we believe we can start growing right out of the gate,” stated Don Plummer – HGA Executive Vice President. “We’ve got some great recruiters who identify contract personnel for clients all over the country. We are already serving several clients in the Gulf Region and we expect that to pick up pretty quickly following this acquisition.”

In closing, Trott Hunt commented, “HGA is very optimistic about the outlook in the region and the continued demand for high-quality engineering services. We believe we are investing in the right leadership and team, and this will lead to continued growth and success for HGA.”