Thornton Tomasetti snaps up two consulting firms to expand UK footprint

21 June 2018 3 min. read

Engineering consultancy Thornton Tomasetti has expanded its global footprint with the acquisition of two British consulting firms. MMI Engineering, currently owned by environmental consultancy Geosyntec, and security advisory MFD both join New York-headquartered Thornton Tomasetti, which boasts 44 offices worldwide.

Structural engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti (TT) is best known for its work on the twin Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, World Trade Center Transit Hub in New York, and Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower – soon to be the world’s tallest building at 3,281 ft. The consulting firm employs over 1,300 professionals worldwide and enjoys an especially strong presence in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

With the acquisitions of MMI Engineering and MFD, the American firm – founded in 1956 as Lev Zetlin & Associates – expands its UK footprint. Expertise from the respective consulting firms will help TT cement its status as a foremost provider of safety solutions and risk analysis on a huge range of engineering-related challenges, including skyscrapers, military infrastructure, oil fields, and industrial plants.

MMI Engineering will be bought from Florida-based environmental consulting giant Geosyntec and rebranded as MMI Thornton Tomasetti. MMI provides cross-industry technical consulting services and has a specialized niche in the nuclear and oil & gas sectors. It has offices in Aberdeen, Ballymena, Bristol, and York in the UK, a Perth office in Australia, and another in Houston, TX. All will be absorbed by TT upon completion of the deal.

Phillip Thompson, European regional leader at Thornton Tomasetti, said: "MMI is a first-class business that brings with it a reputation for scientific rigor and engineering excellence. Its blue-chip customer base is testament to the work it undertakes in helping some of the world's leading companies and public bodies manage both man-made and natural hazards across a range of sectors."

Thornton Tomasetti snaps up two consulting firms to expand UK footprint

“Coming hot on the heels of last month’s investment in MFD, this transaction further underlines our commitment to growing our presence in Europe and providing our clients with a full range of risk management and technical security services.”

MFD is a security consultancy based in the military heartland of southeast England. It offers physical, operational and technical security advice to clients charged with protecting high-risk targets, such as Middle East embassies, tourist hotspots, and financial centers. The firm specializes in thwarting vehicle attacks by terrorists and its expertise will help supplement TT’s design offering to clients involved in constructing some of the world’s most prestigious buildings.

With the acquisitions, TT’s headcount in the UK jumps to around 160 professional staff. The firm is well known in the country’s construction circles, having been involved with the new US embassy in London and the Number 1 Court at the Wimbledon tennis grounds.

Much of the firm’s success has been put down to its innovative attitude, which makes it something of an outlier in the construction business. CEO Tom Scarangello has overseen the establishment of several well-funded, in-house R&D divisions. Projects currently being worked on include apps which harness AI and automation to improve design quality, and data visualization technology – an emerging field of data science research.