There’s a perception out there that if you want to maintain a cohesive business approach and protect your company’s culture, and personality, then expanding your business organically is the best strategy. Don’t try telling that to Dunaway Vice President Ross Eubanks. The professional services firm in Dallas has found that there are plenty of complimentary acquisition targets that can provide “a shortcut” to smart growth.
Dunaway, a provider of civil engineering, structural engineering, planning and landscape architecture, environmental engineering, surveying and GIS services, applied that strategy most recently when it announced the acquisition of Urban Design Group (UDG), a highly respected engineering firm based in Austin. While UDG’s “extensive understanding of how to successfully work with municipalities” was a factor in Dunaway’s decision to acquire the firm, not far behind it was “the fit.”
“Because these two companies are so compatible, we can start reaping the benefits of the marriage of these two companies immediately,” said Eubanks in a press release.
To delve more deeply in the underpinnings of Dunaway’s strategy of acquisition, we reached out to Eubanks for an interview, which follows:
How long were you looking at UDG before acquiring the group?
We knew that a shortcut to Dunaway’s expansion in Central Texas market would be accelerated by adding a company, like UDG, with a longstanding history of success in the Austin. As soon as we moved into this market we knew that we wanted to acquire a group with the expertise in permitting and processing that UDG possessed. In all of our prior experiences with UDG we knew that they had a tremendous amount of talent behind their team, and core values that aligned with Dunaway. This ultimately resulted in our decision to approach them with an offer for an acquisition, to start the process of bringing them on board the Dunaway team.
What did you see in the company that sparked your interest?
There were a few key differentiating factors that we saw in UDG that we recognized as unique and valuable. First was their history in the City of Austin. They have over 30 years of experience and specialize in the planning and permitting processes in Austin. Additionally, we saw a great value in the UDG team has a whole. Their team is filled with many talented people with decades of experience and knowledge. We knew that we wanted to bring on the entire team because they would be a great addition. With their values and talent they ended up being the perfect fit.
Will the acquisition have an impact in other markets besides Austin, how so?
By the addition of UDG we are expanding our list of services that makes us a true multi-discipline firm. Although UDG’s expertise is in Austin we believe that this will impact the entirety of the Central Texas market. Adding them to our team will impact us as a whole because of the knowledge and expertise they bring.
Can you talk about how your firm interacts with architects, and why working with them in the future is important?
Dunaway|UDG‘s relationship with architecture firms is crucial to the success of our firm and our projects. We work side by side with each other, from design through construction, to complete our projects. Architecture firms focus on the exterior and interior look of the project, while our firm finds ways to make that vision become as reality. Our close communication and coordination with each architecture firm that we work with defines the quality of our work.
You acquired another company in San Antonio in 2016. Why has Dunaway chosen the acquisition strategy over one involving organic growth?
We have recognized that there is great talent in these markets and we want to bring them on to the Dunaway team. By taking an acquisition strategy we are able to expedite our growth exponentially. We want to partner with and leverage the knowledge that these other companies have in these markets.
Do you foresee a day when the company will be doing as much business outside of Texas as inside the state? Why or why not?
Dunaway has always been rooted in Texas and it is a part of who we are. At the current moment we do not have plans to expand further in other states. We have seen great success in Texas and we want to continue to grow in our markets here and all throughout Texas. We are always looking for opportunities of growth here at Dunaway. That being said, who knows what the future holds. Our goal will be to continuously strive to provide the highest quality of service and commitment to all of our clients, wherever we may be.