U.S. Water/Wastewater Consultants are Making Decisions for the World

18.01.2005

U.S. water and wastewater consulting firms have a major influence in the world market for equipment, materials, and services for drinking water treatment and wastewater purification. The McIlvaine Company observes that the buying influence of these firms is already very large and growing.

Suppliers of products for this market will therefore need to increase their sales efforts to the individual consultants. McIlvaine further contends that due to the need for niche expertise, it is critical to identify the decision makers for a particular product, for a particular project within the consulting firm, and to provide the niche knowledge to those decision makers.

Government organizations worldwide are continuing to obtain loans from multilateral lenders to bolster local infrastructure. Meanwhile, utilities in developing countries are moving toward privatization of their major infrastructure facilities. This process has created numerous opportunities for U.S.-based companies and utilities that are interested in expanding their operations to include overseas holdings. U.S. consultants are well positioned to capture much of the design and engineering work for these projects.

In the McIlvaine database, Consultant Profiles and People, there is information on over 1000 U.S. consulting firms engaged in the water/wastewater industry. They range from firms with thousands of employees down to those with just a few. Examples of the large participants include:

  • Black & Veatch which has over 3,000 people working in the water and wastewater sectors and claims that its water projects are affecting one billion people worldwide.
  • CH2M Hill with over 14,000 employees has been ranked in one survey as the second largest designer of both wastewater and water treatment plants in the U.S.

The location of consultants does not coincide with the project activity. A few states have disproportionately high numbers of consultants.

California is the leading state in wastewater design. Earth Tech, AECOM, Jacobs, Brown and Caldwell, and Parsons are all in the top ten in terms of wastewater design revenues and all headquartered in California. Colorado is in second place since headquarters for CH2M Hill and MWH are in this state. With more than 25 percent of the design revenues and only 10 percent of the actual project activity, California has a concentration ratio of 2.5. Colorado may be second in terms of revenues, but is by far the leader in terms of the concentration ratio which is 5.0.

Consultants are most willing to listen to suppliers who have the technical information they need. The challenge for the supplier is to find the individuals within the consulting organization who are seeking information on the supplier’s products. One of the best ways to make this identification is through determining which consultant personnel are writing and presenting papers on subjects relevant to the supplier’s product.

As an aid to suppliers, McIlvaine has identified the authors of water and wastewater papers in each of the consulting firms. Consultant Profiles and People contains not only titles and contact information for the consulting personnel, but the titles of papers they have presented.

For more information on please visit the McIlvaine website.

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