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History of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has a 130-year history, with roots in companies founded in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Over the years, dozens of companies based in these countries and others were merged to create the firm known today as WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

History in the United States

In the United States, the firm’s roots date back to 1885, when William Barclay Parsons founded Parsons Brinckerhoff in New York City. Early projects included the design of the original New York City subway system and the Cape Cod Canal, as well as consulting for hydropower projects in New York State. The firm has worked on many of the major transit systems in the U.S., including San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Seattle, and has designed countless highways, bridges and tunnels, in addition to consulting on energy, water/wastewater, and community development projects.

Chas H. Sells, Inc. was founded in New York in 1925 and was acquired by WSP in 2007, becoming the transport and infrastructure engineering group of WSP in the U.S., with a specialization in bridge design and engineering.

Other acquisitions integral to WSP’s history in the U.S. include Cantor Seinuk, a structural engineering firm established in 1953, which joined the company in 2000, and Flack + Kurtz, a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering business founded in 1969, which was acquired by WSP in 2000. Environment & Energy, an environmental and energy consulting business established in 1986, became part of the company in 2006.

History in the United Kingdom

In the UK, the William Sale Partnership was established in 1969 as a building services consultancy in Surrey. The company entered the London Stock Exchange in 1987 as WSP. The firm was acquired by Montreal-based GENIVAR in 2012.

History in Canada

In Canada, two engineering services firms, G.B.G.M. Ltd and Les Consultants Dupuis Côté, Inc. began operating in Quebec City in 1959. The two firms merged in 1987 to become Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc. In 1993, Groupe-Conseil Solivar acquired three firms in Montreal and changed its name to GENIVAR. In 2012 GENIVAR acquired WSP, creating a professional services firm with 15,000 employees working in 300 offices worldwide. In January, 2014, the company reorganized as WSP Global Inc. and adopted WSP as its brand. In October 2015, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff announced the closing of the acquisition of MMM Group, one of the largest privately-owned engineering consulting firms in Canada. We welcomed approximately 2,000 employees to our workforce in Canada through the transaction.

Creating WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

In October 2014, WSP acquired Parsons Brinckerhoff, creating one of the world’s leading engineering professional services firms.

Key Dates in the History of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

1885 Parsons Brinckerhoff founded in New York City.
1925 Chas H. Sells, Inc. founded in New York.
1959 G.B.G.M. Ltd and Les Consultants Dupuis, Côté Inc., begin operating in Quebec City.
1969 William Sale Partnership is established in Surrey, UK.
1987 G.B.G.M. Ltd and Les Consultants Dupuis, Côté Inc. merge to become Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc.
1993 Three Montreal firms are acquired by Groupe-Conseil Solivar Inc. and the company’s name is changed to GENIVAR.
2000 Cantor Seinuk, a structural engineering firm, is acquired by WSP.
2000 Flack + Kurtz, a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering business, joins WSP.
2007 Chas H. Sells, Inc. is acquired by WSP.
2012 GENIVAR acquires WSP.
2014 On January 1, the company reorganizes as WSP Global Inc., and adopts WSP as its brand.
2014 On October 31, WSP acquires Parsons Brinckerhoff.