20 September 2013
One of the world’s leading engineering, architecture and
environmental consulting companies, GHD, continues to deliver to
clients the benefits of a robust private ownership model.
Established in Australia in 1928, GHD entered the market as a
pioneer for a business model built around diversification. In its
formative years, GHD quickly developed recognition as an industry
leader, firstly in water supply and sewerage systems in Australia,
then expanding into transportation, property and buildings,
environment and energy and resources markets globally.
In having surpassed a recent 85 year milestone, GHD’s CEO Ian
Shepherd attributes the company’s longevity to its employee
“GHD is 100 percent privately owned, with its shareholders being
employees. Our people have a vested interest in how we perform as
an entity; their interactions with clients, the systems we use and
ultimately how we pursue growth and opportunities. Everything we do
is calibrated with the level of passion and professional pride
associated with being private.
“What’s more, the inter-generational knowledge transfer and
mentoring that our private-structure offers is invaluable. Quite
often on projects we can have professionals with more than 20
years’ experience with the company working alongside graduates –
this is a powerful combination, and one that emphasises the value
of our offering to clients.”
“Long-term client relationships are the mainstay of GHD, which
has helped build an enviable reputation in the infrastructure
markets. Having clients who are loyal and hold in regard how GHD
can help improve the efficiency of their assets is paramount –
there are examples of clients who have continually engaged with us
over a number of decades,” Ian continues.
Since 2000 there has been a significant extension of the
resilient model, with international and market sector experience,
allowing the company to grow at a compound annual growth rate of
16%, through to 2013.
Predominantly, growth has been organic, with mergers being
strategically placed in particular areas where additional market
presence or momentum was required. Currently, 25 percent of revenue
is derived from outside Australia, and this is expected to grow
significantly in the next few years.
“What is less known is our long-lasting exposure to mining, and
the oil and gas sectors. GHD is particularly dynamic and agile. We
have quickly adapted to changing market conditions, and developed
opportunities in emerging fields,” Ian says.
“We’re now observing unprecedented growth to our team in the
Americas, where we’ve seen the team grow to more than 1000 people
in the past two years alone.
“Throughout our history, we’ve remained focussed on professional
service delivery and the application of project and program
management. Additionally, the employee-owned nature of the company
has allowed us to set long range strategies and develop a culture
that is underpinned by some of the best technical capabilities in
Ian continues, “Our clients are now far more sophisticated, in
that they now look towards longevity of their assets, delivering
improved returns on their investment, and of course – they expect
to be at the forefront of technology, whilst combining tight
awareness of environmental impact.”
The combination of a growing footprint and diverse service
offering is underpinned by the same core values that sat with those
who founded the company.
On the question of growth beyond GHD’s current business
structure, Ian comments, “At present, we’re confident that our
current model is as it has always been: robust, dynamic and
rewarding – to both our people and our clients.
“Over the next few years, our revenue is forecast to increase to
more than AUD1.5 billion, clearly placing us in the top tier of the
professional services industry world-wide. With a strong financial
base, GHD is well poised to see these forecasts ring true.”
Ian says GHD’s international experience is significant, having
completed projects in more than 50 countries. “These extend from
billion dollar mixed-use buildings in the United Arab Emirates,
through to coal deposit analyses in Turkey, to rail asset
management in the UK, desalination projects in the USA and China
and power generation studies in Malaysia. Also wider afield, a 2000
kilometre transmission line environmental impact assessment in
Explaining what is unique about GHD in the context of recent
changes to the ownership structure of GHD’s competitors, Ian
offers, “GHD has built a reputation that is enviable to most. In
particular in its founding country of Australia, but growing well
in the other countries we operate in.
“This brand awareness has been protected through multiple
inter-generational changes in leadership over the course of our
history. Our model of employee ownership is highly sustainable and
creates substantial value for our clients. We provide a distinctive
alternative for talented professionals who are not satisfied with
just working for a great company, but are also keen to be a part
creating an enduring legacy of ownership for themselves and younger
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For more information about this release, contact Kirill Reztsov