PE Group and GHD merge to create an East Coast leader in safety, security and technology

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One of the world's leading engineering, architecture and environmental consulting companies, GHD, has merged with The Protection Engineering Group, Inc. (PE Group), a 40-person firm focusing on holistic solutions within the disciplines of fire protection, life safety and code consulting, security and information technology.

This merger supports further growth of GHD's 3000+ person strong business in the Americas with the addition of PE Group's offices in Washington DC, Baltimore, MD and Atlanta, GA.

Founded in 2003, the PE Group provided engineering design and consulting services for a broad suite of interrelated building systems. The company supported all aspects of the design and construction process, from initial studies and code consulting, to master planning and detailed systems design, to construction administration support.

Ian Shepherd, GHD's CEO, says, "Our relationship with the PE Group has been in place for many years and we are excited to welcome them into our global family. This merger will enhance our existing capabilities to protect people, property and assets."

Charles E. Hahl, PE Group's CEO, says, "We have always strived to provide more opportunities for our employees and enhanced offerings to our clients through growth in new markets, services, and geographies. One of the most exciting aspects of the merger is that it allows us to provide even more technical resources and services for our clients."

Richard Wankmuller, GHD's General Manager and Executive in charge of the Americas, comments, "Safety, security and technology are at the forefront of our clients' core needs and concerns. Joining forces with the PE Group brings us a broader and more technically deep capability in these fields with the goal of providing effective solutions to our clients' challenges. With both firms being 100% employee owned, the merger provides us with a strong cultural fit, and helps us grow our business in the Americas and globally."

In 2003, the PE Group was founded by five seasoned industry professionals. With a unique blend of experience and capabilities in virtually all aspects of fire protection, life safety and code consulting, the group embarked on an exciting venture to provide high quality engineering services and unmatched customer satisfaction. After a few years of consistent growth in the mid-Atlantic region, they expanded their service offering to include both electronic and physical security. This diversification opened up significant growth opportunities for their organization and facilitated their expansion to a 40 person firm.

The PE Group provided engineering design and consulting services for a broad "suite" of interrelated building systems. In addition to their core capabilities in fire protection, security and life safety, they grew to support a wide variety of low voltage systems such as fire alarm, IT, telecommunications and audio visual. Their people consisted of registered Fire Protection Engineers (FPEs), Certified Protection Professionals (CPPs), Physical Security Professionals (PSPs), Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDDs), NICET certified professionals, and Project Management Professionals (PMPs).

Supported by their full-service offices in Chantilly, VA, Baltimore, MD and Duluth, GA, they successfully completed hundreds of projects. They evolved to meet the needs of their clients. Clients that took them across the United States and half way around the world.

Since the PE Group’s inception, the business of protecting people, property and assets has changed dramatically. Long gone are the days of simple, stand-alone systems and prescriptive codes. We're now faced with the challenge of complex integration of technologies and software, application of performance-based solutions, and significant changes in project delivery methods. As part of GHD, they will continue to offer fire protection engineering, life safety, code consulting, security, IT, telecommunications, and audio visual consulting services. However, with this merger, GHD brings a broader set of capabilities to meet the significant changes in the built environment. Changes in the people we employ, the services we provide, and the approaches we use to meet our client's needs.

Charles E. Hahl, PE

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Charlie served as the President of the PE Group for 11 years. He has over 35 years of management and consulting engineering experience concentrating in fire protection, life safety and physical security. Charlie provides strategic oversight to the Mid-Atlantic Property & Buildings Group offices and works closely with the management team to ensure our continued success and growth. He is a registered professional engineer in four states and holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Design Technology from Virginia Tech and a M.S. in Engineering Management from The Catholic University of America. He is an active member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and is on the NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Emergency Communication Systems) Technical Committee and a full member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).

Position: Principal
Tel: +1 571 325 5023

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Douglas J. Rollman

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Doug is GHD's Business Development Manager - Property & Buildings / Federal. He has more than 28 years of combined experience in engineering, marketing and business development. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Catholic University of America and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from The George Washington University. He is an active member of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME).

Position: Business Development Manager - Property and Buildings
Tel: +1 571 325 5030

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J. Michael Thompson, PE

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Mike has more than 37 years of experience in designing fire protection systems and applying fire protection and life safety principles to a wide variety of buildings and facilities. Mike has unique experience in the design of fire protection and life safety systems and the application of performance-based design principals in historic and cultural resource structures. Mike’s extensive experience gives him the knowledge and distinct ability to identify legacy building and fire codes while understanding how they were applied in existing structures. Mike is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina and holds a B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is a member of SFPE and NFPA and serves as a member of the Technical Correlating Committee on Automatic Sprinkler Systems (NFPA 13, 13D, 13R, 24, 291).

Position: Senior Project Manager - Fire Protection
Tel: +1 571 325 5040

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Isa Y. Saah, PE

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Isa has more than 22 years of experience and performs many roles in the areas of operations, management, and engineering. His experience includes the design of fire suppression and fire alarm systems, building/fire code and life safety analysis, and hazardous materials assessments for a wide variety of clients. He is a Professional Engineer registered in Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia and West Virginia. Isa is a member in the SFPE and the NFPA and is on the NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code) Public Fire Reporting Systems Technical Committee. He holds a B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Position: Team Leader – Fire Protection (Chantilly, VA)
Tel: +1 571 325 5031

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Roger B. Hutchins, CPP

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Roger has more than 28 years of experience in the security, IT and audio-visual fields. His experience includes technology operations analysis, technology audits, planning, system design and integration, implementation strategy, project management, value engineering, bid negotiations, and close out activities such as testing and commissioning. He is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) with the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) International and holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.

Position: Team Leader - Technology
Tel: +1 571 325 5042

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Thomas W. Gardner, PE, FSFPE, LEED AP

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Tom has over 30 years of experience in protecting a wide variety of facilities, with an emphasis on the application of building and fire codes and the design of fire suppression systems. Tom has been a longstanding leader for fire protection and life safety in the healthcare industry, and has participated in the development of industry standards such as the Standard for Health Care Facilities (NFPA 99) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). He is a registered Professional Engineer in 13 states and holds the designation of Fellow in the International Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). He holds a B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland and a B.S. in General Science from Fordham University.

Position: Team Leader – Fire Protection (Duluth, GA)
Tel: +1 678 280 2104

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Matthew T. Smith, PE

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Matt brings over 22 years of experience in all aspects of fire protection and life safety engineering and consulting, including specialized capabilities in Industrial Fire Protection where he has performed numerous fire protection infrastructure master plan studies and assisted clients with budgetary capital improvement recommendations over multi-year time frames. He also brings a background of firefighting experience that in most instances greatly enhances his relationships with the local code officials and authorities having jurisdiction since they usually “speak the same language.” Matt is a Professional Engineer registered in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas. He holds a B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is an active member in the International SFPE and the NFPA.

Position: Team Leader – Fire Protection (Baltimore, MD)
Tel: +1 443 524 7044

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John O'Neill, PE, FSFPE

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During his 40 year career, John has built a reputation as a nationally recognized leader in the field of water-based fire protection systems. He is widely considered a leading expert in the investigation and evaluation of fire-related events involving suppression systems (sprinkler/standpipe, foam-water, underground piping, gaseous and wet-chemical systems). In addition to taking on a lead role in project execution, John also focuses his efforts on the professional and technical development of GHD’s people. John is a Professional Engineer and holds the designation of Fellow in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). He has a B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland. John is an active Member of the National Fire Protection Association and is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Technical Correlating Committee on Automatic Sprinklers, NFPA 13.

Position: Senior Fire Protection Engineer
Tel: +1 571 325 5034

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Project awards

  • 2013, National Academy of Sciences, Award of Excellence in Historic Architecture from the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter (Quinn Evans Architects)
  • 2013, National Zoo's Seals & Sea Lion Exhibit, AIA DC Chapter Presidential Citation Award (Quinn Evans Architects)
  • 2013, Armed Forces Retirement Home, Scott Project, NAIOP Maryland/DC Award of Excellence (Cooper Carry)
  • Inter-American Development Bank Fire Alarm Upgrade project received a Washington Building Congress (WBC) Craftsmanship Award.
  • Sant Ocean Hall, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Potomac Valley Chapter / American Institute of Architects. (Quinn Evans Architects)
  • Washington and University, Newcomb Hall Renovation received a 2010 Award for Excellence in Architecture from the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. (Glave & Holmes Associates)
  • Tidewater Community College Portsmouth Campus Relocation - Winner of Best Master Plan and Best Institutional Public Building by The Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate. (Stantec)
  • Montgomery College Science Center received a 2011 AIA Maryland Merit Award for Institutional Buildings. (Stantec and CBH+A)
  • George Mason University Founders Hall received a 2011 Design Arlington Award of Merit, Arlington County, VA. (SmithGroup)
Communication Systems
Instrumentation
Fire and Life Safety
aviation
Security
Bridges

University of Georgia, Bolton Dining Commons, Athens, Georgia, USA

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GHD performed a fire modeling analysis for a 4,830 m2 (52,000 square foot), two-story replacement dining hall with seating for 1,000 diners. Our team's analysis resulted in significant savings for the client, because the results demonstrated that a mechanical smoke control system was not necessary.

The analysis used a computational egress model, in conjunction with a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) fire simulator, to demonstrate that the building's configuration will maintain a tenable environment for occupants beyond the time required for building evacuation, thereby negating the need for the mechanical smoke control system. The analysis was accepted by the GSFIC and the State Fire Marshal. This effort resulted in a savings of more than USD 280,000.

University of Maryland, Baltimore, Health Sciences Facility III, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

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GHD provided life safety and fire code consulting, and security design services for the new 332,000 square foot (30,840 m2) high rise facility to be used for interdisciplinary research for the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy. The facility was designed to meet LEED™ Silver certification standards and will include a large volume, six-story atrium with walking bridges spanning the atrium at each level.

The analysis used a computational egress model, in conjunction with a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) fire simulator, to demonstrate that the building's configuration will maintain a tenable environment for occupants beyond the time required for building evacuation, thereby negating the need for the mechanical smoke control system. The analysis was accepted by the GSFIC and the State Fire Marshal. This effort resulted in a savings of more than USD 280,000.

Washington

14585 Avion Pkwy Steet
150 Chantilly Virgina 20151
+1 703 488 9990

Baltimore

2809 Boston St Ste 7
Baltimore Maryland 21224
+1 443 708 4096

Duluth

3075 Breckenridge Boulevard Suite 470
Duluth GA 30096
+1 678 280 2150

GHD Library

The GHD library is a collection of relevant resources.