JD White acquired by engineering firm

Vancouver office and staff will remain intact, provide additional growth

Vancouver’s The JD White Co. has been acquired by Federal Way-based engineering firm Berger/ABAM Engineers Inc. JD White will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berger/ABAM and remain headquartered in Vancouver. The company’s entire staff will remain, and founder John White will serve as a vice president of Berger/ABAM overseeing the JD White division.

Berger/ABAM is a consulting firm working nationally and internationally in project management, civil and structural engineering and construction management and support. It has offices in Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas and Houston.

At a press conference, John White noted his 32-employee company has enjoyed tremendous growth and that he has not "had a boss" since founding JD White 30 years ago. White will now have a boss, but he said the acquisition will provide additional opportunities to expand the company, which focuses on planning, natural resources and public involvement.

"I have an obligation to think about the future and plan for succession," he said.

White had considered branch offices in places such as Bend or Medford, Ore., but partnering with Berger/ABAM made a better fit. The acquisition, said White, will allow the company to retain all of its employees, provide a broader array of opportunities and expand its geographic reach.

Arnie Rusten, president and CEO of Berger/ABAM said the acquisition is in line with the company’s strategic plan to expand geographically and supplement its skill sets. The company had identified Southwest Washington as an area of emphasis and as it looked for a way to expand here.

"The JD White Co. came up again and again as a complementary partner for us," said Rusten.

David Brown, regional vice president and manager of the Portland office, will oversee the integration of the JD White division. He said the diversification of services is a strategic fit for the company. Brown said he is familiar with JD White, as the companies have shared clients in the past. The acquisition will give customers a larger set of resources to draw from in one company.

Currently, Berger/ABAM and JD White are serving as subconsultants to environmental consulting firm Jones and Stokes for the Port of Vancouver Columbia Gateway project.

The combined company will have more than 175 employees total and nearly 50 in the Vancouver/Portland area.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and have yet to be finalized, said Rusten.