December 3, 2001

AMEC's Earth & Environmental marks 50 years of achievements

The Calgary office of AMEC Earth & Environmental last week hosted a celebration to commemorate the company's 50th year in the environmental and geotechnical consulting business.

The firm began in 1951 as Engineering and Construction Services, incorporated University of Alberta civil engineering professors, Chick Thorssen and Dr Bob Hardy. In 1954 the Edmonton operation was renamed RM Hardy & Associates and a Calgary office was opened under the name Materials Testing Laboratories.

By 1978 the company had grown to 12 offices in western Canada with about 500 employees; it then changed its name again to Hardy Associates. Agra Industries bought the firm in 1986 and amalgamated it with BBT Geotechnical Consultants. Subsequent acquisitions, including expansion into the U.S., led to consolidation by 1994 as Agra Earth & Environmental. By that time there 47 offices worldwide with a total staff of 1,200.

In 2000 Agra merged with Ogden Environmental, a 27-branch U.S. environmental consulting firm, and joined AMEC. AMEC currently has 85 Earth & Environmental offices throughout North America.

Over the years, the company has marked a number of pioneering achievements in the environmental and geotechnical field. AMEC was the first firm of geotechnical specialists in Canada to get involved in the construction of oil and natural gas pipelines in the 1950s. It initiated the practice of building embankments on muskeg using a designed procedure, instead of excavating and wasting this environmentally sensitive organic material. AMEC was also one of the first geotechnical firms to participate in studies of the engineering characteristics of the Alberta tar sands and methods for disposing of tar sands tailings.

More information is available from Dave Smouter at AMEC, 905/568-2929, ext 4101, FAX 905/568-1686, E-mail, Web site

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