Stantec drops ESI Consulting brand following integration

02 October 2018

International design and infrastructure delivery firm Stantec has announced the formal integration of ESI Consulting, a leading scientific environmental consulting company, into the business. The merger comes half a year after the firm’s initial acquisition, and sees the ESI brand exit the global consulting stage.

ESI Consulting is a British an environmental advisory firm based in Shrewsbury. Previous projects involving the firm included the development of a sophisticated groundwater model that will prove critical to Highway England’s £1.5 billion ambition to upgrade the A14. In March, the firm was purchased by Canadian professional services giant Stantec, for an undisclosed fee, in a move saw ESI’s team of more than 50 professionals enriched Stantec’s technical proficiency.

Since then, Stantec has worked to further add to its capacity to serve client demand with the additional acquisition of fellow UK firm Peter Brett Associates. Now, as the Canadian group looks to integrate its new properties to its global outfit, it has been announced that ESI will fully rebrand to Stantec, and will operate as part of the company’s UK environmental services business – now one of the largest players in the UK infrastructure market.

Stantec drops ESI Consulting brand following integration

Stantec’s UK presence includes all three of ESI’s UK offices, including the Shrewsbury headquarters and facilities in Reading and Cardiff, as well as an office of its own in the Welsh capital, having also recently opened another in Bristol. Existing UK operations are almost exclusively centred on Stantec’s 2016 $795 million cash buy of MWH Global, which employed thousands of British staff.

Commenting on the move, Cath Schefer, UK Managing Director of Stantec UK, said, “ESI has already proved to be an excellent addition to our UK business. Our teams share the same values and are committed to the communities we serve across the country. As a consequence, integrating our people has been very easy and the strength of our combined teams is clear to see. It’s an excellent collaboration and already a great success.”

Jon Cooke, Environmental Services Director at Stantec UK, added, “The experience and deep technical knowledge of our newly combined environmental services team will be one of the most sophisticated players in the UK. We have a great opportunity to play a significant part in the many infrastructure projects that will be delivered in the next decade.”

Stantec’s campaign of bolt-on acquisitions comes hot on the heels of a similar but much larger UK consulting industry M&A deal. Last summer another Canadian engineering consultancy giant – the SNC Lavalin Group – purchased UK and Scandinavia-based Atkins for a reported £2.1 billion. Atkins was at the centre of even larger British infrastructure projects than ESI, including Crossrail2 and the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.

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Fast growing consultancy Step5 rebrands for next growth phase

18 January 2019

Innovative transformation consultancy Step5 has completed a rebranding of its corporate identity as it looks to push forward with rapid growth into a fifth successive year. CEO Howard Dickel told why the change in image is so important, and how the consultancy as a whole has grown in recent years.

Step5 was established in 2010 by co-founders Clive Fenton (current Chairman) and Jim Berrisford (incumbent COO). In 2014, the firm’s present CEO Howard Dickel joined, a year before Step5 hit £1 million in turnover. Building on that, for the past four years Step5 has enjoyed growth of more than 30%, and now boasts more than £1 billion in programme budgets managed and an expanding team of over 60 consultants.

Dickel took up the top job at the company last year, and is now keen to kick on from the firm’s recent success, particularly after Step5’s recent rebranding. The new brand identity was developed with creative agency gt&i, and aims to capture the essence of the business today. Step5’s CEO believes this essence is “quietly confident, with an inner strength”, thanks to a diversity of unique skills among the firm’s talent, enabling Step5 teams to constantly innovate and surprise clients. According to Dickel, the rebrand marks the next stage in the company’s development, supporting Step5’s aim to compete on a world stage.

Fast growing consultancy Step5 rebrands for next growth phaseExplaining the firm’s new identity further, Dickel told, “High value, high cost strategic consultancy provides insight but leaves the challenge of implementation.  Step5’s strength lies in bridging the gap.  We work closely with our clients to develop and deliver complex business transformation projects and get failing projects back on track.  In the words of our new strapline: Together we can.”

Step5 is one of the UK’s fastest growing business transformation consultancies, and as with many new competitors in the professional services sector, aims to offer clients an alternative to the Big Four. As is the case with other firms looking to do this, Step5 differentiates itself from the quartet’s ‘impersonal’ approach by working to develop a trusted partner relationship with clients and drive change from within companies.

Long-term ambitions

In order to tackle this challenge, Step5 remains on the look-out for forward-thinking individuals, whether already working in the sector or looking for something new. In the long term, its ambition is to grow within the private sector, and in particular the FTSE 250 companies, and to reach its target of £20 million in turnover by 2020.

Among clients already tapping into Step5’s services are the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, Barclays, Experian, Serco and Sopra Steria, among others. As well as building a reputation in the private sector, Step5 consultants have worked on some of the UK’s most challenging public and private sector initiatives – including the £1 billion recovery of the spine programme for the NHS and management and delivery of all telecommunications for the London 2012 Olympics.


According to Dickel, recent engagements are particularly encouraging for the firm moving forward. Lately, the firm supported a leading bank’s move into the £32 billion UK motor finance market, and worked to deliver a complex organisational transformation programme for the world’s leading information services company to better support its strategic goals and deliver savings across all services.

Dickel added, “We also transformed an internal IT function for a European leader in digital transformation, including people, process, operating model and market positioning. This has provided them with a robust, industry best practice function that delivered savings across the company and increased the internal IT capability from an Application, Infrastructure and Management perspective.”

Reflecting once more on the rebrand, he concluded, “Step5 offers clients an alternative to the Big Four consultancies – and it is recognised by its clients as the people who make complex business transformation projects happen... Step5 has grown and developed over the years. The company has come a long way and now it’s time to transform itself to reflect that.”