Smith Carter Architects acquired by bigger agency – Winnipeg Free Press

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/03/2012 (3970 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG’S Smith Carter Architects and Engineers has been acquired by Genivar Inc., a leading Canadian engineering and professional consulting firm.

The integrated Winnipeg architecture and engineering firm is one of the largest in the city, with about 130 employees. Smith Carter CEO Scott Stirton will lead Genivar’s growing architecture practice.

In recent years, Smith Carter has established an international reputation designing complex health-care, scientific and bio-containment lab facilities, including Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Lab.

Smith Carter CEO Scott Stirton, at the Buffalo Place headquarters, says the takeover will broaden its markets.

Isabelle Adjahi, a Genivar spokeswoman, said the publicly traded company does about 10 acquisitions a year.

“When we do acquisitions, we like them to be complementary to our activities,” she said. “We don’t do acquisitions and start downsizing. That’s not the way we do it.”

She said Genivar does not have much presence in the scientific and defence markets, areas in which Smith Carter has been increasing its presence for some time.

In addition to its award-winning, eco-friendly Winnipeg headquarters, Smith Carter has about 70 employees in offices in Calgary, Ottawa, Washington and Atlanta.

Its inclusion in the Genivar network gives that larger company its first on-the-ground presence in the United States. For Smith Carter, the deal means it can become bigger, with a broader range of resources to draw on.

“As an organization, we are always looking at developing and growing and staying relevant in a changing world,” Stirton said. “We felt this was an opportunity to make a bold move and find ourselves with a stronger reach that will broaden the markets we currently work in.”

Smith Carter is already active in the international market. It’s just finishing projects in Saudi Arabia and India and pursuing work in the United Kingdom and Mexico.

“There are no regional projects, per se, anymore. The borders of competition are wide open,” Stirton said. “In today’s market, if you have the capabilities and specialization, you have to be prepared to reach far afield.”

Genivar already has a Winnipeg engineering and planning office with about 75 employees.

Bill Brant, Genivar’s vice-president in Winnipeg, said his group is thrilled to have Smith Carter on board.

He and others in the industry said Genivar has a decentralized management style, giving local offices a fair amount of independence. Brant and Stirton said the two Winnipeg offices will continue to operate separately and discussions about integrating under one roof will happen over time.

Genivar’s buildings group is a partner with several other Canadian architectural firms, including PBK Architects, WHW Architects, ANO Architects, the ARCOP Group and AE Consulting, located in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and St. John’s.

“With this transaction, we have achieved two expansion objectives, which were to strengthen our presence in Western Canada and enter the U.S market, where we believe there are many other opportunities for growth,” Pierre Shoiry, Genivar’s CEO, said in a statement.

Stirton said Smith Carter hopes the partnership with Genivar will allow it to grow its Winnipeg footprint, possibly adding expertise in fields the Winnipeg firm is not now active in.

Smith Carter had a group of about 18 owners. Neither side would disclose details of the transaction, but Smith Carter partners are now shareholders in Genivar.

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Canada’s top 3

Here are Canada’s top publicly traded architecture/engineering firms, their headquarters and annual revenue:


Stantec Inc. (Edmonton) — $1.6 billion

Genivar Inc. (Montreal) — $636.9 million

IBI Group Inc. (Toronto) — $320 million

Martin Cash

Martin Cash

Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.

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