McGoodwin Williams & Yates, Northwest Arkansas’ oldest engineering firm, being acquired

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 2,750 views 

Fayetteville engineering firm McGoodwin Williams & Yates Inc. (MWY) is set to be acquired next month by Nebraska-based engineering and design firm Olsson Associates.

The negotiations are nearly complete, according to an Olsson Associates news release, and the deal is expected to close Jan. 15.

Terms of the deal between the two privately held firms were not disclosed.

MWY, at 302 E. Millsap Road, has 30 employees including 11 registered professional engineers. When the acquisition is completed in January, the firm will operate as a division of Olsson Associates for six months, then take on the Olsson Associates name permanently on July 1.

“What stood out to us about Olsson is that they place so much emphasis on providing solid client relationships, which is in parallel to how we work,” Brad Hammond, MWY president, said in the release. “By joining forces, our staff will have the opportunity to work on larger projects and we’ll be able to provide a full complement of Olsson’s services to our current MWY clients.”

MWY specializes in water and wastewater projects, an appealing fact for Olsson.

“The water and wastewater industry has become one of the fastest-growing markets in the engineering profession and MWY is well respected for their technical achievement in creating outstanding water and wastewater systems,” Olssons CEO Brad Strittmatter said in a statement.

MWY was founded by L.M. McGoodwin in 1946 as McGoodwin Consulting Engineers, and is the oldest engineering firm in Northwest Arkansas. Carl Yates — who is Hammond’s uncle — and Terry Williams joined the company in the 1950s, and it was incorporated as MWY in 1966, with Yates being named president.

Hammond began his association with the firm in the summer of 1990, in between semesters at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

After earning his civil engineering degree from the UA in 1992, Hammond was hired part-time by his uncle to begin working at MWY, while completing work in the UA’s MBA program.

He joined the company full-time two years later, and assumed the role of president in 2004. Yates, 87, is still working and remains the firm’s CEO and board chairman in semi-retirement.

Hammond said when the acquisition is finalized in January, he’ll assume the title of team leader of the Fayetteville office. Yates will formally retire from MWY, but continue on in an advisory role.

Established in 1956, Olsson has 1,100 employees in nearly 30 offices across the Midwest and Southwest U.S. The two closest to Northwest Arkansas are in Joplin and Springfield.

Hammond said it was Olsson that approached MWY about a possible acquisition. The due diligence period lasted almost a year.

“We wanted to make sure we both got to know each other and that our values and culture were a good fit,” he said. “Culture can be a killer when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. What we found was that Olsson really worked with the same client-focused values that we have for so many decades. It’s going to allow us to grow and put our employees in a position to grow their careers. This was a mutual decision based on the best interests of both companies.”