Crafton Tull CEO discusses importance of culture fit through strategic growth

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 745 views 

Rogers-based design and engineering firm Crafton Tull has grown its footprint through multiple acquisitions through the years. President and CEO Matt Crafton said that the importance of culture fit couldn’t be understated when making those strategic decisions.

“We’ve found that in acquisitions, that is the most important part,” he told the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Company cultures have to be compatible.”

Crafton said the company found that in B&F Engineering. Crafton Tull acquired the Hot Springs-based business with approximately 45 employees earlier this year.

“We’ve worked with them on projects for 20 years,” he said. “They are excellent surveyors, civil and structural engineers.”

Founded in 1963, Crafton Tull employs more than 250 people and has offices throughout Arkansas and Oklahoma. The firm is one of three employee-owned Employee Stock Ownership Plan corporations in Arkansas.

Crafton said the company “fared pretty well” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm remains in growth mode and “is thinking about some things” relating to additional acquisitions in Arkansas and other states. Crafton didn’t divulge those details.

Matt Crafton

“We’ve got lots of [job] openings, and most firms in our industry do,” he said. “It’s just a tough time to hire folks. Engineers and surveyors are in high demand. We certainly want to hire, but we also have to consider some new locations and acquisitions as part of that mix as well.”

Crafton said passage of the federal government’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law would mean big boons for construction and engineering firms in the public infrastructure sector. Crafton Tull designs and surveys numerous projects for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. One of those is the state’s first single-point urban interchange at Interstate 49 and U.S. Highway 71B between Rogers and Bentonville.

“We will see growth for several years just from the infrastructure bill,” Crafton said. “There will be unprecedented amounts of money spent on infrastructure, which is badly needed. Our economy can’t expand without good infrastructure in place. So [the bill] is a big deal for our economy.”

Crafton also mentioned Arkansas’ permanent half-cent sales tax as an additional funding source for roads and bridges. Arkansas voters passed that measure in November 2020.