Drive for growth: Alan Ryder speaks to Ground Engineering

February 25, 2021

Following RSK’s strategic acquisition of Black & Veatch’s water businesses in the UK and Asia (now rebranded as Binnies), RSK Chief Executive Officer Alan Ryder was interviewed for Ground Engineering magazine about the group’s future growth plans. The resulting article appeared in the March 2021 edition of Ground Engineering, published on 17 February.

The article sees Alan delve into RSK’s short-term expansion plans, the impact of bringing Binnies back to the water sector and how RSK intends to strengthen its core services, including geotechnical and ground engineering services. He also discusses the business impact of COVID-19 and the steps RSK is taking to lead in the transition towards a net-zero-carbon economy, including signing the Pledge to Net Zero.

RSK has a goal to become the largest privately owned environmental and engineering business in Europe, with 10,000 employees and an annual turnover of £1 billion, by 2025. Alan confirmed to Ground Engineering that more growth is indeed on the horizon to achieve this.

“We want to provide end-to-end solutions to our clients, differentiating ourselves through the breadth and depth of what we can offer,” he said. “We are exploring potential acquisition targets and new business lines that will help us to achieve this. I think if we maintain steady progress and keep doing what we’re good at, then we’re on track to become the largest privately owned European environmental and engineering consultancy business by 2025.”

Something that has propelled RSK towards this target is the exciting acquisition of Black & Veatch’s water businesses in the UK and Asia, completed in January. Discussing the transformative addition to the group, Alan said, “The return of such an iconic brand is great news for the sector. Binnies is synonymous with world-class engineering and so many people, including me, hold fond memories of Binnie & Partners. At a time when many established brands are falling, I’m glad we can play a part in bringing such a great one back to the market.”

And while RSK is keen to diversify further through future growth and acquisitions, Alan was keen to highlight that its core services, in particular geotechnical and ground engineering, will remain a central part of the business. He added that the diversification strategy was all about providing end-to-end services as well as building resilience, which was particularly important during the uncertain COVID-19 period. “One reason we strive to be such a diverse organisation is because we believe that diversity builds resilience, and COVID-19 has certainly tested this,” he explained.

Looking ahead, Alan stressed that sustainability would continue to be a key driver for RSK, in terms of business opportunities and the company’s culture of ‘doing the right thing’, as addressing the impacts of climate change continues to move up the global agenda.

“Today, perhaps more than ever before, we need our sustainability credentials to shine,” he said, “whether that be through adoption of ‘green’ or ‘soft engineering’ solutions or by taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint. Whenever we approach a project today, we think about our Pledge to Net Zero – looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint in the delivery of our work.”

Subscribers can read the article in full in the March 2021 edition of Ground Engineering online here.