Keith J. Hawksworth, CEO of New York-based Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), the employee-owned engineering, strategic consulting, planning, and program/construction management firm, recently announced that the company’s board of directors and executive committee are recommending to shareholders to approve the acquisition of PB by the London-based infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty (BB) for $626 million. PB’s shareholders’ meeting will take place on October 21.

“We have for some time sought a strategic partner that complements the services we provide, which would assist us in our ongoing global expansion,” says Hawksworth. “Balfour Beatty shares our values, our culture, and our commitment to professionalism, integrity, and technical excellence — principles that have guided us for nearly 125 years and Balfour Beatty for the last century.”

In a letter to all employees, Hawksworth explained, “The combination [of Balfour Beatty] with PB creates an organization with world-class capabilities in project development (including financing), design, management or delivery of construction services, and the operations and maintenance that can be provided through our combined local office-global footprint.”

James L. Lammie, chairman of the board of PB, added, “Balfour Beatty has agreed that PBwill retain its name and organizational structure and operate as an independent but wholly owned subsidiary. We believe this will allow us to continue to meet our clients’ needs in ways they expect while expanding into new areas that will provide additional opportunities for our employees.”

The acquisition must be approved by the shareholders of both organizations.

Balfour Beatty Chief Executive Ian Tyler said in a taped message to PB employees, “Clients are absolutely the center of what we do. … I’m very excited about bringing the two organizations together. Above all, though, I’m absolutely clear that we need to maintain the brand, the values, the culture, and the processes of PB as a complete entity.”

In 2008, PB had revenues of $2.34 billion and approximately 13,000 employees in more than 100 offices worldwide. The publicly traded BB has approximately 40,000 employees and last year had revenues of approximately $15 billion.