Bechtel launches division targeting manufacturing, tech

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Dive Brief:

  • Bechtel, a Reston, Virginia-based engineering, construction and project management company, announced its new manufacturing and technology division in April.
  • The division, led by former CFO Catherine Hunt Ryan, targets sectors such as semiconductors, synthetic materials, data centers and electric vehicle products and facilities.
  • Primary drivers for the creation of the division include digitization, energy transition and reshoring for economic and security reasons, said Justin Britt, general manager of semiconductors and electric vehicles at Bechtel.

Dive Insight:

Bechtel’s new division aims to capitalize on these emerging sectors, especially as few companies have the experience in design-build projects within these markets.

“Although we just formally announced this business, we’ve been operating in a bit of a stealth mode since the start of the year,” said Britt. “Word has gotten out and the phone has been ringing quite often with customers asking us to engage in their most critical projects.”

Demand for semiconductor facilities has been booming, according to the Financial Times. For example, semiconductor giant Intel announced in January a $20 billion investment into two new chip factories near Columbus, Ohio. 

Catherine Hunt Ryan

Permission granted by Bechtel

 

Like Bechtel, Jacobs Engineering Group indicated semiconductor manufacturing as a driver for its advanced facilities business. The Dallas-based technical, professional and construction services firm also pegged the electric vehicle industry as another target market slated for rapid growth.

“There’s a lot of spending coming on electric vehicle production, whether its components or the actual vehicles themselves,” said Matt Arnold, an industrial analyst with Edward Jones, after Jacobs Engineering Group’s second quarter earnings call. “Jacobs sure had a lot of confidence that they’re going to get opportunities for work there.”

That market also received a boost from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The IIJA includes $7.5 billion over five years for electric vehicle charging stations.

Data center construction also continues to surge in 2022. Meta, parent company of Facebook, recently launched two new data center projects in Texas and Missouri, pushing its total investment in U.S. data center construction and operations past $16 billion. Bechtel announced last summer a collaboration with Nautilus Data Technologies to construct data centers (pictured above) that use 70% less power for cooling and don’t consume drinking water.

“We haven’t defined revenue expectations, but we expect this business to grow to a similar size to our other businesses, said Britt. “We also see significant synergies with our other businesses.”

Collaborations include mining and metals with battery plants, chemicals with semiconductors and battery plants, communications with EV charging and national security facilities with other advanced facilities, said Britt.

The business is based in Reston, Virginia, but the Bechtel team is also spread across Houston and other U.S. sites. Britt added the division will primarily focus on North America but is open to selectively pursue international opportunities.

“We want to support the massive capital investment required in the supply chains for advanced technologies and the energy transition,” said Britt. “As the last couple of years has shown, it is critical that countries have resilient supply chains in the industries that are essential to their success.”

https://www.constructiondive.com/news/bechtel-division-manufacturing-technology-semiconductor-data-center-electric-vehicle/623523/