Black and Veatch Gains Public-Safety Entry Point with RCC Buy
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 | Comments

Marty Travers, president of telecommunications for Black and Veatch, thinks his company’s recent purchase of RCC Consultants will create a unique vertical service for the public-safety communications market.

Earlier this month, Black and Veatch purchased RCC Consultants’ assets for around $3.1 million. The total amount depends partly on the value of accounts receivables that Black and Veatch acquired from RCC, according to bankruptcy court documents.

RCC’s focus on upfront planning and design will combine well with Black and Veatch’s focus on engineering and constructing communications systems, Travers said in an interview with MissionCritical Communications. Previously, clients had to go to a third-party contractor for the upfront work, which could increase the costs of and time needed for a project, but now they can get those services in one place.

“We think this vertical solution is a really unique model in the public-safety market,” Travers said.

Prior to the purchase, Black and Veatch was looking to expand its services in the public-safety market but lacked a good method for doing so. In the past the company’s telecommunications arm has focused mainly on public carriers in the wireless and wireline space as well as some major utilities, Travers said.

“Public safety represented a market segment that has a need for services we offer, but we were lacking the upfront development and system design expertise that RCC has,” he said The eventual rollout of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) was one, but not the only, factor that Black and Veatch considered in making the acquisition.

“The FirstNet opportunity is very attractive, but it’s not the sole reason for the purchase of RCC,” Travers said. “FirstNet will eventually roll out, and there will be opportunities there. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities to help public-safety organizations upgrade or expand their systems. The market has multiple entry points.”

RCC filed for bankruptcy in May, citing liquidity issues caused by an economic slowdown and a decrease in state and local government funding for radio projects. The company attempted several strategies to regain profitability, but chose to sell its assets after those strategies failed during an allotted timeframe.

Judge Michael Kaplan approved the sale of RCC’s assets in the New Jersey District of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court during a court hearing at the end of July. He also waived a 14-day stay required by bankruptcy law to allow the sale to go through immediately. The two companies reached an asset purchase agreement on July 29 and completed the sale on July 31.

“The sale has been fully completed,” Travers said. Black and Veatch is now in what Travers described as an integration period. The company is in the process of going through each of RCC’s ongoing projects and taking the necessary steps to officially take over those projects.

Once it placed its assets for sale, RCC Consultants received three bids, including Black and Veatch’s. In court documents, the company said it chose Black and Veatch because of the price and the fact that its employees would be allowed to transfer to Black and Veatch.

The company has already completed the transfer of the 59 employees who were with RCC Consultants on July 29 to Black and Veatch, Travers said. Those employees are continuing to work on and support the contracts they had prior to the purchase. “They’re still completing deliverables on time,” Travers said. “ We’re just working on integrating them into Black and Veatch’s systems and processes.” RCC Consultants was headquartered in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Employees from that office will move to a Black and Veatch office in nearby Paramus, New Jersey, Travers said. RCC also had employees spread around the country. Where practical, those employees will report to Black and Veatch offices while the remaining employees will be part of the company’s virtual workforce.

Black and Veatch celebrated 100 years of business Aug. 12 with a series of events across the world. In addition to telecommunications, the company offers energy and water services. The company’s telecommunications arm employs around 1,500 employees, most of whom are located in the United States.

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