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Jim Hamilton’s advice for a successful merger? Talk about values, culture

Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Cover of Engineering Georgia magazine's May/June 2016 issue.Engineering Georgia magazine feature story on mergers and acquisitions.

After 30 years in business, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering alumnus Jim Hamilton merged his 15-person engineering firm in Alpharetta with the considerably larger Kimley-Horn and Associates.

Three years later, that deal is among those providing a roadmap for successful mergers and acquisitions in the issue of Engineering Georgia magazine that’s just arrived in mailboxes.

“We spent a lot of time talking about values before the acquisition,” Hamilton told the magazine for Georgia’s engineering industry. “We talked about culture and what the culture would be like. There is a difference between going from a 15-person to a 2,500-person company. At the base of it all, we had some common values that were really important to us.”

Hamilton, who earned his civil engineering bachelor’s degree in 1977 and serves on the School’s External Advisory Board, said those values included integrity, honesty and high expectations.

“It’s like any big endeavor,” he told Engineering Georgia. “You have to plan it out well. [Southern Civil Engineers] existed for 30 years, and we weren’t going to make the change unless we knew it was the right thing.”

Hamilton is one of a handful of engineering executives across Georgia featured in the magazine’s piece about best practices when engineering firms merge.

Read more in Engineering Georgia’s May/June 2016 issue.