Parsons Brinckerhoff sets up Dublin branch to cash in on major infrastructure contracts.
American engineering giant Parsons Brinckerhoff has set up a Dublin arm to capitalise on the Irish construction boom.

The firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff (Ireland), was formed last week after the group won four contracts, including the N6 motorway upgrade between Kinnegad and Athlone, work on the Dublin Light Rail system and for Aer Rianta at Dublin airport.

The company aims to double the size of this office to nearly 50 staff when more work is formally confirmed.

Managing director Rowland Vye said Parsons hoped to make inroads in the transport, ports and public building sectors, although he refused to put a figure on growth plans.

The company has set up seven divisions to accommodate the expansion, including rail, light rail and building and environment.

Vye said the group, which began undertaking work in Ireland in 1998, had now identified the republic as a key market.

He said: "The group takes a long hard look at territories before deciding to proceed." Vye said the decision to set up a permanent base in Ireland was intended to give Parsons an edge over its rivals. He said: "Some European competitors have been in evidence over the year but they haven't secured significant growth. They tend to have a fly-in, fly-out strategy. We are determined we are resident in Ireland." Vye was confident that the £11-18bn of infrastructure projects pencilled in by the government would go ahead, despite fears that Ireland's labour market was overstretched. The main worry is that projects will not go ahead within the time limits specified in European funding agreements.

However Vye said: "We have been told that the government is quite clear that funding exists." The Dublin arm of Parsons will bring in some staff from abroad but Vye said it was keen to encourage homegrown talent. "It's our intention to staff our offices with Irish nationals at the earliest opportunity," he said. "I would like them to develop through smaller work elsewhere in the world before working on domestic work." Group president Thomas O'Neill, who opened the Dublin office, visited Trinity College's engineering department to attract students to the firm and offer sponsorship.

The group's UK operation, PB Kennedy & Donkin, has also opened a Glasgow office to work on the West Coast Main Line rail project.

Parsons has a global turnover of £650m.