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Materials Testing Inc., ATC Group Services add to parent company's national presence

COURTESY: MATERIALS TESTING INC., AN ATLAS COMPANY - Materials Testing Inc., which was recently acquired by Atlas Testing Consultants, has worked on a long list of projects in the Pacific Northwest, including the Coos Bay Conde McCullough bridge painting project.

Clients of the Portland office of Materials Testing & Inspection noticed something a little different when they visited the company's website toward the end of last year.

The name of the company, which offers construction materials testing and special inspection services, had changed slightly as a result of its acquisition by another company, Atlas Technical Consultants.

MTI — now identified as Materials Testing Inc., an Atlas Company — opened in Idaho in 1994, eventually expanding to six offices in that state and three in Washington. The company also has Oregon offices in Portland and Ontario.

Atlas was founded in 2017 when Joe Boyer noticed an industry-wide need for a one-stop-shop that could offer expertise in infrastructure testing, inspection and engineering services. The country's inventory of aging roads, bridges, levees and other infrastructure represents about $4.6 trillion worth of project work that will need to be addressed in the future. The engineering consulting, testing and inspection services that will be required represent a roughly $30 billion market.

With financial backing from Louisiana-based Bernard Capital, Boyer stepped in as CEO of Atlas and set about strategically growing the company.

"The business model basically was to buy these companies with strong footholds in different regions of the country," Karlene Barron, communications director for Atlas, said.

One of those companies turned out to be MTI, which had built an impressive portfolio of projects by the time Atlas approached it. The local office, for example, has worked on Oregon State University's Hayward Field, the Coos Bay Conde McCullough Bridge painting project, and several projects in Vancouver, Washington.

Last year, Atlas also merged with ATC Group Services. A national integrated environmental science and engineering consulting company, ATC has offices in about 40 states, including Oregon.

COURTESY: MATERIALS TESTING INC., AN ATLAS COMPANY - Hayward Field is one of the projects in Materials Testing Inc.'s portfolio. The company was recent acquired by Atlas Testing Consultants, a fast-growing national company.Southwest Geophysics, another company with a Portland office, had previously joined the Atlas family in November 2018. At the time, Southwest Geophysics was owned by SCST, a San Diego-based company that was acquired by Atlas.

With MTI and ATC Group Services in its fold, Atlas now claims more than 3,200 employees in more than 100 offices in 40 states. Bringing all of those companies together under a single umbrella is a major undertaking, according to Barron.

"There's an education process you have to go through with clients," she said.

One of the most significant steps in that process is officially changing the names of the companies that were acquired. MTI, for exam ple, eventually will change its name to Atlas, but the switch likely won't happen for a while, according to Barron.

Even when MTI eventually fully embraces its new name, one thing will remain the same for the local office's clients.

"The issue of the excellence that clients are used to receiving (from MTI), that won't change," Juan Coronel, MTI's regional sales coordinator, said. "It's business as usual."

Atlas, meanwhile, may not be done acquiring companies, according to Barron.

"The model for Atlas is for us to continue to grow," she said. "We're looking at companies that have (that) strong foothold."

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