The international engineering firm CH2M HILL announced in June an agreement on the terms of the acquisition of VECO for $463 million.
CH2M HILL and VECO, which has an office in Bellingham, are expected to finalize the details of the acquisition and a transition-and-integration plan sometime in the next couple of months, said John Corsi, director of CH2M HILL’s corporate communications.
The acquisition comes at a time of turmoil for VECO. Bill Allen, the former chief executive of the oil and gas engineering company, pleaded guilty in May to bribing several members of the Alaska state Legislature.
One of those is former Alaska state Sen. Ben Stevens, son of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. The younger Stevens left the state senate in 2006.
Federal investigators raided the U.S. Senator’s house July 30 as part of an investigation of political corruption. According to a July 31 article in The Washington Post, contractors told a federal grand jury that in 2000, VECO executives oversaw a lavish remodeling of Stevens’ house in Girdwood, Alaska.
According to the Federal Procurement Data System, VECO has received more than $47 million in federal contracts since 2000. CH2M HILL received more than $1.4 billion in federal contracts in 2006 alone, according to the data system.
Officials at CH2M HILL are aware of the investigation, but Corsi said the case deals with a few top individuals in the firm.
“It has nothing to do with the exceptional overall workforce at VECO,” he said.
Corsi said Bellingham employees in VECO’s office should not expect any changes if the acquisition is completed.
“Bellingham workers will not be impacted,” Corsi said. “VECO workers, in Bellingham and beyond, attracted us to this transaction, and our due diligence confirmed the high quality of its workers.”
Representatives from Bellingham’s VECO office did not wish to comment on the potential acquisition or say how many employees work from its office. The office had more than 200 employees in 2005.
If the acquisition is completed, VECO will add more than 4,000 employees to CH2M HILL’s workforce of more than 19,000 in offices around the world.