MWH Global

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MWH Global, Inc.
Employee Owned Corporation
Industry Engineering, procurement, construction, consulting and operations
Founded Pasadena, California (1945)
(as James M. Montgomery Consulting Engineers (JMM))
Key people
Alan Krause, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Revenue Increase$1.3 Billion [1] USD (2009)
Number of employees
7,500 (2012)[2]

MWH Global is a global wet infrastructure firm, providing technical engineering, construction services and consulting solutions to protect, enhance, store and distribute water. The firm has provided planning, design and construction management services for a wide range of water resources projects around the world. Work also includes thousands of water quality evaluations and studies. The firm is headquartered in Broomfield, a suburb of the Denver metropolitan area in the State of Colorado of the United States with operations in 34 countries. As of December 2009, MWH Global had a global staff of more than 8,000 employees,[2] including builders, engineers, architects, geologists, operators, project managers, business consultants, scientists, technologists, and regulatory experts. MWH is listed as #364 of America's Largest Private Companies by Forbes (2008).[3]


MWH Global is the unification of three major engineering firms: James M. Montgomery Consulting Engineers (JMM), Watson Hawksley, Ltd., and Harza Engineering Company. JMM was founded in Pasadena in 1945 by James M. Montgomery[4] following his work on the design (1936) and commencement (1941) of the 100-million gallon per day F. E. Weymouth Memorial Water Softening and Filtration Plant at La Verne, California for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California while with the firm Hoover and Montgomery.[5] JMM merged with Watson Hawksley, Ltd., of High Wycombe, United Kingdom, in 1990, combining JMM's specialization in water and wastewater engineering with Watson Hawksley's international operation, to become the global firm of Montgomery Watson.[6] In 2001, Montgomery Watson merged with Harza Engineering Company, of Chicago, Illinois, best known for its work in the energy and environmental sectors and hydroelectric power development[7] including the El Cajón Dam in Honduras (officially known as Central Hidroeléctrica Francisco Morazán), and operated under the new name of Montgomery Watson Harza. In 2003, the firm name was shortened to MWH.[6]


MWH specializes in all aspects of wet infrastructure including water and wastewater networks; hydropower and renewable energy; ports and waterways; environmental services, and industrial sustainability.

Water and Wastewater

As one of the world’s largest water resource engineering firms,[8] MWH provides planning, design and construction management services for water resources projects around the world. They work to help municipalities, utilities, governments, and industries find solutions to protect, conserve, store and distribute water in the face of rapid growth and increasingly serious threats from droughts and floods. MWH has conducted thousands of investigations, water quality evaluations and basin management studies,[9] including the recent planning, engineering and management resources for Dubai’s Jebel Ali Sewage Treatment Plant.

Hydropower and Renewable Energy

MWH is a specialist in the hydropower industry, improving efficiencies of existing structures and constructing some of the world’s largest dams, pumped-storage schemes and power transmission systems.[10] MWH also designs and develops other renewable energy infrastructure including biomass, solar energy, and wind energy facilities. In the Republic of Ireland, MWH is providing engineering services for a renewable energy-from-waste plant near Dublin.[11] The plant will convert municipal solid waste into power, meeting the energy needs of approximately 35,000 homes. MWH’s responsibilities include process design and 3D layout integration for all process facilities and detailed design of the steam cycle and power island.

MWH led a joint-venture with Energoprojekt Co. Ltd. to complete the $350 million Tekeze Dam Hydropower Project in northern Ethiopia.[12] The government-funded project – and tallest dam in Africa at 188 meters-high – is expected to provide a reliable, renewable source of power for the country that has been forced to impose regular blackouts for its 80 million residents due to energy shortages.[13]

In Venezuela, MWH has provided engineering, design and construction management support for the Guri Dam hydroelectric development project for 50 years. Located on the Caroni River in Venezuela, the project has been developed in stages to match electrical demand growth. The dam was raised in the early 1980s, and has a combined capacity of 20 units that exceeds 10,000 MW. MWH designed the original project and has been providing continuous engineering services since the 1950s.

In California, MWH conducted feasibility studies and provided permitting, design and construction management services for a 1-megawatt solar photovoltaic array at the Robert A. Skinner Water Treatment plant near Los Angeles.[14] The solar power generation facility will help offset the energy the plant uses and reduce the plant’s electric bill.

Ports & Waterways

MWH designs, manages, builds, rehabilitates and expands marine projects around the world, including ports, locks, canals, channels, sea outfalls, coastal facilities, and shoreline protection offering a full range of services related to hydraulic engineering; construction management; design and rehabilitation of navigation locks, dams and navigational channels; and management of dredging operations as well as transportation-related infrastructure projects such as highways, bridges, mass transit and airports.

With partner, Keppel Seghers, MWH is overseeing construction of an innovative mechanical dewatering plant at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium. Scheduled for completion in October 2010, the plant will treat 2.6 million m³ of port sediment a year (600,000 tons dry matter), and will allow the Port of Antwerp, one of Europe’s main cargo gateways, to remain open and safe for large vessels. The project is considered one of the largest and most innovative sediment treatment projects in the world.[15]


MWH offers a range of environmental services, including environmental management systems, water-quality improvement, environmental restoration, productive reuse, strategic environmental resource planning, solid/hazardous waste management, chemical/soil remediation, energy and greenhouse gas emissions management, and enhancement and rehabilitation of river basins, streams and reservoirs, delivering some of the largest and most innovative environmental projects in the world. In the mining and landfill industries, MWH supplies expertise in areas such as water supply, characterization studies, surface water and pit lakes.

In the United Kingdom, MWH was called upon to deliver an assessment of utilities and infrastructure (including water, wastewater, electricity, gas and digital) needed to meet the rapid growth of the Manchester Corridor.[16] The project has used a range of innovative solutions, including renewable energy and local generation, to meet future growth needs, while improving efficiency, reducing costs and significantly reducing the area’s carbon footprint.

In Queensland, Australia, MWH helped provide a water conservation plan for the Pimpama, Queensland Coomera Waterfuture Master Plan.[17] The plan includes a recycled water treatment plant that uses eight percent less energy than typical plants.

Industrial Sustainability

MWH creates customized sustainability programs focused on reducing fuel and power costs, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, using water responsibly, or ensuring a safe facility closure. In the United Kingdom, MWH has developed a framework for assessing the embodied carbon and whole life carbon emissions associated with new capital investment in the UK water industry. The project is one of a suite of projects commissioned by UK Water Industry Research[18] to provide carbon guidance for the industry.

Awards and honors[edit]

MWH ranked in Engineering News-Record’s Global Sourcebook Issue, December 28, 2009. Among the rankings: #1 Top 10 in Water Supply; #1 Top 10 in Wastewater Treatment; #1 Top 10 in Sewerage and Solid Waste; #3 Top 10 in Hydroplants; #29 Top 200 International Design Firms; and #33 Top 150 Global Design Firms.[19]

New Civil Engineer ranked MWH as part of its Top Global Firms Consultants File (March 2010).[20] Among the rankings: #1 Water; #4 Waste; and #9 Power.

MWH was awarded two Environmental Business Journal Achievement Awards in 2009,[21] recognizing its carbon offset verification work at Washington State’s Rocky Reach Dam Hydroelectric Facility in the C&E Firms: New Practice Areas category, as well as its design and construction management services for the Durham Influent Pump Station in Tigard, Oregon, the first LEED certified pump station in the U.S., in the Project Merit, Sustainability and Resource Protection category.


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