Parsons Corporation

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Parsons Corporation
Private (Employee-owned)
Industry Engineering and Construction
Founded California, United States (1944 as Ralph M. Parsons Company)
Headquarters 100 West Walnut Street, [Los Angeles, CA]
Key people
Ralph M. Parsons, Founder
Charles L. Harrington, CEO
Thomas L. Roell, Group Executive, Operations/Risk
James R. Shappell, Group Executive, Development/Strategy
George L. Ball, CFO
Rich McFarland, Government Relations
Erin M. Kuhlman, Corporate  Relations
Mary Ann Hopkins, Group President, Chris Alexander, Executive Vice President
Revenue US$ 3.1 billion (2014)[1]
Parsons Corporation's headquarters in Pasadena

Parsons Corporation (Parsons) is an engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm headquartered in Pasadena, California. Founded in 1944 by engineer Ralph M. Parsons, Parsons Corporation is currently one of the largest such companies in the United States with more than 15,000 employees and revenues of $3.1 billion in 2014. It is 100% owned by its Employee Stock Ownership Trust.

Landmark projects[edit]

Parsons is currently engaged in projects across the world including bridges, wastewater treatment facilities and homeland security. Such projects include the program/construction management and technical support services for multiple buildings on the Capitol Campus, vehicle inspection in New Jersey, emergency response and construction management in New York following Superstorm Sandy, program support services for the U.S. Army’s Training Support Systems Enterprise, managing information- and cyber-related risks for the intelligence community, program and constructions management for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s multibillion-dollar capital improvement program, design of Oman’s new water reuse infrastructure, construction supervision of the Dubai Metro Red and Green Lines, technical support and program management as well as construction management and labor relations services for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s massive school building program, and managing general contractor services for Miami International Airport’s South Terminal, North Terminal, and MIA Mover construction projects.

Controversial projects[edit]

Parsons was awarded a contract for a $243 million project to build 150 health care centers in Iraq in March 2004. By March 2006, $186 million had been spent, with six centers complete and accepted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), 135 centers only partly complete, and one reassigned to another contractor. USACE progressively terminated the contract from September 2005 to March 2006, eventually requiring Parsons to complete a total of 20 centers with the others to be completed by other contractors. The estimated cost for the completion of the other 121 centers was $36 million.[2]

Parsons and USACE disputed the degree to which the final 20 centers were completed.[3] A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction cited problems, including "high turnover among government personnel... directions... given without agreement from the contractor... program managers' responsiveness to contractor communications, cost and time reporting, administration and quality assurance".[3]

ENR rankings[edit]

Every year, Engineering News-Record magazine performs an annual survey and ranks companies engaged in general contracting, specialty contracting, engineering, architecture, planning, and studies. The rankings are based on annual revenue at home and abroad, and they are further divided into specific market categories. In 2014, Parsons ranked #13 for Design, #11 for Hazardous Waste, #6 for Sewer, #8 for Air Pollution, #9 for Nuclear Waste, #6 for Program Management, #5 for Program Management-for-Fee, #5 for Education, #14 in Highways, #7 in Transportation, and #10 in Airports, Mass Transit and Rail. In 2013, Parsons ranked #6 for both Program Management and Construction Management-for-Fee. In Telecommunication, Parsons ranked #3, and it ranked #15 overall for Design. Parsons’ Hazardous Waste rank was #9. Parsons was ranked #8 in Transportation (#4 for Airports and Mass Transit and Rail, #10 for Highways, and #9 for Bridges). Parsons ranked #18 in General Building, #12 for Education, and #12 for Government Offices, and it ranked #20 in Sewer/Wastewater.


Parsons was founded in 1944.

Parsons has been involved in the design, engineering, and construction of infrastructure and industrial facilities. One of Parsons’ projects was a project on the Alaska North Slope. Atlantic Richfield (BP) and Exxon (ExxonMobil) hired Parsons to perform an engineering study determining a way to overcome technical and logistical engineering challenges in Arctic oil production. Another project was the new industrial city of Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, situated on the Red Sea. The Royal Commission of Saudi Arabia selected Parsons to transform this historic harbor into a modern port complex through its master plan, design, and construction management services. This city now produces oil, gas, and petrochemical products for export.

Founder's legacy[edit]

In 1961, Ralph M. Parsons founded the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation as the charitable giving arm of the company. When he died he left the foundation 600,000 shares of the company and $4 million in cash.

In media and popular culture[edit]

In 2013, Parsons was named one of the “Top 50 Employers” for minority engineers in Minority Engineer, a magazine by Equal Opportunity Publications. In 2013—for the second consecutive year—Parsons was designated a Military Friendly Employer® by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs Magazine. Criteria for this award include benchmark scores across key programs and policies such as the strength of a company’s military recruiting efforts, the percentage of new hires with prior military service, company retention programs, and company policies on National Guard and Reserve service.

The "Lanely Institute" depicted in The Simpsons episode "Marge vs. the Monorail" bears an uncanny resemblance to Parsons' Pasadena headquarters as one would approach the complex on North DeLacey Avenue in Old Town Pasadena.

Parsons is mentioned in the documentary No End In Sight, about the US war upon and occupation of Iraq. In the documentary, two US Marines comment that they had begun construction of border forts a year after Parsons had begun construction of their border forts nearby. The Marine, Seth Moulton, said "...we had our forts designed, built and dedicated in a period of about five months. I think when we left, the Parsons forts, which had been started maybe a year before we arrived were still not finished." The documentary goes on to say that while the forts built behind schedule by Parsons cost 1.2 million dollars, the Marines' forts built in conjunction with providing employment for Iraqis cost just $200,000 of US taxpayers' money.

Parsons is also notable to readers of John Perkins' book Confessions of an Economic Hitman, as the company that acquired Chas. T. Main Inc., a New England–based international engineering firm, which according to the book, acted as a consulting firm, trapping many Third World countries into international debts they could not repay.


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