Shaping the future: Building on the past and broadening Cardno's global reach

    A woman supported through the Kenya "Value Girls" program, a 4-year initiative funded jointly by the Nike Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development aimed at socially and economically empowering young women. Cardno managed the implementation of the program, which enabled more than 2,000 young women to establish and maintain income-generating businesses in the poultry and vegetable value chains. Photo by: Cardno

    Cardno & Davies, the original engineering practice from which Cardno evolved, commenced operations in 1945 in Brisbane, Australia.

    Working largely in the civil engineering consulting services market, the company achieved a solid reputation for its expertise and experience in the industry. The core business at that time was providing engineering services to public and private clients for the development of infrastructure in the Australian state of Queensland.

    In 1999, Cardno & Davies merged with McMillan, Britton & Kell, another Australian consulting engineering firm, in what would become a pivotal move for the company.

    Following this initial merger, Cardno has implemented a series of strategic acquisitions comprised of Australian and international firms, progressively growing its operations through each merger. While most of the companies acquired were specialized in engineering, physical infrastructure, or environmental management services, Cardno also strategically selected organizations specializing in other industries — such as international development — to expand its global reach and growth potential. All additions to Cardno over the last 14 years have been targeted based on calculated considerations of regional and technical discipline coverage.

    Current company snapshot

    While maintaining its headquarters in Brisbane, Cardno now operates with a global network of approximately 8,000 staff in more than 290 offices across projects in over 90 countries. Together, staff form a strong multidisciplinary team with a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and passion for improving the physical and social environments that underpin communities around the world. With expertise in a full range of disciplines, Cardno is a valued resource for national, state and local governments as well as private clients in the environment, international development, transportation, urban planning, water resources, agriculture, manufacturing and mining fields.

    Cardno is uniquely positioned to provide innovative and integrated solutions through a range of diverse services. Cardno aims to shape the future through its commitment to delivering results that create opportunities for significant, lasting change in both developed and emerging economies.

    Cultivating the emerging markets division

    Out of a desire to create linkages between physical infrastructure development and community welfare, Cardno began working in the emerging markets sector in 2005 by acquiring two international development firms — Acil, based in Australia, and Agrisystems, based in the United Kingdom. Two years later, Cardno also acquired Emerging Markets Group, a global development company based in the United States. As a result of these successful mergers, Cardno quickly developed its emerging markets practice on a global scale, which has now grown to roughly 1,000 employees worldwide. Unlike most other international development firms, the emerging markets division is routinely able to draw on resources and expertise from Cardno’s experience in the areas of physical infrastructure and environmental services, which effectively create unique collaborative opportunities to engage with multifaceted clients and programs.

    For this reason, Cardno looks at development as a holistic, multidisciplinary and integrated process. Strengthened by its geographic and market diversity, Cardno is committed to delivering profound results that make a lasting impact at the local, national, regional and global levels. Cardno is able to achieve these results by building on its long history of dedicated client service and leveraging its resources to establish solid relationships rooted in collaboration.

    Partnering with multilateral donors, private clients, governments and communities to create appropriate and sustainable solutions to local issues, Cardno’s primary international development assistance areas of expertise include public finance management, health, economic growth, governance, physical infrastructure, water resources management, food security, and social and environmental impact management. Underpinning all of the technical skills Cardno brings to its clients is the ongoing commitment to ensuring that within each assignment, Cardno engages local counterparts in partnership to establish sustainable development solutions.

    Emerging markets project experience

    Cardno focuses on providing and improving the physical, economic and social infrastructure that sustains communities. Within infrastructure and environment, Cardno works in Mozambique with the World Bank and the Municipality of Maputo to engage the local community in a participatory approach for designing a new urban plan for the downtown area of Maputo. For the U.K. Department for International Development, Cardno leads a program within the Southern African Development Community which seeks to enhance regional and national responses to climate change, poverty and livelihood vulnerability.

    In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cardno manages an economic growth program funded jointly by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to strengthen the competitiveness of select value chains in the tourism, wood processing and metal processing industries. Cardno also serves as the fiscal agent on behalf of the Millennium Challenge Accounts in five countries — Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mali and Moldova — to provide oversight of financial management processes and systems, ensuring transparency, accountability, and compliance with Millennium Challenge Corp. guidelines.

    Within the health and governance sectors, Cardno collaborates with USAID in Uganda to improve the delivery of health and educational social services at the local government level. Cardno also coordinates with the Australian aid program in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region to strengthen criminal justice systems and legislative frameworks to decrease incentives and opportunities of trafficking in persons.

    In addition, Cardno is working with the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program, an entity funded by the PNG Oki Tedi mine, to reduce community acceptance of violence against women and increase safety in the community, home and workplace. Cardno also managed a program in Kenya funded jointly by the Nike Foundation and USAID, aimed at empowering young women to establish and maintain income-generating businesses in the poultry and vegetable value chains.

    These are just a few examples of the depth and breadth of Cardno’s international development work. Not only do these programs reflect Cardno’s commitment to providing sustainable development solutions in a wide array of sectors, but also the organization’s ability to successfully collaborate with both public and private sector entities.

    Industry recognition

    Cardno is a recognized leader in the provision of sustainable physical, economic and social infrastructure solutions, and its expertise is valued by a broad range of organizations. Last year, the Global Business Council for Health — a coalition of more than 200 member companies and businesses committed to investing resources for positive impact on global health challenges — honored Cardno as a “commended finalist” for its work on USAID’s Health Initiatives for the Private Sector program in Uganda. The HIPS program received a Business Action on Health Award at the 2013 GBCHealth Awards Conference in the “Workforce Engagement: Special Focus on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis or Malaria” category. The conference cited HIPS as a program that exemplified the powerful impact that the private sector is making on global health.

    As the implementing partner for USAID’s Land Titling and Economic Restructuring Activity in Afghanistan, Cardno established the Afghan Land Consulting Organization, which specializes in resolving local land disputes. ALCO was recognized as a successful example of “Ensuring Sustainability Through Local Capacity Building” during the 2012 USAID Local Capacity Development Summit. ALCO continues to provide community-based land management and reform services, long after USAID funding ended in 2009.

    Additionally, 2013 marked the third year in a row that ZweigWhite, a leading engineering and environmental consulting industry publication, awarded Cardno the number one spot on its annual Hot Firms List — recognizing Cardno as the fastest growing engineering and environmental services firm in North America.

    Looking ahead

    Cardno reflects a successful track record of mergers and acquisitions, which has become the cornerstone of the company’s growth strategy. To date, Cardno has merged with more than 50 companies, which together position Cardno to be a world leader in facilitating sustainable change.

    Whether creating transportation infrastructure to connect people, planning new cities, conducting environmental assessments or providing fiscal advice in emerging markets, Cardno’s people are driven by a clear set of values, a passion for exceptional client service and an enduring commitment to innovation.

    “Cardno places an enormous value on our people,” says Andrew Buckley, managing director and CEO of Cardno Limited. “With the broad set of skills and talents among our global staff, we can cultivate effective working partnerships across all of our projects. This enables us to maintain a holistic perspective, using a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to sustainable development.”

    This article was sponsored by Cardno. Find out more about Cardno.

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