Ottawa’s Cleland Jardine Engineering acquired by Montreal firm

Bob Jardine and Mike Cleland
Bob Jardine (left) and Mike Cleland are the founders of Cleland Jardine Engineering. File photo

Three decades after its humble beginnings, one of the capital’s largest engineering firms is joining forces with a Quebec company in a bid to tap into bigger markets. 

Kanata-based Cleland Jardine Engineering has been acquired by Montreal’s Bouthillette Parizeau, the two companies announced this week. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1993 by veteran engineers Mike Cleland and Bob Jardine, Cleland Jardine has 65 employees. 

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The firm – which, as the story goes, was hatched after its founders weighed the pros and cons of starting their own business over beverages at the Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin Street – has become a leader in its field, with clients across Canada and beyond. 

Cleland Jardine specializes in the structural investigation, analysis, design and construction review of new buildings and their components as well as the rehabilitation and renovation of existing buildings. The company says it has worked on projects around the world with a total construction value of more than $200 million.

Bouthillette Parizeau (BPA) specializes in providing engineering services for the institutional, commercial, multi-residential and industrial markets. The company, which employs 675 people, works with customers in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Northern Canada.

“By formalizing our long-standing collaboration with BPA, we will be able to combine our expertise in structural engineering and building science with BPA’s complementary talent in mechanical and electrical engineering to provide a comprehensive service offering for our clients and reach new markets,” Jardine said in a statement. 

“At the same time, our employees will enjoy enhanced career development opportunities by gaining access to larger-scale projects.” 

BPA said the acquisition will boost its presence in the Ottawa area and help the company become “more firmly rooted” in Ontario.

“This transaction reinforces BPA’s position as a leader in building engineering by strengthening our structural engineering practice as well as adding the building science service to our offering,” CEO Dominic Latour said.

“Teaming up with Cleland Jardine aligns with our ambitious strategic objective of expanding our team and our reach across Canada, while being recognized as a leader in building engineering from coast to coast.”

The deal marks another step in the evolution of the organization that began when Jardine and Cleland, who were previously colleagues at another Ottawa firm, went into business together 30 years ago last month. 

The founders recounted the genesis of the company in an interview with OBJ’s Caroline Phillips in 2019.

“I was an associate at the firm we were both working at and I knew it was going to take years for me to get to the point where I would have control,” Cleland said.

“We decided, ultimately, to give it a go,” added Jardine. “Ninety per cent of the battle is having the guts to go do it.”

Over the years, the company has expanded its headquarters on Terry Fox Drive multiple times and become one of the region’s go-to structural engineering consultancies. 

Cleland Jardine has handled more than 20,000 projects, from condo and office buildings to single-storey strip malls, schools and hospitals in places such as Pembroke, Winchester, Hawkesbury and Kingston. 

In addition, it’s done work on all three campuses of the Ottawa Hospital and was involved with other major construction projects such as the $180-million expansion of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Jardine told Phillips the firm has never stood still in its push to continue growing and innovating. 

“Complacency kills business,” he said. “If you get complacent with your clients, there’s always somebody else waiting in the wings to take over. If you get complacent with your employees and take them for granted, they’ll go somewhere else. If you get complacent with running the business as it relates to day-to-day operations, things will go astray.”

Ottawa’s Mike Cleland and Bob Jardine engineering an enduring partnership

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