2011 MEP Giants

Over the past year, the engineering firms that make up the 2011 MEP Giants have made a commitment to having a diverse portfolio of building specialties, while continuing to invest in their young engineers’ development.


Beginning in January 2011, the Consulting-Specifying Engineer (CSE) staff collected and analyzed engineering firm profiles from more than 100 companies that participated in the 2011 MEP Giants program. Some of the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP), and fire protection engineering firms submitted their firm’s profile to the CSE staff; however, not all firms were willing or able to participate in this year’s MEP Giants survey.

In 2011, more than 100 engineering firms entered their information for the MEP Giants program, compared to 76 firms in 2010. Our data and percentages are based on the companies that responded to the request for information, and the results do not represent the construction and engineering market as whole (though they are a great snapshot). However, with an identical survey from previous years and more than 100 engineering firms participating this year, we have a good feel for the industry based on historical data from previous MEP Giants programs.

Table 1. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

The 2011 MEP Giants generated $28.44 billion in total revenue during the previous fiscal year and $3.82 billion in MEP design revenue. Table 1 shows the top MEP Giants firms based on MEP design revenue, which is how the MEP Giants are ranked. Table 2 shows the top MEP Giants firms based on total revenue. The complete table of rankings is provided at www.csemag.com/giants. The $28.44 billion in total revenue is a 63% increase from the 2010 MEP Giants, and the $3.82 billion in MEP design revenue is an 18% increase from last year’s numbers.

Table 2. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

Growth in sustainable design

Green design principles and a focus on sustainability are not new concepts to the engineering community (and they haven’t been for a while). A larger variety of energy-efficient products, years of historical data proving sustainable design increases return on investment (ROI) for building owners, and a better understanding of how building systems function in their environment have all contributed to the rise of energy-efficient green building programs around the world. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the 2011 MEP Giants submitted more projects to U.S. Green Building Council for LEED certification than ever before in the MEP Giants program. Additionally, the MEP Giants continue to participate in the U.S. EPA Energy Star Buildings label program, but at a much lower rate than LEED programs.

According to the USGBC’s LEED Projects and Case Study Directory, more than 10,500 projects were submitted for LEED certification during the fiscal year in which the 2011 MEP Giants were compiling their data for this year’s program. According to the EPA’s Energy Star Certified Buildings and Plants directory, more than 6,800 projects were submitted for EPA’s Energy Star Buildings Label during the same period.

According to the MEP Giants 2011 data, during the previous fiscal year, the MEP Giants firms submitted 2,365 projects for USGBC LEED Certification and 312 projects for the U.S. EPA Energy Star Buildings label program.

Why is there such a discrepancy between the two programs? What data show that LEED-certified buildings retain their value better than EPA Energy Star buildings? Will this trend of USGBC and LEED dominance continue? These are questions routinely brought up at trade shows, industry events, and educational seminars, but there never seems to be a definitive explanation of why LEED certification reigns supreme.

Employing the engineer

Figure 1: Engineering disciplines of engineering giants. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying EngineerThe 2011 MEP Giants employ more than 49,500 engineers in the United States and Canada. CSE readers—engineers in the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection fields—accounted for more than 16,500 of the 49,500. According to the latest research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 125,000 mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers in the United States. The number of LEED Accredited Professionals in the MEP Giants data continues to rise, with 5,288 LEED Accredited Professionals appearing in the 2011 data.

Figure 1 shows the breakdown of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers. Note that 89% of the more than 16,500 MEP and fire protection engineers employed by the MEP Giants firms are either mechanical or electrical engineers, but only 4% of that same group of engineers holds the title of fire protection engineer at their firm. 

Location and building type

According to the survey, 83% of the 2011 MEP Giants said that the economy’s impact on the construction market was their biggest corporate challenge in the previous year. As the construction market continues to recover and the competition for projects remains high, engineering firms must diversify their specialties to open the door to all revenue-generating opportunities.

As part of the MEP Giants survey, the participating firms must submit information about three projects, including location, building type, and client name. According to the data from those 300 projects, the top five states (in order) with the most activity are California, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas. The top five project types (in order) with the highest number of builds were hospitals, government buildings, colleges and universities, retail facilities, and a tie between water treatment plants and wharf and shipping centers. Figure 2 shows a breakdown of the top building and project types by region of the country. The online version of the map—available at www.csemag.com/giants—is an interactive, Flash-enabled map that displays each state’s information when the mouse hovers over the state.

Figure 2: Breakdown of top building and project types by region. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

Investing in the future of engineering

The demand on young engineers to come into a firm and be a “full participant” is higher than ever before, and the learning curve is getting steeper. Not covered in the traditional college textbooks, many aspects of the engineering profession are learned on the job and over time, but will firms dedicate the time and resources to helping young engineers acquire these skills?

When members of the CFE Media and CSE staff sat down with Dr. Robert Bishop, OPUS Dean of Engineering at Marquette University, they discussed the future of engineering and what the next crop of young engineers will bring to the marketplace (video: http://tiny.cc/i6fl2). With the development of the new Discovery Learning Complex at Marquette, the engineering students will practice “Innovation in Action.”  Students will be able to apply engineering principles to the design and implementation of engineering devices. Everything involved from the initial concept to project completion will be covered; including the soft engineering topics sometimes overlooked in traditional teachings (budgeting, scheduling, specifications, and customer/client relations).

Marquette’s Innovation and Action and other similar programs hope to answer the question we hear from the 2011 MEP Giants, “How can young engineers come in and contribute right away?” The answer appears to be twofold: Protect your investment in the young engineers by offering (and paying for) continuing education opportunities to help them hone their technical skills and exposing them to situations where soft engineering skills are needed.

According to the 2011 MEP Giants data, when asked, “What educational and mentoring programs does your firm offer its engineering staff?” the results were as follows:

  • 97% offer paid membership to societies
  • 95% offer paid attendance to conferences/trade shows
  • 94% offer informal internal mentoring
  • 94% allow their engineers to attend webcasts during business hours
  • 93% offer paid training and testing
  • 81% purchase e-learning courses/materials for their engineers
  • 77% offer tuition reimbursement
  • 71% offer formal mentoring (such as 1:1 pairing).

Nothing replaces on-the-job experience, but an understanding by both the firm and the engineer of the importance of continuous training and improvement, in both technical and nontechnical skills, is a vital component of success.

Recognizing an opportunity to help with this problem, in October the CSE staff will host the first dedicated conference to engineering soft skills development. The Career Smart Engineers Conference (CSEC) program is designed to meet the needs of engineering managers and staff on topics that generally are not covered by technical conferences, engineering school, and trade shows. Educational tracks at the conference include training in leadership and management skills, setting career goals, communicating with clients, and developing internal mentor programs. To register for the conference and get more information about the educational sessions, visit www.csemag.com/careersmart.


MEP Giants remains one of the high-profile surveys CSE magazine compiles throughout the year. Small and large engineering firms alike are encouraged to enter the free program because of the exposure and publicity the MEP Giants program provides. In the following pages in this special MEP Giants section, there is a detailed analysis of the merger and acquisition activity in the construction market, a sit-down discussion with the corporate leadership at these leading engineering firms, and project profiles highlighting some of the innovative projects completed by the 2011 MEP Giants.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me