Friday, November 02, 2007

Some Notes on the recent ENR Outlook 2008 Conference

I attended the ENR Outlook 2008 conference last week in Washington DC (, and found a number of topics of interest; paticularly around adoption of new technologies. Some general thoughts:

1. Rapid adoption of Analysis Tools

Richard Fox, COO of CDM ( talked about market drivers in the water industry (supply, distribution, quality, treatment). Of particular interest to me was the use of new tools to measure and improve upon sustainability as well as the use of risk assessment and management tools. I believe this will open the door to new opportunities where E&Cs may differentiate their offerings and provide more value to clients in terms of energy mgt, compliance (government and NGO) and even brand management, by leveraging 'analysis' technology to key toolsets.

2. Private - Public Partnerships

Much has been discussed in regards to creating a positive investment environment to attract private capital to fund major infrastructure programs. Clearly, Europe has taken the lead in this arena, as many municipalities have outsourced the design, build, and operations of utility systems. I have worked with a couple of the major E&Cs who have experience rapid growth in their international operations, especially in outsourced operations & maintainence contracts. Each company is leveraging either external or internal investment sources to fund these deals, and to help structure terms (capital, ROI, performance requirements). They have also organized seperate P&L centers to manage the operations. One would think that should the market open up here in the US, these companies would have significant experience to leverage.

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