Seeking growth domestically and beyond, Twining is bringing its world-class testing and verification services to clients in many segments of construction.
By Eric Slack
Twining has been setting standards since it was founded in 1898. From its origins as a company focused on agricultural soil testing, Twining is today a leading provider of materials testing and verification of code compliance services.
Twining has more than 200 cross-certified field personnel, a panel of nationally recognized experts who are authorities regarding their respective construction materials, and a network of sophisticated laboratories throughout California. It employs materials engineers and experts who understand construction materials and their application in the field, which allows the company to not only perform on projects with clients but to also work with regulatory agencies to play a role in improving existing regulations.
“As of the end of last year, we had about 300 employees and have five full-service laboratories in addition to our headquarters, where we do engineering and administrative work,” President Rob Ryan says. “Our core competencies now revolve around testing of structural materials and verification of compliance with construction documents.”
All Shapes and Sizes
The company’s current suite of services and offerings is extremely diverse. They include geotechnical engineering, applied research and materials engineering, flexible pavement engineering, construction special inspection and materials testing laboratories. Twining also offers stormwater services, roofing and waterproofing inspection, forensic evaluation and expert witness services, evaluation of existing structures, pavement evaluation and design, construction, quality assurance programs and onsite mobile laboratories.
This cadre of services has allowed Twining to work on projects of all types and sizes, from high-rise residential developments and freeway retaining walls to runway relocations and medical facilities. In fact, the company has provided sound engineering, testing and inspection for many of the region’s landmark projects.
“We work in all areas of construction other than single-family residential construction,” Ryan says. “Our projects include major institutional projects, civil projects, commercial projects, schools, hospitals, bridges, runways and freeways, as well as geotechnical engineering for foundation and pavement design. We test materials used for those in our labs.”
Twining’s longevity helps the company establish itself in the minds of current and prospective clients. The company generally finds that when anyone in its markets is looking for a proposal for the kinds of services Twining offers, it is usually on their list.
“When we are on projects we get to know the principals and look for information on what they have coming up,” Ryan says. “With agencies, developers and contractors, we know our services must be competitive. It helps to know client pain points so we can be clear about what we can offer.”
At the same time, the company takes an aggressive approach to marketing, networking at events and tradeshows and being active on social media as well as its company blog and website.
On the March
Always looking to drive the industry forward, Twining is heavily engaged with in-house research and partnerships with external industry innovators. This helps the company play a role in identifying emerging materials and new technologies, which in turn gives Twining a hand in crafting the guidelines and regulations that will become industry standards.
The company is also mindful of the trends that are impacting its markets. It reviews economic data to gain an understanding of factors such as where construction materials are being shipped and what sectors of the market are heating up or cooling down.
“For example, right now there are a lot of airport improvements and multi-use, multistory residential projects taking place in Los Angeles,” Ryan says. “There is a lot of money coming into southern California from Asian markets funding non-civil projects. At the same time, the civil market is staying fairly steady in places like the airports and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In the highway sector, there is a fair amount of work there, although that trend is diminishing and we are seeing more P3 projects with local self-help agencies.”
Thanks to its awareness of market conditions and willingness to drive its industry, Twining feels it can put forth an aggressive growth plan for itself. The company believes it will continue to grow organically in its traditional market, but it believes acquisitions and partnerships will be critical for the company to expand its presence around the country and the world.
“We have an M&A consultant and are looking at some opportunities,” Ryan says. “We are looking for expansion through diversification of services into complementary areas and through geographic expansion.”
As the company considers its M&A possibilities, enhancement of geographic footprint or service lines will be the main concern. It also wants to engage with companies that can positively impact its earnings right away.
“We are no looking for fixer-uppers,” Ryan says. “We are looking for profitable companies that we can enhance through our marketing expertise and skillset. We have looked at opportunities in a number of states and are actively engaged in looking for the right firms. Above all else, these companies must share our culture and give people free rein and opportunity to build their own empire. They must have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to grow and expand their footprint and capabilities.”
These ambitious plans should help Twining meet its revenue and earnings growth goals over the next few years. The company believes acquiring and internally adding service lines and personnel that complement its strengths will help the company expand, allowing it to stay at the forefront of concrete testing technology and non-destructive testing techniques as the market develops.
“In the end, we want to create opportunities for the enthusiastic and ambitious people in our company,” Ryan says. “The harder they work and utilize their imagination and creativity to achieve results, we want to be able to help them realize the best possible future that they can have by being here at Twining.”