A number of changes are coming for the Bangor-based engineering consulting firm CES, Inc., which has managed to keep growing this year in spite of the coronavirus pandemic and complete its move to a bigger office building right in the center of downtown.
The 42-year-old company is changing its name to Haley Ward, Inc. after acquiring a Massachusetts engineering firm called Haley and Ward in January. Also this year, its ownership has been effectively turned over to its workers through a structure known as an employee stock ownership plan, or an ESOP.
The operation’s new name and logo will soon appear on its downtown Bangor headquarters at One Merchants Plaza, a seven-story building that also includes the offices of the Bangor Daily News in its bottom two floors. To make way for the new sign, the BDN is moving its logo from the top west side of the building farther down, to an area near the front entrance.
CES, which offers a number of environmental and engineering services for private and public construction projects, now has more than 115 employees. It brought on 14 of them through the acquisition of Haley and Ward in January, according to President and CEO Denis St. Peter. The firm has been involved with projects including the redevelopment of the former Verso Paper mill site in Bucksport, the construction of a new waste processing plant in Hampden and the development of the Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia National Park.
The company, which is also adding more workers in Maine to manage the new business from its latest acquisition, has been able to adapt to the demands of the coronavirus pandemic by more frequently using remote meeting programs to present engineering plans to its clients.
Although employees now work from home more often, the company’s renovation of and move into the top two floors of One Merchants Plaza have also proven useful because it has more technological capabilities and allows people to space out more than 6 feet from each other when in-person meetings are required, according to St. Peter. The firm previously outgrew its former headquarters at 465 South Main St. in Brewer after steadily growing through the acquisition of smaller companies.
“When the pandemic hit, we were as nervous and uncertain as everyone else,” he said. “You could see the impact. Initially, we had one client in Massachusetts put out a work stoppage order. That was nerve-wracking, but that municipality has since started to work again. After we were deemed an essential service, we were full steam ahead.”
The company’s new name is meant to better represent the company’s size and geographic reach. It also has smaller offices throughout Maine, stretching from Saco to Presque Isle and Machias; its Massachusetts office that it acquired from Haley and Ward; and a location in Florida.
It developed the employee stock ownership plan in part to recognize the dedication of its workers and also to help the company pay fewer taxes on its earnings, St. Peter said.