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TRANSACT IONS 3-TIER ALASKA & TRAVIS/PETERSON HAVE MERGED 3-Tier Alaska and Travis/Peterson Environmental Consulting have joined forces effective February 1, 2021. This merger expands and deepens their civil, environmental, and land surveying services across Alaska. Zweig Group, a full-service AEC management advisory firm, represented 3-Tier Alaska in this transaction. Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group’s managing principal, served as the firm’s lead advisor on the engagement. “While 2020 threw off some of our M&A predictions, the fact is that the long-term drivers of M&A remain: the need for buyers to grow and expand into the new markets and offer new services, and the need for sellers to transition ownership and join forces with culturally-aligned partners for growth,” Kiser said. “We congratulate leadership of both firms for achieving mutually successful outcomes in this strategic combination.” Jim Ringstad started 3-Tier Alaska in the early 1980s, specializing in land surveying and civil engineering. In March of 2018, Jim’s son, Nick Ringstad, took over the company and grew it from two to 12 full-time employees. Michael Travis and Larry Peterson formed Travis/Peterson in 1998. Travis/Peterson

specializes in environmental engineering and consulting. The company currently has seven full-time employees, composed of engineers, biologists, geologists, and environmental scientists, as well as seasonal staff. “Travis/Peterson has a first-class reputation and deep expertise in environmental consulting and engineering in the state of Alaska. Their team of registered engineering and environmental science professionals integrate perfectly with 3-Tier Alaska’s decades worth of experience in land surveying and land-use,” Nick Ringstad, owner of the merged company, said. “The two companies share a common belief that there is no substitute for hard work, dedication, and honesty, and our clients can expect to get the best and most experienced civil and environmental engineering and surveying professionals for every job.” Travis/Peterson is now a division of 3-Tier Alaska and will maintain its offices in Fairbanks and Anchorage. The new company will continue to offer the following services: Drinking water, storm, and wastewater treatment system design, spill response, prevention, and site remediation, SWPPPs, environmental site assessments, wetlands and permitting along with subdivision design and engineering, property, boundary and

remote surveying and construction surveying, amongst other services. Nick Ringstad added, “Within the next three years, one of 3-Tier Alaska’s top goals is to be voted a ‘Best Place to Work’ by local media outlets. The merger with Travis/ Peterson is a huge step toward accomplishing that goal. The future of this company is very bright.” Zweig Groupis the leading research, publishing, and consulting resource for the built environment. The firm provides strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, marketing, business development, market research, financial management, project management, recruiting and executive search services nationwide. Zweig Group also provides a comprehensive suite of products including industry reports and surveys, executive training, and business conferences covering virtually every aspect of AEC firm management. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas. 3-Tier Alaska has more than 100 years of combined expertise and knowledge in land surveying and civil engineering in the interior of Alaska. To learn more, visit or contact Nick Ringstad at nick@3tieralaska. com.


Whether it’s the water we drink or the roads and bridges on which we drive or the environmental safety of the many public and private properties that we help clean up, our engineers and scientists are the doctors and nurses of the built and natural environments. A tangible example would be my role on the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, together with the support of a number of other Fuss & O’Neill employees who have been working with the Governor’s office and affiliated state agencies, utilities, and private employers to help mitigate and adapt to climate change throughout the state. TZL: How often do you valuate your firm and what key metrics do you use in the process? Do you valuate using in-house staff or is it outsourced? KG: We use “book value” as the basis for firm valuation, as it is more conservative than, say, market value. Our external accountants assess firm valuation on an annual basis, and it is reviewed by our own internal accounting professionals. TZL: Ownership transition can be tricky, to say the least. What’s the key to ensuring a smooth passing of the baton? What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid? KG: Generally, our incoming shareholders purchase their shares from those who are required to sell due to an age restriction. Share value must always be high enough to continue to attract new employee shareholders. Assuming reasonably strong financial performance, the greatest pitfall to avoid is using the wrong criteria to assess new shareholder candidates.

Through a process referred to as open-book management we make all of our employees aware of our profitability (as well as other) targets, consequential goals related to additional compensation, and their respective roles in achieving or exceeding such targets and goals. We understand that we are stronger together and, therefore, that “class divisions” make us weaker. All that said, the issue requires constant attention. “I aim for perfection – knowing full well that I and we will never attain it – but that, along the way, we will encounter excellence if we remain willing to take calculated risks and support one another.” TZL: Is change management a topic regularly addressed by the leadership at your firm? If so, elaborate. KG: Constructive change is what we are about, so change management is a big part of what we do – all the time. What got you to where you are is never good enough to get you to where you want and need to go. TZL: I watched the “We Make Life Better” video on the homepage of the Fuss & O’Neill website. Can you give me a recent example of how the firm has done this? KG: Making life better is inherent in all that we do.

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