On September 8, global positioning technology company Trimble and Gehry Technologies announced that they had entered into a strategic alliance. The merger aims to increase the abilities and resources of both businesses to provide technology and services that connect the office with the job site and improve efficiencies in design, construction, and facilities management.
As part of the alliance, Trimble acquired Gehry Technologies for an undisclosed sum. Gehry’s software and consulting services business, however, will continue to operate as an independent entity. “Tremble’s organizational philosophy is one of decentralization,” company CEO Steve Berglund told AN. “We usually leave our acquisitions as operating entities, while promoting a strong sense of collaboration.”
Trimble, which brings in approximately $2.5 billion in revenue annually, has market sectors that include agriculture; natural resources, utilities, and government; and geospatial surveying, but engineering and construction makes up about half of its business. The acquisition of Gehry Technologies marks a continuing push to grow the architecture side of its portfolio. In August, Trimble acquired facilities and real estate software company Manhattan Software and Load Systems International, a company that produces construction crane safety instruments.
Trimble decided to pursue Gehry Technologies both for its web-based 3D file management and project collaboration platform GTeam, as well as for its consulting services business. “The exciting thing about Gehry Technologies is its professional services group,” said John Bacus, project management director of Trimble’s architecture division. Bacus himself came to Trimble when the company acquired Sketchup in 2012.
Frank Gehry told AN that Trimble was not the first company to express interest in Gehry Technologies, but he found it to be the most complimentary. “Over the last year or so people were interested in what we were doing,” he said. “We looked at everybody and chose Trimble—that’s how comfortable we were with their culture, it was very close to ours. They kind of get dirty, and are not afraid to get into the trenches. They build a lot of stuff, they’re earthmovers, they’re farm equipment, it’s all very broad and immediate.”
Gehry believes that the collaboration with Trimble will help him to spread the good word about Gehry Technologies’ way of approaching project delivery and allow him to focus more on his architecture practice. “They did a pretty good analysis of what we do and found that it wasn’t all hype,” he said. “We’re small compared to one of these big companies, and we couldn’t on our own expand our technical support systems, which we have shared with our brethren over the years, while continuing to focus on the architectural practice. So the idea here is that we go further with it and it results in a positive for everybody in the construction industry. That’s why we did it.”