Bechtel Corp. moving HQ to Reston from San Francisco
June 7, 2018
By The 2030 Group
By: Drew Hansen
Engineering giant Bechtel Corp. plans to move its corporate headquarters to Reston by the end of the year after more than a century in San Francisco.
Executives with the company told The Washington Post the move is part of a corporate consolidation to get all of Bechtel’s management in one space. Bechtel’s work in California has also waned as it has increased its oil and gas-related construction in and around Houston and its government contracting work in Greater Washington.
“Over the last 15 years the customer base that supported our San Francisco office has diminished, and as a consequence the employee population in San Francisco diminished because the customers moved to other locations,” Bechtel Chief Operating Officer Jack Futcher told The Post, which first reported the news. “We’re closing that chapter in the history of our company, but we’re opening a new chapter.”
The move is technically a designation of its existing Reston office as the company’s new corporate headquarters rather than San Francisco, company spokeswoman Iva Zagar said in an email. The private, family-owned company has about 1,300 employees in Northern Virginia and it’s been the home base of CEO Brendan Bechtel since about 2011, making Reston what execs call Bechtel’s operational headquarters.
About 150 managers and employees are relocating to Reston from San Francisco and Houston, Zagar said. Bechtel will not be leasing any additional space or receiving incentives from Virginia or Fairfax County in connection with the move, she said. It leases more than 225,000 square feet in Reston Overlook, at 12011 Sunset Hills Road, owned by Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE: BXP).
The company completed a workforce move from Frederick, Maryland, to Reston in 2015. While it counts the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Hoover Dam among its more storied projects, Bechtel also oversaw the construction of the first phase of Metro’s Silver Line, which incidentally extended to Reston. The line opened in 2014.
Bechtel’s nuclear, security and environmental government contracting business has also been headquartered in that Reston office. Its work includes chemical weapons demilitarization projects, missile defense infrastructure, scientific and national security facility operations, commercial and U.S. Navy nuclear reactor services, procurement and project management, and environmental restoration and recovery.
That business has built the largest capital project ever undertaken by the National Nuclear Security Administration, managed and operated two nuclear defense plants for the Department of Energy and supported the United Kingdom’s naval and air forces with project and supply chain management.
A 2016 Fortune profile detailed how Bechtel grew its government business by helping weapons facilities save money in the face of sequestration-era cuts. It was booking $4 billion annually by winning contracts to, for example, manage the nation’s two Navy research facilities for nuclear propulsion.
Founded in 1898, Bechtel had revenue of $32.3 billion in total revenue in 2016, making it the Bay Area’s largest privately held company by far and becoming the first to near the Washington region’s own longtime No. 1 privately held company by revenue, McLean-based candy maker Mars Inc. with $35 billion in 2016 revenue. Bechtel counted 50,500 total employees, of which about 340 were based in the Bay Area last year.