AECOM: Building and Securing a Smarter World

AECOM takes infrastructure and data analysis to new levels


AECOM is a fully integrated engineering services firm with a mission to design and maintain infrastructure from the ground up. The company was formed 26 years ago with the goal to make the world a better place via architectural services.

“We’re not a company that builds airplanes or satellites or is an [Original Equipment Manufacturer],” said Jill Bruning, executive vice president and general manger of AECOM’s Intelligence Community business. “The company is organized around the engineering lifecycle: We design it, build it, operate it, and maintain it. We also have the capability to finance it.”

AECOM has grown significantly since it formed in 1990. Today, it generates $18 billion in revenue with employees working across 150 countries. From oil, gas, and transportation to sporting venues and cities, AECOM supports clients in 12 markets. The company has built 80 percent of United States sports stadiums as well as contributed to the design and planning of the last three worldwide Olympic Villages. AECOM also helped build One World Trade Center, which according to Bruning, incorporates many state-of-the-art security and safety features.

Securing the World

Though AECOM is known for designing and constructing some of the world’s most architecturally unique buildings, one-third of the company serves the government market in the areas of security, U.S. and international counterterrorism, and energy and environmental cleanup.

Cybersecurity, information technology, and analysis are some of AECOM’s sweet spots. The company also operates infrastructure for classified environments to include facilities, bases, power systems, cooling systems, building automation, and energy systems.

“AECOM serves both the public and commercial sector markets,” Bruning said. “What we’re seeing on the commercial side that’s now becoming relevant in the Intelligence Community is safeguarding critical infrastructure … Something that differentiates AECOM in the service markets is we’re involved in things that are high hazard and high consequence.”

AECOM has worked with the U.S. Navy for nearly 20 years to develop flexible education programs for every level of personnel operating “Virginia” class submarines. Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Roadell Hickman

For example, AECOM for decades has been at the forefront of nuclear and hazardous site management and cleanup.

“We have destroyed more chemical weapons than any other company in the world,” Bruning said. “So when we say we’re built to deliver a better world, it’s about making the world safer as well.”

The company also serves the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), having won the agency’s Base Operations Support-East contract to support central plant and facility operations and management, security, logistics, construction, shipping and receiving, property disposal, and grounds maintenance at NGA Campus East in Springfield, Va. NGA is just one of the multiple intelligence agencies employing AECOM for operations and management.

Intelligent Buildings

Although most people tend to not associate infrastructure companies with deep analytics, according to Bruning, AECOM offers open-source analysis and intelligence services for a data-driven world.

“Our infrastructure is getting more and more sophisticated not only from a safeguarding and protection perspective, but also from an energy efficiency perspective,” Bruning said. “Smart buildings, smart roads, smart data systems—[infrastructure is] collecting data all the time.”

With everything now being built to be “smart,” AECOM is focusing on analyzing infrastructure-generated data to draw conclusions and predict outcomes. It is also using open-source methods to help safeguard its customers’ infrastructure.

“With everything that happens in the world, there’s usually an infrastructure component that needs geospatial information,” Bruning said. “What’s happening with your water, transportation, or roads? We do a lot of that for our design, construction, and operations. For example, we look at how crowds move in our Olympic Villages and gather data to see what’s normal and to determine what doesn’t look normal.”

Having built iconic skyscrapers, contributed to urban design, and secured classified government agencies, AECOM continues to leverage best practices in infrastructure, bringing those efficiencies to military bases, government facilities, and beyond.


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