A well-known pool engineering firm was acquired by a national company.

Neil O. Anderson and Associates, based in Lodi, Calif., was purchased by Terracon, a company providing engineering services related to geotechnical, environmental, facilities and materials issues.

Olathe, Kan.-based Terracon is nearly 50 years old, with over 140 offices in 40 states.

“Terracon is a national company … and we’ve been interested [in] expanding our California operations,” said Gayle Packer, Terracon’s chief administrative officer. “We felt that Neil Anderson was a good fit from a culture perspective, and it’s given us the opportunity to expand our presence in the markets that they serve.”

For Anderson, whose company includes aquatic engineering among a wide array of services, it presents an opportunity to grow as well.

“We see it as a venue to be able to market our services on a nationwide basis,” said Neil Anderson, company president. “We’re very excited about it because it provides opportunities for all our [staff], and it allows us access to [new] resources.”

Terracon already has much of the infrastructure in place to help Anderson grow to the next level, he said. “They have been where we wanted to go, so we don’t have to recreate the cart, so to speak. All their processes are well established. They have a solid corporate structure — all the things that you have to develop as you grow.”

Both companies are wholly employee-owned and bear other cultural similarities to make them compatible, officials said.

While Anderson and Associates’ three California offices will now join Terracon’s locations across the country, the operation will largely stay the same. Neil Anderson will remain in place, as will his staff of 80.

For the time being, Neil O. Anderson and Associates will retain its brand as well, probably with a tie-in to the parent company. Eventually, it may become a Terracon office, but that would likely happen over a number of years, said Terracon spokesperson Jennifer Bergquist.

Anderson’s company has long served clients around the nation; however, the move will allow his operation to work around across distances in a faster, more economical manner, he said. “Design work can be done in our [current] locations, with the technology today,” he said. “But when there are soils issues or ground issues, [or] if you need to do an investigation, [clients] will not have to pay the travel premium that we currently have to charge.”

Neil Anderson’s operation will be the first aquatic-related business for Terracon. “We like to take a look at niche services like this and evaluate the best way to perform those services within the company,” Bergquist said. “At this time, we don’t anticipate the aquatic engineering being done in other Terracon locations, though we do think that we have commercial and municipal clients across the U.S. who could benefit from their expertise.”

This development is the latest in a tradition of organic growth and acquisition for Terracon. The company has purchased 11 firms in the past four years, and has averaged one to two acquisitions per year for the past 16 years, Bergquist said.