Careers at Jacobs
Jacobs Engineering Group’s mission is to help its clients maintain a competitive edge in their respective markets.
Joseph J. Jacobs grew up exposed to entrepreneurship. His Lebanese father ran a straight razor business, reflecting the culture’s emphasis on self-reliance and commerce. After Jacobs graduated from college with a degree in engineering, he took on teaching and engineering jobs. However, feeling the need to embrace his family’s background, he launched his own company in 1947.
Called Jacobs Engineering Group, it acted as both a consultancy and a sales representative of manufacturers of large-scale processing equipment. Jacobs made the dual role clear to potential clients, recognizing that offering both advisory and selling services could be viewed as a conflict of interest. In general, he emphasized the importance of ethics in his firm’s business philosophy.
The sales unit initially grew more rapidly. However, the firm’s first big break came in the consulting arm in 1956 when Kaiser Aluminum sought design consulting services for a new alumina plant. The project was a huge success. In 1960, another milestone occurred when Southwest Potash asked the firm to provide plant construction as well as design help. Jacobs did, and saw another victory.
Later, when Southwest Potash faced difficulties with a second plant, Jacobs and a team moved to the location to fix them. This level of attention brought them a highly positive reputation in the industry. Afterwards the company was able to grab contracts away from larger competitors and open offices around the U.S. In 1970 Jacobs Engineering Group went public on the American Stock Exchange.
Business model of Jacobs
Jacobs has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at government agencies and industrial firms. In 2015 its public sector clients accounted for 21.7% of its total revenues. Its industrial firms consisted of the following sectors: Chemicals/Polymers, Refining (Downstream), Infrastructure, Oil & Gas (Upstream), Buildings, Mining & Minerals, and Pharmaceuticals/Biotechnology.
Jacobs offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, performance, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of options. It provides a broad range of technical, construction, and professional services, which fall into the following categories
- Project Services - Engineering, design, architecture, interiors, planning, and environmental services
- Process, Scientific, and Systems Consulting Services - Services performed for scientific testing, analysis, and consulting activities, as well as IT and systems engineering and integration activities
- Construction Services - Traditional field construction services as well as modular construction consulting capabilities, direct hire construction, and construction management services
- Operations and Maintenance Services - Services performed in the operation of large, complex facilities on behalf of clients, as well as services involving process plant and facilities maintenance
Jacobs is able to offer so many services in part because it has acquired over 70 businesses since its founding, each of which has enabled it to diversify and expand its capabilities.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results. It has helped clients achieve $9.6 billion in savings through its services. Areas of savings include reduced life cycle cost, shorter schedules, and lower total installed cost. High-profile examples of positive outcomes for specific customers include the following:
- Sydney Theatre Company used Jacobs’ services to install a rainwater harvesting system that captures approximately 80% of the rainwater that falls on its roof, and has consequently saved the equivalent of seven Olympic-sized swimming pools of town water
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport used Jacobs‘ services to implement a seven year, $2.3 billion capital development program that included passenger terminal modernization, resulting in reduced operations and maintenance costs and shared savings with customers
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It is one of the largest providers of full-spectrum technical, construction, and professional services for industrial and government sectors in the world. It maintains over 250 locations in over 30 countries, with over 50,000 employees. It has a positive reputation among its clients, with more than 95% of its business coming from repeat customers and with 91.9% of its customer base overall expressing satisfaction with the company in a survey. Lastly, it has won many honors, including the following:
- Two-time recognition as one of America’s Most Trustworthy Companies by Forbes Magazine
- Recognition as the #2 Most Admired Engineering Company in the World by Fortune Magazine
- Ranking as #1 in several categories on Building Design & Construction’s 2016 Giants List, including Airport Terminal Sector Engineering Firms, Green Building Engineering Firms, Military Sector Engineering Firms, Office Sector Engineering Firms, Reconstruction Sector Engineering Firms, Retail Sector Engineering Firms, and Science + Technology Engineering Firms
- Recognition as the #2 Top 500 Design Firm by Engineering News-Record
Jacobs’ main channel is its business development team. The company promotes its offering through its social media pages and participation in conferences.
Jacobs’ customer relationship is primarily of a dedicated personal assistance nature. The company works closely with its clients while providing its suite of technical, construction, and professional services.
Jacobs’ business model entails designing, developing, and implementing its services for its clients.
Jacobs’ key partners are the network of suppliers and vendors it utilizes to provide it with products and services that are used in the shaping of its offerings for its customers.
Jacobs’ main resources are its human resources, who design, develop, and implement its services for customers. These include technical, engineering, construction, and consulting professionals.
Jacobs has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through frequent service improvements. Its biggest cost driver is cost of services, a variable expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and administration, both fixed costs.
Jacobs has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from the contracts it has clients sign in exchange for the provision of services. The contracts fall into one of two categories:
- Cost-Reimbursable Contracts – Provide for reimbursement of costs incurred plus an amount of profit.
- Fixed-Price Contracts – Include “lump sum bid” contracts, where Jacobs bids against other contractors based on clients’ specifications, and “negotiated fixed-price” contracts, where Jacobs is selected as the contractor first and then negotiates a price with its client.
info: Steven J. Demetriou earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Tufts University. He previously served as Chairman and CEO of Aleris, as President and CEO of Noveon, and as President of the IMC Phosphates Group at IMC Global, and worked at ExxonMobil.
info: Kevin Berryman earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Occidental College and an MBA at UCLA. He previously served as EVP and CFO of International Flavors & Fragrance and as the Chief Financial Officer at Nestle Professional.
info: Jeff Goldfarb earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He previously served as SVP, Controller and VP of M&A at Jacobs, as CFO of the E&C Division at ICF Kaiser, and as a Senior Manager at Deloitte & Touche.
info: Lori Sundberg earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Brigham Young University. She previously served as SVP, Human Resources and Ethics at Arizona Public Services and as VP of Human Resources at American Express.
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