CRANSTON appoints new president to lead growth, expansion as former president takes on leadership role with strategic partner

CRANSTON, an engineering, landscape architecture, surveying, and planning firm serving Southeast communities for more than half a century, has appointed CRANSTON veteran and principal Dennis Welch, P.E., as its new president and CEO.

Welch, a civil engineer who has been with the firm since 1993, succeeds Scott Williams, P.E., who has accepted a new role as vice president of operations for The HFW Companies (HFW), a St. Louis-based firm with which CRANSTON formed a strategic partnership this past June.

Welch, who previously served as director of civil engineering for CRANSTON, has taken the helm at a time when the firm has been experiencing record revenue growth across its Southeastern footprint. At the same time, the firm continues to eye new markets and practice areas in an expansion effort accelerated by its new HFW partnership.

“I’m honored to succeed Scott in leading an accelerated growth effort that has been under way for several years,” Welch said of his new role. “CRANSTON has a strong legacy in South Carolina and Georgia – a legacy which I’m proud to say I’ve had a hand in for almost 30 years. I’m excited to lead CRANSTON to the next level.”

Williams, who started working as a civil engineer for CRANSTON in 2002, assumed the role of president and CEO of CRANSTON in 2019. Since then, he orchestrated a growth and expansion initiative that culminated this past June in a strategic partnership with HFW. HFW’s goal is to invest in a growing network of middle-market engineering and architecture firms serving metropolitan infrastructure markets with strong legacy brands and growth potential.

In his new role, Williams will help HFW’s partner firms with their own growth strategies while developing shared economies of scale and synergies that would allow CRANSTON and the other firms to leverage their expertise and available capacity across a national footprint.

“While working on our new partnership with HFW, I’ve seen what I would consider great potential for CRANSTON and the growing number of HFW partners across the country to benefit from economies of scale and technical collaboration in support of larger projects,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to helping HFW develop such opportunities and create profitable synergies for all of the partner firms.”

As HFW’s vice president of operations, Williams will remain in Augusta and continue to work from CRANSTON’s corporate headquarters.

Welch, meanwhile, said he plans to continue to drive CRANSTON’s expansion initiatives throughout the Central Savannah River Area and beyond, as well as along the coastal region, from its Low Country offices in Charleston and Hilton Head. Growth plans in 2023 call for at least one new regional office and possible acquisitions.

“This transition has tremendous potential for all of us in creating new growth opportunities regionally and across the country, as well as fueling new career opportunities for current and future team members at CRANSTON,” Welch said. “We couldn’t ask for more dedicated growth partners than Scott and HFW, or a better team than we have here at CRANSTON. I look forward to leading the charge here.”