Annual Review 2018

Rob Knott

Rob Knott - Chairman

Ashley Wright

Ashley Wright - CEO

Ninety years is a significant milestone; it represents the span of a lifetime for most people. While our business has evolved and expanded over the years, a constant theme has been an intrinsic set of human needs: for people to feel safe, to belong, to imagine, to create, to learn, to serve and achieve.

A common purpose unites people around a cause, a community or a company. That sense of purpose has never been so evident as this year, as we celebrated the passion of the people who have contributed to our history and recognised the talents of all the people who drive our success today. In recognising the proud legacy of what we have accomplished, we also reflected on the resilience and technical ingenuity of GHD people who skilfully adapted to the shifting demands of time.

Every day our engineers, architects, scientists, planners, consultants and technicians make a tangible impact on the communities in which we live and work. And it is the stories of our 10,000+ people that bring to life how GHD’s connected global network genuinely thrives.

GHD has proudly delivered lasting community benefit for almost a century. Our people have achieved this alongside our clients through times of war and peace, through booming economic cycles and periods of market uncertainty, through times of drought and catastrophic weather, through capital investment cycles and times of austerity, and now through a time of digital innovation and disruption. It is with the confidence of our history, our deep technical excellence and an ability to adapt that we now embrace the complex and changing demands in each of the markets we serve.

Achieving Organic Growth to achieve

Revenues for the 2018 financial year grew to AUD 1.9 billion (USD 1.5 billion), an increase of 12 percent on the prior year. The focus on organic growth with selective acquisitions has more than doubled revenues over the past four years. Thanks to successful diversification, our global business now generates 57 percent of revenues from North America, Asia Pacific and Europe and Middle East.

Employee Ownership to belong

The sustained growth year on year in total shareholder return in 2018 has continued to underpin a strong demand for employee ownership. Driven by our global Principal and Associate model, GHD continues to attract and retain outstanding professionals who are highly motivated to invest and lead and as a result, inspire others to become owners. The global recognition of our owner leaders as Principals and Associates, reinforces the distinctive ‘owners mindset’ culture in which more than 25 percent of people are material owners of the business.

Serving our Clients to serve

Our goal to be an industry leader in client service is gaining momentum. While 91 percent of our surveyed clients regard GHD as accessible and responsive, we remain committed to continuing to listen and respond to what our clients need. Enhancing the ways in which we are able to closely interact with our clients, through the evolution of our project delivery platforms, will be key to the delivery of exceptional client service. The calibre of the submissions for our Client Service Awards is a great testament to the ongoing focus and success in championing our clients’ needs.

Culture of Safety to be safe

While our overall safety performance continues to surpass industry averages, we are not satisfied with an increase in our Total Recordable Incident Rate per 200,000 hours worked. Despite maintaining a high level of positive interactions, this has increased to 0.24 from 0.23 in the last year. As a result, we are applying a fresh focus to better understand the human factors that directly impact safety behaviour.

Investing in ideas to create

The creativity of our diverse multidisciplinary teams around the world has continued to impress. We are accelerating organic growth by encouraging our people around the world to “think big”, developing new services, products and partnerships that benefit our clients, while creating new revenue streams for the business. Our approach to supporting fresh ideas and services recognises that, in order to become successful, new opportunities often require initial funding and a risk appetite to try new things. The Chairman’s Technical Excellence Award went to Stephen Waldvogel for his emergency water quality treatment solutions for the Finger Lakes region in New York. The Technical Excellence Awards again proved a powerful platform to showcase our technical authority across a vast array of projects, and providing innovative solutions for our clients across the world.

Connected Thinking to imagine

Enhancing innovation across our global connected network continues to be a key focus. For example, GHD Digital is assisting our clients unlock the potential of digital technologies to generate value for their businesses worldwide. Through GHD Advisory and through global programs such as Smart Seeds, we continue to assist our clients to think differently about customers, products and services, business models, talent pools, organisational structures and the ecosystem their businesses rely on. We are also re-imagining our own systems infrastructure in core business areas so that we can proactively respond to GHD’s growing workforce and better serve our clients’ needs.

Agile Learning to learn

Our growth this year has been concurrent with an accelerated drive to propel accessible and common learning experiences for all our people, consistent with our objective of making GHD a great place to learn. We launched a Global Executive Development Program (GEDP) to enable our leaders to better meet the evolving expectations of an agile organisation. In strengthening our learning culture, we also delivered a series of talent exchange programs designed to enhance collaboration across our growing technical talent pools.

Operational Highlights


  • Strong growth in transport infrastructure and defence projects

North America

  • Early success in diversification strategy with robust delivery in the transport market


  • Strong financial performance in Pacific region countries
  • Growth in mining sector across Argentina and Chile as well as a lift in private sector clients in Chile


  • Solid growth of the power market and our Dubai office opened


In a future dominated by digital transformation and artificial intelligence, it will be our creativity, client focus and technical authority that will be the difference. Drawing from a legacy of success, we will now focus on shaping our own future to develop a new agile business strategy that is adaptive and resilient, a strategy to fulfil the needs of our clients and the ever evolving markets we work within.

GHD at a glance

At GHD, employee ownership is at the core of our culture. Our people are empowered to share technical knowledge, collaborate, and create lasting community benefit in partnership with our clients. Over the past four years, our revenue has more than doubled and the company has grown to more than 10,000 people across 200 offices around the world.

GHD is timely

Gross revenue
Gross Revenue

Who we are

GHD is one of the world's leading professional services companies operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation.

Privately owned by our people, GHD operates across five continents - Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America - and the Pacific region.


Inspired by our 90 years of history, GHD provides engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services to private and public sector clients around the globe. We are continuing to discover new ways to work and co-create with our clients.

Our people

From architects to zoologists, our teams are diverse and truly multidisciplinary, bringing a wide range of skills and in-depth experience to solve client challenges. Mobility opportunities across countries, disciplines, and markets provide career advancement and job enrichment, as well as a multicultural, diverse experience across our globally connected network.

GHD's employee owned status helps drive our passion and accountability in how we serve our clients, deliver projects, and pursue new opportunities.

Our Principal and Associate model recognises people who truly demonstrate an ‘owners mindset’, driving the passion and accountability in how we serve our clients, deliver projects, and pursue new opportunities.

Communities in which we live

Our Corporate Social Responsibility program, GHD in the Community (GITC), is designed to have a positive social and environmental impact on the communities in which we operate.

GHD people are actively involved in community and partner with many not-for-profit organisations globally. This includes the provision of pro-bono services and the support of a range of community-based enterprises for fundraising, volunteering, workplace support and engagement. Our people consider, formally apply and then nurture GITC partnerships, making this program one of deep interest and genuine personal pride amongst our workforce.

Our clients also play an important part in this global community program by highlighting their challenges or identifying opportunities for our assistance. We are grateful for their involvement which enables us to add value and a make a real difference to disadvantaged communities or causes.

Projects of national or international significance - that help rebuild communities after disasters, assist with vital infrastructure or simply provide much needed support to affect positive change - are a key part of our approach to GITC.