Form 10-K Willdan Group, Inc. For: Dec 31
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SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
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On March 9, 2022, there were
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “10-K”) contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements as that term is defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. These statements concern our business, operations and financial performance and condition as well as our plans, objectives and expectations for our business operations and financial performance and condition, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this 10-K are forward-looking statements. These statements may include words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “can have,” “could,” “due,” “estimate,” “expect,” “goal,” “intend,” “likely,” “may,” “objective,” “plan,” “potential,” “positioned,” “predict,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with any discussion of the timing or nature of future operating or financial performance or other events or trends. For example, all statements we make relating to our plans and objectives for future operations, growth or initiatives and strategies are forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our business and the industry in which we operate and our management’s beliefs and assumptions. We derive many of our forward-looking statements from our own operating budgets and forecasts, which are based upon many detailed assumptions. While we believe that our assumptions are reasonable, we caution that predicting the impact of known factors is very difficult, and we cannot anticipate all factors that could affect our actual results.
All of our forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from our expectations. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations include, but are not limited to:
|●||the extent to which the coronavirus (“Covid-19”) pandemic and measures taken to contain its spread ultimately impact our business, results of operation and financial condition, including the speed with which our various direct install programs for small businesses are able to resume normal operations following government mandated shutdowns and phased re-openings;|
|●||our ability to adequately complete projects in a timely manner;|
|●||our ability to compete successfully in the highly competitive energy efficiency services market;|
|●||our reliance on work from our top ten clients;|
|●||changes in state, local and regional economies and government budgets;|
|●||our ability to win new contracts, to renew existing contracts and to compete effectively for contracts awarded through bidding processes;|
|●||our ability to successfully integrate our acquisitions and execute on our growth strategy;|
|●||our ability to make principal and interest payments on our outstanding debt as they come due and to comply with the financial covenants contained in our debt agreements;|
|●||our ability to obtain financing and to refinance our outstanding debt as it matures, and|
|●||our ability to attract and retain managerial, technical, and administrative talent.|
The above is not a complete list of factors or events that could cause actual results to differ from our expectations, and we cannot predict all of them. All written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us, or persons acting on our behalf, are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements disclosed under “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as such disclosures may be amended, supplemented or superseded from time to time by other reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including subsequent Annual Reports on Form
10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and public communications. You should evaluate all forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and otherwise in the context of these risks and uncertainties.
Potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these factors carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements we make. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and are not guarantees of future performance or developments and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are in many cases beyond our control. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements publicly, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Willdan Group, Inc. (“Willdan”) is a provider of professional, technical and consulting services to utilities, private industry, and public agencies at all levels of government. As resource and infrastructure needs undergo continuous change, we help organizations and their communities evolve and thrive by providing a wide range of technical services for energy solutions, greenhouse gas reduction, and government infrastructure. Through engineering, program management, policy advisory, and software and data management, we plan, design and deliver trusted, comprehensive, innovative, and proven solutions to improve efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability in energy and infrastructure to our clients.
The company was founded in 1964 to serve public agencies in communities with populations ranging from 10,000 to 300,000 people. Willdan, a Delaware corporation, was formed in 2006 to serve as our holding company for the expanding subsidiary operations. We commenced providing energy efficiency services in 2008 with the acquisition of Intergy and since then, through organic growth and acquisitions, our client base has grown to include investor-owned and other public utilities, as well as substantial energy users in government and business.
Our overall growth strategy revolves around a combination of strong organic expansion and strategic acquisitions which provides us the ability to expand the breadth and depth of the services we provide to new and existing clients. We believe that we are well positioned to capitalize on the ongoing expansion and transformation of the energy and infrastructure environments as they adapt to climate change, electrification, and technology advancements.
We operate our business through a nationwide network of offices spread across 22 states, the District of Columbia, and the Canadian province of Alberta. We serve the majority of the largest investor-owned electric utilities and over half of the largest municipal utilities in the United States (“U.S.”). Our business with public and private utilities has concentrations in California and New York, but includes numerous other utilities in the Midwest, Southeast and Mountain states and additional acquisitions may continue to expand our geographic footprint. Our business with public agencies is concentrated in California, New York, and Arizona. We also serve special districts, school districts, and a large range of public agencies and private industry throughout the U.S.
Our broad portfolio of services operates within two financial reporting segments: (1) Energy and (2) Engineering and Consulting. The interfaces and synergies between these segments are important elements of our strategy to design and deliver trusted, comprehensive, innovative, and proven solutions and services for our customers.
We operate in the energy services market and the engineering and consulting market. We provide a wide variety of services related to energy planning and analysis, energy efficiency and sustainability, engineering, construction management, and economic and financial consulting services primarily to public agencies, utilities, and commercial/industrial firms.
We believe the energy services market will continue to expand in response to the increasing awareness of global warming, climate change issues, and the advent of new technologies in renewable energy generation and the electrification of the nation’s economy. Private industry and public agencies increasingly seek out cost-effective, turnkey solutions that provide innovative plans, tools, and solutions to address energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and sustainability. State and local governments frequently turn to specialized resource conservation firms to help strike the balance between environmental responsibility and economic competitiveness. The use of energy efficiency services, including audits, program design, benchmark analysis, metering and incentivized sale and installation of energy efficiency measures provides public agencies, utilities, and commercial/industrial firms with the ability to realize long-term energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions.
The engineering and consulting market has grown as public agencies and utilities, as well as private utilities and commercial/industrial firms, find it more efficient to outsource design, construction oversight, advisory, and training
services to contract providers, rather than maintain the necessary staff and resources to provide such services themselves. For example, we serve as municipal engineers and building and safety departments for local governments. We also design and provide construction oversight of various infrastructure projects for state and local governments to address environmental goals and mandates, population shifts, changes in local and state funding and aging infrastructure. We also provide consulting services to public agencies as they raise the necessary funds to develop such infrastructure projects and provide other services. Relatedly, we provide local government staffing, traffic and transportation engineering, studies, plan reviews, grant support, and inspections.
We are a professional services firm focused on transformational growth and value creation for our clients, employees and shareholders. We seek to establish long-term close working relationships with our clients and expand the breadth and depth of the services we provide to them over time. We believe the market for these services is, and will be, driven by a number of factors, including:
|●||Demand for services and solutions that provide energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, sustainability, water conservation, infrastructure development and renewable energy in the public and private sectors;|
|●||Changes in technology that affect the generation, distribution and consumption of energy;|
|●||Ongoing efforts to upgrade aging energy infrastructure to meet power, transmission, and environmental goals and requirements;|
|●||The increasing challenge to balance energy demand from electrification and trends toward electric vehicles with the changing sources of energy from wind, solar, and distributed energy resources;|
|●||The need for small and medium sized communities to obtain highly specialized services without incurring the costs of hiring permanent staffing and the associated support structure;|
|●||Financial assistance from utilities, government-funded programs and state legislation for local communities to provide services to constituents; and|
|●||Changes in government policy.|
We offer services in two financial reporting segments: (1) Energy and (2) Engineering and Consulting. Management established these segments based upon the services provided, the different marketing strategies associated with these services, and the specialized needs of their respective clients.
The following table presents the approximate percentage of our consolidated contract revenue attributable to each financial reporting segment.
Engineering and Consulting
During fiscal year 2021, we derived 34.5% of our Energy segment contract revenues from three customers; the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (“LADWP”), Duke Energy, and Consolidated Edison of New York, and we derived 10.3% of our Engineering and Consulting segment contract revenues from one customer; the City of Elk Grove.
For further information related to our financial reporting segments, see Part II, Item 8, Note 9, Segment Information and Geographical Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Energy Efficiency Services
Our Energy segment provides specialized, innovative, comprehensive energy solutions to businesses, utilities, state agencies, municipalities, and non-profit organizations. Our experienced engineers, consultants, and staff help our clients realize cost and energy savings by tailoring efficient and cost-effective solutions to assist in optimizing energy spend. Our energy efficiency services include comprehensive audit and surveys, program design, master planning, demand reduction, grid optimization, benchmarking analyses, design engineering, construction management, performance contracting, installation, alternative financing, measurement and verification services, and advances in software and data analytics for long term planning.
Our energy efficiency services include the following:
Energy Efficiency. We provide complete energy efficiency consulting and engineering services, including program design, management and administration; marketing, customer outreach, and project origination; energy audits and feasibility analyses; implementation; training; management; retro-commissioning; data management and reporting; measurement and verification services; and construction management.
Program Design and Implementation. We assist utilities and governmental clients with the design, development and implementation of energy efficiency plans and programs. These plans include the design, outreach, and implementation of strategies to reduce peak energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy planning.
Direct Customer Support. We assist clients (including hospitals, hotels, government offices, schools, and private industry) in developing and managing facilities and related infrastructures through a holistic, practical approach to facility management. Our services cover audits, local compliance, operations and maintenance review, renewable energy planning, master plan development, infrastructure analyses, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) certification for buildings, and strategies for energy spend and greenhouse gas reduction.
Turnkey Facility and Infrastructure Projects. We provide turnkey/design-build facility and infrastructure improvement projects to a wide array of private and public clients including municipalities, county governments, public and private K-12 schools, and higher education institutions. Our services cover preliminary planning, project design, construction management, commissioning, post-project support and measurement and verification.
Project Examples. The following are examples of typical projects in the Energy segment:
|●||Consolidated Edison, New York. We serve as Consolidated Edison’s program manager and implementer for its Small Business Direct Install (“SMB”) program across the utility’s New York City and Westchester County service areas. The SMB program, Consolidated Edison’s largest energy efficiency program, helps customers save energy, lower their bills, and protect the environment by providing financial incentives to identify and install certain energy efficiency measures. To support this effort, we provide full-service program implementation, including outreach and direct sales to potential commercial customers, on-site energy efficiency assessments, direct implementation of energy-savings measures, and subcontractor and trade-ally management.|
|●||Dormitory Authority-State New York (“DASNY”), New York. In connection with our acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Genesys Engineering, P.C. (“Genesys”) in March 2016, we entered into an administrative services agreement with Genesys pursuant to which we, through our subsidiary Willdan Energy Solutions (“WES”), provide Genesys with ongoing administrative, operational and other non-professional support services in its performance of rehabilitation, construction management, architectural, and engineering services at various college and university sites within New York State. Services for DASNY under these contracts also include energy efficient design, utility cost evaluation, and various regulatory compliance services. Specific project descriptions are set out by DASNY in work authorizations, which are issued under the terms of the master contracts.|
|●||Marshak Science Building Rehabilitation, The City University of New York. Performed under the DASNY master contract, the Marshak Science Building is a mid-rise, 750,000 square-foot science building, which consists of a 350,000 square-foot, 13-story tower and a 300,000 square-foot plaza level and underground. The science building houses research and teaching labs, a vivarium, a morgue, office areas, a library, an auditorium, a gymnasium and a pool. We were responsible for the study, design, and construction management that included the retrofit of 200 standard-flow fume hoods to low-flow, high-efficiency hoods and the installation of high-entrainment fume hood exhaust systems, new lab make-up air units with heat recovery, liquid desiccant dehumidification systems, new supply air risers and general exhaust risers throughout the tower, new hot water and chilled water risers, new central station air handling equipment, new high-temperature hot water to low-temperature hot water heat exchangers, and a lab fit-out with chilled beam secondary heating and cooling.|
|●||San Diego Gas and Electric (“SDG&E”), California. We provide peak-load reduction and energy capacity to SDG&E by coordinating the installation of proven energy efficiency measures, including chiller retrofits, chiller variable-frequency drives (“VFDs”), HVAC VFDs, evaporative cooling, demand control ventilation, two-way valves, and chilled water pump VFDs. These measures produce both peak-load reductions and energy savings.|
|●||Baldwin High School, Kansas. We provided a central plant HVAC replacement and building wide HVAC controls installation. We installed a new chilled water and boiler plant and refurbished two large air handling units. We also installed new heating hot water control valves on all variable air volume boxes and new HVAC controls to ensure the achievement of specified energy cost savings for the school.|
|●||Entergy Corporation, Louisiana. We supported Entergy’s investments in grid data and analytics capabilities across its electric distribution footprint through a software license for LoadSEER, the modeling application of Integral Analytics. LoadSEER was developed to provide unique insights and modeling capability for distributed energy resources and the evolving distribution grid. The application is used in short- and long-term circuit-level planning and to proactively integrate renewables, energy storage, and efficiency investments. LoadSEER combines multi-layer risk, geospatial, and scenario modeling; utilities’ existing tools; engineering efforts; and multiple data sources in order to deliver dynamic, granular load profiles and perform valuation analyses.|
|●||Multifamily, Commercial, and Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs. Southern California Edison has contracted with us to develop, implement, and offer these programs to SCE customers. We are the implementer of the Comprehensive Multifamily, Commercial, and Industrial Programs, which are targeted to help SCE customers lower their energy bills and reduce demand and energy usage by providing technical services, connection to financing, and financial incentives to identify and install energy efficiency measures. To support this effort, we provide full-service program implementation, including customer outreach, performing energy audits, and facilitating installation and verifying savings of approved energy efficiency measures.|
|●||City of New York – LL97 Implementation Action Plan. We developed a plan for New York City that identifies the most feasible route to achieving the City’s deep decarbonization, energy efficiency, and clean and renewable electricity goals. The plan is designed to balance policy compliance, technical and practical feasibility, and cost considerations, and will result in more than 50% greenhouse gas emissions reductions from City government infrastructure and energy system upgrades in City buildings by 2030. Each City agency now has actionable targets and an initial pathway to meeting them under the plan. The effort included the virtual survey of more than 4,000 publicly owned facilities in the city, detailed building energy modeling of prototypical city facilities, and transformation of these analyses into a comprehensive plan for the implementation of new renewable electricity sources, a heat electrification initiative, improved building energy efficiency and changes in wastewater, transportation, and other processes to meet the established goals.|
Engineering and Consulting Services
Our Engineering and Consulting segment provides civil engineering-related construction management, building and safety, city engineering office management, city planning, civil design, geotechnical, material testing and other engineering consulting services to our clients. Our engineering services include traffic, bridges, rail, port, water, mining and other civil engineering projects. We also provide economic and financial consulting to public agencies. Lastly, we supplement the engineering services that we offer our clients by offering expertise and support for the various financing techniques public agencies utilize to finance their operations and infrastructure. We also support the mandated reporting and other requirements associated with these financings. We provide financial advisory services for municipal securities but do not provide underwriting services.
In general, contracts for engineering and consulting services are awarded by public agencies based primarily upon the qualifications of the engineering or consulting professional, rather than the proposed fees. We have longstanding relationships with many of these agencies and are recognized as having relevant expertise and customer focused services. A substantial percentage of our work is for existing clients that we have served for many years.
Our Engineering and Consulting services include the following:
Building and Safety. Our building and safety services range from managing and staffing an entire municipal building department to providing specific outsourced services, such as plan review and field inspections for code compliance. Other related services under this umbrella include performing accessibility compliance and providing disaster recovery teams, energy compliance evaluations, permit processing and issuance, seismic retrofitting programs, and structural plan review. Many of our building and safety services contracts are with municipalities and counties where we supplement the capacity of in-house staff.
City Engineering and Code Enforcement. We provide municipalities with city engineering services related to the public works department needs and assist with the development, implementation and enforcement of building and development codes. These services are tailored to the unique needs of each municipality, ranging from staffing an entire engineering department to carrying out specific projects within a municipality.
Development Review. We offer development plan review and inspection services including Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) compliance, preliminary and final plats (maps), grading and drainage, complete infrastructure improvements for residential site plans, commercial site plans, industrial development and subdivision, and major master plan development services. We have reviewed grading plans, street lighting and traffic signal plans, erosion control plans, storm drain plans, street improvement plans, and sewer water and utility plans.
Disaster Recovery. We provide disaster recovery services to cities, counties and local government. Our experience in disaster recovery includes assisting communities in the disaster recovery process following earthquakes, firestorms, mudslides and other natural disasters. We typically organize and staff several local disaster recovery centers which function as “one-stop permit centers” that guarantee turn-around performance for fast-track plan checking and inspection services. Additionally, we have performed street and storm drain clean-up, replacement or repair of damaged storm drains, streets, and bridges, debris management and preparation and implementation of a near-term erosion and sediment control program.
Geotechnical. Our geotechnical and earthquake engineering services include soil engineering, earthquake and seismic hazard studies, geology and hydrogeology engineering, and construction inspection. We operate a licensed, full-service geotechnical laboratory at our headquarters in Anaheim, California, which offers an array of testing services, including construction materials testing and inspection.
Planning and Surveying. We assist communities with a full range of planning services, from the preparation of long-range policy plans to assistance with the day-to-day operations of a planning department. For several cities, we provide contract staff support, which ranges from staffing entire departments to providing interim or long-term services to entities that have determined that it is not cost-effective to have a full-time engineer on staff, to relieve peak workload situations or to fill vacant positions during a job search. Typical assignments include land use studies, development of
specific plans or general plan elements, design guidelines, and zoning ordinances. We also provide surveying and mapping services, including major construction layout, design survey, topographic survey, aerial mapping, Geographic Information Systems, and right-of-way engineering.
Program and Construction Management. We provide comprehensive program and construction management services to our public sector clients. These services include construction administration, inspection, observation, labor compliance, and community relations, depending on the client’s needs and the scope of the specific project. Our construction management experience encompasses projects such as streets, bridges, sewers and storm drains, water systems, parks, pools, public buildings, and utilities.
Structures. Our structural engineering services include bridge design, bridge evaluation and inspection, highway and railroad bridge planning and design, highway interchange design, railroad grade separation design, bridge seismic retrofitting, building design and retrofit, sound wall and retaining wall design, and planning and design for bridge rehabilitation and replacement.
Transportation and Traffic. We provide a wide range of services relating to transportation, traffic and other infrastructure projects. For example, our transportation engineering services cover a full spectrum of support functions, including right of way, utility relocation, landscape, survey and mapping, geographic information systems, public outreach, and interagency coordination. Our traffic engineering services include serving as the contract city traffic engineer in communities, as well as performing design and traffic planning projects for our clients.
Water Resources. We assist clients in addressing the many facets of water development, treatment, distribution and conservation, including energy savings, technical, financial, legal, political, and regulatory requirements. Our core competencies include hydraulic modeling, master planning, rate studies and design and construction services. Our design experience includes reservoirs, pressure reducing stations, pump and lift stations, and pipeline alignment studies, as well as water/wastewater collection, distribution, and treatment facilities. We also provide a complete analysis and projection of storm flows for use in drainage master plans and for individual storm drain systems to reduce flooding in streets and adjacent properties. We design open and closed storm drain systems and detention basin facilities, for cities, counties and the Army Corp of Engineers.
District Administration. We administer special districts on behalf of public agencies. The types of special districts administered include community facilities districts (in California, Mello-Roos districts), assessment districts, landscape and lighting districts, school facilities improvement districts, benefit assessment districts, fire suppression districts, and business improvement districts. Our district administration services include calculating the annual levy for each parcel in the district; billing charges directly or through a county tax roll; preparing the annual Engineer’s Report, budget and resolutions; reporting on collections and payment status; calculating prepayment quotes; and providing financial analyses, modeling and budget forecasting.
Financial Consulting. We perform economic analyses and financial projects for public agencies, including fee and rate studies; utility rate analysis; utility system appraisals and asset acquisitions; economic development and redevelopment planning; Community Choice Aggregation feasibility studies, in which local entities contemplate aggregating buying power in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts; real estate and market analysis associated with planning efforts, and development fee studies; special district formation and other special projects.
Federal Compliance. We offer several services that support bonded debt compliance reporting for cities, counties, states, school districts, water districts, housing authorities, 501(c)(3) and other municipal entities. We provide federal compliance services to approximately 764 issuers in 43 states and the District of Columbia managing approximately $71 billion in municipal debt.
The following are examples of typical projects we have performed in the Engineering and Consulting segment:
|●||City of Elk Grove, California, City Engineering, Capital Improvement, and Infrastructure Services. We provided comprehensive technical support to the Public Works and Development Services Departments for the over 170,000-resident community of Elk Grove, California. Our services have included public counter|
|service, drainage/stormwater/NPDES, traffic engineering, permitting, land development review and inspection, CIP design and construction support. Serving the two City departments was a team of full-time engineers, scientists, managers, observers/inspectors, project managers, administrative support staff, and a team of subconsultants. All work was accomplished through a task order process that defined the scope of work, time of performance, and cost of services.|
|●||City of Palm Springs, California, Engineering and Construction Management Services. We provided construction management and public works inspection services related to the City’s Police Department Remodel Project. The project involved the remodeling of the training center, lobby, records area, detective bureau, and men’s and women’s locker rooms. We acted as Owner’s Representative and Construction Manager responsible for coordinating all aspects of the construction, including coordination with the City’s Building Inspection Staff.|
|●||Contra Costa County, California, City Engineering Services. We provided finance review, financial analysis, and contract administration services for the Contra Costa County Public Works Department. Willdan provided municipal services in a variety of professional and technical administrative and finance measures.|
|●||County of Los Angeles, California, Traffic Engineering Services. We provide professional traffic engineering services for the Lower Azusa Road/Los Angeles Street Traffic Signal Synchronization Project. The services include meetings and project coordination with Los Angeles County and various municipalities as well as field review, equipment inventory, reporting for recommended improvements, traffic signal base plans, traffic signal improvement plans and traffic signal utility plans for 29 signalized intersections along the Lower Azusa/Los Angeles Street corridor.|
|●||County of Orange, California, Code Enforcement Services. Our code enforcement team is responsible for responding to citizen concerns and investigations of a variety of code violations throughout the unincorporated areas of Orange County in support of its Neighborhood Preservation Program, including the reviewing, processing, and closing of code enforcement cases related to land use, zoning, building, grading, nuisance, and property maintenance violations. Our staff performs review of all case files, inspection of properties, filing notices and complaints against violators, documenting, and preparing violation cases for the district attorney’s office and/or County counsel and testifying in court. We assist in the entitlement/development process consisting of general land use, zoning and building violations.|
|●||State of Nevada, Building and Safety Services. We provided building safety/plan check services for the State of Nevada Public Works Department since 2007. Projects for the State of Nevada included several for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Reno campuses. The projects consisted of installation of photo voltaic and parking lot lighting upgrades, a new baseball clubhouse, and the complete structural upgrade and remodel of several historic buildings at the Reno campus.|
|●||Property Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”). PACE is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects. PACE financing is repaid as an assessment on the property owner’s regular tax bill, and is processed the same way as other local public benefit assessments that have been utilized for decades. Depending on local legislation, PACE can be used to pay for new heating and cooling systems, solar panels, insulation and more for commercial, nonprofit and residential properties. This allows property owners to implement improvements without a large up-front cash payment. We have partnered with Ygrene Energy Fund to provide a national PACE program.|
Our clients primarily consist of investor and municipal owned energy utilities, public and governmental agencies including cities, counties, redevelopment agencies, water districts, school districts and universities, state agencies, federal agencies and a variety of other special districts and agencies. We also provide services to private industry, hospitals, hotels, and a wide variety of other commercial enterprises.
We are organized to profitably manage numerous small and large contracts at the same time. The majority of our contracts typically range from $1,000 to $10,000,000 in contract revenue; however, several of our construction management service contracts exceed $20,000,000 and range up to $90,000,000 in construction value. In addition, many of our multi-year utility program management contracts exceed $10,000,000 and our largest single contract has the capacity to provide up to, and in excess, of $380,000,000 in revenue over a period of five years for the implementation of energy efficiency measures in commercial facilities. Our contracts typically have a duration of between two and thirty-six months, although we have city services contracts that have been renewed or re-awarded and in effect for over 30 years. Most of our contracts include a provision allowing for termination for convenience after reimbursement of any unbilled effort under the contract. As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately 2,000 open projects.
During fiscal year 2021, we had one customer that accounted for more than 10% of our consolidated contract revenues. For fiscal year 2021, the LADWP accounted for 10.8% of our consolidated contract revenue. For fiscal year 2021, our top 10 customers accounted for 49.2% of our consolidated contract revenues.
Our largest clients are based in New York and California. In fiscal year 2021, services provided to clients in California accounted for 36.8% of our consolidated contract revenue and services provided to clients in New York accounted for 21.0% of our consolidated contract revenue.
We collaborate with the LADWP through the Commercial Direct Install Program, which is a small business lighting energy efficiency program that serves all commercial customers in LADWP territory with demand up to 250kW. On average, this program typically implements approximately 8,000 energy efficiency projects a year and has implemented over 88,000 projects since program inception in 2008. Over that time, we have saved LADWP and its customers over 549,000 MWh per year and 108 MW of peak demand and also provided lead generation identifying roughly 10,000 water efficiency upgrades.
In 2013, Lime Energy, which we acquired in fiscal year 2018, collaborated with Duke Energy - Progress to launch the first ever small business direct install program in North Carolina and South Carolina. Since its launch, the program has grown to encompass all eligible Duke Energy customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. The Small Business Energy Saver Program offers eligible commercial customers the opportunity to retrofit a comprehensive list of existing inefficient equipment with more energy-efficient measures. The program provides integrated turn-key services including program marketing, energy assessments, installation by local contractors, up to 80 percent incentives to offset the cost of projects, and education to encourage the replacement of existing equipment with improvements in lighting, refrigeration, and HVAC. We continue to implement programs across these five states and have completed over 25,000 projects for Duke Energy resulting in over 780,000 MWh in savings to small businesses.
In January 2017, we announced a new three-year contract with Consolidated Edison to implement Consolidated Edison’s Small and Medium Business Direct Install (“SMB”) program across the utility's New York City and Westchester County service area. It continues the process of diversifying the program offerings. After giving effect to renewals, the Consolidated Edison contract continues through the end of 2022. The SMB program, Consolidated Edison's largest energy efficiency program, helps customers save energy, lower their bills and protect the environment by providing financial incentives to identify and buy down the cost of energy efficiency measures. To support this effort, we provide full-service program implementation including outreach and direct sales to potential commercial customers, on-site energy efficiency assessments, direct implementation of energy savings measures and subcontractor management. The administration of incentive payments to other contractors providing services through the program is included in our scope, but the structure of the contract is such that these payments are not included in revenue or expenses. Consolidated Edison may terminate the contract at any time for any reason. Consolidated Edison has been a customer of ours since 2009.
In connection with our acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Genesys in March 2016, we entered into an administrative services agreement with Genesys pursuant to which our subsidiary, WES, provides Genesys with ongoing administrative, operational and other non-professional support services. Under such administrative services agreement, WES provides administrative services for a series of Genesys’s DASNY and other contracts. WES provides administrative services to Genesys in its performance of rehabilitation and construction work and architectural and
engineering services at various sites within New York State. Services for DASNY under these contracts also include energy efficient design, utility cost evaluation and review, and various regulatory compliance services. Specific project descriptions are set out by DASNY in work authorizations, which are issued under the terms of the contracts. The termination dates of the DASNY contracts vary; the latest of which is April 2024. Work authorized but not yet completed under this contract continues to be bound by the terms of the agreement beyond the termination date until completion of the projects. Genesys expects to receive an amendment from DASNY to the master contract extending the termination date under DASNY’s option to extend this contract term twice, one year at a time. DASNY may at any time terminate any of the contracts or suspend all projects, for its convenience and without cause. DASNY has been a customer of Genesys since 1983.
We generally provide our services under contracts, purchase orders, licensing agreements or retainer letters. The agreements we enter into with our clients typically incorporate one of three principal types of pricing provisions:
|●||Time-and-materials provisions provide for reimbursement of costs and overhead plus a fee for labor based on the time expended on a project multiplied by a negotiated hourly billing rate. The profitability achievable on a time-and-materials basis is driven by billable headcount, staff utilization, and cost control.|
|●||Unit-based provisions require the delivery of specific units of work, such as energy efficiency savings goals measured in kWh or Therms, arbitrage rebate calculations, software access terms, dissemination of municipal securities continuing disclosure reports, or building plan checks, at an agreed price per unit, with the total payment under the contract determined by the actual number of units performed.|
|●||Fixed price provisions require all work under a contract to be performed for a specified lump sum, which may be subject to adjustment if the scope of the project changes. Contracts with fixed price provisions carry certain inherent risks, including risks of losses from underestimating costs, delays in project completion, problems with new technologies, price increases for materials, and economic and other changes that may occur over the contract period. Consequently, the profitability, if any, of fixed price contracts can vary substantially. Willdan typically mitigates some of these risks through the use of fixed price subcontracts for services, material, and equipment.|
The following table presents, for the periods indicated, the approximate percentage of our contract revenue subject to each type of pricing provision:
In relation to the pricing provisions, our service-related contracts, including operations and maintenance services and a variety of technical assistance services, are accounted for over the period of performance, in proportion to the cost of performance. Award and incentive fees are recorded when they are fixed and determinable and consider customer contract terms.
For time-and-materials and fixed price contracts, we bill our clients periodically in accordance with the contract terms, based on costs incurred on either an hourly fee basis or on a percentage of completion basis or upon the achievement of certain prescribed milestones, as the project progresses. For unit-based contracts, we bill our clients upon delivery and completion of the contracted item or service, and in some cases, in advance of delivery.
Our contracts come up for renewal periodically and, at the time of renewal, may be subject to renegotiation or recompetition, which could impact the profitability on that contract. In addition, during the term of a contract, public
agencies may request additional or revised services which may impact the economics of the transaction. Most of our contracts permit our clients, with prior notice, to terminate the contracts at any time without cause. While we have a large volume of transactions and generally low customer concentration, the renewal, termination, or modification of a contract may have a material effect on our consolidated operations.
The markets for energy efficiency and sustainability, engineering, construction management, economic and financial consulting, design planning and national preparedness services are competitive and highly fragmented. Our competition varies by type of client, type of service and geography. The range of competitors for any one project can vary depending upon technical specialties, the relative value of the project, geographic location, financial terms, risks associated with the work, and any client-imposed restrictions. We often compete with many other firms ranging from small local firms to large international firms. Contract awards are based primarily on qualifications, relevant experience, staffing capabilities, geographic presence, financial stability and price. We face strong competition primarily from other regional, national, and international providers of energy efficiency and sustainability consulting services, local electrical and mechanical contractors and engineering firms, lighting and lighting fixture manufacturers and lighting fixture distributors. In addition to our existing competitors, new competitors such as large national or international engineering and/or construction companies could enter our markets.
Doing business with utilities and governmental agencies is complex and requires the ability to understand and comply with intricate regulations and to satisfy periodic audits. We have been serving cities, counties, special districts and other public agencies for over half a century. We believe that the ability to understand these requirements and to successfully conduct business with utilities, governmental entities and agencies is a barrier to entry for potential competitors.
Unlike some of our competitors, we focus our services on utilities and public sector clients. Utility and public sector clients generally choose among competing firms by weighing the quality, experience, innovation and timeliness of the firm’s services. When selecting consultants for engineering projects, many utilities and government agencies are required to, and others choose to, employ Qualifications Based Selection (“QBS”). QBS requires the selection of the most technically qualified firms for a project, while the financial and legal terms of the engagement are generally secondary.
Our competition varies geographically. Although we provide services in several states, we may be stronger in certain service lines in some geographical areas than in other regions. Similarly, some of our larger competitors are stronger in some service lines in certain localities but are not as competitive in others. Our smaller competitors generally are limited both geographically as well as by the depth and breadth of services they are able to provide.
We consider our principal competitive advantages to be our reputation for dependability, technical knowledge and industry expertise of employees, quality of services and solutions, and the scope and scale of our service offerings. We believe that no single competitor has sufficient market share to influence the markets in which we operate in.
To address the hazards inherent in our business, we maintain insurance coverage through the following policies: commercial general liability, automobile liability, workers’ compensation and employer’s liability, cyber liability, professional liability and umbrella/excess liability. However, if any claims, settlements, or judgements, individually or in the aggregate, exceed our policy limits, we are liable to pay these claims from our assets. We believe our coverage limits reasonably protect us from any material adverse impact that may arise from these insured risks.
Government Regulation, Licensing, and Enforcement
A significant portion of our revenues is derived from services provided to public utilities which are generally overseen by state or local public utility commissions who provide and administer a regulatory framework governing the sourcing, distribution, pricing and general management of electricity and natural gas. Our services are often mandated by these regulatory frameworks requiring utilities to meet certain goals for energy efficiency, renewable energy and other metrics which impact demand for our services. This framework of regulatory mandates is updated by state and local ordinance and some federal regulatory action as well. Demand for our services can be impacted from year to year by changes in these regulatory acts regarding energy management, utility budgets and the allowable financial parameters imposed by these regulatory agencies.
Human Capital Resources
As a professional services company, our continuing success relies on attracting, developing, and retaining a workforce that is both technically excellent and responsive to the needs of our clients and customers. An integral part of our ability to attract and retain qualified talent depends on our ability to maintain a culture reflective of the diverse communities we serve.
As of December 31, 2021, we employed a total of 1,560 employees, excluding contractors. Our employees include, among others, licensed electrical, mechanical, structural, geotechnical and civil engineers; land surveyors; certified building officials; certified inspectors and plans examiners; licensed architects and landscape architects; certified planners; energy sales and audit specialists; installation technicians; program managers; policy advisors and information technology specialists. We believe that we attract and retain highly skilled personnel with significant industry experience and strong client relationships by offering them challenging assignments in a dynamic work environment that recognizes, supports, and encourages diverse backgrounds and inter-cultural cooperation combined with compensation and employee benefit programs that are competitive with those offered by our competitors. See Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of the risks related to the loss of key personnel or our inability to attract and retain qualified personnel.
The following table sets forth the number of our employees in each of our business segments and our holding company:
Engineering and Consulting
Holding Company Employees (Willdan Group, Inc.)
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Our goal is to maintain a culture of acceptance and individuality, where all employees feel respected, included, and encouraged to bring their unique perspectives, ideas, and skills to work each day. Our culture is focused on hiring, empowering, and retaining highly talented employees and professionals with the diverse background and expertise required to develop solutions for the current and future energy and infrastructure challenges.
To encourage more diverse and talented people to join our team, we partner with professional organizations that represent and support a diverse pool of applicants. We actively seek out and hire minority-owned subcontractors on our projects and, in conjunction with our clients, we regularly propose and achieve specific percentage content goals for the use of minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses in our projects. These partnerships offer economic opportunity to local, minority-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises. At Willdan, we believe that we can better serve all communities by utilizing qualified employees, suppliers, and subcontractors that mirror the culture and demographics of the communities where we live and work.
In 2020, we established Willdan’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DE&I”) Working Group which identified initial goals and objectives focused on two key areas: 1) conducting a multi-pronged analysis of employee recruitment, development, engagement, and community outreach; and 2) developing and tracking key performance indicators and progress toward DE&I objectives.
During fiscal year 2021, as part of our ongoing effort within our DE&I Working Group, we conducted a company-wide employee engagement survey. We have analyzed the results from that survey and have begun instituting action committees aimed at implementing the feedback received. In addition, we developed human capital metrics, such as employee gender ratios and other demographic information, aimed at expanding our employee recruitment effort and have expanded the roster of universities in which we conduct recruiting activities.
As part of our community outreach, in the beginning of 2020 we established and financed the Willdan Clean Energy Academy (“WCEA”) which offers free training in energy efficiency skills to disadvantaged workers in the New York City area. In 2021, Willdan increased the funding for this outreach effort and the WCEA expanded to the Los Angeles City Area.
The academy supports a diverse workforce and collaborates with community-based organizations and Workforce centers to support career development.
Willdan is committed to maintaining a safe work environment for all of our employees, both inside our facilities and at project job sites. We recognize the critical role that all of our employees play in sustaining a safe and compliant work environment, and we understand that our leaders are responsible for the ongoing improvement of operational discipline and a safety culture. Every employee and subcontractor is expected to apply this approach when performing all work activities and safety plans and processes are an integral part of all our field projects.
Our Health and Safety Council meets monthly and our Health and Safety program is designed to address the hazards associated with our business and to prescribe the policies and practices needed to prevent workplace injuries and illness.
We track and report all safety incidents. Our safety incident metrics is provided below. For context, lost-time injuries are those occurring in the workplace and resulting in an employee’s inability to work the next full workday.
A recordable case rate (RCR) describes the number of employees per 100 full-time employees that have been involved in an OSHA recordable injury or illness. The lost-time incident rate (LTIR) is the number of lost-time injuries that occurred in a given period, relative to the total number of hours worked in the same period.
Sustainability, environmental protection and climate change mitigation is the core of our identity and our work tackles these essential global challenges every day as we advise and assist governments, utilities and industry in defining and meeting goals for improvement. In addition, we strive to reduce our own ecological footprint and our environmental impact, as we help our customers achieve their own sustainability goals. We help clients reduce carbon intensity to become cleaner, more sustainable organizations through measurement and goal setting, sustainable engineering designs, installation of more efficient lighting, heating and cooling measures and the development and implementation of master plans for environmental sustainability, carbon reduction and energy efficiency to meet specific goals. This has led to energy-efficient upgrades at over 280,000 commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, and other public buildings. Willdan’s program management activities for various utilities have yielded more than 7.8 billion kWh savings, 11 million therms reductions over the past 14 years.
We are committed to the relentless improvement and protection of our planet. The success of our business model is built on this foundation. Our dedication to environmental sustainability in our own ecological footprint enhances our ability to lead by example for our partners and clients.
At Willdan, strong and effective corporate governance is the foundation of a well-run, sustainable business. Our corporate governance practices set clear expectations and responsibilities for leaders, employees, and partners to create long-term, competitive returns for shareholders and lasting value for all stakeholders.
We are committed to conducting business in a legal, ethical, and trustworthy manner; strictly upholding our regulatory obligations everywhere we operate; and complying with both the letter and spirit of our business policies and values. We are committed to accountability for our actions and goals.
With our commitment to corporate governance principles, we have adopted, among other measures, a Code of Ethical Conduct, as well charters for each of the four standing committees of our Board of Directors (“Board”). These governance measures promote effective functioning of our Board and its committees, protecting our interests as a whole. The measures articulate shared expectations for how the Board, its committees, and our management should perform their respective functions.
Annually, the Board works with our senior management team on a detailed, multi-year strategic plan, reviewing goal progress each quarter. The Board also oversees efforts by Willdan’s senior management team in managing environmental and social risks and opportunities The Board is led by our Chairman and CEO.
Our Board’s directors are independent under NASDAQ and Willdan independence standards, except for our CEO. As the director most familiar with our business and industry, we believe our CEO is best suited to serve as Chairman of our Board. Our CEO works in collaboration with our Lead Independent Director, who is appointed biannually by the Board. Our Board is comprised of a diverse group of academics, financial advisors and industry practitioners with extensive experience in the governance and direction of publicly-traded enterprises. At any time, shareholders and other interested parties may communicate by writing with the Board of Directors generally, with the non-employee directors as a group, or with a specific director.
We are managed under the direction of the Board, which is currently composed of ten directors. The Board has determined nine directors are independent under the rules of the listing standards for the Nasdaq Global Market and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
We believe we have strong name recognition and that this provides us with a competitive advantage in obtaining new business. Consequently, we believe it is important to protect our brand identity through trademark registrations. The Willdan, Willdan Group, Inc., Willdan Engineering, Willdan Energy Company, Willdan Financial Services, and Willdan Energy Solutions names are service marks of ours, and we have obtained a service mark for the Willdan and “W” logo. We have also obtained federal service mark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the “Willdan” name and “Willdan Group, Inc.” name. The name and logo of our proprietary software, MuniMagic+SM, our California energy efficiency CEDA, as well as our proprietary platform as a service VIEWPOINT are also registered marks, and we have registered a federal copyright for the source code for the MuniMagic+SM software. In connection with our acquisitions, we have obtained the trademark for our “LoadSEER” software, have obtained the patent for “Optimization of Microgrid Energy Use and Distribution”, have obtained the service marks for the Enerpath, Enerworks and Lime/Green Dial Design, and have obtained the registered copyright of Lime, Lime Energy, and Main Street Efficiency. NEO, Net Energy Optimizer, Collaboration Analysis Research, and several Weidt Group designs.
We maintain an Internet website at http://www.willdan.com. Through our website, in the “Investors” section under the heading “SEC Filings”, we make available, free of charge, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements, and amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file or furnish such materials to the SEC. We also make available on this website our prior earnings calls under the heading “Events and Presentations” and our Code of Ethical Conduct under the heading “Corporate Governance.” The information on our website is not a part of or incorporated by reference into this filing. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy, and information statements and other information regarding our filings at http://www.sec.gov.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry
We operate in a changing environment that involves numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could materially adversely affect our operations. Set forth below and elsewhere in this report and in other documents we file with the SEC are descriptions of risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results and expectations contained in this report. Additional risks we do not yet know of or that we currently think are immaterial may also affect our business operations. If any of the events or circumstances described in the following risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Risks Related to Operations
The COVID-19 pandemic and health and safety measures intended to slow its spread have adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The Covid-19 pandemic and efforts to limit its spread negatively impacted our business during fiscal year 2020 and continued to impact us, albeit to a lesser extent, during fiscal year 2021. In California and New York, the states in which we have historically derived the majority of our revenue, mandatory shutdown orders were issued in March 2020. In New York, phased re-openings began in June 2020, and all of our New York utility programs have restarted. In California, phased re-openings began in May 2020, followed by periods of curtailments as a result of resurgences of Covid-19 cases, and subsequent re-openings. As a result, the most significant pandemic related impacts to our business occurred in California to our direct install business. During the last week of June 2021, our largest program for LADWP resumed, which was the last program suspended due to Covid-19.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our business subjects us to various risks and uncertainties that could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition including: the possibility that some of our clients will request deferral, modification or reduction in their contractual work orders with us or, in the case of those clients that we service under a purchase order model, if such clients reduce or cancel the amount of work requested relative to historical practices; fewer subcontractors being available to complete our work if our subcontractors must limit or cease operations or declare bankruptcy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; our clients becoming insolvent or initiating bankruptcy or similar proceedings, which would adversely affect our ability to collect contractual payments from such clients for work that may have already been completed and result in decreased revenues; the impact on our results of operations and financial condition resulting from a temporary suspension in capital expenditures from our government clients; and increased difficulty in executing our growth strategy, which could result in fewer acquisition opportunities for us compared to historical levels.
Given the uncertainties associated with the duration of the pandemic, we cannot reasonably estimate the ultimate impacts of Covid-19 and efforts to limit its spread on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows for the foreseeable future or whether our assumptions used to estimate our future liquidity requirements will be correct. The extent of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our business and financial results will depend on future developments, including the duration, severity and spread of the pandemic, health and safety actions taken to contain its spread, any possible resurgence of Covid-19 that may occur and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions can resume within the markets in which we operate, each of which are highly uncertain at this time and outside of our control. Even after the Covid-19 pandemic has ultimately subsided, we may continue to experience adverse impacts to our business and financial results as a result of its global economic impact, including any economic downturn or recession that has occurred or may occur in the future. The adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our business, results of operations and financial condition could be material.
If we fail to complete a project in a timely manner, miss a required performance standard, or otherwise fail to adequately perform on a project, then we may incur a loss on that project, which may reduce or eliminate our overall profitability.
Our engagements often involve large-scale, complex projects. The quality of our performance on such projects depends in large part upon our ability to manage the relationship with our clients and our ability to effectively manage the project and deploy appropriate resources, including third-party contractors and our own personnel, in a timely manner. We may commit to a client that we will complete a project by a scheduled date or that, when completed, a project will achieve specified performance standards (e.g., some of our contracts stipulate certain energy savings requirements). If the project is not completed by the scheduled date or fails to meet required performance standards, we may either incur significant additional costs or be held responsible for the costs incurred by the client to rectify damages due to late completion or failure to achieve the required performance standards. The uncertainty of the timing of a project can present difficulties in planning the amount of personnel needed for the project. If the project is delayed or canceled, we may bear the cost of an underutilized workforce that was dedicated to fulfilling the project. In addition, performance of projects can be affected by a number of factors beyond our control, including, among other things, unavoidable delays from government inaction, public opposition, inability to obtain financing, weather conditions, unavailability of vendor materials (including but not limited to import restrictions or pandemics or other public health emergencies such as the recent coronavirus outbreak), changes in the project scope of services requested by our clients, industrial accidents, environmental hazards, and labor disruptions. To the extent these events occur, the total costs of the project could exceed our estimates, and we could experience reduced profits or, in some cases, incur a loss on a project, which may reduce or eliminate our overall profitability. Further, any defects or errors, or failures to meet our clients’ expectations, could result in claims for damages against us. Failure to meet performance standards or complete performance on a timely basis could also adversely affect our reputation and client base.
Our revenues are primarily derived from the energy efficiency services industry and, therefore, we are highly susceptible to risks relating to such industry.
A loss of customers, inability to procure or maintain contracts, or downturn in demand in the energy efficiency services industry could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition. If we are unable to maintain and expand our current utility relationships and develop new relationships, maintain and enhance our existing energy efficiency services, execute our business and marketing strategies successfully and achieve the energy savings that are specified in our contracts, we may not be able to supplement the loss of revenue from our other services and it may result in lower revenues and have an adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Demand for our services is cyclical and vulnerable to economic downturns. If economic growth slows, government fiscal conditions worsen, public and private construction/renovation activity slows, or client spending declines, it may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Demand for our services is cyclical, and vulnerable to economic downturns and reductions in government and private industry spending. Such downturns or reductions may result in clients delaying, curtailing or canceling proposed and existing projects. Our business traditionally lags the overall recovery in the economy; therefore, our business may not recover immediately when the economy improves. If economic growth slows, government fiscal conditions worsen, or client spending declines, it may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Our government clients may face budget deficits that prohibit them from funding new or existing projects. In addition, our existing and potential clients may either postpone entering into new contracts or request price concessions. Difficult financing and economic conditions may cause some of our clients to demand better pricing terms or delay payments for services we perform, thereby increasing the average number of days our receivables are outstanding, and the potential of increased credit losses of uncollectible invoices. Further, these conditions may result in the inability of some of our clients to pay us for services that we have already performed. If we are not able to reduce our costs quickly enough to respond to the revenue decline from these clients, our operating results may be adversely affected. Accordingly, these factors affect our ability to forecast our future revenue and earnings from business areas that may be adversely impacted by market conditions. Any of these factors could adversely affect the demand for our services, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The quality of our service and our ability to perform under some of our contracts would be adversely affected if qualified subcontractors are unavailable for us to engage, if our subcontractors fail to satisfy their obligations to us or other parties, or if we are unable to maintain these relationships which, in each case, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Under some of our contracts, we rely on the efforts and skills of subcontractors for the performance of some of the tasks. Our use of subcontractors has increased in recent years as a result of the increase in the percentage of our revenues derived from the direct installation of energy efficiency measures, including performance contracting and construction management services for more complex projects. Our Energy segment generally utilizes a higher percentage of subcontractors than Engineering and Consulting segment. The absence of qualified subcontractors with whom we have a satisfactory relationship could adversely affect the quality of our service offerings and therefore, adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
There is a risk that we may have disputes with our subcontractors arising from, among other things, the quality and timeliness of work performed by the subcontractor, client concerns about the subcontractor, or our failure to extend existing task orders or issue new task orders under a subcontract. In addition, if a subcontractor fails to deliver on a timely basis the agreed-upon supplies, fails to perform the agreed-upon services, or goes out of business, then we may be required to purchase the services or supplies from another source at a higher price, and our ability to fulfill our obligations as a prime contractor may be jeopardized. This may reduce the profit to be realized or result in a loss on a project for which the services or supplies are needed.
We also rely on relationships with other contractors when we act as their subcontractor or joint venture partner. The absence of qualified subcontractors with which we have a satisfactory relationship could adversely affect the quality of our service and our ability to perform under some of our contracts. Our future revenue and growth prospects could be adversely affected if other contractors eliminate or reduce their subcontracts or teaming arrangement relationships with us, or if a government agency terminates or reduces these other contractors’ programs, does not award them new contracts, or refuses to pay under a contract.
Our profitability could suffer if we are not able to maintain adequate utilization of our workforce.
The cost of providing our services, including the extent to which we utilize our workforce, affects our profitability. The rate at which we utilize our workforce is affected by a number of factors, including our ability to transition employees from completed projects to new assignments and to hire and assimilate new employees, our ability to forecast demand for our services and thereby maintain an appropriate headcount in each of our geographies and workforces, our ability to manage attrition, our need to devote time and resources to training, business development, professional development, and other non-chargeable activities, and our ability to match the skill sets of our employees to the needs of the marketplace. If we over-utilize our workforce, our employees may become disengaged, which could impact employee attrition. If we under-utilize our workforce, our profit margin and profitability could suffer.
If we are unable to accurately estimate and control our contract costs, then we may incur losses on our contracts, which could decrease our operating margins and reduce our profits. In particular, our fixed-price contracts could increase the unpredictability of our earnings.
Under fixed-price contracts, we receive a fixed price irrespective of the actual costs we incur (which protects clients) and, consequently, we are exposed to a number of risks than either time-and-materials and unit-based contracts. We realize a profit on fixed price contracts only if we can control our costs and prevent cost overruns on our contracts. Fixed price contracts require cost and scheduling estimates that are based on a number of assumptions, including those about future economic conditions, costs, and availability of labor, equipment and materials, and other exigencies. We could experience cost overruns if these estimates were initially inaccurate as a result of errors or ambiguities in the contract specifications, or become inaccurate as a result of a change in circumstances following the submission of the estimate due to, among other things, unanticipated technical or equipment problems, difficulties in obtaining permits or approvals, changes in local laws or labor conditions, weather delays, changes in costs of raw materials, or the inability of our vendors or subcontractors to perform their obligations. If cost overruns occur, we could experience reduced profits or, in some cases, a loss for that project. If a project is significant, or if there are one or more common issues that impact
multiple projects, costs overruns could increase the unpredictability of our earnings, as well as have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Under our time-and-material contracts, we are generally paid for our efforts at negotiated hourly billing rates for our staff, plus reimbursement for subcontractors and other direct costs. Profitability on these contracts is driven by control over the number of hours required to execute the tasks, the mix of staff utilized and the percentage of staff time expended on directly billable activities. Many of our time-and-materials contracts are subject to maximum contract values. In the event that we estimate the potential to exceed those maximum contract values at the contracted rates, revenue relating to these contracts is recognized as if these contracts were fixed-price contracts.
If we are unable to accurately estimate and manage our costs, we may incur losses on our contracts, which could decrease our operating margins and significantly reduce or eliminate our profits. Certain of our contracts require us to satisfy specific design, engineering, procurement, or construction milestones in order to receive payment for the work completed or equipment or supplies procured prior to achievement of the applicable milestone. As a result, under these types of arrangements, we may incur significant costs or perform significant amounts of services prior to receipt of payment. If a client determines not to proceed with the completion of the project or if the client defaults on its payment obligations, we may face difficulties in collecting payment of amounts due to us for the costs previously incurred or for the amounts previously expended to purchase equipment or supplies.
Supply chain constraints and labor shortages could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The global economy has been experiencing supply chain constraints and labor shortages. These conditions have increased the costs for materials, other goods, and labor. These conditions, combined with tightening labor markets resulting from elevated resignation rates among U.S. workers, could increase the cost and difficulty of recruiting and retaining employees, which could negatively impact our operations and financial results.
Our use of the percentage-of-completion method of revenue recognition on our fixed price contracts could result in a reduction or reversal of previously recorded revenue and profits.
We account for our fixed price contracts on the percentage-of-completion method of revenue recognition. Generally, our use of this method results in recognition of revenue and profit ratably over the life of the contract, based on the proportion of costs incurred to date to total costs expected to be incurred for the entire project. The effects of revisions to revenue and estimated costs, including the achievement of award fees and the impact of change orders and claims, are recorded when the amounts are known and can be reasonably estimated. Such revisions could occur in any period and their effects could be material. While we have historically made reasonably reliable estimates of the progress towards completion of long-term contract, the uncertainties inherent in the estimating process make it possible for actual costs to vary materially from estimates, including reductions or reversals of previously recorded revenue and profit.
The loss of key personnel or our inability to attract and retain qualified personnel could impair our ability to provide services to our clients and otherwise conduct our business effectively.
As primarily a professional and technical services company, we are labor-intensive and, therefore, our ability to attract, retain, and expand our senior management and our professional and technical staff, including management and staff acquired in connection with our business acquisitions, is an important factor in determining our future success. We believe there are only a limited number of available qualified executives in the energy efficiency services industry, and we therefore have encountered, and will likely continue to encounter, intense competition for qualified employees from other companies in the industry. In addition, the market for qualified engineers is competitive and, from time to time, it may be difficult to attract and retain qualified individuals with the required expertise within the timeframe demanded by our clients. Further, we rely heavily upon the expertise and leadership of our senior management. If we are unable to retain executives and other key personnel, the roles and responsibilities of those employees will need to be filled, which may require that we devote time and resources to identify, hire, and integrate new employees. The loss of the services of any of these key personnel could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Unavailability of third-party insurance coverage would increase our overall risk exposure as well as disrupt the management of our business operations.
Our services involve significant risks of professional and other liabilities, which may substantially exceed the fees we derive from our services. We maintain insurance coverage from third-party insurers as part of our overall risk management strategy and because some of our contracts require us to maintain specific insurance coverage limits. From time to time, we assume liabilities as a result of indemnification provisions contained in our service contracts. We cannot predict the magnitude of these potential liabilities.
We are liable to pay these such liabilities from our assets if and when the aggregate settlement or judgment amount exceeds our insurance policy limits. Further, our insurance may not protect us against liability because our policies typically have various exceptions to the claims covered and also require us to assume some costs of the claim even though a portion of the claim may be covered. A partially or completely uninsured claim, if successful and of significant magnitude, could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity.
If any of our third-party insurers fail, suddenly cancel our coverage, or otherwise are unable to provide us with adequate insurance coverage, then our overall risk exposure and our operational expenses would increase and the management of our business operations would be disrupted. In addition, if we expand into new markets, we may not be able to obtain insurance coverage for these new activities or, if insurance is obtained, the dollar amount of any liabilities incurred could exceed our insurance coverage. There can be no assurance that any of our existing insurance coverage will be renewable upon the expiration of the coverage period or that future coverage will be affordable at the required limits.
Product liability and personal injury claims could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We face exposure to product liability and personal injury claims in the event that our services cause bodily injury or property damage. Since the majority of our products use electricity, it is possible that the products we use could result in injury, whether due to product malfunctions, defects, improper installation or other causes. Further, we face exposure to personal injury claims in the event that an individual is injured because of our negligence or the negligence of one of our subcontractors. Moreover, we may not have adequate resources in the event of a successful claim against us. A successful product liability or personal injury claim against us that is not covered by insurance or is in excess of our available insurance limits could require us to make significant payments of damages which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Events outside our control, including natural and man-made disasters, could negatively impact the economies in which we operate or disrupt our operations, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Events outside our control, such as natural and man-made disasters, as well as terrorist actions, pandemics or other public health emergencies (such as the recent coronavirus outbreak), could negatively impact the economies in which we operate by causing the closure of offices, interrupting projects, and forcing the relocation of employees. We typically remain obligated to perform our services after a terrorist action or natural disaster unless the contract contains a force majeure clause that relieves us of our contractual obligations in such an extraordinary event. If we are not able to react quickly to force majeure, our operations may be affected significantly, which would have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We have only a limited ability to protect our intellectual property rights, and our failure to protect our intellectual property rights could adversely affect our competitive position.
Our success depends, in part, upon our ability to protect our proprietary information and other intellectual property. We rely principally on trade secrets to protect much of our intellectual property where we do not believe that patent or copyright protection is appropriate or obtainable. However, trade secrets are difficult to protect. Although our employees are subject to confidentiality obligations, this protection may be inadequate to deter or prevent misappropriation of our confidential information. In addition, we may be unable to detect unauthorized use of our intellectual property or otherwise take appropriate steps to enforce our rights. Failure to obtain or maintain trade secret protection could adversely affect our competitive business position. In addition, if we are unable to prevent third parties from infringing or misappropriating our trademarks or other proprietary information, our competitive position could be adversely affected.
Employee, agent, or partner misconduct, or our failure to comply with anti-bribery and other laws or regulations, could harm our reputation, reduce our revenue and profits, and subject us to criminal and civil enforcement actions.
Misconduct, fraud, non-compliance with applicable laws and regulations, or other improper activities by one of our employees, agents, or partners could have a significant negative impact on our business and reputation. Such misconduct could include the failure to comply with government procurement regulations, regulations regarding the protection of classified information, regulations prohibiting bribery and other foreign corrupt practices, regulations regarding the pricing of labor and other costs in government contracts, regulations on lobbying or similar activities, regulations pertaining to the internal controls over financial reporting, environmental laws, and any other applicable laws or regulations. Since our internal controls are subject to inherent limitations, including human error, it is possible that these controls could be intentionally circumvented or become inadequate because of changed conditions. As a result, we cannot assure that our controls will protect us from reckless or criminal acts committed by our employees or agents. Our failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations, or acts of misconduct could subject us to fines and penalties, loss of security clearances, and suspension or debarment from contracting, any or all of which could harm our reputation, reduce our revenue and profits, and subject us to criminal and civil enforcement actions.
Our failure to implement and comply with our safety program could adversely affect our operating results or financial condition.
Our safety program is a fundamental element of our overall approach to risk management, and the implementation of the safety program is a significant issue in our dealings with our clients. We maintain an enterprise-wide group of health and safety professionals to help ensure that the services we provide are delivered safely and in accordance with standard work processes. Unsafe job sites and office environments have the potential to increase employee turnover, increase the cost of a project to our clients, expose us to types and levels of risk that are fundamentally unacceptable, and raise our operating costs. The implementation of our safety processes and procedures are monitored by various agencies and rating bureaus and may be evaluated by certain clients in cases in which safety requirements have been established in our contracts. Our failure to meet these requirements or our failure to properly implement and comply with our safety program could result in reduced profitability or the loss of projects or clients or potential litigation and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The diversity of the services we provide, and the clients we serve, may create actual, potential, and perceived conflicts of interest and conflicts of business that limit our growth and could lead to potential liabilities for us.
Because we provide services to a wide array of both government and commercial clients, occasions arise where, due to actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest or business conflicts, we cannot perform work for which we are qualified. A number of our contracts contain limitations on the work we can perform for others, such as, for example, when we are assisting a government agency or department in developing regulations or enforcement strategies. Actual, potential, and perceived conflicts limit the work we can do and, consequently, can limit our growth and adversely affect our operating results. In addition, if we fail to address actual or potential conflicts properly, or even if we simply fail to recognize a perceived conflict, we may be in violation of our existing contracts, may otherwise incur liability, and may
lose future business for not preventing the conflict from arising, and our reputation may suffer. Particularly as we grow our commercial business, we anticipate that conflicts of interest and business conflicts will pose a greater risk.
Risks Related to Indebtedness
Our substantial leverage and significant debt service obligations due to debt incurred in connection with our acquisitions could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our financial performance could be adversely affected by our substantial leverage. We may also incur significant additional indebtedness in the future, subject to various conditions. This significant level of indebtedness could have important negative consequences to us, including making it more difficult to satisfy our obligations on our outstanding debt obligations; making it more difficult to obtain financing in the future for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions or other general corporate purposes; requiring us to use more of our excess cash flow to pay interest and principal on our debt, which will reduce the amount of money available to finance our operations and other business activities; increasing our vulnerability to general economic downturns and adverse industry conditions; potentially limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and in our industry in general; exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates because the debt outstanding under our term loan and revolving credit facility bear interest at variable rates; placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt; and potentially limiting our ability to comply with the financial and other restrictive covenants in our debt instruments which, among other things, require us to maintain specified financial ratios, and could result in an event of default that, if not cured or waived, could have a material adverse effect on our business or prospects.
Our ability to make scheduled payments on or refinance our debt obligations depends on our financial condition and operating performance, which are subject to prevailing economic and competitive conditions and to certain financial, business, legislative, regulatory and other factors beyond our control. We may be unable to maintain a level of cash flows from operating activities sufficient to permit us to pay the amounts due on our indebtedness. If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we could face substantial liquidity problems and could be forced to reduce or delay investments and capital expenditures or to dispose of material assets or operations, seek additional debt or equity capital or restructure or refinance our indebtedness. We may not be able to effect any such alternative measures, if necessary, on commercially reasonable terms or at all and, even if successful, those alternative actions may not allow us to meet our scheduled debt service obligations. The Credit Agreement restricts our ability to dispose of assets and use the proceeds from those dispositions and also restricts our ability to raise debt or equity capital to be used to repay other indebtedness when it becomes due. We may not be able to consummate those dispositions or to obtain proceeds in an amount sufficient to meet any debt service obligations then due. Our inability to generate sufficient cash flows to satisfy our debt obligations, or to refinance our indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all, would materially adversely affect our financial position and results of operations. If we cannot make scheduled payments on our debt, we will be in default and the lenders under our Credit Agreement could terminate their commitments to loan money and could foreclose against the assets securing their borrowings and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.
We may not be able to obtain capital when desired on favorable terms, if at all, or without dilution to our stockholders, which may impact our ability to execute on our current or future business strategies.
If we do not generate sufficient cash flow from operations or otherwise, we may need additional financing to execute on our current or future business strategies, including developing new or enhancing existing service lines, expanding our business geographically, enhancing our operating infrastructure, acquiring complementary businesses, or otherwise responding to competitive pressures. We cannot assure you that additional financing will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all. Furthermore, if we raise additional funds through the issuance of convertible debt or equity securities, the percentage ownership of our stockholders could be significantly diluted, and these newly issued securities may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of existing stockholders. If adequate funds are not available or are not available on acceptable terms, if and when needed, our ability to fund our operations, meet obligations in the normal course of business, take advantage of strategic business opportunities, or otherwise respond to competitive pressures would be significantly limited.
Restrictive covenants in our credit agreement may restrict our ability to pursue certain business strategies.
Our credit agreement limits or restricts our and our subsidiaries ability to, among other things, incur, create or assume additional indebtedness; incur, create or assume liens securing debt or other encumbrances on our assets; purchase, hold or acquire unpermitted acquisitions or investments; make loans or advances; pay dividends or make distributions to our stockholders; purchase or redeem our stock; repay indebtedness that is junior to indebtedness under our Credit Agreement; acquire the assets of, or merge or consolidate with, other companies; and sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of assets.
Our credit agreement also requires that we maintain a maximum total leverage ratio and a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio, tested on a quarterly basis, which we may not be able to achieve. The covenants may impair our ability to finance future operations or capital needs or to engage in other favorable business activities. Failing to comply with these covenants could result in an event of default under the Credit Agreement, which could result in us being required to repay the amounts outstanding prior to maturity. These prepayment obligations could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Furthermore, if we are unable to repay the amounts due and payable under the credit agreement, the lenders could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure that indebtedness. In the event the lenders accelerate the repayment of our borrowings, we and our subsidiaries may not have sufficient assets to repay that indebtedness.
Risks Related to Our Clients and Our Projects
If we have a loss or reduction of business from a key customer or key utility programs, it could result in significant harm to our revenue, profitability and financial condition.
Most of our clients are not committed to purchase any minimum amount of our services, as our agreements with them are based on a “purchase order” model. As a result, they may discontinue utilizing some or all of our services with little or no notice. As well, certain of our contracts are with other entities that are periodically funded by the applicable utility. Such funding is subject to periodic renewal and is outside our control or its contract counterparty and may, at times, be delayed or inhibited.
The loss of key utility programs or key clients (or financial difficulties at this utility program or these clients, which result in nonpayment or nonperformance) could have a significant and adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. If these clients or utility programs significantly reduce their business or orders with us, default on their agreements with us or fail to renew or terminate their agreements with us, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected. We may not be able to win new contracts to replace these contracts if they are terminated early or expire as planned without being renewed.
In addition, the potential for requests from certain clients to significantly increase the services we provide them requires us to have sufficient resource capacity available in the regions where they are located. If we are unable to maintain such resource capacity, these clients or utility program may reduce or stop purchasing certain services from us. If such clients or utility program reduce or stop purchasing certain services from us, we may have substantial capacity available in regions where we do not have corresponding clients to service.
Our failure to win new contracts and renew existing contracts with private and public sector clients could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our business depends on our ability to win new contracts and renew existing contracts with private and public sector clients. Contract proposals and negotiations are complex and frequently involve a lengthy bidding and selection process. If we are not able to replace the revenue from expiring contracts, either through follow-on contracts or new contracts, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected. A number of factors affect our ability to win new contracts and renew existing contracts, including, among other things, market conditions, financing arrangements, required governmental approvals, our client relationships and professional reputation. For example, a client may require us to provide a bond or letter of credit to protect the client should we fail to perform under
the terms of the contract. If negative market conditions arise, or if we fail to secure adequate financial arrangements or the required government approval, we may not be able to pursue particular projects, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Any factor that diminishes our reputation or client relationships with federal, state and local governments, as well as commercial clients, could make it substantially more difficult for us to compete successfully for both new engagements and qualified employees. To the extent our reputation and/or client relationships deteriorate, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Our contracts may contain provisions that are unfavorable to us and permit our clients to, among other things, terminate our contracts partially or completely at any time prior to completion.
Certain of our contracts contain provisions that allow our clients or utility programs to terminate or modify the contract at their convenience upon short notice. For example, our largest clients and utility programs may terminate their contracts with us at any time for any reason. If one of these clients or utility programs terminates their contract for convenience, we may only bill the client or utility program, as applicable, for work completed prior to the termination, plus any commitments and settlement expenses such client or utility program agrees to pay, but not for any work not yet performed.
In addition, many of our government contracts and task and delivery orders are incrementally funded as appropriated funds become available. The reduction or elimination of such funding can result in contract options not being exercised and further work on existing contracts and orders being curtailed. In any such event, we would have no right to seek lost fees or other damages. If a client were to terminate, decline to exercise options under, or curtail further performance under one or more of our major contracts, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Changes to tax laws and regulations, including changes to the energy efficient building deduction, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Tax laws and regulations are highly complex and subject to interpretation, and the tax laws and regulations to which we are subject to change over time. Our tax filings are based upon our interpretation of the tax laws in effect in various jurisdictions for the periods for which the filings are made. As our business grows, we are required to comply with increasingly complex taxation rules and practices. We are subject to tax in multiple U.S. tax jurisdictions. Changes in federal, state and local tax laws and regulations could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Because we primarily provide services to municipalities, public utilities and other public agencies, we are more susceptible to the unique risks associated with government contracts.
We primarily work for utilities, municipalities and other public agencies. Consequently, we are exposed to certain risks associated with public agency and government contracting, any one of which can have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. These risks include the ability of the public agency to terminate the contract with 30 days’ prior notice or less; changes in public agency spending and fiscal policies which can have an adverse effect on demand for our services; contracts that are subject to public agency budget cycles, and often are subject to renewal on an annual basis; the often wide variation of the types and pricing terms of contracts from agency to agency; the difficulty of obtaining change orders and additions to contracts; and the requirement to perform periodic audits as a condition of certain contract arrangements.
Each year, client funding for some of our government contracts rely on government appropriations or public-supported financing. If adequate public funding is delayed or is not available, then we may not be able to realize all of our anticipated revenue and profits from such contracts, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
A substantial portion of our revenue is derived from contracts with agencies and departments of state and local governments. Each year, client funding for some of our government contracts may directly or indirectly rely on government appropriations or public-supported financing. Legislatures may appropriate funds for a given project on a
year-by-year basis, even though the project may take more than one year to perform. In addition, public-supported financing such as state and local municipal bonds may be only partially raised to support existing projects. Similarly, the impact of the economic downturn on state and local governments may make it more difficult for them to fund projects. In addition to the state of the economy and competing political priorities, public funds and the timing of payment of these funds may be influenced by, among other things, curtailments in the use of government contracting firms, increases in raw material costs, delays associated with insufficient numbers of government staff to oversee contracts, budget constraints, the timing and amount of tax receipts, and the overall level of government expenditures. If adequate public funding is not available or is delayed, then our profits and revenue could decline and we will not realize all of our potential revenue and profit from that contract.
We derive significant revenue and profit from contracts awarded through a competitive bidding process, which can impose substantial costs on us, and we will lose revenue and profit if we fail to compete effectively.
We derive significant revenue and profit from contracts that are awarded through a competitive bidding process. Competitive bidding imposes substantial costs and presents a number of risks, including the substantial cost and managerial time and effort that we spend to prepare bids and proposals; the need to estimate accurately the resources and costs that will be required to service any contracts we are awarded, sometimes in advance of the final determination of their full scope; the expense and delay that may arise if our competitors protest or challenge awards made to us pursuant to competitive bidding, as discussed below; and the opportunity cost of not bidding on and winning other contracts we may have otherwise pursued.
To the extent we engage in competitive bidding and are unable to win particular contracts, we not only incur substantial costs in the bidding process that negatively affect our operating results, but we may lose the opportunity to operate in the market for the services provided under those contracts for a number of years. Even if we win a particular contract through competitive bidding, our profit margins may be depressed or we may even suffer losses as a result of the costs incurred through the bidding process and the need to lower our prices to overcome competition.
Changes in elected or appointed officials could have a material adverse effect on our ability to retain an existing contract with or obtain additional contracts from a public agency.
Since the decision to retain our services is made by individuals, such as city managers, city councils and other elected or appointed officials, our business and financial results or condition could be adversely affected by the results of local and regional elections. A change in the individuals responsible for selecting consultants for and awarding contracts on behalf of a public agency (for example, due to an election) could adversely affect our ability to retain an existing contract with or obtain additional contracts from such public agency.
If our business partners fail to perform their contractual obligations on a project, we could be exposed to legal liability, loss of reputation and profit reduction or loss on the project.
We routinely enter into subcontracts and, occasionally, joint ventures, teaming arrangements, and other contractual arrangements so that we can jointly bid and perform on a particular project. Success under these arrangements depends in large part on whether our business partners fulfill their contractual obligations satisfactorily. In addition, when we operate through a joint venture in which we are a minority holder, we have limited control over many project decisions, including decisions related to the joint venture’s internal controls, which may not be subject to the same internal control procedures that we employ. If these unaffiliated third parties do not fulfill their contract obligations, the partnerships or joint ventures may be unable to adequately perform and deliver their contracted services. Under these circumstances, we may be obligated to pay financial penalties, provide additional services to ensure the adequate performance and delivery of the contracted services, and may be jointly and severally liable for the other’s actions or contract performance. These additional obligations could result in reduced profits and revenues or, in some cases, significant losses for us with respect to the joint venture, which could also affect our reputation in the industries we serve.
If our reports and opinions are not in compliance with professional standards and other regulations or without the appropriate disclaimers or in a misleading or incomplete manner, we could be subject to monetary damages and penalties.
We issue reports and opinions to clients based on our professional engineering expertise, as well as our other professional credentials. Our reports and opinions may need to comply with professional standards, licensing requirements, securities regulations, and other laws and rules governing the performance of professional services in the jurisdiction in which the services are performed. In addition, the reports and other work product we produce for clients sometimes include projections, forecasts and other forward-looking statements. Such information by its nature is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, any of which could cause the information produced by us to ultimately prove inaccurate. While we include appropriate disclaimers in the reports that we prepare for our clients, once we produce such written work product, we do not always have the ability to control the manner in which our clients use such information. As a result, if our clients reproduce such information to solicit funds from investors for projects without appropriate disclaimers or the information proves to be incorrect, or if our clients reproduce such information for potential investors in a misleading or incomplete manner, our clients or such investors may threaten to or file suit against us for, among other things, securities law violations.
We may be required to pay liquidated damages if we fail to meet milestone requirements in our contracts.
We may be required to pay liquidated damages if we fail to meet milestone requirements in our contracts. Failure to meet any of the milestone requirements could result in additional costs, and the amount of such additional costs could exceed the projected profits on the project. These additional costs include liquidated damages paid under contractual penalty provisions, which can be substantial and can accrue on a regular basis.
Risks Related to Growth and Acquisitions
We have made and expect to continue to make acquisitions that could disrupt our operations and adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. Our failure to conduct due diligence effectively, or our inability to successfully integrate acquisitions, could impede us from realizing all of the benefits of the acquisitions, which could weaken our results of operations.
A key part of our growth strategy is to acquire other companies that complement our lines of business, broaden our technical capabilities and/or expand our geographic presence. We expect to continue to acquire companies as an element of our growth strategy; however, our ability to make acquisitions may be restricted by our inability to incur additional indebtedness and/or make unpermitted acquisitions or investments under our Credit Agreement. Our acquisition strategy may divert management’s attention away from our existing businesses, resulting in the loss of key clients or key employees, and expose us to unanticipated problems or legal liabilities, including responsibility as a successor-in-interest for undisclosed or contingent liabilities of acquired businesses or assets.
Acquisitions involve certain known and unknown risks that could cause our actual growth or operating results to differ from our expectations or the expectations of securities analysts. If we fail to conduct due diligence on our potential targets effectively, we may, for example, not identify problems at target companies, or fail to recognize incompatibilities or other obstacles to successful integration. Our inability to successfully integrate future acquisitions within the intended timeframes or at all could impede us from realizing all of the benefits of those acquisitions and could severely weaken our business operations. The integration process may disrupt our business and, if implemented ineffectively, may preclude realization of the full benefits expected by us and could harm our results of operations. In addition, the overall integration of the combining companies may result in unanticipated problems, expenses, liabilities and competitive responses and may cause our stock price to decline.
Even if the operations of an acquisition are integrated successfully, we may not realize the full benefits of the acquisition, including the synergies, cost savings or growth opportunities that we expect. These benefits may not be achieved within the anticipated time frame, or at all.
Further, acquisitions may cause us to issue common stock that would dilute our current stockholders’ ownership percentage; use a substantial portion of our cash resources; increase our interest expense, leverage and debt service requirements (if we incur additional debt to pay for an acquisition); assume liabilities, including environmental liabilities, for which we do not have indemnification from the former owners.
If we are not able to successfully manage our growth strategy, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.
Our expected future growth presents numerous managerial, administrative, operational, and other challenges. Our ability to manage the growth of our operations will require us to continue to improve our management information systems and our other internal systems and controls. In addition, our growth will increase our need to attract, develop, motivate, and retain both our management and professional employees. The inability to effectively manage our growth or the inability of our employees to achieve anticipated performance could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Moreover, our continued expansion into new states will increase our legal and regulatory risk. Our failure, or alleged failure, to comply with applicable laws and regulations in any new jurisdiction in which we operate, and ensuing inquiries or investigations by regulatory and enforcement authorities, may result in regulatory action, including suspension or revocation of one or more of our licenses, civil or criminal penalties or other disciplinary actions and restrictions on or suspension of some or all of our business operations. As a result, our business could suffer, our reputation could be harmed, one or more of our contracts with governmental or non-governmental entities could be terminated and we could be subject to additional legal risk. This could, in turn, increase the size and number of claims and damages asserted against us, subject us to additional regulatory investigations, enforcement actions or other proceedings or lead to increased regulatory or supervisory concerns. We cannot predict the timing or form of any current or future regulatory or law enforcement initiatives, and any such initiatives could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our acquired businesses may underperform relative to our expectations.
We may not be able to maintain the levels of growth, revenue, earnings or operating efficiency that we and our acquired businesses have historically achieved or might achieve separately. The business and financial performance of an acquired business is subject to certain risks and uncertainties, including the risk of the loss of, or changes to, the acquired business’s client relationships; the dependence of its business on a limited number of customers to generate substantially all of its revenue; the acquired business’s reliance on subcontractors to meet its contractual obligations and the failure by such subcontractors to effectively perform their services in a timely manner; negative publicity or reputation from any prior investigations and settlements involving the acquired business; and reliance on the key personnel of the acquired business.
If our goodwill or other intangible assets become impaired, then our profits may be significantly reduced.
Because we have recently completed a number of acquisitions, goodwill and other intangible assets represent a substantial portion of our assets. Under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, we are required to perform a goodwill impairment test for potential impairment at least on an annual basis. We also assess the recoverability of the unamortized balance of our intangible assets when indications of impairment are present based on expected future profitability and undiscounted expected cash flows and their contribution to our overall operations. The goodwill impairment test requires us to determine the fair value of our reporting units, which are the components at or one level below our reportable segments. In determining fair value, we make significant judgments and estimates, including assumptions about our strategic plans with regard to our operations. We also analyze current economic indicators and market valuations to help determine fair value. To the extent economic conditions that would impact the future operations of our reporting units change, our goodwill may be deemed to be impaired, and we would be required to record a non-cash charge that could result in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. We had no goodwill impairment in fiscal 2021, 2020, or 2019.
Risks Related to Our Regulatory Environment
We are subject to various routine and non-routine governmental reviews, audits and investigations, and unfavorable government audit results could force us to adjust previously reported operating results, could affect future operating results, could subject us to a variety of penalties and sanctions, and could result in harm to our reputation.
Government departments and agencies and their representatives audit and review our contract performance, pricing practices, cost structure, financial capability and compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. Audits could raise issues that have significant adverse effects, including, among other things, substantial adjustments to our previously reported operating results and substantial effects on future operating results. Historically, we have not experienced significant disallowed costs as a result of government audits. However, we can provide no assurance that government audits will not result in material disallowances for incurred costs in the future. In addition, we must also comply with other government regulations related to employment practices, environmental protection, health and safety, tax, accounting, and anti-fraud measures, as well as many other regulations in order to maintain our government contractor status. These laws and regulations affect how we do business with our clients and, in some instances, impose additional costs on our business operations. Although we take precautions to prevent and deter fraud, misconduct, and non-compliance, we face the risk that our employees or outside partners may engage in misconduct, fraud, or other improper activities. If a government audit, review or investigation uncovers improper or illegal activities, we may be subject to civil and criminal penalties and administrative sanctions, including termination of contracts, repayment of amounts already received under contracts, forfeiture of profits, suspension of payments, fines and suspension or debarment from doing business with federal and state and local government agencies and departments, any of which could adversely affect our reputation, our business, results of operations and financial condition, and/or the value of our stock. We may also lose business if we are found not to be sufficiently able to meet ongoing cash flow and financial obligations on a timely basis. In addition, we could suffer serious harm to our reputation and our stock price could decline if allegations of impropriety are made against us, whether true or not.
Legislation, policy, rules or regulations may be enacted that limit or change the ability of state, regional or local agencies to contract for our privatized services. Such changes would affect our ability to obtain new contracts and may decrease the demand for our services.
Legislation is proposed periodically, particularly in the states of New York and California, that attempts to limit the ability of governmental agencies to contract with private consultants to provide services. Should such changes occur and be upheld, demand for our services may be materially adversely affected. While attempts at such legislation have failed in the past, such measures could be adopted in the future.
Changes in energy, environmental, or infrastructure industry laws, regulations, and programs could directly or indirectly reduce the demand for our services, which could in turn negatively impact our revenue.
Some of our services are directly or indirectly impacted by changes in U.S. federal, state, or local laws and regulations pertaining to the energy, environmental, and infrastructure industries. Accordingly, a relaxation or repeal of these laws and regulations, or changes in governmental policies regarding the funding, implementation or enforcement of these programs, could result in a decline in demand for our services, which could in turn negatively impact our revenue.
Corporate responsibility, specifically related to environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters, may impose additional costs and expose us to new risks.
Public ESG and sustainability reporting is becoming more broadly expected by investors, shareholders, and other stakeholders. Certain organizations that provide corporate governance and other corporate risk information to investors and shareholders have developed, and others may in the future develop, scores and ratings to evaluate companies and investment funds based upon ESG or “sustainability” metrics. Many investment funds focus on positive ESG business practices and sustainability scores when making investments and may consider a company’s ESG or sustainability scores as a reputational or other factor in making an investment decision. In addition, investors, particularly institutional investors, use these scores to benchmark companies against their peers and if a company is
perceived as lagging, these investors may engage with such company to improve ESG disclosure or performance and may also make voting decisions, or take other actions, to hold these companies and their boards of directors accountable. Board diversity is an ESG topic that is, in particular, receiving heightened attention by investors, shareholders, lawmakers and listing exchanges. Certain states, including California where we maintain our principal executive offices, have passed laws requiring companies to meet certain gender and ethnic diversity requirements on their boards of directors. If we are unable to recruit, attract and/or retain qualified members of our board of directors to maintain compliance with the diversity requirements of this California mandate within the prescribed timelines, we could be exposed to financial penalties. We may also face reputational damage in the event our corporate responsibility initiatives or objectives, including with respect to board diversity, do not meet the standards set by our investors, shareholders, lawmakers, listing exchanges or other constituencies, or if we are unable to achieve an acceptable ESG or sustainability rating from third party rating services. A low ESG or sustainability rating by a third-party rating service could also result in the exclusion of our common stock from consideration by certain investors who may elect to invest with our competition instead. Ongoing focus on corporate responsibility matters by investors and other parties as described above may impose additional costs or expose us to new risks
General Risk Factors
Our bylaws, our certificate of incorporation and Delaware law contain provisions that could discourage another company from acquiring us and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
Provisions of our bylaws, our certificate of incorporation and Delaware law may discourage, delay or prevent a merger or acquisition that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which our stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. In addition, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace or remove our board of directors. These provisions include eliminating the ability of stockholders to call special meetings of stockholders; requiring at least a supermajority vote of the outstanding shares of our common stock for stockholders to amend our bylaws or certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation; not providing for cumulative voting in the election of directors, prohibiting stockholder action by written consent; establishing advance notice procedure for stockholders to make nominations of candidates for election as directors, or bring other business before an annual or special meeting of the stockholders; and authorizing the Board of Directors to issue “blank check” preferred stock or authorized but unissued shares of common stock without stockholder approval.
In addition, we are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. In general, subject to some exceptions, Section 203 prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in any business combination with any “interested stockholder” (which is generally defined as an entity or person who, together with the person’s affiliates and associates, beneficially owns, or within three years prior to the time of determination of interested stockholder status did own, 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation), for a three-year period following the date that the stockholder became an interested stockholder. Section 203 could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control that our stockholders might consider to be in their best interests.
Together, these charter and statutory provisions could make the removal of management more difficult and may discourage transactions that otherwise could involve payment of a premium over prevailing market prices for our common stock. The existence of the foregoing provisions and anti-takeover measures could limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock. They could also deter potential acquirers of our company, thereby potentially reducing the likelihood that our stockholders could receive a premium for their common stock in an acquisition.
Cyber security breaches or other systems and information technology interruption could result in liability, harm our reputation and impact our ability to operate.
We rely heavily on computer, information, and communications technology and systems to operate. We store and process increasingly large amounts of confidential information concerning our employees, customers, contractors and vendors. We must ensure that we are at all times compliant with various privacy laws, rules, and regulations. The
risk of failing to comply with these laws, rules, and regulations increases as we continue to expand. We also rely in part on third-party software and information technology vendors to run certain parts of our information technology systems. We must ensure that all of our vendors who have access to our information also have the appropriate privacy policies, procedures and protections in place.
In the ordinary course of business, we have been targeted by malicious cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity attacks in particular are evolving, and we face the constant risk of cybersecurity threats, including, among other things, computer viruses, malicious code, attacks by computer hackers, organized cyber-attacks, and other electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in critical systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information and/or corruption of data.
If we experience system interruptions and delays from cybersecurity attacks or otherwise, such as from natural disasters, telecommunications failures, acts of war or terrorism, and similar events or disruptions, it could suspend or stop our operations, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and could negatively impact our clients. Further, improper disclosure of confidential information of our employees, customers, contractors and vendors could harm our reputation and subject us to liability.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our corporate headquarters is located at 2401 East Katella Avenue, Anaheim, California, where we lease approximately 18,000 square feet of office space. In addition, we lease office space in 47 other locations nationwide, principally in California and New York, and also have one office in Canada. In total, our facilities contain approximately 262,000 square feet of office space and are subject to leases that expire through 2027. We rent a small portion of this total space on a month-to-month basis. We believe that our existing facilities are adequate to meet current requirements and that suitable additional or substitute space will be available as needed to accommodate any expansion of operations and for additional offices.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are subject to claims and lawsuits from time to time, including those alleging professional errors or omissions that arise in the ordinary course of business against firms that operate in the engineering and consulting professions. We carry professional liability insurance, subject to certain deductibles and policy limits, for such claims as they arise and may from time to time establish reserves for litigation that is considered probable of a loss.
In accordance with accounting standards regarding loss contingencies, we accrue an undiscounted liability for those contingencies where the incurrence of a loss is probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated, and we disclose the amount accrued and an estimate of any reasonably possible loss in excess of the amount accrued, if such disclosure is necessary for our financial statements not to be misleading. We do not accrue liabilities when the likelihood that the liability has been incurred is probable but the amount cannot be reasonably estimated, or when the liability is believed to be only reasonably possible or remote.
Because litigation outcomes are inherently unpredictable, our evaluation of legal proceedings often involves a series of complex assessments by management about future events and can rely heavily on estimates and assumptions. If the assessments indicate that loss contingencies that could be material to any one of our financial statements are not probable, but are reasonably possible, or are probable, but cannot be estimated, then we disclose the nature of the loss contingencies, together with an estimate of the possible loss or a statement that such loss is not reasonably estimable. While the consequences of certain unresolved proceedings are not presently determinable, and a reasonable estimate of the probable and reasonably possible loss or range of loss in excess of amounts accrued for such proceedings cannot be made, an adverse outcome from such proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our earnings in any given reporting period. However, in the opinion of our management, after consulting with legal counsel, and taking into account insurance coverage, the ultimate liability related to current outstanding claims and lawsuits is not expected to have a material adverse effect on our financial statements.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information for Common Stock
Since November 21, 2006, the common stock of Willdan Group, Inc. has been listed and traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “WLDN”.
As of March 9, 2022, there were 141 stockholders of record of our common stock. This number does not include persons who hold our common stock in nominee or “street name” accounts through brokers or banks.
We did not declare or pay cash dividends on our common stock in fiscal years 2021, 2020 or 2019.
We currently expect to retain all available funds and future earnings, if any, for use in the operation and growth of our business and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to compliance with applicable law and any contractual provisions, including under the Credit Agreement and agreements governing any additional indebtedness we may incur in the future, that restrict or limit our ability to pay dividends, and will depend upon, among other factors, our results of operations, financial condition, earnings, capital requirements and other factors that our board of directors deems relevant. Because we are a holding company, our ability to pay dividends depends on our receipt of cash dividends from our operating subsidiaries, which may further restrict our ability to pay dividends as a result of the laws of their jurisdiction of organization, agreements of our subsidiaries or covenants under our existing or future indebtedness.
The following graph compares the 5-year cumulative total stockholder return of our common stock with the cumulative total return of the Nasdaq Composite and a customized peer group. The customized peer group consists of: Ameresco, Inc., Charah Solutions, Inc., Cypress Environmental Partners, L.P., Exponent, Inc., Hill International, Inc., Limbach Holdings, Inc., NV5 Global, Inc., RCM Technologies, Inc., and Resources Connection, Inc.
The peer group investment is weighted by market capitalization as of December 31, 2016 and is adjusted monthly. An investment of $100, with reinvestment of all dividends, is assumed to have been made in our common stock, in the peer group and in the Nasdaq Composite on December 31, 2016, and the relative performance of each is tracked through and including December 31, 2021. The stock price performance shown in the graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Issuer Repurchases of Equity Securities
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We are a provider of professional, technical and consulting services to utilities, private industry, and public agencies at all levels of government. As resources and infrastructures undergo continuous change, we help organizations and their communities evolve and thrive by providing a wide range of technical services for energy solutions and government infrastructure. Through engineering, program management, policy advisory, and software and data management, we design and deliver trusted, comprehensive, innovative, and proven solutions to improve efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability in energy and infrastructure to our customers.
Our broad portfolio of services operates within two reporting segments: (1) Energy and (2) Engineering and Consulting. The interfaces and synergies between these segments are important elements of our strategy to design and deliver trusted, comprehensive, innovative, and proven solutions for our customers.
Our Energy segment provides specialized, innovative, comprehensive energy solutions to businesses, utilities, state agencies, municipalities, and non-profit organizations in the U.S. Our experienced engineers, consultants, and staff help our clients realize cost and energy savings by tailoring efficient and cost-effective solutions to assist in optimizing energy spend. Our energy efficiency services include comprehensive audit and surveys, program design, master planning, demand reduction, grid optimization, benchmarking analyses, design engineering, construction management, performance contracting, installation, alternative financing, measurement and verification services, and advances in software and data analytics.
Our Engineering and Consulting segment provides civil engineering-related construction management, building and safety, city engineering, city planning, civil design, geotechnical, material testing and other engineering consulting services to our clients. Our engineering services include rail, port, water, mining and other civil engineering projects. We also provide economic and financial consulting to public agencies along with national preparedness and interoperability services, communications, and technology solutions. Lastly, we supplement the engineering services that we offer our clients by offering expertise and support for the various financing techniques public agencies utilize to finance their operations and infrastructure. We also support the mandated reporting and other requirements associated with these financings. We provide financial advisory services for municipal securities but do not provide underwriting services.
Impact of Covid-19 on Our Business
The coronavirus (“Covid-19”) pandemic and efforts to limit its spread negatively impacted our operations during fiscal year 2020 and continued to impact us, albeit to a lesser extent, during fiscal year 2021. In California and New York, the states in which we have historically derived a majority of our revenue, mandatory shutdown orders were issued in March 2020. In New York, phased re-openings began in June 2020, and all of our New York utility programs have restarted. In California, phased re-openings began in May 2020, followed by periods of curtailments as a result of resurgences of Covid-19 cases, and subsequent re-openings. As a result, the most significant pandemic related impacts to our business occurred in California to our direct install business. During the last week of June 2021, our largest program for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (“LADWP”) resumed, which was our last remaining program that was still suspended due to Covid-19. As of March 9, 2022, none of our contracts have been cancelled due to Covid-19.
In the Energy segment, we experienced a negative impact on our direct install programs that serve small businesses as a result of restrictions put in place by governmental authorities that required temporary shutdowns of all “non-essential” businesses which resulted in a significant portion of our direct install work on these programs being suspended for varying periods of time during fiscal year 2020 and continuing in California through our first half of fiscal 2021. During non-Covid-19 impacted years, such as fiscal year 2019, we derived approximately 40% of our gross revenue from our direct install programs that serve small businesses and 60% from our other programs. Our other programs are either services that have been determined to be “essential” by government authorities, can be performed remotely or outside of any Covid-related restrictions, or have continued to progress during the pandemic.
In the Engineering and Consulting segment, our revenues have been less affected by Covid-19 than the revenues in the Energy segment. The services in this segment have generally been deemed “essential” by the government and have continued to operate while abiding social distancing measures.
We have continuously monitored our liquidity position during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to be flexible during these uncertain times and to position ourselves to resume our growth trajectory as work restrictions are lifted. As part of this effort, we amended our credit facility in April 2021 for increased covenant flexibility as a result of forecasted increased working capital requirements related to $781 million in new California Investor Owned Utility contracts signed in December 2020.
Asset and liability valuation and other estimates used in preparation of financial statements
As of December 31, 2021, we did not have any impairment with respect to goodwill or long-lived assets, including intangible assets. Because the full extent of the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and efforts to slow its spread are unknown at this time, they could, under certain circumstances, cause impairment and result in a non-cash impairment charge being recorded in future periods. Changes to the estimated future profitability of the business may require that we establish an additional valuation allowance against all or some portion of our net deferred tax assets.
Impact on Clients and Subcontractors and Other Risks
We primarily work for utilities, municipalities and other public agencies. Some of these customers could experience significant budget shortfalls for the current year and beyond as a result of the measures taken to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic and/or revenue shortfalls as a result of reduced economic activity. Although none of our material contracts with governmental or public agencies were materially modified during our fiscal years 2020 or 2021, these potential budget deficits could result in delayed funding for existing contracts with us, postponements of new contracts or price concessions. Further, most of our clients are not committed to purchase any minimum amount of services, as our agreements with them are based on a “purchase order” or “master service agreement” model. As a result, they may discontinue utilizing some or all of our services with little or no notice.
In addition, we rely on subcontractors and material suppliers to complete a substantial portion of our work, especially in our Energy segment. If our significant subcontractors and material suppliers suffer significant economic harm and must limit or cease operations or file for bankruptcy as a result of the current economic slowdown, our subcontractors and material suppliers may not be able to fulfill their contractual obligations satisfactorily and we may not have the ability to select our subcontractors and material suppliers of choice for new contracts. If our subcontractors and material suppliers are not able to fulfill their contractual obligations, it could result in a significant increase in costs for us to complete the projects or cause significant delays to the realization of revenues under those projects. The ultimate impact of Covid-19 on our financial condition and results of operations will depend on all of the factors noted above, including other factors that we may not be able to forecast at this time. See the risk factor “The Covid-19 pandemic and health and safety measures intended to slow its spread have adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our business, results of operations and financial condition.” under Part I. Item 1A. “Risk Factors” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. While Covid-19 has had, and we expect it to continue to have, an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, we are unable to predict the extent or duration of these impacts at this time.
Health and Safety
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have taken and will continue to take precautionary measures intended to help minimize the risk of Covid-19 to our employees, including requiring the majority of our employees to work remotely, suspending non-essential travel and restricting in-person work-related meetings. We expect to continue to implement these measures until it has determined that the Covid-19 pandemic is adequately contained for purposes of our business, and may take further actions as government authorities require or recommend or as it determines to be in the best interests of our employees, customers, business partners and third-party service providers.
On March 8, 2022, we amended our credit facility to provide for increased liquidity and covenant flexibility as a result of forecasted increased working capital requirements related to additional organic growth, including the resumption of the LADWP small business program. The amendment also revises the pricing structure of borrowings under our Credit Agreement from utilizing as a reference rate the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) to utilizing the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”). For additional information, see Part II, Item 8, Note 15, “Subsequent Events” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in the Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Results of Operations
Summary Comparison of 2021, 2020, and 2019
The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, certain information derived from our consolidated statements of comprehensive income(1):
(in thousands, except percentages)
Direct costs of contract revenue:
Salaries and wages
Subcontractor services and other direct costs
Total direct costs of contract revenue
General and administrative expenses:
Salaries and wages, payroll taxes and employee benefits
Facilities and facilities related
Depreciation and amortization
Total general and administrative expenses
Income (loss) from operations
Other income (expense):
Total other income (expense)
Income (Loss) before income tax expense
Income tax expense (benefit)
Net income (loss)
|(1)||Percentages are expressed as a percentage of contract revenue and may not total due to rounding.|
The following tables provides information about disaggregated revenue of the Company’s two segments Energy and Engineering and Consulting by contract type, client type, and geographical region:
(in thousands, except percentage)
(in thousands, except percentage)
(in thousands, except percentage)
|(1)||Revenue from our Canadian operations were not material for fiscal years 2021, 2020, and 2019.|
Fiscal Year 2021 Compared to Fiscal Year 2020
Contract revenue. Consolidated contract revenue decreased $37.2 million, or 9.5%, in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020, primarily due to decreased contract revenues from our construction management activities in our Energy segment and the impact of having one fewer week in fiscal year 2021 as compared to fiscal year 2020, partially offset by increased planning and advisory contract revenues including software licensing. Contract revenue related to Energy segment construction management projects decreased as a result of the completion of a number of Energy segment projects and delays in the start-up of construction of new Energy segment projects.
Contract revenue in our Energy segment decreased $37.8 million, or 11.7%, in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020, primarily as a result of decreased contract revenues from construction management activities as described above and the impact of having one fewer week in fiscal year 2021 as compared to fiscal year 2020, partially offset by increased planning and advisory contract revenues including software licensing.
Contract revenue in our Engineering and Consulting segment was relatively flat in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020.
Direct costs of contract revenue. Direct costs of consolidated contract revenue decreased $43.7 million, or 16.7%, in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020, primarily as a result of decreased construction management activities in our Energy segment and the impact of having one fewer week in fiscal year 2021 as compared to fiscal year 2020.
Direct cost of contract revenue in our Energy segment decreased $41.0 million, or 18.2%, in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020, primarily as a result of the reasons described above. Direct costs of contract revenue for the Engineering and Consulting segment decreased $2.7 million, or 7.4%, for the fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020, primarily due to a reduction in scope of work from one of our customers combined with the impact of having one fewer week in fiscal year 2021 as compared to fiscal year 2020.
Salaries and wages were relatively flat in fiscal year 2021 compared to the fiscal year 2020. Subcontractor services and other direct costs decreased $44.2 million, or 22.5%, in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2022, primarily due to the decrease in construction management activities.
As a percentage of contract revenue, salaries and wages increased to 18.6% of contract revenue for fiscal year 2021 from 16.7% for fiscal year 2020 and subcontractor services and other direct costs decreased to 43.0% of contract revenue for fiscal year 2021 from 50.2% of contract revenue for the fiscal year 2020, for the reasons noted above.
Gross Profit. Gross profit increased 5.0% to $135.9 million, or 38.4% gross margin, for fiscal 2021 compared to $129.4 million, or a 33.1% gross margin for fiscal 2020. The increase in our gross margin was primarily driven by changes in the mix of revenues resulting from the reduction in construction management services which have a relatively lower gross margin profile due to their relatively higher content of pass-through subcontractor and materials costs.
General and administrative expenses. General and administrative (“G&A”) expenses decreased by $1.1 million, or 0.7%, in the fiscal year 2021 compared to the fiscal year 2020. The decrease in G&A expenses consisted of a decrease of $2.6 million in the Energy segment combined with a decrease of $1.7 million in the unallocated corporate expenses, partially offset by an increase of $3.3 million in the Engineering and Consulting segment. The decrease in G&A expenses in the Energy segment and unallocated corporate expenses was primarily attributed to lower amortization of intangibles combined with lower other general and administrative expenses, partially offset by higher wage and related benefit costs. The increase in G&A expenses in the Engineering and Consulting segment was primarily attributed to higher wage and related benefit costs. The increase in wage and related benefit costs was primarily attributed to having restored wage reductions taken during our second quarter of fiscal 2020 aimed at preserving liquidity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Within G&A expenses, the increase of $2.6 million for salaries and wages, payroll taxes and employee benefits, combined with the increase of $0.5 million in stock-based compensation was offset by the decrease of $0.6 million in facilities and facility related expenses, combined with the decrease of $1.6 million in depreciation and amortization and the decrease of $1.9 million in other general and administrative expenses.
The increase in salaries and wages, payroll taxes and employee benefits was primarily attributable to having restored, during our third quarter of fiscal year 2020, certain actions taken during the second quarter of our fiscal year 2020 aimed at preserving liquidity in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as a temporary cash wage reduction for salaried employees, as well as instituting a reduction in workforce, primarily through unpaid furloughs. The increase in stock-based compensation expenses was primarily related to new stock grants to current employees and executives. The decrease in facilities and facilities related expenses was attributed to satisfied facility leases that were not renewed. The decrease in depreciation and amortization was primarily related to lower amortization of intangible assets derived from prior acquisitions. The decrease in other general and administrative expenses was primarily related to decreased earn-out expenses, partially offset by increases in professional services combined with increases in computer-related expenses.
Income (loss) from operations. Operating loss was $8.7 million for fiscal 2021, compared to a loss of $16.2 million for fiscal 2020, as a result of the factors noted above. As a percentage of contract revenue, the operating loss was 2.5% for fiscal 2021 compared to an operating loss of 4.2% for fiscal 2020. The increase in operating margin was attributable to increased gross profit combined with lower G&A expenses.
Total other expense, net. Total other expense, net, was $3.7 million for fiscal 2021 compared to $3.4 million for fiscal 2020. The increase in total other expense, net is primarily due to lower interest income partially offset by lower interest expense as a result of lower borrowings under our credit facilities and the impact of having one fewer week in fiscal year 2021 as compared to fiscal year 2020.
Income tax expense (benefit). We recorded an income tax benefit of $4.0 million for fiscal year 2021 compared to a tax benefit of $5.2 million for fiscal year 2020. The decrease in the income tax benefit is primarily attributable to the increase in valuation allowance recorded against certain state-specific deferred tax assets combined with a reduction in energy efficiency deductions, partially offset by additional tax benefits related to the net operating loss carryback provision of the CARES Act.
Net income (loss). Our net loss was $8.4 million for fiscal 2021, as compared to a net loss of $14.5 million for fiscal 2020. The reduction in our net loss was primarily driven by increased gross profit margins combined with lower operating expenses.
Fiscal Year 2020 Compared to Fiscal Year 2019
Contract revenue. Consolidated contract revenue decreased $52.1 million, or 11.8%, in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019, primarily due to decreased contract revenues from our direct install programs for small businesses in our Energy segment, partially offset by $31.2 million of incremental contract revenue generated from government projects and $22.0 million of incremental contract revenue from the acquisitions of Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (“E3, Inc.”) and Onsite Energy Corporation (“Onsite Energy”) on October 28, 2019, and July 2, 2019, respectively. Contract revenues for our direct install programs for small businesses decreased as a result of the business suspensions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and efforts to limit its spread that started in March 2020, which we estimate to have reduced our contract revenue by approximately 20% from our planned pre-pandemic levels.
Contract revenue in our Energy segment decreased $46.5 million, or 12.6%, in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019. Contract revenue for the Energy segment primarily decreased as a result of reduced contract revenues from our direct install programs for small businesses as a result of the effects of Covid-19 noted above, partially offset by $36.8 million of incremental contract revenue generated from government projects and $22.0 million of incremental contract revenue from the acquisitions of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy.
Contract revenue in our Engineering and Consulting segment decreased $5.6 million, or 7.7%, in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019. Contract revenue for the Engineering and Consulting segment decreased primarily due to decreased subcontractor revenues combined with a $2 million reduction of scope of work related to one of our customers implemented during the second quarter of 2020. Contract revenue in our Engineering and Consulting segment has been less affected by Covid-19 than contract revenue in our Energy segment as the services in the Engineering and Consulting segment have generally been deemed “essential” by the government and continue to operate while abiding social distancing measures.
Direct costs of contract revenue. Direct costs of consolidated contract revenue decreased $46.5 million, or 15.1%, in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019. Direct costs of consolidated contract revenue decreased as a result of decreased contract revenues from our direct install programs for small businesses in our Energy segment, partially offset by $31.2 million of incremental contract revenue generated from government projects combined with an additional $7.9 million of incremental direct costs of contract revenue related to our acquisitions of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy.
Direct cost of contract revenue in our Energy segment decreased $41.3 million, or 15.5%, in the fiscal year 2020 compared to the fiscal year 2019, primarily as a result of the decrease in our contract revenues related to direct install programs for small businesses as described above, which generally use a higher percentage of materials and subcontractor services than other projects in our Energy segment, partially offset by $36.8 million of incremental contract revenues related to government projects combined with an incremental $7.9 million in direct costs of contract revenue contributed from the acquisitions of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy in the Energy segment. Direct costs of contract revenue for the Engineering and Consulting segment decreased $5.2 million, or 12.6%, for the fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019, primarily due to the reduction of revenues described above.
Subcontractor services and other direct costs decreased $47.2 million and salaries and wages increased by $0.7 million for the fiscal year 2020 compared to the fiscal year 2019. As a percentage of contract revenue, salaries and wages increased to 16.7% of contract revenue for the fiscal year 2020 from 14.6% for the fiscal year 2019 and subcontractor services and other direct costs decreased to 50.2% of contract revenue for the fiscal year 2020 from 55.0% of contract revenue for the fiscal year 2019. Salaries and wages within direct costs of contract revenue increased as a
percentage of contract revenue primarily as a result of our acquisition of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy which contain a higher percentage of labor costs and lower percentage of material costs and installation subcontracting. Subcontractor services and other direct costs decreased as a percentage of contract revenue primarily as a result of the decrease in contract revenues from our direct install programs for small businesses, as described above.
General and administrative expenses. General and administrative (“G&A”) expenses increased by $20.0 million, or 15.9%, in the fiscal year 2020 compared to the fiscal year 2019. The increase in G&A expenses consisted of an increase of $12.2 million in the Energy segment and an increase of $8.5 million in the unallocated corporate expenses, partially offset by a decrease of $0.7 million in the Engineering and Consulting segment. The increase in G&A expenses in the Energy segment was primarily attributed to incremental expenses of $13.0 million from the addition of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy, combined with increases in stock-based compensation, intangible asset amortization, and other corporate general and administrative expenses, partially offset by our cost-saving measures instituted, as described earlier, in response to Covid-19.
Of the $20.0 million increase in G&A expenses, $4.9 million resulted from an increase in salaries and wages, payroll taxes and employee benefits, $4.0 million resulted from an increase in stock-based compensation, $3.7 million resulted from an increase in depreciation and amortization, $1.9 million resulted from an increase in facilities and facility related expenses, and $5.4 million resulted from an increase in other general and administrative expenses. The increase in other general and administrative expenses was primarily due to an increase of $6.5 million in the liability for contingent consideration, partially offset by lower traveling expenses as a result of the measures put in place for Covid-19, combined with lower acquisition costs and lower professional services. The increase in salaries and wages, payroll taxes and employee benefits was primarily attributable to the addition of employees from the acquisition of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy, partially offset by our actions related to placing a temporary cash wage reduction for salaried employees, as well as instituting a reduction in workforce, primarily through unpaid furloughs, aimed at preserving liquidity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the second half of the three months ended July 3, 2020, furloughed employees
began to return to work as government authorities began loosening restrictions through phased re-openings and, by the end of the third fiscal quarter, the majority of furloughed employees had returned to work. In addition, as the initial impact of Covid-19 was ascertained and operations were adjusted accordingly, salaries were reinstituted in June 2020 with the exception of corporate staff, whose salaries were reinstituted at the end of July 2020. The increase in facilities and facility related expenses was primarily due to the addition of offices in connection with the acquisition of E3, Inc., and Onsite Energy. The increase in stock-based compensation expenses was primarily related to new stock grants to current employees and executives. The increase in depreciation and amortization was primarily due to an increase in amortization of intangible assets derived from the acquisition of E3, Inc., and Onsite Energy.
Income (loss) from operations. Our operating loss was $16.2 million for fiscal year 2020, compared to operating income of $9.4 million for fiscal year 2019, as a result of the factors noted above. As a percentage of contract revenue, operating loss was 4.2% for the fiscal year 2020 compared to an operating income of 2.1% for the fiscal year 2019. The decrease in operating margin was primarily attributable to decreases in contract revenue as a result of Covid-19 combined with increases in stock-based compensation and intangible asset amortization from the acquisition of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy, partially offset by increases in governmental contract revenue.
Total other expense, net. Total other expense, net was $3.4 million for fiscal year 2020 compared to $4.7 million for fiscal year 2019. The decrease in total other expense, net was primarily the result of the recognition of $0.6 million in income from an indemnification agreement and higher interest income. Interest expense was relatively flat year over year.
Income tax expense (benefit). We recorded an income tax benefit of $5.2 million for the fiscal year 2020 compared to a tax benefit of $0.2 million for the fiscal year 2019. The effective tax rate for fiscal year 2020 was (26.3)% as compared to (4.0)% for fiscal year 2019. The increase in the year-over-year effective tax rate for fiscal year 2020 is primarily attributable to our loss before income tax, reduced energy efficient commercial building deductions and increased nondeductible compensation recognized in 2020.
Net income (loss). As a result of the above factors, our net loss was $14.5 million for the fiscal year ended 2020, as compared to a net income of $4.8 million for the fiscal year 2019.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Net Cash Provided by (used in):
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
Sources of Cash
We believe that our cash and cash equivalents on hand, cash generated by operating activities and available borrowings under our revolving credit facility and Delayed Draw Term Loan will be sufficient to finance our operating activities for at least the next 12 months. As a result of forecasted increased working capital requirements related to the $781 million in California Investor Owned Utility Contracts and other organic growth, we amended our credit agreement to, among other things, ensure an adequate margin for certain covenant compliance obligations. As of December 31, 2021, we had $11.2 million of cash and cash equivalents. In addition, as of December 31, 2021, we had a $100 million Term A Loan with $75.0 million outstanding, a $50.0 million Revolving Credit Facility with no borrowed amounts outstanding and $4.1 million in letters of credit issued. We also had a $50.0 million Delayed Draw Term Loan with $20.0 million available for draw subject to the satisfaction of certain covenants and $24.0 million outstanding. Each of our Term A Loan, Revolving Credit Facility, and Delayed Draw Term Loan mature on June 26, 2024. Our primary
source of liquidity for the next 12 months and beyond is cash generated from operations and borrowings under our Revolving Credit Facility.
As of December 31, 2021, borrowings under our Credit Facilities, exclusive of the effects of upfront fees, undrawn fees and issuance cost amortization, bore interest at 2.37%. See Part II, Item 8, Note 5, Debt Obligations, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, for information regarding our indebtedness, including information about new borrowings and repayments, principal repayment terms, interest rates, covenants, and other key terms of our outstanding indebtedness.
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
Cash flows provided by operating activities were $9.8 million, $47.0 million, and $11.6 million for fiscal years 2021, 2020, and 2019, respectively. Cash flow from operating activities primarily consists of net income, adjusted for non-cash charges, such as depreciation and amortization and stock-based compensation, plus or minus changes in operating assets and liabilities. Cash flows provided by operating activities for fiscal year 2021 resulted primarily from the changing mix of revenues, partially offset by increased demand for working capital related to the resumption of our utility programs that were suspended in 2020 and start-up costs associated with certain new contract awards. Cash flows provided by operating activities for fiscal year 2020 resulted primarily as a result of improvements in cash collections, reductions in working capital requirements as a result of the reduction of revenues from the suspension of our small business energy programs, and incremental operating cash flow from our acquisitions of E3, Inc. and Onsite Energy. Cash flows provided by operating activities for fiscal year 2019 resulted primarily as a result of our fiscal year 2019 acquisitions, combined with a decrease in accounts receivable and an increase in accrued liabilities, partially offset by an increase in contract assets.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
Cash flows used in investing activities were $8.5 million for fiscal year 2021, as compared to $5.0 million and $78.3 million for fiscal years 2020 and 2019, respectively. Cash flows used in investing activities for fiscal year 2021 were primarily due to cash paid for software development cost and the purchase of equipment. Cash flows used in investing activities for fiscal year 2020 were primarily due to cash paid for the purchase of equipment, the enhancement of internal operating software, and leasehold improvements. Cash flows used in investing activities for fiscal year 2019 were primarily due to cash paid for the acquisitions of The Weidt Group, Onsite Energy, and E3, Inc.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Cash flows used in financing activities were $18.5 million and $19.0 million for fiscal year 2021 and 2020, as compared to cash flows provided by financing activities of $56.9 million for fiscal 2019. Cash flows used in financing activities for fiscal year 2021 were primarily attributable to repayments of $13.0 million under our term loan facility and revolving line of credit, increases of $6.6 million for contingent consideration related to prior acquisitions, payments of taxes on stock grants of $3.1 million, payments on notes payable of $1.9 million, partially offset by $2.7 million in proceeds from sales of common stock under our employee stock purchase plan and $1.9 million in proceeds from stock option exercise. Cash flows used in financing activities for fiscal year 2020 were primarily attributable to repayments of $42.0 million under our term loan facility and revolving line of credit, a payment of $2.9 million in employee payroll taxes related to the vesting of performance-based restricted stock units, and payments of $1.4 million for contingent consideration related to prior acquisitions, partially offset by $24.0 million of borrowings under our revolving line of credit. Cash flows provided by financing activities for fiscal year 2019 were primarily attributable to borrowings under our credit facilities related to our acquisitions of The Weidt Group, Onsite Energy, and E3, Inc.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Other than operating lease commitments, we do not have any off-balance sheet financing arrangements or liabilities. In addition, our policy is not to enter into futures or forward contracts. Finally, we do not have any majority-owned subsidiaries or any interests in, or relationships with, any special-purpose entities that are not included in the consolidated financial statements. We have, however, an administrative services agreement with Genesys in which
we provide Genesys with ongoing administrative, operational and other non-professional support services. We manage Genesys and have the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact Genesys’ performance, in addition to being obligated to absorb expected losses from Genesys. Accordingly, we are the primary beneficiary of Genesys and consolidate Genesys as a variable interest entity.
Short and Long-term Uses of Cash
Our principal uses of cash are to fund operating expenses and pay down outstanding debt. From time to time, we also use cash to help fund business acquisitions. Our cash and cash equivalents are impacted by the timing of when we pay expenses as reflected in the change in our outstanding accounts payable and accrued expenses.
The following table sets forth our known contractual obligations as of December 31, 2021:
1 - 3 Years
3 - 5 Years
( in thousands)
Long term debt (1)(3)
Interest payments on debt outstanding (2)(3)
Total contractual cash obligations
|(1)||Long-term debt includes $75.0 million outstanding on our Term A Loan, no amounts outstanding on our Revolving Credit Facility, and $24.0 million outstanding on our Delayed Draw Term Loan as of December 31, 2021. We have assumed no future borrowings or repayments (other than at maturity) for purposes of this table.|
|(2)||Borrowings under our Delayed Draw Term Loan bear interest at a variable rate. Future interest payments on our Delayed Draw Term Loan Facility are estimated using floating rates in effect as of December 31, 2021.|
|(3)||Long-term debt and interest payments on debt outstanding do not include $20 million drawn on March 8, 2022 from our Delayed Draw Term Loan Facility in connection with the fifth amendment to the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement. For more information, see Part II, Item 8, Note 15, “Subsequent Events”, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.|
We are obligated to pay earn-out payments in connection with our 2019 and 2017 acquisitions of E3, Inc. and Integral Analytics, respectively. We are obligated to pay up to (i) $12.0 million in cash if E3, Inc. exceeds certain financial targets during the three years after the E3, Inc. closing date, and (ii) $12.0 million in cash based on future work obtained from the business of Integral Analytics during the four years after the closing of the acquisition, payable in installments, if certain financial targets are met during the four years. As of December 31, 2021, we had contingent consideration payable of $11.0 million related to these acquisitions. For fiscal 2021, our statement of operations includes $2.3 million of accretion (excluding fair value adjustments) related to the contingent consideration.
Subsequent to December 31, 2021, we borrowed and repaid $5.0 million under our Revolving Credit Facility. On March 8, 2022, after giving effect to the Fifth Amendment, we had $50.0 million in borrowing capacity available under our credit facilities. See part II, Item 8, Note 5, “Debt Obligations”, and Note 15, “Subsequent Events”, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding our indebtedness, including information about new borrowings and repayments, principal repayment terms, interest rates, covenants, and other key terms of our outstanding indebtedness.
We have also financed, from time to time, insurance premiums by entering into unsecured notes payable with insurance companies. See part II, Item 8, Note 5, “Debt Obligations”, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding our financing arrangements related to our insurance premiums.
Interest Rate Swap
See Part II, Item 7A, “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk”, and Note 4, “Derivative Financial Instruments”, to the Notes of Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding our interest rate swap.
Impact of Inflation
Due to the average duration of our projects and our ability to negotiate prices as contracts end and new contracts begin, we believe our operations have not been, and, in the foreseeable future, are not expected to be, materially impacted by moderate inflation.
Components of Revenue and Expense
We generally provide our services under contracts, purchase orders or retainer letters. The agreements we enter into with our clients typically incorporate one of three principal types of pricing provisions: time-and-materials, unit-based, and fixed price. Revenue on our time-and-materials and unit-based contracts are recognized as the work is performed in accordance with specific terms of the contract. As of December 31, 2021, approximately 24% of our contracts are time-and-materials contracts and approximately 54% of our contracts are unit-based contracts, compared to approximately 26% for time-and-materials contracts and approximately 46% for unit-based contracts as of January 1, 2021.
Some of these contracts include maximum contract prices, but contract maximums are often adjusted to reflect the level of effort to achieve client objectives and thus the majority of these contracts are not expected to exceed the maximum. Contract revenue on our fixed price contracts is determined on the percentage of completion method based generally on the ratio of direct costs incurred to date to estimated total direct costs at completion. Many of our fixed price contracts involve a high degree of subcontracted fixed price effort and are relatively short in duration, thereby lowering the risks of not properly estimating the percent complete.
Adjustments to contract cost estimates are made in the periods in which the facts requiring such revisions become known. When the revised estimate indicates a loss, such loss is recognized in the current period in its entirety. Claims and change orders that have not been finalized are evaluated to determine whether or not a change has occurred in the enforceable rights and obligations of the original contract. If these non-finalized changes qualify as a contract modification, a determination is made whether to account for the change in contract value as a modification to the existing contract, or a separate contract and revenue under the claims or change orders is recognized accordingly. Costs related to un-priced change orders are expensed when incurred, and recognition of the related revenue is based on the assessment above of whether or not a contract modification has occurred. Estimated profit for un-priced change orders is recognized only if collection is probable.
Our contracts come up for renewal periodically and at the time of renewal may be subject to renegotiation, which could impact the profitability on that contract. In addition, during the term of a contract, public agencies may request additional or revised services which may impact the economics of the transaction. Most of our contracts permit our clients, with prior notice, to terminate the contracts at any time without cause. While we have a large volume of contracts, the renewal, termination or modification of a contract, in particular contracts with Consolidated Edison, the City of Elk Grove, DASNY, and utility programs associated with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Duke Energy Corp., may have a material effect on our consolidated operations.
Some of our contracts include certain performance guarantees, such as a guaranteed energy saving quantity. Such guarantees are generally measured upon completion of a project. In the event that the measured performance level is less than the guaranteed level, any resulting financial penalty, including any additional work that may be required to fulfill the guarantee, is estimated and charged to direct expenses in the current period. We have not experienced any significant costs under such guarantees.
Direct Costs of Contract Revenue
Direct costs of contract revenue consist primarily of that portion of salaries and wages that have been incurred in connection with revenue producing projects. Direct costs of contract revenue also include material costs, subcontractor services, equipment and other expenses that are incurred in connection with revenue producing projects. Direct costs of contract revenue exclude that portion of salaries and wages related to marketing efforts, vacations, holidays and other time not spent directly generating revenue under existing contracts. Such costs are included in general and administrative expenses. Additionally, payroll taxes, bonuses and employee benefit costs for all of our personnel are included in general and administrative expenses since no allocation of these costs is made to direct costs of contract revenue.
Other companies may classify as direct costs of contract revenue some of the costs that we classify as general and administrative costs. We expense direct costs of contract revenue when incurred.
General and Administrative Expenses
G&A expenses include the costs of the marketing and support staffs, other marketing expenses, management and administrative personnel costs, payroll taxes, bonuses and employee benefits for all of our employees and the portion of salaries and wages not allocated to direct costs of contract revenue for those employees who provide our services. G&A expenses also include facility costs, depreciation and amortization, professional services, legal and accounting fees and administrative operating costs. Within G&A expenses, “Other” includes expenses such as professional services, legal and accounting, computer costs, travel and entertainment, marketing costs and acquisition costs. We expense general and administrative costs when incurred.
Critical Accounting Policies
This discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations is based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. (“GAAP”). To prepare these financial statements in conformity with GAAP, we must make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amount of revenue and expenses in the reporting period. Our actual results may differ from these estimates. We have provided a summary of our significant accounting policies in Part II, Item 8, Note 1, Organization and Operations of the Company, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We describe below those accounting policies that require material subjective or complex judgments and that have the most significant impact on our financial condition and results of operations. Our management evaluates these estimates on an ongoing basis, based upon information currently available and on various assumptions management believes are reasonable as of the date of this report.
Contract Assets and Liabilities
Billing practices are governed by the contract terms of each project based upon costs incurred, achievement of milestones or pre-agreed schedules. Billings in any given fiscal period do not necessarily correlate with revenue recognized for that period. Contract assets include unbilled amounts typically resulting from revenue under contracts where the percentage-of-completion method of revenue recognition is utilized and revenue recognized exceeds the amount billed to the customer and right to repayment is not unconditional. Contract assets also include retainage amounts withheld from billings to our clients pursuant to provisions in our contracts and other revenues earned but not billed in the current period. Contract liabilities consist of advance payments and billings in excess of revenue recognized and deferred revenue.
We enter into contracts with our clients that contain various types of pricing provisions, including fixed price, time-and-materials, and unit-based provisions. We recognize revenues in accordance with ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customer, codified as ASC Topic 606 and the related amendments (collectively, “ASC 606”). As such, we identify a contract with a customer, identify the performance obligations in the contract, determine the transaction price, allocate the transaction price to each performance obligation in the contract and recognize revenue when (or as) we satisfy a performance obligation.
The following table reflects our two reportable segments and the types of contracts that each most commonly enters into for revenue generating activities.
Revenue Recognition Method
Engineering and Consulting
Revenue on the vast majority of our contracts will continue to be recognized over time because of the continuous transfer of control to the customer. Revenue on fixed price contracts is recognized on the percentage-of-completion method based generally on the ratio of direct costs incurred-to-date to estimated total direct costs at completion. We use the percentage-of-completion method to better match the level of work performed at a certain point in time in relation to our effort that will be required to complete a project. In addition, the percentage-of-completion method is a common method of revenue recognition in our industry.
Many of our fixed price contracts involve a high degree of subcontracted fixed price effort and are relatively short in duration, thereby lowering the risks of not properly estimating the percent complete. Revenue on time-and-materials and unit-based contracts is recognized as the work is performed in accordance with the specific rates and terms of the contract. We recognize revenues for time-and-materials contracts based upon the actual hours incurred during a reporting period at contractually agreed upon rates per hour and also includes in revenue all reimbursable costs incurred during a reporting period. Certain of our time-and-materials contracts are subject to maximum contract values and, accordingly, when revenue is expected to exceed the maximum contract value, these contracts are generally recognized under the percentage-of-completion method, consistent with fixed price contracts. For unit-based contracts, we recognize the contract price of units of a basic production product as revenue when the production product is delivered during a period. Revenue for amounts that have been billed but not earned is deferred, and such deferred revenue is referred to as contract liabilities in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. We also derive revenue from software licenses and professional services and maintenance fees. In accordance with ASC 606, we perform an assessment of each contract to identify the performance obligations, determine the overall transaction price for the contract, allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations, and recognize the revenue when the performance obligations are satisfied. We utilize the residual approach by which it estimates the standalone selling price by reference to the total transaction price less the sum of the observable standalone selling prices of other goods or services promised in the contract. The software license revenue is typically recognized at a point in time when control is transferred to the client, which is defined as the point in time when the client can use and benefit from the license. The software license is delivered before related services are provided and is functional without services, updates, or technical support. Related professional services include training and support services in which the standalone selling price is determined based on an input measure of hours incurred to total estimated hours and is recognized over time, usually which is the life of the contract.
To determine the proper revenue recognition method for contracts, we evaluate whether two or more contracts should be combined and accounted for as one single contract and whether the combined contract should be accounted for as one performance obligation. With respect to our contracts, it is rare that multiple contracts should be combined into a single performance obligation. This evaluation requires significant judgment and the decision to combine a group of
contracts or separate a single contract into multiple performance obligations could change the amount of revenue and profit recorded in a given period. Contracts are considered to have a single performance obligation if the promise to transfer the individual goods or services is not separately identifiable from other promises in the contracts, which is mainly because we provide a significant service of integrating a complex set of tasks and components into a single project or capability.
We may enter into contracts that include separate phases or elements. If each phase or element is negotiated separately based on the technical resources required and/or the supply and demand for the services being provided, we evaluate if the contracts should be segmented. If certain criteria are met, the contracts would be segmented which could result in revenues being assigned to the different elements or phases with different rates of profitability based on the relative value of each element or phase to the estimated total contract revenue. Segmented contracts may comprise up to approximately 2.0% to 3.0% of our consolidated contract revenue.
Contracts that cover multiple phases or elements of the project or service lifecycle (development, design, construction and maintenance and support) may be considered to have multiple performance obligations even when they are part of a single contract. For contracts with multiple performance obligations, we allocate the transaction price to each performance obligation using the best estimate of the standalone selling price of each distinct good or service in the contract. For the periods presented, the value of the separate performance obligations under contracts with multiple performance obligations (generally measurement and verification tasks under certain energy performance contracts) were not material. In cases where we do not provide the distinct good or service on a standalone basis, the primary method used to estimate standalone selling price is the expected cost plus a margin approach, under which we forecast our expected costs of satisfying a performance obligation and then adds an appropriate margin for the distinct good or service.
We provide quality of workmanship warranties to customers that are included in the sale and are not priced or sold separately or do not provide customers with a service in addition to assurance of compliance with agreed-upon specifications and industry standards. We do not consider these types of warranties to be separate performance obligations.
In some cases, we have a master service or blanket agreement with a customer under which each task order releases us to perform specific portions of the overall scope in the service contract. Each task order is typically accounted for as a separate contract because the task order establishes the enforceable rights and obligations, and payment terms.
Under ASC 606, variable consideration should be considered when determining the transaction price and estimates should be made for the variable consideration component of the transaction price, as well as assessing whether an estimate of variable consideration is constrained. For certain of our contracts, variable consideration can arise from modifications to the scope of services resulting from unapproved change orders or customer claims. Variable consideration is included in the transaction price to the extent it is probable that a significant reversal of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is resolved. Our estimates of variable consideration and determination of whether to include estimated amounts in the transaction price are based largely on assessments of legal enforceability, our performance, and all information (historical, current and forecasted) that is reasonably available to us.
Due to the nature of the work required to be performed on many of our performance obligations, the estimation of total revenue and cost at completion is complex, subject to many variables and requires significant judgment. As a significant change in one or more of these estimates could affect the profitability of our contracts, we review and update our contract-related estimates regularly through a company-wide disciplined project review process in which management reviews the progress and execution of our performance obligations and the estimate at completion (“EAC”). As part of this process, management reviews information including, but not limited to, any outstanding key contract matters, progress towards completion and the related program schedule and the related changes in estimates of revenues and costs. Management must make assumptions and estimates regarding labor productivity and availability, the complexity of the work to be performed, the cost and availability of materials, the performance of subcontractors, and the availability and timing of funding from the customer, among other variables.
We recognize adjustments in estimated profit on contracts under the cumulative catch-up method. Under this method, the impact of the adjustment on profit recorded to date is recognized in the period the adjustment is identified. Revenue and profit in future periods of contract performance is recognized using the adjusted estimate. If at any time the estimate of contract profitability indicates an anticipated loss on the contract, we recognize the total loss in the period it is identified.
Contracts are often modified to account for changes in contract specifications and requirements. We consider contract modifications to exist when the modification either creates new rights or obligations or changes the existing enforceable rights or obligations. Most of our contract modifications are for goods or services that are not distinct from existing contracts due to the significant integration provided in the context of the contract and are accounted for as if they were part of the original contract. The effect of a contract modification that is not distinct from the existing contract on the transaction price and our measure of progress for the performance obligation to which it relates is recognized as an adjustment to revenue (either as an increase in or a reduction of revenue) on a cumulative catch-up basis.
For contract modifications that result in the promise to deliver goods or services that are distinct from the existing contract and the increase in price of the contract is for the same amount as the standalone selling price of the additional goods or services included in the modification, we account for such contract modifications as a separate contract.
We include claims to vendors, subcontractors and others as a receivable and a reduction in recognized costs when enforceability of the claim is established by the contract and the amounts are reasonably estimable and probable of being recovered. The amounts are recorded up to the extent of the lesser of the amounts management expects to recover or to costs incurred.
Billing practices are governed by the contract terms of each project based upon costs incurred, achievement of milestones or pre-agreed schedules. Billings do not necessarily correlate with revenue recognized using the percentage-of-completion method of revenue recognition.
Accounts receivable are carried at original invoice amount less an estimate made for doubtful accounts based upon our review of all outstanding amounts on a quarterly basis. Management determines allowances for doubtful accounts through specific identification of amounts considered to be uncollectible and potential write-offs, plus a non-specific allowance for other amounts for which some potential loss has been determined to be probable based on current and past experience. Historical credit losses have been minimal with governmental entities and large public utilities, but disputes may arise related to these receivable amounts. Accounts receivable are written off when deemed uncollectible. Recoveries of accounts receivable previously written off are recorded when received.
For further information on the types of contracts under which we perform our services, see Part II, Item 8, Note 1, Organization and Operations of the Company, of the Notes to consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We test our goodwill at least annually for possible impairment. We complete our annual testing of goodwill as of the last day of the first month of our fourth fiscal quarter each year to determine whether there is impairment. In addition to our annual test, we regularly evaluate whether events and circumstances have occurred that may indicate a potential impairment of goodwill. We did not recognize any goodwill impairment charges in fiscal years 2021, 2020, or 2019.
We test our goodwill for impairment at the level of our reporting units, which are components of our operating segments. In January 2017, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) Update No. 2017-04 (“ASU 2017-04”), Intangibles—Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Testing Goodwill for Impairment. This accounting guidance eliminates the requirement to compare the implied fair value of reporting unit goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill (commonly referred to as Step 2) from the goodwill impairment test. The new standard does not change how a goodwill impairment is identified. We will continue to
perform our quantitative and qualitative goodwill impairment test by comparing the fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying amount, but if we are required to recognize a goodwill impairment charge, under the new standard the amount of the charge will be calculated by subtracting the reporting unit’s fair value from its carrying amount. Under the prior standard, if we were required to recognize a goodwill impairment charge, Step 2 required us to calculate the implied value of goodwill by assigning the fair value of a reporting unit to all of its assets and liabilities as if that reporting unit had been acquired in a business combination and the amount of the charge was calculated by subtracting the reporting unit’s implied fair value of goodwill from its actual goodwill balance.
To estimate the fair value of our reporting units, we use both an income approach based on management’s estimates of future cash flows and other market data and a market approach based upon multiples of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, earned by similar public companies. Once the fair value is determined, we then compare the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value, including goodwill. If the fair value of the reporting unit is determined to be less than the carrying value, we perform an additional assessment to determine the extent of the impairment based on the implied fair value of goodwill compared with the carrying amount of the goodwill. In the event that the current implied fair value of the goodwill is less than the carrying value, an impairment charge is recognized.
Inherent in such fair value determinations are significant judgments and estimates, including but not limited to assumptions about our future revenue, profitability and cash flows, our operational plans and our interpretation of current economic indicators and market valuations. To the extent these assumptions are incorrect or economic conditions that would impact the future operations of our reporting units change, any goodwill may be deemed to be impaired, and an impairment charge could have in a material impact on our financial position or results of operation. Almost all of our goodwill is contained in our Energy segment, with the remainder in our Engineering and Consulting segment. At our measurement date, the estimated fair value of our Energy segment exceeded its carrying value. Any reduction in the estimated fair value of our Energy segment could result in an impairment charge of goodwill associated with this segment in future periods.
The acquisition method of accounting for business combinations requires us to use significant estimates and assumptions, including fair value estimates, as of the business combination date. For reporting periods prior to the completion of our procedures to value assets and liabilities, the acquisition method requires us to refine those estimates as necessary during the measurement period (defined as the period, not to exceed one year, in which we may adjust the provisional amounts recognized for a business combination) based upon new information about facts that existed on the business combination date.
Under the acquisition method of accounting, we recognize separately from goodwill the identifiable assets acquired, the liabilities assumed, and any non-controlling interests in an acquiree, at the acquisition date fair value. We measure goodwill as of the acquisition date as the excess of consideration transferred over the net of the acquisition date amounts of the identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Costs that we incur to complete the business combination such as investment banking, legal and other professional fees are not considered part of consideration. We charge these acquisition costs to other general and administrative expense as they are incurred.
Should the initial accounting for a business combination be incomplete by the end of a reporting period that falls within the measurement period, we report provisional amounts in our financial statements. During the measurement period, we adjust the provisional amounts recognized at the acquisition date to reflect new information obtained about facts and circumstances that existed as of the acquisition date that, if known, would have affected the measurement of the amounts recognized as of that date and we record those adjustments to our financial statements. We recognize adjustments to provisional amounts that are identified during the measurement period in the reporting period in which the adjustment amounts are determined, including the effect on earnings of changes in depreciation, amortization or other income effects, if any, as a result of the change to the provisional amounts, calculated as if the accounting had been completed at the acquisition date.
During fiscal years 2021 and 2020, we did not have any acquisitions. During fiscal year 2019, we completed three acquisitions; On October 28, 2019, we acquired all of the capital stock of E3, Inc. On July 2, 2019, we acquired substantially all of the assets and liabilities of Onsite Energy. On March 8, 2019, we acquired substantially all of the assets of the energy practice division of The Weidt Group.
Income taxes are accounted for under the asset and liability method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences of temporary differences between the financial reporting basis and tax basis of our assets and liabilities, subject to a judgmental assessment of the recoverability of deferred tax assets. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. A valuation allowance is recorded when it is more-likely-than-not that some of the deferred tax assets may not be realized. Significant judgment is applied when assessing the need for valuation allowances and includes the evaluation of historical income (loss) adjusted for the effects of non-recurring items and the impact of recent business combinations. Areas of estimation include our consideration of future taxable income which is driven by verifiable signed contracts and ongoing prudent and feasible tax planning strategies. Should a change in circumstances lead to a change in judgment about the utilization of deferred tax assets in future years, we would adjust the related valuation allowances in the period that the change in circumstances occurs, along with a corresponding increase or charge to income.
For acquired business entities, if we identify changes to acquired deferred tax asset valuation allowances or liabilities related to uncertain tax positions during the measurement period and they relate to new information obtained about facts and circumstances that existed as of the acquisition date, those changes are considered a measurement period adjustment and we record the offset to goodwill. We record all other changes to deferred tax asset valuation allowances and liabilities related to uncertain tax positions in current period income tax expense.
We recognize the tax benefit from uncertain tax positions if it is more-likely-than-not that the tax positions will be sustained on examination by the tax authorities, based on the technical merits of the position. The tax benefit is measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than 50% likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement. We recognize interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense.
For further discussion of our income taxes, see Part II, Item 8, Note 11, “Income Taxes” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Recent Accounting Standards
For a description of recently issued and adopted accounting pronouncements, including adoption dates and expected effects on our results of operations and financial condition, see Part II, Item 8, Note 2, “Recent Accounting Pronouncements”, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
Interest Rate Risk
Market risk is the risk of loss to future earnings, to fair values or to future cash flows that may result from changes in the price of a financial instrument. The value of a financial instrument may change as a result of changes in interest rates, exchange rates, commodity prices, equity prices and other market changes. Market risk is attributed to all market risk sensitive financial instruments, including long-term debt.
As of December 31, 2021, we had cash and cash equivalents of $11.2 million. This amount represents cash on hand in business checking accounts with BMO Harris Bank, N.A.
We do not engage in trading activities and do not participate in foreign currency transactions.
We are subject to interest rate risk in connection with our Term A Loan and borrowings, if any