Times Change, and We Change With Them


The post-World War II economic expansion fueled a period of population growth, suburban development, and technological advancements—inspiring CDM Smith’s founders with a vision to apply their thought leadership in new ways to advance environmental stewardship, public health protection, commerce, and infrastructure development.

Thomas Camp left the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—where he’d chaired the department of sanitary engineering—to set up a consulting practice with partners Herman Dresser and Jack McKee in 1947. Camp pioneered drinking water treatment technologies such as dual-media filters and direct filtration—still in practice today. McKee advanced approaches in water quality protection and groundwater recharge. Dresser established the character and business practices of the firm, emphasizing teamwork, employee development, and exceptional client service.

Just a few years later, as automobile ownership was rising, commerce expanding, and suburban development exploding, Wilbur Smith, South Carolina’s first state traffic engineer, saw the opportunity to contribute to the significant transportation and infrastructure investment strategies needed to facilitate economic productivity and prosperity. In 1952, together with his brother, James M. Smith, he founded the consulting practice that became Wilbur Smith Associates.

Over the next six decades, both firms grew from their strong regional roots to a global footprint—through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions—each step of the way building their reputations for industry leadership, technical excellence, and exceptional client service and diversifying their service portfolios to meet the evolving needs of public and private clients.

In 2011, CDM and Wilbur Smith Associates joined forces to become CDM Smith, a leading global consulting, engineering, construction, and operations firm of more than 5,000 professionals delivering integrated solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities.