Advantage Engineers #16 on ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms List (Telecom Sector)

2021 ENR Top 500 Telecommunications

[Columbia, MD], April 23, 2021 - Advantage Engineers, a leading national engineering and design firm, is proud to announce its prominent placement by ENR at #16 within the Telecom sector for the second year in a row. We maintained our presence in the #16 position during a year of uncertainty and rapid change. While Covid-19 brought extraordinary changes to the field, Advantage Engineers was able to adapt to the new realities of the business and remain committed to delivering high level output for our customers while supporting the needs of our employees and their families. 

Engineering News-Record is widely considered the industry benchmark and annually ranks the 500 largest U.S.-based design firms, both publicly and privately held, based on design-specific revenue. Overall, Advantage Engineers ranked #324 on the Top 500 Design Firm list - up 61 places from our 2020 ranking.  

For the complete list of 2021 rankings, visit ENR 2021 Top 500 Design Firms Preview 


About ENR 

Engineering News-Record (ENR) reports on the top design firms, both architects and engineers, and the top construction companies as well as projects in the United States and around the world. Every year, they release their Top 500 Engineering Firms and Top 20 Telecom list. 

If you would like to read more in-depth about the social, economic, and cultural ramifications COVID-19 had on ENR’s Top 500 lists, visit hereTop 500 Design Firms: Designing for the New Normal | 2021-04-21 | Engineering News-Record ( 




Network Connex, a Chicago-based provider of mission critical network deployment solutions in fiber optics, data centers, and wireless and video networks, with operations in the United States and Europe, announced today it has acquired Advantage Engineers. Advantage Engineers is based in Columbia, MD, and is a nationwide engineering and design firm bringing innovative solutions to telecommunications infrastructure projects. Advantage Engineers has substantial operations on the East Coast and on the West Coast, where it goes to market through its Synergy brand.

Advantage Engineers offers specialized solutions, such as site acquisition, planning and surveying, civil, structural and electrical engineering, zoning and permitting, construction management, and inspection and verification for both wireless and fiber deployments. Advantage Engineers will operate under the Network Connex umbrella, forming the backbone of its Engineering & Professional Service Line and complementing Network Connex’s existing Fiber, Data Center, and Wireless and Construction Service Lines. Advantage Engineers will maintain both the Advantage Engineers and Synergy operating brands.

“The acquisition of Advantage Engineers aligns perfectly with Network Connex’s strategic objective to expand our engineering and professional services capabilities and strengthen our nationwide footprint, especially on the West Coast and in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Jim Estes, CEO of Network Connex. “The combined offering will allow us to better serve our customers and provide an end-to-end solution, from initial design and engineering through construction, upgrades, and ongoing maintenance across data centers, fiber and wireless infrastructure.”

“We are very excited to join the Network Connex family,” said John McGrath, CEO of Advantage Engineers. “We see tremendous opportunities to continue to grow our business both organically and by joining forces with the other Network Connex service lines to serve our customers more holistically.”

Network Connex has continued to expand its operations across the country. In December 2019, it expanded its Fiber, Wireless and Construction Service Lines through the acquisition of Vertical Communications, LLC (VERTICOM), allowing Network Connex to offer turnkey solutions to the nation’s leading wireless, small cell and fiber providers in the South-Central United States. In June 2020, Network Connex expanded its Fiber Service Line through the acquisition of Precision Design Services, Inc. (PDS), a fiber network engineering business serving the greater New York area.

“Advantage Engineers is a leading network engineering and professional services provider that is a great fit with the broader offering of Network Connex’s existing service lines,” said Chris Suan, President and Senior Managing Director of ORIX Capital Partners, the private equity platform of ORIX Corporation USA, whose managed fund acquired Network Connex in November 2018. “This acquisition will deepen Network Connex’s strong customer relationships and significantly increase engineering and professional services capabilities, and allow Network Connex to provide an end-to-end service suite to blue-chip customers. We are excited to see Network Connex further benefit from the growth trends in the fiber, data center and wireless infrastructure space.”Truist Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor to Advantage Engineers.

About Network Connex

A leader in mission-critical network deployment solutions, Network Connex provides premium services to the most sophisticated networking and data infrastructure companies throughout the United States and Europe. Our clients include data center operators, hyperscale cloud companies, wireless service providers, network service providers, cable MSOs and Fortune 500 enterprises. The company's comprehensive solutions platform includes fiber optics installation, splicing and testing, data center infrastructure deployment, and wireless network engineering and installation, which we perform through our Engineering & Professional Services, Fiber, Data Center, Wireless and Construction Service Lines. For more information, visit

About Advantage Engineers, LLC

Advantage Engineers provides a full range of consulting and engineering services to guide wireless, broadband, and fiber infrastructure projects from design through deployment. With 18 locations, more than 300 highly trained staff, and Professional Engineers (P.E.) licensed in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, our agile workforce can rapidly accommodate your project's changing requirements. Our responsiveness to client needs, the latest technology and tools, fair pricing model, commitment to safety, and determination to stay ahead of industry trends position us as a top-ranked engineering firm. To learn more about Advantage Engineers, visit

About ORIX Capital Partners

ORIX Capital Partners (OCP), the operationally-focused private equity team of ORIX Advisers, LLC and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ORIX Corporation USA (ORIX USA), manages a fund that seeks to make direct equity investments in established middle-market companies throughout North America, spanning a variety of industries, including industrial services, business services, and general industrials. For more information about OCP and its capabilities, please visit

Advantage Engineers to Showcase at the NEDAS Spring Virtual Symposium

NEDAS Virtual Symposium

Advantage Engineers to highlight the key ingredients to a smart city deployment April 20-22, 2021.

[COLUMBIA, MD] – April 7, 2021 – Advantage Engineers, a nationwide engineering and design firm bringing innovative solutions to your telecommunications infrastructure projects, announced today that it will be speaking and exhibiting at the NEDAS Virtual Symposium, taking place online from April 20-22, 2021. NEDAS is a grassroots association focused on facilitating wireline and wireless convergence through thought-leadership discussions, keynotes, and product showcases across the entire converged communications infrastructure sector in North America.

Laurie Turck, Director of Business Development at Advantage Engineers, is an Advisory Council Member with NEDAS and helps shape the Association’s programs and topics of interest, as well as facilitate opportunities and advise on avenues for NEDAS’s expansion within the industry.

At the NEDAS Virtual Symposium, industry experts, analysts, association leaders, executives, technology buyers, sellers, resellers, and manufacturers from companies of all sizes across the communications infrastructure sector will assemble to forge new business partnerships, collaborate, and learn together. The three-day Virtual Symposium will feature panel discussions, exhibitors, and virtual networking events.

Advantage Engineers’ Vice President of East Area Operations, Noel Garcia, will be moderating a panel on telecom deployments for smart city growth on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 from 12:40pm - 1:10pm EST. The panel will focus on ways to tackle new opportunities and stay focused on evolving today's telecom infrastructure to meet the burgeoning data needs of today's businesses and communities.

With over 14 years of experience, Noel has worked in nearly every part of this industry ranging from Small Cell to RF design to construction through network integration and system optimization. He also has experience with site development, In-building, and outdoor Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). Now as the Vice President of East Area Operations at Advantage Engineers, Noel has a ton of knowledge to share!

Meet Advantage Engineers at the NEDAS Virtual Symposium to learn more about their innovative solutions to your engineering challenges.

Registration for the NEDAS Virtual Symposium is now open.

For the latest information about the event, visit

To learn more about Advantage Engineers please go to:

# # #

About Advantage Engineers:
Advantage Engineering provides a full range of consulting and engineering services to guide wireless, broadband, and fiber infrastructure projects from design through deployment. With 18 locations, more than 300 highly trained staff, and Professional Engineers (P.E.) licensed in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, our agile workforce can rapidly accommodate your project's changing requirements. Our responsiveness to client needs, the latest technology and tools, fair pricing model, commitment to safety, and determination to stay ahead of industry trends position us as a top-ranked engineering firm.

About NEDAS:
NEDAS sits at the intersection of the wireline and wireless industries where interconnectivity is key to enabling the connected world. With the Internet of Things and mobility stretching the limits of today’s wireless infrastructure, new solutions and technologies must be deployed to enable the ability to communicate anything, anywhere at any time. NEDAS fosters industry development through programs that drive discussions and debates through educational and networking events that encourage collaboration, public outreach and enablement for today’s connected world. NEDAS programs are influenced by its Industry-led Advisory Council and are supported by selected Media Partners: AGL Media Group, CloudPOST, Data Center POST, iMiller Public Relations, Inside Towers, Safer Buildings Coalition, and Telecom Newsroom. For more information, visit

The Critical Nature of Wireless Infrastructure During the 5G Technology Evolution

The Critical Nature of Wireless Infrastructure During the 5G Technology Evolution

By John Mastrangelo, Esq. - Real Estate Manager, Advantage Engineers

This article is featured in The Chronicle - 2020 Vol. 28                         Published by Southern New Jersey Development Council (SNJDC)
antenna modification

“Can you hear me now?”  A phrase that has taken on extra importance over the last 6 months.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways.  Communication has never been more important, especially these days.  Healthcare workers and first responders’ access to instant information can mean the difference of life or death and with many working and learning remotely, the need for fast and reliable wireless service has become essential.  5G is next generation wireless network technology that is expected to change the way people live and work. It will be faster and able to handle more connected devices than the existing 4G LTE network, improvements that will enable a wave of new kinds of tech products.  The emergence of 5G technology is not only enabling facetime calls, zoom meetings, and Instagram scrolling, but also telehealth visits, pop-up hospitals, and testing centers.  5G technology has the potential to support millions of devices at ultrafast speeds thereby improving the way businesses operate and individuals go about their daily lives.

The ultrafast speeds and higher capacity of the 5G signal require a greater amount of infrastructure due to the low distance the 5G signal travels.  While newer types of cell sites such as small cells and in building solutions have dominated the industry recently over what we know as traditional macro sites, the existing towers, rooftops and watertanks are still a critical aspect in achieving the goal of bringing 5G to everyone.

Telecommunication companies racing to provide 5G to the public will require partnerships with companies with the expertise to support the installation and maintenance of the 5G infrastructure that will spur the growth in economic and personal development moving forward. The deployment of temporary cell sites, COWs, and critical capacity installs for the ever changing and immediate needs of the wireless carriers in the southern New Jersey area.  For the past 10 years, communication companies and governmental entities in southern NJ have put their trust in the professionals at Advantage Engineers to provide the comprehensive engineering and consulting services to satisfy their telecommunication infrastructure needs.

In April, a major wireless carrier had multiple critical capacity needs to support the community and first responders amidst a surge of COVID-19 cases in Lakewood, NJ.  Advantage’s team of engineers and designers responded with a design and analysis of the temporary facilities that were brought in to relieve the strain on the network.  The team also managed the construction and coordinated with the landlord and general contractor to ensure construction was completed quickly and to the satisfaction of our client.

The full benefits for the 5G technology for individuals and businesses will not be realized for some time as communication companies continue to expand their network.  Further investment in the infrastructure that will bring 5G to everyone will be required.  Whether that investment in infrastructure calls for tower modifications, fiber, in-building wireless and small cells, communication companies can look to Advantage to provide the level of service required to meet their goals of making 5G a reality for everyone.

Advantage Engineers is a nationally recognized engineering and design firm, providing expert turnkey professional engineering and consulting services for the wireless, broadband, and fiber communications industry. We have 18 locations across the U.S. and are professionally licensed in 49 states and Washington, D.C.  We are experts at deploying telecommunications infrastructure from inception to completion and are driven to bring creativity, experience, and value to every project. To learn more about Advantage Engineers, visit

Letter from our CEO about COVID-19

To our valued customers,

The Coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous effect on all our lives. We have all had to adapt quickly to the new realities of our business and personal worlds. I am extraordinarily proud of how our team has handled the transition to a complete work from home environment with little or no impact to productivity and maintained focus on the success of our customers’ projects.

I wanted to take a moment to tell you about our response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Aligning with public health recommendations - The health and safety of our employees and customers is our first concern. On March 12th we told employees they had the option to work from home if they chose to. On March 16th we strongly encouraged all employees to work remotely and closed all our offices except for essential visits. We have provided information and guidance on health and safety practices and protocols related to the Coronavirus to employees. We also sent numerous reminders about safe practice guidelines from the CDC and OSHA. We have done our best to provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizing supplies to our field personnel and will continue to source products from wherever possible until we can ensure a constant, ready supply. All our offices have or will soon have sanitizing stations at the entrances to ensure the staff that do visit the offices are following safe hygiene practices upon entering our facilities.

Continued support for customer projects - As always, we remain committed to the success of your projects and have been able to maintain a high level of productivity despite the challenges. We are continuously monitoring issues that may impact project schedules such as zoning and permitting delays. We have worked with several jurisdictions to help facilitate online review and permit issuance and continue to look for solutions to the unique problems we are facing.

We have made additional investments in our Information Technology infrastructure to enable seamless connectivity, file and application access.

We are here for you and want to do everything we can to help you get through these challenging times.

Supporting our employees - We care a great deal about our employees and have endeavored to support them in every way possible during this crisis. We have increased the level of communication to ensure that the entire company knew how we were responding to the Coronavirus pandemic. We continue to provide updates on information related to health and safety. We instituted daily huddle calls for all project and technical discipline teams. We even held several online happy hours to help employees maintain the important connections they have with their coworkers. Our Human Resources department has also provided information and resources for physical and mental well-being.

We are trying to be cognizant of the unique conditions and stresses this event has put on our employees and their families. As we approach the one-month mark of working from home we want to acknowledge and attempt to alleviate some of that stress, so we have decided to give the company a mental health day/holiday on Friday, April 10th.  We will be closed for business that day in order to let our employees focus on their well-being and that of their families. We will, of course, be available should true emergencies arise on Friday and will look forward to coming back on Monday rejuvenated and even more ready to support you - our customers.

Thank you for your business and stay well.

Kindest regards,

Advantage Engineers Gears Up for 5G

Engineering Firm Gears up for 5G


The fifth generation of cellular communications is not only changing expectations of wireless speeds, but it is also having an effect on how corporate resources are being marshalled to meet the opportunity. Recently, as John McGrath looked forward to 5G, the CEO of Advantage Engineers decided to focus his firm on building out small cells and sell its division that provides geotechnical, environmental and construction materials testing.

“There are far fewer new towers than there were five years ago,” McGrath told AGL eDigest. “The business of the geotechnical, environmental business was focused on general commercial construction. We want to focus on telecommunications exclusively and really optimize that business as we go into this 5G buildout.”

Within the realm of telecommunications, Advantage Engineers is still diversified across tower modifications, fiber, in-building wireless and small cells. The firm provides program and project management, site acquisition, construction management and all engineering related to wireless site development.

“With the 5G buildout, we are going to continue to see an increase in small cell, in-building and venue opportunities. We are focusing on that,” McGrath said. “Macrosite modifications are still a significant part of our business. Our fiber-optic business has been growing for the last five years. We see a ton of opportunity there, as well.”

Capitalizing on Convergence

The advent of small cells has accelerated the convergence of two ecosystems, wireline and wireless, according to McGrath. “They used to be very separate. Wireline used to be seen as a necessary evil by the wireless folks, but now it is all co-mingled,” he said.

Advantage Engineers has capitalized on the convergence of the wireless and wireline spaces in its operations. Essentially, small cells are fiber dependent, and there is a lot of crossover of resources. The fiber-optic group works closely with our wireless group on certain projects.

“We see a lot of synergies between our small cell and fiber-optic businesses,” McGrath said. “We have a very collaborative environment where our project managers and engineers can seek out the expertise. It happens daily. People working on completely different projects are huddled around the same table working out a problem.”

Concerning infrastructure deployment in the right of way, Advantage Engineers may work with the same municipal officials on a fiber run and then a small cell deployment.

“At a jurisdictional level, where we have done fiber-optic routing in the right of way, it makes it a lot easier to go back to the municipal officials to deploy small cells,” McGrath said. “Still, a lot of the backhaul work is done by separate, small, independent fiber providers and I don’t see that changing in the near future.”

Growing West

Two years ago, Advantage Engineers merged with Synergy Development Services and Synergy Engineering Services, a wireless telecom engineering and consulting firm, giving it a number of locations in the west, including Van Nuys, Santa Rosa, Irvine and Ventura, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Bozeman, Montana.  Synergy operates as a division of Advantage Engineers.

“We are still optimizing that merger,” McGrath said. “Further geographic expansion will depend on the resolution of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger and the deployment of Dish Network as a 5G provider.”

Advantage Engineers Reaffirms Commitment to the Telecom Industry with Sale of Geo-Environmental Division

COLUMBIA, MD. (December 17, 2019) – Advantage Engineers, LLC - a nationally-ranked firm that offers comprehensive engineering and consulting services - is pleased to announce the sale of its geotechnical, environmental and materials testing division to The Kleinfelder Group, Inc., effective immediately.

The seasoned, dedicated team at Advantage Engineers and its Synergy Division are strategically shifting resources to accelerate the growth of its Telecommunications division. The focus is on wireless and fiber optic infrastructure development to support major wireless and wireline carriers to help meet the demand of 5G deployment.

The expert, in-house staff focuses on all phases of wireless, from site acquisition to engineering and construction management. Additionally, Advantage Engineers is supporting the needs of the top wireline carriers given the rising demand for fiber to support 5G and small cell as well as other robust applications - cloud computing, IoT and storage, to name a few. Lastly, the company offers a full suite of Layer 1 network services including planning & surveying, engineering & permitting, and inspection & verification.

“Advantage Engineers is changing the conversation in the telecom space,” says John McGrath, CEO of Advantage Engineers. “We are at the beginning stages of the 5G build out, and our clients and partners are poised to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that our services will deliver. Our holistic approach to problem solving and innovative technologies sets us apart from our competition.”

Advantage Engineers is planning to expand their telecom services to government agencies in 2020. The company currently operates in 15 office locations across the country. McNees Law Firm served as legal counsel to Advantage Engineers for this sale.

Media Contact

Lauren Clark, Percepture
Phone: 248-231-5178

WIA Connectivity Expo

Advantage Engineers is a leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure deployment and is proud to announce they are a sponsor of The Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Connectivity Expo, also known as Connect (X), taking place May 20-23, 2019 in Orlando, FL.

Connect (X) is a ground-breaking event that convenes the buyers and sellers of connectivity solutions, and showcases the innovative technology, underlying infrastructure, and partner ecosystem driving the future of communications.

“Connectivity is the essence of The Wireless Infrastructure Association and Connect (X) is the hub of education for the wireless community,” says Advantage Engineers Chief Executive Officer John McGrath. “The wireless ecosystem is rapidly evolving which is why Advantage Engineers is focused on being at the forefront of industry trends, and this is a fantastic opportunity to highlight our innovative services to leaders across the country.”

Mr. McGrath will have the honor of introducing Neville Ray, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile at his keynote session on Tuesday, May 21st at 10:15 a.m. Mr. Ray has been a leader and visionary in the wireless space and at his helm has nearly tripled T-Mobile's LTE coverage since 2015.

Several Advantage Engineers team members and executives will be attending the conference and look forward to learning how the company can better serve the country’s wireless carriers and its customers. The firm manages all aspects of infrastructure deployment processes including site acquisition, engineering, and construction management.

Advantage Engineers’ participation in the event demonstrates their advocacy of The Wireless Infrastructure Association as they continue to support the overall industry. The national telecommunications services firm has been a leader in wireless deployment and dedicated to infrastructure deployment innovation and project excellence.


Advantage Engineers and Synergy join forces, creating a national professional services firm.

COLUMBIA, MD and VAN NUYS, CA- January 3, 2018 Advantage Engineers, LLC, a professional services company providing comprehensive consulting solutions in the highly specialized fields of
telecommunications, geotechnical and environmental engineering and California-based Synergy Development Services and Synergy Engineering Services (Synergy), an all-inclusive telecommunications
engineering and consulting firm servicing the country’s leading wireless carriers announced today a merger agreement. The combined entities will now have over 300 employees across the country, enabling the companies to better serve their national and regional customers. Synergy will operate as a division of Advantage Engineers.

Advantage Engineers also announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed John McGrath as Chief Executive Officer. McGrath has over 25 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry and has served as Advantage Engineers' Chief Operating Officer since 2012. He will succeed Advantage Engineers founder Ed Balsavage, who will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.

“For the past 16 years, Advantage Engineers has delivered industry-leading technical transformation on thousands of projects across the telecommunications, energy, industrial, transportation and utility sectors,” said John McGrath. “Synergy has a strong track record of delivering innovative engineering solutions to a complementary customer base; our combined engineering and consulting capabilities will enable us to better serve the country’s leading wireless carriers nationwide.”

Since founding Synergy in 2004, Ryan Shields, founder and President, and his leadership team have been trusted leaders in wireless development and are experts in outside plant audits and small cell advancement. Based in the Los Angeles, California area, Synergy is headquartered in Van Nuys, CA and has five other offices including Santa Rosa, CA; Irvine, CA; Ventura, CA; Las Vegas, NV; and Bozeman,

“Synergy is a trusted engineering leader in the wireless industry due to our employees’ expertise and their dedication to customer success,” said Ryan Shields. “Advantage Engineers has great telecommunications engineering expertise and a complementary customer base; by joining forces we can provide an even better experience for our customers across the country.

Ryan Shields will join the Advantage Engineers’ leadership team as Vice President of the Synergy Division; and in this role, he will continue to oversee daily operations of the Synergy Division.

He will also join Ed Balsavage, John McGrath, Young Park, Steve Heinen, Charles McCusker, and Mark McDowell on the Advantage Engineers’ Board of Directors.

Founded in 2001, Advantage Engineers provides comprehensive engineering solutions including site acquisition, engineering consulting, and construction management in the highly specialized fields of telecommunications, geotechnical and environmental. Advantage Engineers is headquartered in Mechanicsburg, PA and has eight other offices including Pittsburgh, PA; Fairfield, NJ; Mt. Laurel, NJ; West Chester, PA; Allentown, PA; Columbia, MD; Denver, CO; and Raleigh, NC.

In 2016, Advantage Engineers partnered with First Capital Partners, LLC and Patriot Capital Group to launch the next phase of its strategic growth. Both firms possess in-depth industry and operational expertise that have enabled Advantage Engineers to accelerate growth and deliver the highest quality of work to its clients.

About Advantage Engineers
Advantage Engineers provides comprehensive services in specialized fields of engineering and consulting. The company has more than 200 engineerings, project and program management, real estate, geological, scientific, environmental and technical professionals. From their nine offices, Advantage Engineers provides services throughout the U.S. The firm is highly sought after by clients in a variety of industry sectors including geotechnical, environmental, and telecommunications engineering. Visit for more information.

About Synergy Development Services
Founded in 2004, Synergy Development Services provides all-inclusive telecommunications engineering and consulting services to the country’s leading wireless carriers. Based in the Los Angeles, California area, Synergy is headquartered in Van Nuys, CA and has five other offices including Santa Rosa, CA; Irvine, CA; Ventura, CA; Las Vegas, NV; and Bozeman, MT. Visit for more information.

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