Pasadena-based Jacobs Engineering is a firm on the upswing these days, as the company continues to purchase smaller firms and establish itself as a major player on the international engineering scene. The late founder Joseph J. Jacobs had nothing but ambition and drive when he started his one-man consulting firm in 1947. By the time he retired in 1992, his firm had transformed into a $1 billion enterprise. Even after his death in 2004, Jacobs Engineering continues to grow, with 200 satellite offices and 48,000 employees across the world. Its latest purchase of Australian firm Sinclair Knight Merz will further expand Jacobs’ foothold into continents where the latter had only scant recognition.