2019 EBJ Business Achievement Awards
Congratulations to the 2019 EBJ Business Achievement Awards Winners!
Environmental Business Journal presents its annual EBJ Business Achievement Awards for outstanding business performance in 2019. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the companies that submitted nominations.
All are welcome to attend the official awards ceremony and dinner party as part of Environmental Industry Summit XVIII in Coronado California (across the bay from downtown San Diego) on Thursday, March 19th from 7-9pm. Environmental Industry Summit XVIII runs from Wednesday social events and reception through Friday, March 18-20, 2020.
About the EBJ Business Achievement Awards: In October-December 2019, Environmental Business Journal solicited nominations for the EBJ Business Achievement Awards. Nominations were accepted in 200-word essays in specific categories. Final awards were determined by a committee of EBJ editorial advisory board members. (Disclaimer: company audits were not conducted to verify information or claims submitted with nominations)
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: LARGE FIRMS (more than $1 billion)
Tetra Tech (Pasadena, CA) for achieving all-time highs in key financial metrics, including revenue, net revenue, backlog, and earnings per share. Gross revenue exceeded $3 billion for the first time and net revenue increased from fiscal 2018 by 9% to $2.4 billion. The growth was driven by strong broad-based demand from its clients, led by its U.S. state and local government business, which increased over 25% compared to fiscal 2018. This is the fourth consecutive year of double-digit organic growth for the state and local business. In 2019, Tetra Tech continued to be recognized as the leader in Water and Environment, receiving the top ranking in the water sector by Engineering News Record (ENR) for 16 years in a row and a top ranking company in the environment category for 10 years in row. Tetra Tech continues to see strong momentum across its business as demonstrated by the record orders booked in fiscal 2019 that drove its backlog up 16% from the prior year to another all-time high of $3.1 billion.
AECOM (Los Angeles, CA) for increasing gross environmental revenue in its 2018 fiscal year to an all-time high of $4.4 billion globally and thus maintaining its status as ENR’s number one environment firm status for the last four years. In addition, the company’s scientists and engineers advanced multiple technical innovations in the past year, including the introduction and advancement of the following technologies: Ash Mart, a data analytics tool for coal combustion residuals (CCR) closure projects; successful field-scale testing of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) destruction technology De-FLuoro; and wide-scale implementation of algae treatment technology, which includes reuse/byproduct components in biofoam and jet fuel. Areas of growth include providing multi-disciplinary services for disaster recovery; offshore services for the wind, telecommunications, and oil and gas industries; expanded global delivery of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) management services; integrated eco-restoration services; and expanded remedial design/engineering/construction services.
Arcadis (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for achieving organic net revenue growth in the Americas of 9%. This growth was the result of a combination of 7% organic growth in North America and 20% organic growth in Latin America, due in large part to double-digit growth in the environment business unit. As an overall company, Arcadis’s earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization (EBITA) margin also improved by 17%. The company says that it is on track to maintain or even further improve these results in the four quarter. To support this growth, in North America, Arcadis we made 1,044 hires in 2019, over half of which were in its environment business unit. This growth represents 19% of the company’s total starting workforce, which it accomplished while maintaining a voluntary turnover rate below 10%.”
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: LARGE FIRMS (More than $200 million)
SCS Engineers (Long Beach, CA) for growing revenue by a projected 27% to $242 million for its most recent fiscal year, making it the best year in its history (50th anniversary in April 2020). The employee-owned company is also on track to increase gross profit over the previous year. SCS attributes its organic growth to returning clients and new clients generated by new initiatives like the Geographic & Practice Area Expansion (GPAX), which is experiencing year-to-date growth of 320%, and the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) program, which is yielding year-to-date growth of 270%. The GPAX initiative provides expanded SCS professional engineering and consulting services for liquids management, wastewater treatment, and emerging contaminants in the South, Central, and Midwest regions of the United States. SMM offers solid waste management, waste reduction, and recycling services throughout the U.S. as individual states declare carbon reduction goals. SCS Engineers also provided design and design/build services for 14 renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities in 2019. The facilities convert landfill gas, dairy digester gas, and wastewater treatment plant digester gas to RNG.
NV5 (Hollywood, FL) for growing revenue more than 24% to $376.3 million through the nine months ended September 27, 2019, as compared with growth to $302.7 million for the same period in 2018. Net revenues through the third quarter were $294.1 million, an increase of 20%. Increases in gross and net revenues were the result of organic growth from NV5’s existing platform, as well as contributions from acquisitions in 2018 and 2019. NV5 expects full-year 2019 gross revenues, including the impact of acquisitions closed, to range from $511 million to $527 million, which represents an increase of 22% to 26% from 2018 gross revenues of $418 million. Additional achievements included climbing to number 34 on ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms List (up 11 spots from 2018), #18 on ENR’s Top 100 Pure Designers list (up seven spots from 2018), number 20 on Fortune magazine’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies list (up three spots from 2018), number 17 on Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine’s MEP Giants list (up 19 spots), and once again taking the top honor on Zweig Group’s Hot Firm list for the third year in a row.”
Geosyntec (Boca Raton, FL) for growing revenue to more than $330 million in 2019. Under the leadership of CEO Peter Zeeb and CFO Jon Dickinson the company has maintained financial performance among the leaders of the environmental consulting & engineering industry with a focus on quality and high-end services, while also improving employee engagement, lowering turnover rate and striving to provide best in class opportunity for staff to grow and flourish professionally. Geosyntec’s management team has also resisted the temptation to diversify for the sake of diversification, and it has not been drawn into executing M&A transactions that do not fit the company’s culture. Management believes that these factors combine to create a culture that understands the company’s values and perpetuates internal ownership transition, which is the key to controlling its own destiny.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: MID-SIZE FIRMS ($100 million to $200 million)
SWCA Environmental Consultants (Phoenix, AZ), a 100% employee-owned firm, for opening new offices on both the east and west coasts, contributing to continued growth in company size (staff grew 18%) and revenue. The company now operates out of 35 offices, with more than 1,100 employees nationwide. Expansion in the east included establishing new offices in North Carolina and Maine; SWCA also expanded capabilities in land services and renewable energy. A focus on market diversification and client relationships resulted in revenue growth of more than 68% from $80 million in 2014 to $136 million in 2019. In 2019, SWCA completed an effort to formally define its company values: OneSWCA, Always Learning, Never Settle, and SWCA Gives Back. This set of core values has helped create clarity and alignment around these four guiding principles. SWCA Gives Back remained popular among employees in 2019, doubling the number of SWCA Gives Back events and a 74% increase in volunteer hours and 21% increase in monetary donations.
Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. (Torrance, CA) for growing staff 14% in 2019 to reach $178 million in revenues and its ranking by Environmental Data Resources’ EDR Scorekeeper as the number one due diligence firm for environmental services nationally in 2019, comprising over 10% of the market. Partner has strengthened its core practices through two major 2019 strategic acquisitions. It acquired ECO Advisors LLC, a Florida-based environmental services firm, to bolster industrial hygiene services and Partner’s presence in Florida. Likewise, the addition of Nevada Construction Services, a funds control and construction risk management company, buoys Partner’s capabilities in the Southwest. In 2019 Inc. magazine listed Partner as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America for the fifth year running, and ENR ranked Partner at number 100 in its Top 200 Environmental Firms list. For the second straight year, Partner CEO Joseph P. Derhake was selected by the Los Angeles Business Journal for its LA500 list of the most influential people in the Los Angeles business landscape.
Ardurra Group (Tampa, FL) for growing substantially over a two-year period through a vigorous acquisition campaign. Ardurra was formed in May 2017 when private equity firm RTC Partners acquired King Engineering in Tampa, Florida. At the time, King was primarily a land development and water engineering firm, generating roughly $15 million in annual revenue. After nine acquisitions in a little over two years, Ardurra Group projects generating nearly $100 million in gross annual revenue, with top-decile profit margins in every year since 2017. The company considers itself a leader in the water/wastewater, structural and civil engineering sector with a strong disaster management portfolio.
Barge Design Solutions (Nashville, TN), an architectural and engineering firm with environmental assessment and water/wastewater practices, for growing revenue by 38% over the past two years, adding more than 180 new employees, opening two new offices and passing $100 million in annual revenues in 2019. Over the last several years, Barge Design Solutions has recapitalized its balance sheet as well as changed the long-term incentive plan to better position the company for growth. In November 2019, Barge Design acquired Gould Turner Group (GTG), a Nashville-based healthcare and education architectural design firm, which doubled the size of Barge’s architecture practice.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: MID-SIZE FIRMS ($50 million to $100 million)
Murraysmith Inc. (Portland, OR) for experiencing significant company growth over the past three to four years while maintaining strong profitability and a focus on its people and culture. With acquisitions, Murraysmith went from 170 to 298 people in 2019 or personnel growth of 75%, and without organic growth added 35% more staff. The company has transformed from a local/regional water/wastewater firm in the Pacific Northwest generating $15 million in annual revenue, to a leading player in water/wastewater and transportation engineering markets on the West Coast after the acquisition of Quincy Engineering, a California-based transportation engineering firm. Headcount now exceeds 300 and annual revenue is now approaching $70 million.
Trihydro Corp. (Laramie, WY) for its selection as one of two companies to enter into an advanced supplier relationship (ASR) by a long-term client and Fortune 500 oil and gas enterprise. The purpose of the ASR is to streamline contractor management and maximize project efficiencies. As a result of the selection, Trihydro has already been awarded 15 new projects varying in scope, size, and location. A focused effort to successfully transition the projects began early in the 2019 fiscal year and continued throughout the year. To support the additional project work, the firm hired 34 staff and established new operations in San Luis Obispo, Guadalupe, and Richmond, California; Amarillo, Texas; and Lawrenceville, Illinois. Combined with other notable expansions of work with existing clients, diversification of new opportunities, and building on strategic acquisitions from 2017 and 2018, the ASR led to a 17% increase in gross revenue, 11% increase in net service revenue (NSR), and an 11% increase in full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in 2019. To learn more please visit https://www.trihydro.com/
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: MID-SIZE FIRMS ($10 million to $50 million)
Strategic Environmental Services Inc. (SES; Sutton, MA), a provider of remediation services in the Northeast, for enjoying sustainable growth over the past several years by following the commercial real estate development boom and infrastructure improvements occurring across the region. The company experienced a very positive year in 2019, realizing 55% growth in annual revenue during the year. Since 2014, SES has grown from approximately $5 million in total annual revenue to more than $27 million in 2019, with a team of approximately 50 employees. In 2019, SES focused on providing a positive company culture, staff development and maintaining solid relationships with clients and vendors. SES’s goal was to develop a company platform of positivity and a team-oriented environment, while focusing on the health and safety of our personnel and projects. SES moved to a company performance incentive plan and was also able to offer profit sharing based on increased gross profit.
Rincon Consultants, Inc. (Ventura, CA) for enjoying another year of paced revenue growth, expanded services, and gains in market share with core clients across 13 offices in California. Gross revenue grew 8% to $39.5 million, with nearly 100% growth over the past five years (from $20.2 million). Financial performance remained consistent, and based on peer benchmarking, Rincon is ranked in the upper quartile of peer competition and nearly 50% higher than the peer median five-year average. Notable achievements for 2019 included expanding in the energy market sector by being awarded $6.6 million in renewable energy projects, being the number one greenhouse gas verification body for the California Air Resources Board, and adding a strategic hire, Deanna Hansen, as the Los Angeles regional manager. The company believes that is growth and successful financial performance correlates directly with its dedication to our talented team, winning culture, relentless pursuit for improvement and entrepreneurial spirit. Rincon was recognized in 2019 as one of Zweig Group’s Best Firms to Work For.
Mabbett & Associates, Inc. (USA) (Bedford, MA) for its sustainable growth, service diversification, and other achievements over the past 11 years. Not only has Mabbett achieved exceptional year-on-year growth, but it has also achieved sustainable growth over an 11-year period since it diversified into the public sector and expanded its services offering. Based on this diversification and growth, the firm opened four new regional offices. From 2009 to 2019, Mabbett achieved 404% growth, with revenue increasing from $3.1 million to $15.4 million while the company quadrupled its staff. Mabbett is a Veteran Friendly Employer, focusing on the hiring of U.S. military veterans who have played a key role in the overall success of the firm.
HSG, LLC (Las Vegas, NV), a state and federal contractor doing business as Herndon Solutions Group, for significant business growth in calendar year 2019, despite starting the year facing the challenge of the 35-day federal government shutdown, which impacted nearly all of HSG’s federal customers, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). HSG continued to deliver critical services throughout the shutdown, sustained full employee readiness to return to work within 24 hours, and once the federal government reopened, immediately returned to full service. During 2019, HSG expanded its federal sector services for NASA, and in March, the company was awarded a major environmental support services (ESS) contract from the BLM office in Colorado and a DOI ESS blanket purchase agreement. Under the BLM contract, HSG received four task orders in 2019 involving the support of environmental projects U.S. Air Force properties in Nevada.
Environmental Partners Group, Inc. (Qunicy, MA) for sustaining ownership and employee empowerment in a growing firm. CEO Paul Gabriel founded Environmental Partners 22 years ago with the goal to create a company that was singularly focused on one market (water/wastewater), and allowed for entrepreneurial engineers and consultants to join a company that would give them the freedom to work on some of the best projects, while also being meaningful owners in their company. Paul has preached the importance of empowering people to go do what they love, and he firmly believes in the power of ownership, so long as it is meaningful to people (i.e. a significant enough amount to get people’s attention). What has resulted is a $17 million revenue firm that competes with some of the largest water/wastewater firms in the country, and a staff that is excited about being owners in their company.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: SMALL FIRMS (less than $5 million)
EN Rx, Inc. (Decatur, TX) for growing gross sales by 32.5% in 2019 from $2.71 million to $3.59 million. EN Rx is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Company providing remediation services from offices in Texas, Florida, Colorado, and California. Its flagship product is the Vertebrae Segmented Horizontal Well System, which the company claims is unique in the industry and offers greater flexibility for assessing and treating sites. The company claims that Vertebrae systems are smaller and more compact in design, offering advantages in cost and deployment. An important aspect of Vertebrae deployment is that one horizontal well system can be the equivalent of about a dozen vertical wells, depending on site conditions, and recently completed software can guide decision-making with a specific comparative ratio and Monte Carlo-driven cost comparisons. EN Rx also has an auxiliary product called the EN Rx Support Platform, which is a self-contained, solar-powered, remotely operating and communications-ready platform for use in sampling and remediation.
Mabbett & Associates Ltd. (UK), a Scotland-based consulting and engineering firm specializing in environmental and safety services for private and public sector clients, for its best year ever, generating double-digit sales growth to £2.85 million ($3.7 million U.S.). The company generated this growth despite a severe slowdown in the growth of the U.K. market sector, exacerbated by Brexit worries. The reports that its financial metrics are industry leading, with turnover-revenue and staff numbers up by 30% and operating profit almost doubling in 2019. Mabbett says that it continues to reinvest its profits in the fight against climate change and the Scottish Government’s ambitious net zero carbon target by 2045. The company is delivering on several initiatives in support of this target, in such areas as energy efficiency, food waste reduction, industrial de-carbonization, and water management. To support its future growth, Mabbett has focused on winning international contracts in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, the U.S., Norway, and Gibraltar, which has resulted in Mabbett being named the Exporting Scottish Business of the Year 2019.
SAGE Environmental, Inc. for growing into the largest Rhode Island headquartered environmental, health and safety (EH&S) consultancy. SAGE reports growth of more than 400% over the past six years. Revenues of $6+ million in 2019 were up over 10% compared to 2018 based on a business mix of ‘ground up’ and ‘ground down’ EH&S services. SAGE’s “client-first” approach has resulted in an 80+% repeat client rate. SAGE’s growth has been organic as well as by starting two new complimentary companies, SAGE EnviroTech Drilling Services and SubSurface Solutions, that are partnering with other environmental, geotechnical and engineering firms throughout the Northeast. 2019 highlights included turnkey remediation projects deploying multiple technologies at a 20-acre former oil terminal in East Providence, RI, a former dry cleaner and gas station site in Belmont, MA and a manufacturing operation to facilitate the $100MM acquisition of a private manufacturing firm in CT. Renewable energy projects included an industrial scale anaerobic digester, as well as hydro-electric, solar and on- and off-shore wind.
Beacon Environmental Services, Inc. (Forest Hill, MD), a specialized environmental laboratory that focuses on air, gas and vapor testing for the environmental consulting and contaminated land markets, for globally commercializing its gas testing technology and services. Beacon has developed, validated, and worked to achieve state, national, and international adoption of the new technology, which the company claims is significantly more accurate, more precise, and less susceptible to errors, cross-contamination, or equipment complications than the traditional gas sampling technique. The Next Generation Air and Soil Gas Sampling Technology is a validated passive sampling approach for all applications of air, gas, and vapor sampling above and below ground. Beacon founder and President Harry O’Neill has managed soil gas and vapor intrusion investigations for more than 25 years, working on federal, state, and commercial projects throughout the United States, as well as internationally across six continents.
Locus Technologies (Mountain View, CA) for experiencing continued growth in 2019 in its multi-tenant, Software as a Service (SaaS) configurable EHS and Sustainability platform. Key apps, including apps for waste, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, sustainability, incidents, spills, compliance, and tasks, were expanded, and its latest app, Facilities Management, was released for the enterprise sector. As of the end of 2019, 100% of Locus’s cloud apps reside in Amazon Web Services (AWS), thereby taking advantage of the superior security and scalability demanded by customers such as the Department of Energy and Fortune 100 companies. Locus also continued to expand its integration with EPA compliance systems, adding direct exports via web services to EPA’s Compliance Monitoring Data Portal (CMDP) to better serve drinking-water customers. Locus technology also integrates with EPA’s eManifest and Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (eGGRT) to streamline customer reporting requirements. In 2019, Locus also reached 500 GHG verifications under the California AB32 program, more than any other company since the inception of the program in 2010, Locus claims. Locus also became the first EHS software vendor to embrace the new Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) verification market with official accreditation and expects significant growth in the new market sector.
ICF (Fairfax, VA) for the development of a new tool under the ICF WayPoint technology platform to streamline the environmental and historic preservation review process for disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. The new tool compiles data from multiple agencies and automates the proximity analysis to sensitive resources. Current procedures for recovery efforts require the need to analyze and evaluate thousands of sites for possible impact on environmental and historic resources from a proposed or in-development scope of work. The results of these evaluations must be made available to local officials, subject-matter experts, federal officials, and the public. In the past, staff had to obtain information from several platforms, which include platforms for coastal-zone delineation, wildlife habitats, historical zoning maps, and protected areas, among others. The data for each evaluation may be spread out over several platforms that require different levels of accessibility and processing times, consuming time and effort. Using the new ICF WayPoint tool, users receive warnings after submitting a new site if there is a resource “hit” and then have the option to download a report summarizing results. The tool will assist in completing evaluations on schedule with limited staffing resources and serve as a data repository and visual rhetoric for communicating with third parties.
SCS Engineers for working with San Bernardino County in California to pilot the newest version of the SCS Remote Monitoring and Control (SCS RMC) software at the county’s San Timoteo landfill. The county was looking for technology to lower landfill operating costs and maximize gas capture, and the new version of the SCS RMC software helps achieve this goal by integrating next-generation supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) opportunities such as 3D imaging from drones and virtual reality (VR). Beyond typical SCADA features, the SCS RMC system uses aerial data to compose topographic mapping, 2D images, and 3D renderings. The system is capable of incorporating geographic information systems (GIS), thermal, near-infrared, and methane leak detection data. The team put the 3D model into a Microsoft HoloLens VR headset, which allows executives at the County to “walk the site” from their offices. Using the SCS RMC system, landfill executives and operators can view their sites remotely from almost any internet-connected mobile device. The successful pilot project is expanding to 28 additional systems in San Bernardino County and other landfill clients.
Trihydro Corp. for the development of LeakTracker Pro, a web-based software platform that helps organizations manage leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs, which often involve overlapping compliance and reporting requirements. In 2019, a large oil and gas company selected LeakTracker Pro to manage the data for voluntary and regulatory fugitive emissions reduction programs for all of its facilities. With numerous contractors surveying over 2,000 facilities, the company not only needed to communicate, schedule, and deploy resources, but it also needed to quantify each individual facility’s fugitive emissions. LeakTracker Pro allowed the company to collect all facility data in one database and manage inspection workflows, repair notifications, and results across its entire operation. Technicians from various vendors used LeakTracker Pro’s mobile app to consistently collect survey and leak data, even in the absence of an internet connection. Facility managers used LeakTracker Pro’s data visualization tools to analyze results, and they used its EPA-specified emissions calculation features to quantify fugitive emissions and create submittal-ready reports with a mouse click. In addition to complying with regulatory requirements, the firm continues to use LeakTracker Pro to track and manage its voluntary GHG emissions reduction program. To learn more please visit https://www.trihydro.com/products/leaktracker-pro
Quantum Spatial, an NV5 company, for deployment of its Marine Minerals Information System (MMIS) to support the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Marine Minerals Program (MMP). The MMIS serves as the system of record for non-energy marine minerals in the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The program’s mission is to manage the non-energy marine minerals in the OCS through environmentally responsible stewardship of resources, assessments of exploration and leasing activities, stakeholder engagement, planning, and scientific research. For example, sandy beaches and ecosystems near them are increasingly at risk to damage from powerful storms and hurricanes. These resources can be protected by strategically adding sand and gravel to beaches. However, finding appropriate replacement material for a particular location without impacting the source is a challenge. The MMP leases sediment from the OCS to coastal communities to provide the appropriate match of nourishment material, and the MMIS gives BOEM administrators and scientists the resources to track lease information as well as map and inventory existing sediment resources. The data management system also provides a robust set of tools specifically designed for viewing, analyzing, and modeling that data.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: NEW PRACTICE
AECOM(Los Angeles, CA) for introducing a new practice providing integrated remediation/restoration services. Urban waterfronts are often plagued by historic contamination, locking up what could be valuable real estate, stifling the local economy, restricting redevelopment, and limiting public access. Public and private sector clients desire approaches that revitalize waterfronts, enrich transportation corridors, provide ecologically enriched gathering places, and incorporate coastal resiliency initiatives. AECOM’s new Contaminated Sediment/Ecological Restoration initiative will serve to drive on-the-ground actions that incorporate restoration market incentives, stakeholder outreach, and creative governance models. The company says the new practice bridges a traditional gap between hard engineering and natural resources practitioners and will thereby fill a much-needed gap in the market: remediation and restoration can recover value in impaired property, generate community goodwill, and ultimately drive re-investment and growth. AECOM reports that it is actively working with owners and contractors to implement restoration plans in most major North American cities.
Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc. (Marlborough, MA) for launching in 2019 its Program Optimization Strategy practice. Through this new vertical service, the Capaccio team works with clients to facilitate alignment of environmental, health and safety (EHS) objectives with strategic business objectives so that EHS objectives contribute in an impactful way to the business. Using an algorithm based on comprehensive data, Capaccio models the impact of proposed approaches and programs to help facilitate the selection of priority actions using a quantitative method to identify and evaluate areas for the organization to focus its attention and resources in ways that maximize value to the organization. Program data is supported by Capaccio’s SaaS application, the EHS-Dashboard, which collects comprehensive, real-time information to evaluate progress towards objectives and identify trends and areas where more immediate actions are needed. Capaccio says that clients using this approach have become top-level performers in business and EHS management, appearing on lists such as the Forbes 500, the Newsweek Green 500, and the World Economic Forum (WEC) Top 100 World’s Most Sustainable Corporations.
Dudek (Encinitas, CA) for the establishment of its Planning and Urban Design group, which assists cities, counties, and developers with a variety of planning activities that balance community interests and character, environmental resources, regulatory and permitting requirements, economic development goals, and infrastructure needs. Communities face many opportunities and challenges in establishing their land use plans and goals, and one challenge is the encroachment of human habitation into natural habitats. Dudek’s urban design philosophy aims to cluster and prioritize new homes and jobs within urban cores, thus reducing the expansionary, sprawling tendency of development. Dudek’s planners work throughout California to retrofit communities in preparation for the anticipated effects of climate change including air pollution, extreme heat, fires, and fl oods while identifying policies to reduce greenhouse gasses and create more livable communities. Dudek is currently authoring a pioneering Climate Adaption Plan that centers sound science and environmental justice at its heart.
ICF (Fairfax, VA) for forming a new data analytics and technology practice area to support the development and project growth of its ICF WayPoint technology platform. ICF WayPoint is built on state-of-the-art web libraries and is utilized to service multiple client needs including the streamlined view of field operations, automated reporting, compliance tracking, stakeholder commenting, and the delivery of multi-scenario and temporal analytic results through customized web maps and dashboards. ICF WayPoint has resulted in rapid employee growth from three to more than ten active developers, including both new hires and expanded roles of existing analytical staff. ICF reports that client services have seen more than 100% growth since the first quarter of 2019 in broad support of project work in biological modeling, energy infrastructure planning and modeling, disaster recovery, cultural resources, species habitat modeling, and transportation planning. Continued growth of more than 50% is expected into 2020 for ICF WayPoint to support the growing technology needs of the company’s clients.
Jacobs for implementing a new practice area using environmental DNA (eDNA) and metagenomics sequencing technology for ecosystem and biological monitoring. According to Jacobs, the technology allows for safe, efficient, and unbiased biodiversity surveys in aquatic and terrestrial systems that are quicker, cheaper and more reliable than traditional survey approaches. The technology simplifies the identification of individual species or multiple species by detecting DNA released by organisms as they move through their environment. Jacobs has key industry personnel in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada who lead the program to increase implementation and knowledge dissemination through calibration projects, international conference participation, and workshops. The company’s DNA & Molecular Monitoring team has developed strong links with the eDNA and metagenomics research community, regulators, and practitioners, allowing for efficient project approvals, reduced logistics, and an un-intrusive approach to field surveys. Projects have included protected species identification, invasive species detection, community analysis and monitoring and ecological remediation and restoration. Clients using the new service include Heathrow Airport Expansion (UK), Highways England, Environment Agency (UK), Melbourne Water (Australia), and the Australian Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.”
Weston Solutions, Inc. (West Chester, PA) for the establishment of a new National Surface Water Practice to address the potential impacts of climate change, including extreme weather and and sea level rise, on surface water resources. From 15 years’ distinction as a surface water center of excellence in Carlsbad, California, Weston launched this practice in 2019. The 25-plus member practice combines in-house water quality, engineering, and modeling expertise, joining several focus areas across New Mexico, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania offices, thus positioning the team to deliver solutions nationally. A key offering of the practice is the Microbial Source Tracking (MST) Lab, which is one of only two MST Labs with a commercial EPA license in the nation. The practice leverages both scientific and engineering capabilities to new geographies, solving new problems for clients, with experts in sediment/water quality monitoring; infrastructure resiliency; engineering design, hydrology/hydraulics; water-quality modeling, best management practice design/implementation; and human health/ecosystem risk assessment. This year, this group saw a 70% increase in MST procurements and more than doubled the geographic reach and scope of the company’s surface water work.
Marine Taxonomic Services, Ltd. (MTS; San Marcos, CA), for introducing a new service in 2019 that expanded the firm’s ability to meaningfully contribute to marine sediment remediation studies. MTS was able to expand its capabilities with the acquisition of a new vessel, the RV Innovation, in 2018. The RV Innovation was purpose-built for environmental sampling, with a primary focus on sediment core sampling. MTS equipped the vessel as a tool for sediment characterization, chemistry, and site remediation, and in 2019, the company introduced coring and sediment sampling capabilities utilizing this vessel. This new practice area expanded our business by 9% in 2019. MTS has performed work with the Army Corps of Engineers Portland District and have supported numerous sediment characterization studies for other consulting firms as well as shipyards on the West Coast. MTS has conducted the sediment characterization of shipyard sediments to evaluate whether remediation was successful. The practice team collected hundreds of cores in the Port of Portland Superfund Site as well as on the Columbia River to determine whether the material is safe for disposal at sea. Lastly, MTS has monitored other sites to support future potential remediation.
PROJECT MERTIT: DAM REHABILITATION
Cascade Environmental Services LLC(Portland, OR) for a project involving the drilling and installation of an 8-inch PVC pilot casing at Boone Dam in northeastern Tennessee to direct the creation of a 55-inch flooded reverse secant pile seepage cut-off wall. After a sinkhole and muddy discharge were discovered near the base of the embankment, dam safety experts and engineers determined that the structure was at risk of internal erosion and subsequent dam failure. Cascade was brought in to conduct pilot borings for a vertical and plumb guide for the advancement and construction of a secant pile wall, which had never been previously done. Sonic technology was selected for its tight verticality tolerance, and to protect the embankment during epi-karst and bedrock drilling activities. The experienced sonic drilling crew achieved nearly perfect verticality in the first hole over 56 feet of vertical drilling. Once the first casing was completed successfully, Cascade proceeded to drill 57 other locations on the project site.
PROJECT MERIT: COMPOSTING
The Environmental Services Division of the city of San Diego, in collaboration with SCS Engineers, for the upgrade of a composting operation at the Miramar Landfill in San Diego (“Miramar Greenery”). The original composting operation was launched in the 1990s. Community outreach and a food-waste pilot program were conducted in the early-2000s, and by 2007 the city had persuaded most major venues to actively participate in composting, including Petco Park, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, the San Diego Convention Center, and San Diego International Airport. To meet growing demand, the Greenery was expanded to 75 acres in 2009. Recently, the City used a CalRecyle Organics Infrastructure Grant to further improve the Greenery. In collaboration with the City, SCS designed an innovative, covered Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting system using Sustainable Generation’s SG Mobile System with GORE Covers. This custom system will divert 100,000 tons per year of organic waste from the Miramar Landfill, compost 40,000 tons per year into useful by-products (with capacity for an additional 20,000 tons), provide an enhanced stormwater control system, and eventually run on renewable energy generated from the landfill. According to the StopWaste.com calculator, this upgrade reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 19,015 cars from the road. Construction was completed in May 2019 and the new system became operational in August 2019.
PROJECT MERIT: PFAS REMEDIATION
ECT2 (Portland, MA) for deploying innovative technology to treat water contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS). The historical use of fire-fighting foam at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Williamtown led to groundwater and stormwater contamination at the facility. Australia’s Department of Defence (Defence) needed to identify the right technology to address this challenge, which was compounded by tightening PFAS regulations, including restrictions on water usage for recreational and drinking purposes, an aggressive schedule, and uncertainty surrounding the disposal of waste generated during water treatment. Defence contracted ECT2 to tackle this difficult project because of its regenerable ion exchange resin technology and experience delivering turnkey, modular solutions to address similar PFAS challenges. ECT2 designed, fabricated, installed, and performed startup/commissioning and operation of a surface water treatment system, along with two groundwater treatment systems and a resin regeneration system for RAAF. By 2019’s end, approximately 923 million liters of contaminated water were treated. ECT2 estimates 13.5kg of PFAS were removed from the aquifer, equivalent to 77,143 Olympic-sized pools with PFAS concentrations above Australian health-based guidance values (HBGVs).
PROJECT MERIT: ECOLOGICAL DESIGN
Great Ecology (La Jolla, CA) for its ecological design contributions to a stormwater management project. Great Ecology, serving as the ecological consultant to Merrick & Company, completed the ecological design and restoration of the Montclair Creek at Globeville Landing Park in Denver, Colorado, as part of the $300 million city-wide “Platte to Park Hill” stormwater retrofitting project. The $70 million redevelopment of Globeville Landing Park is one of four critical projects contributing to the success of Platte to Park Hill, with the restoration of Montclair Creek at the center of flooding and water-quality improvements. Great Ecology’s design and restoration of Montclair Creek at the confluence with the South Platte River improves storm runoff water quality and drainage that results from the 10 square mile watershed on Denver’s east side. Built on top of a landfill and adjacent to a Superfund site, Globeville Landing Park required a complex design incorporating an impermeable barrier and drop structures to prevent surface water from mixing with contaminated groundwater and soils while also protecting existing, historic infrastructure. The re-vegetation approach within the channel included an innovative strategy that modified soil chemistry to minimize the establishment of invasive weeds and encourage native species growth. Great Ecology designed a natural filtration channel that serves as the center piece of Globeville Landing Park, providing significant environmental, greenspace, and ecological benefit for a historically marginalized neighborhood. The park opened to the public on October 21st, 2019.
PROJECT MERIT: RIVER ENGINEERING
Inter-Fluve, Inc. (Hood River, OR) for its work on the Howland Bypass Channel project which presented challenges in engineering natural rivers while supporting key environmental issues that are relevant locally, across the country, and around the world. Completion of the $5 million Howland Bypass Channel project was the last element of the 20-year, $60 million Penobscot River Restoration Project that reconnected the Penobscot River to the Gulf of Maine for the first time in nearly two centuries. Inter-Fluve’s bypass channel, 200 feet wide by 1000 feet long, is one of the largest and most complex fish bypass channels in North America. The nature-like bypass allows endangered adult and juvenile Atlantic salmon, American shad, river herring, and American eel to freely swim around the historic Howland Dam into the Piscataquis River, where it joins the main stem of the Penobscot River. The channel reconnects over 1,000 miles of upstream watershed for aquatic species that in turn form the forage base for various wildlife species like the river otter, loon, American eagle, osprey and marine seals. Because of the channel’s wide variety of working flows (spanning from 250 to nearly 12,000 cubic feet per second in the bypass channel alone), its size, and its fish-focused design approach, the project serves as a benchmark for those engaged in fish passage engineering and design drawing delegations from the United States as well as Canada, South Korea, China, Japan, and New Zealand, to name a few. Inter-Fluve completed three years of physical monitoring in 2019 and found that the channel performs as intended.
PROJECT MERIT: HYDROPOWER ENGINEERING
Kleinschmidt Associates (Pittsfield, ME) for its work associated with the upgrade of a hydroelectric dam in Oregon. In November 2019, the Deschutes Valley Water District (DVWD) completed construction on a $12 million fish ladder and hydropower expansion at the Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project. The ladder connects habitat and improves resiliency for anadromous salmon and steelhead in the Deschutes Basin while increasing the amount of renewable hydropower output at the project by 1,010 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually. The 13-year long effort was a collaboration between DVWD, resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations to address aquatic habitat access in a watershed where historic runs of salmon and steelhead were extirpated. Volitional fish passage was sought; carbon-free energy is able to help pay for it because the engineering of the of ladder required an increase in the reservoir elevation, which creates more “head” for generating power. DVWD worked with the Energy Trust of Oregon to assess feasibility and make this project economical. As a result, the project is now certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) to be in compliance with its criteria. The LIHI certification enables DVWD to market its power as certified Renewable Energy Credits.”
PROJECT MERIT: GENERATING STATION UPGRADE
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and TRC Companies Inc. (Lowell, MA) for modernizing the Scattergood Generating Station, which was is a key part of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) transition to a clean energy future. LADWP collaborated with TRC to decommission generating Unit 3 while ensuring two adjacent natural gas-powered units remained in service. To prepare the location for future clean energy equipment, the team assessed the electrical, structural, and environmental condition of the site, managed the environmental remediation of site structures, and supported community outreach and public information processes. Working within a tight footprint at the LADWP Unit 3 complex, TRC led a hazardous materials survey, completed the remediation of asbestos, lead-based paint, PCBs, and other regulated components to safely dismantle the Unit’s 330-foot-tall stack and 480-megawatt generator, control room, and boiler structure. Following demolition activities, TRC provided construction management solutions and coordinated health, safety, and environmental controls during site reconstruction, which included the design and installation of a wall to enclose the side of the Unit 1–2 generator deck, the construction of a parking lot, and facilitating installation of mural on an above ground storage tank. Over the course of the 443-day project, there were no recordable injuries or impacts to the local community. The project was completed ahead of schedule.
PROJECT MERIT: SMART WATERSHED
NV5 and Alta Environmental (an NV5 company) for their development and deployment in San Diego of a smart watershed network system. The technology, called Alta MS4-FS, is designed to help cities meet MS4 NPDES permit compliance requirements. Coupling Alta/NV5’s combined monitoring expertise, sensors, and customized web portal, the system can connect municipal clients to real-time data to identify and eliminate dry-weather flow in the storm-drain system. The portal is a hub of real-time information to determine when significant flows are occurring. Deployment of the technology enabled the city of San Diego to monitor flows that the city was previously unable to monitor, and the city says it can now target staff to locations and times when these discharges are happening. According to city engineers, this increased efficiency has only been made possible by improved sensor technology and an innovative use of the MS4-FS technology, which enables more efficiency and effectiveness in preventing non-stormwater discharge. Bridging the gap between field investigations and decision-makers through on-line collaboration brings out the true potential of the data, according to NV5. Alta/NV5 has expanded this tool to integrate water quantity and quality measurements in a platform for Orange County Public Works.
PROJECT MERIT: STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
Penn Environmental & Remediation, Inc. (Penn E&R; Hatfield, PA) for its design of innovative stormwater management controls as part of a massive campus redevelopment project for a global plastics manufacturer outside Philadelphia. The project site, an active industrial zone, exhibited a wide range of infiltration values, which complicated the feasibility of effective stormwater management. Penn E&R worked directly with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to develop an innovative solution and, in 2019, completed installation of these controls. Penn E&R designed and installed Managed Release Concept (MRC) Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the form of two modified slow-release infiltration basins. The designs paired old with new technology and included a retrofit of an existing detention basin. Particularly in areas with challenging subsurface conditions, MRC BMP systems greatly reduce the stormwater flow rate using restrictive underdrain systems that limit flow of out of the basin. Slow-release BMPs also qualify for volume reduction credits since they eliminate stormwater from surface runoff through evapotranspiration and infiltration through a stone bed. Penn E&R was one of the first consulting firms in Pennsylvania to successfully design and install this MRC BMP. PADEP has since added the slow-release infiltration basin to its stormwater management BMP manual.
PROJECT MERIT: REMEDIATION
ERM (London, U.K.) for its recognition by Resolution Copper as the mining company’s 2019 Supplier of the Year for ERM’s work on the West Plant Smelter Complex and East Plant Cooling Towers demolition projects in Superior, Arizona. The project included the abatement and demolition of 11 facility structures and the implosion of a 300-foot chimney stack on the historic Magma Copper mine site. In addition to this work, the ERM team completed the project with over 10,300 hours of fieldwork without any injuries or incidents. “ERM was committed to conducting the project with the highest regard for the health and safety of our client, our field personnel, and the community of Superior,” said Tony Parenteau, an ERM partner. “By building an exceptional team of abatement and demolition experts, safety professionals, and specialty contractors, we were able to help our client achieve the safe demolition and reclamation of the smelter complex. ERM also would like to give special recognition to its primary subcontractors, American Integrated Services and Controlled Demolition Inc., which performed the stack demolition.
PROJECT MERIT: GROUNDWATER CLEANUP
Groundwater & Environmental Services, Inc. (GES) for applying a transect-based mass flux framework to conceptualize contaminant behavior and better understand risks for a mature legacy remediation site in the North Carolina Piedmont region. Mass flux analysis enabled a better understanding of potential dissolved contaminant migration pathways and demonstrates that a robust monitored natural attenuation (MNA) remedy is in effect. This work resulted in implementation of a simplified site management strategy. The site underwent extensive historical remediation to remove light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPL) and reduce the footprint of daughter dissolved-phase groundwater impacts, yet several compounds are present above applicable standards in different water-bearing zones on site and off site. Site geology consists of a thick saturated cover of saprolite underlain by fractured igneous rock. Contaminant concentrations are greatest at depth and beneath an off-site property downgradient of historical petroleum storage operations. GES augmented the existing well network to create five multi-layered transects transverse to groundwater flow and performed slug testing and extensive sampling and monitoring to develop head, concentration, and flux relationships across the site in three dimensions. Findings included quantitation of compound movement across the site, recognition of discrete contaminant migration pathways, and realization of the magnitude of MNA activity in preventing contaminant migration to potential receptors.
PROJECT MERIT: MITIGATION
RES LLC (Bellaire, TX) for its work in mitigating the impacts of a new water reservoir. The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) is constructing a 16,000-acre surface water reservoir in Fannin County, Texas, to supply the needs of about 80 communities. Ecological impacts from Bois d’Arc Lake are being mitigated by restoring, enhancing, and preserving over 14,500 acres of wetland and upland habitats and 70 miles of streams within the same watershed. RES was awarded a full-delivery contract for this mitigation, one of the largest of its kind in the country, in 2018. Design work started immediately, and construction will be completed by 2023. Over 6,400 acres of habitat and 29 miles of stream have been enhanced and restored to date, which included planting over 2.8 million trees. The project has required unparalleled design collaboration and operational controls, which RES is capturing in a docuseries called Restoring at Scale. The scale of this project, along with RES’s approach to integrated design and a 20-year stewardship period, are enabling the team to meet the client’s regulatory permit requirements while restoring the land to its pre-agricultural condition. Restoration and perpetual protection of these habitats will decrease erosion, sedimentation, and nutrient loads in Bois d’Arc Creek and the Red River.
PROJECT MERIT: PHYTOREMEDIATION
Terracon Consultants, Inc. (Olathe, KS) for its success in a phytoremediation project for a municipal client. Phytoremediation has been increasingly researched by scholars in the past years because of its sustainable nature and cost efficiency. However, the real application of this technology has had mixed reviews due to inconsistent outcome and long-term commitment, which can be challenging. Working with a municipal client, Terracon developed a proprietary innovative phytoremediation approach using succession crops adaptive to northern Illinois weather and soil conditions, to address polynuclear aromatics in shallow soil at a contaminated foundry site. ASTM E2893 Standard Guide for Greener Cleanups was also utilized during the remediation design and implementation. Terracon’s remedial design team considered plant characteristics, weather conditions, geographic soil type, end use, community participation, and environmental footprint reduction. It also accommodated the client’s funding limitation and area master planning. The phytoremediation started in 2015 and achieved site-specific cleanup objectives in 2019, within a very short timeframe. In addition, phytoremediation improved the aesthetics of the blighted site, making it a green and appealing junction near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Terracon’s phytoremediation transformed the historical industrial site into an integral part of the regional green spaces, bike trails and parks near a creek and river; mitigating environmental and public health risks; and improving the underserved community’s livelihood.
PROJECT MERIT: PHYTOREMEDIATION
Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City, MO) for its work with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to clean up the Tulsa Fuel Manufacturing (TFM) Superfund site by performing remedial investigation, feasibility study, remedial design, and remedial action oversight. The remedial design included removing waste materials and shallow contaminated soils to an on-site consolidation cell, thereby cutting off the unacceptable exposures. With our oversight, DEQ’s contractor excavated approximately 186,000 cubic yards of contaminated materials from the 60-acre site and placed within the consolidation cell. When remediation was complete, the site was stripped of most of its topsoil. Using a BOMAG soil stabilizer, Burns & McDonnell mixed ground poultry-house chicken litter into the surface clay to create a favorable growing environment. Using a seeding mixture of smooth brome grass, red clover, and fescue, the site was completely revegetated within months. Clover was particularly successful, covering more than 40 acres of the site. The family trust that owns the site worked with two local honey companies to populate the site with colonies of honeybees, which provided essential support for a threatened pollinator of food crops.
PROJECT MERIT: REMEDIATION
Weston Solutions, Inc. (West Chester, PA) for its remediation of a former thorium plant in Illinois. The West Chicago Environmental Response Trust (WCERT) is a U.S. Grantor Trust administered by Weston since 2011. WCERT’s stakeholders include the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State of Illinois, and numerous local communities. In its role as both full-service environmental provider and fiduciary of WCERT, Weston’s focus is to remediate contaminated sites for sustainable reuse. In 2019, Weston completed the development of a site-specific in-situ leaching (ISL) technology typically used in the uranium industry, to treat soil at the Rare Earths Facility, a former thorium mill tailings site, in West Chicago, Illinois. The ISL technology, a major component of the proposed remedy, has the potential to save approximately $148 million in direct and indirect remediation costs.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: SaaS PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLATFORM
Data management, analytics and visualization firm DDMS, Inc. (St. Paul, MN) for its launch in 2019 a major upgrade to its Project Portal SaaS project management platform. Initially launched in 2006, Project Portal is a secure, cloud-based project collaboration application that allows teams to share project-critical knowledge, analyze project data, and centralize project files. Project Portal is currently utilized by several Fortune 500 companies to manage their project portfolios. Modules include document, environmental data management, mapping, and workflow modules, among others. New enhancements include a new front end, which has improved support for use on multiple devices; new financial budget and management tools, which include dynamic cash flow capabilities and real-time project dashboard capabilities that provide key performance indicator (KPI) metrics to users with minimal clicks. Like all of ddms’ client applications, Project Portal is built and hosted completely on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure. In 2019, ddms also announced it has achieved Amazon Partner Network (APN) Select Technology Partner status.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: THERMAL PFAS TECHNOLOGY
EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC (Hunt Valley, MD) for its work in advancing the use of an established technology (indirect thermal desorption/thermal oxidation technology) to address treatment of an emerging contaminant, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), associated with solid media, including investigative-derived waste (IDW). In 2019, under a Strategic Environmental Research and Development (SERDP) research contract, the company successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of this thermal technology to efficiently remove and destroy PFAS from solid media such as soil cuttings and granular activated carbon (GAC). EA performed pilot-scale treatability testing on soil spiked with PFAS and aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) over a select range of thermal desorption temperatures, using a thermal separation unit (desorber) coupled with a thermal oxidizer. Research results confirmed the complete destruction of PFAS using several lines of evidence. Findings illustrated that this technology is capable of treating PFAS-impacted soil to low microgram per kilogram levels in compliance with anticipated future soil cleanup levels. In the future, deployment of this thermal technology may prove to be a tremendous benefit to the Department of Defense as well as others, as the number of PFAS-contaminated sites is rapidly growing, and there are a limited number of technologies demonstrated to be capable of removing and destroying PFAS.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: AUTOMATED RADIOLOGICAL SOIL SORTER
Ecology and Environment Inc. (Lancaster, NY) for its design and execution of a pilot study to determine the effectiveness of an automated radiological soil sorter at the 37-acre Middlesex Municipal Landfill site in New Jersey, which contains soils contaminated with uranium ore as a result of the nation’s early atomic energy programs. The pilot study showed that the volume of radiologically contaminated material could be isolated from non-impacted materials to reduce the amount of material requiring special handling and disposal, resulting in significant cost savings. The study represents a unique application of technology and equipment to improve and reduce the cost of remediating radiologically contaminated sites. Without this technology, the sorting process of contaminated soils would not be economical, and all soils removed during excavation would be treated as radiologically contaminated. Utilizing highly efficient soil-sorting technology, the pilot study demonstrated that only 22% of the entire volume of soil processed was radiologically contaminated, so only 22% of the total contaminated soils will need special handling and disposal while the rest could remain on site.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: SIMULTANEOUS SIMULATION SYSTEM
Jacobs for its development of the Replica digital twin software platform to quickly produce simulations of hydraulics, instrumentation and control, water quality, and treatment processes simultaneously. In today’s technology-driven world, digital representations of physical assets, processes and systems—“digital twins”—are rapidly becoming a preferred practice across markets. Using hi-fidelity dynamic simulation models, Replica Hydraulics and Replica Controls accurately portray intricate process dynamics and allow “what-if” scenarios to be carried out in the digital domain. Replica also allows teams to validate the optimized solutions coupled with the process control system (SCADA) hardware to bridge the divide between the digital simulation and the physical hardware. In 2019, this software helped Melbourne Water achieve $2.5 million in capital cost savings during the installation of an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system at the Winneke Water Treatment Plant (WTP). Winneke’s existing filter control strategy resulted in filtrate flow fluctuations up to 100 mega-liters per day. Jacobs used Replica to create a comprehensive dynamic simulation model of the existing WTP systems to identify means to stabilize flows and minimize UV system capacity requirements, which reduced capital and operating costs. The dynamic model was used to revamp the control strategy, revise tuning parameters and update the control narrative – with zero down time for the operational WTP.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGERY
Quantum Spatial (an NV5 company), for its execution of the world’s largest commercial high-resolution hyperspectral project for a public utility. Hyperspectral imagers capture spectral data in hundreds of narrow color channels, some invisible to the human eye. Analyzing these channels enables differentiation of man-made objects from nature, mineral identification, vegetative health assessment, and plant species modeling. This technology allows us to provide targeted information to utilities regarding threats posed to their assets by vegetation. In 2019 Quantum Spatial took on a hyperspectral analysis project that required flights for 3,000 square miles of hyperspectral imagery. Traditionally, projects of this size are surveyed with orthophoto cameras, which provide high spatial/low spectral resolution, or satellite imagery with low spatial and high spectral resolution. Consulting with the utility at the project onset allowed the company to understand trees that posed the largest threat. Locations of problem trees were used to inform the spectral analysis, and local and cloud-based processing capabilities were used to analyze the hyperspectral imagery to accurately identify high-risk trees. Using this information, the utility can begin to optimize its trimming practices to include not only trees that pose a physical proximity threat, but those trees that historically have a high risk of failure based on their species or vegetative health status.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: REAL-TIME AIR MONITORING WITH AUTOMATED SAMPLING
SGS Group (Geneva, Switzerland) for the development of SGS SmartSense, which provides an innovative sensor-based solution that combines continuous real-time air monitoring with automated sampling capabilities to capture validation samples for laboratory analysis. Sampling can be initiated automatically, based on data-driven air quality events (e.g. above-threshold concentrations), or it can be triggered remotely by an engineer. SGS SmartSense can be configured to monitor up to six air quality parameters in addition to temperature, humidity and pressure, and with the ability to interchange sensors, it allows units to be tailored for specific project needs from a list of 12 available air quality parameters. SGS SmartSense is compatible with a range of communication protocols for sending data to the cloud, and can then integrate data in real-time into online dashboards and other 3rd party applications. Globally, SGS SmartSense is being deployed in a variety of applications, including investigating known or suspected air quality issues, in both indoor and ambient environments; supplementing traditional and regulatory defined monitoring methods with continuous monitoring data of site conditions; and remotely and automatically capturing physical samples for laboratory analysis based on continuous data trends, when combined with the SGS SmartSampler.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: FISH CATCH TRACEABILITY
Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pasadena, CA) for its development of the electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability (eCDT) system to track the fishing process from “bait to plate.” Tetra Tech is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on its Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (Oceans) project to reduce illegal fishing and improve sustainability in Southeast Asia. As the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity, Southeast Asia is a major exporter of seafood to the rest of the world. The growing concern over illegal fishing and sustainability has caused strain for the livelihood of fishing communities in this region. The eCDT system uses a combination of GPS, QR codes, and mobile phone technology to electronically document seafood as it moves through the supply chain to ensure the fish was legally caught. The eCDT system has traced more than 2,000 metric tons of fish and improved the management of more than 100 million hectares of these ecosystems. In addition, USAID Oceans is training women to implement the traceability systems, helping to bridge the gender gap in a traditionally male-dominated industry and improve livelihoods for women.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: LOW-PHOSPHOROUS WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEM
Weston Solutions, Inc. for its design of a full-scale, permanent wastewater treatment system, currently in construction, featuring a new sustainable technology that meets record low water quality-based effluent limits (WQBELs) for phosphorus. The CLEARAS Water Recovery Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery (ABNR) technology facilitates algae harvesting to remove nutrients from wastewater effluent, reducing the potential for unwanted algae blooms in the receiving water body. The technology has proven to sustainably meet the state of Wisconsin’s water quality-based effluent guidelines for a total phosphorus limit of 0.04 milligrams per liter (mg/L), one of the lowest discharge limits for phosphorus in the United States. Demonstration testing at the Village of Roberts facility has shown that the ABNR system is able to achieve total phosphorus effluent concentrations as low as 0.003 mg/L. Furthermore, the algae harvesting itself opens up a revenue stream for the village; algae can be sold and used for biodegradable products, such as bioplastics. According to Weston, never before in the wastewater industry has there been a green solution for wastewater treatment facilities to stay ahead of the WQBEL regulations, which continue to steadily tighten across the country.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
WSP Global Inc. (Montreal, Quebec) for its acquisition of Ecology and Environment (E&E; Lancaster, NY), for $65 million, and of LT Environmental (LTE; Arvada, CO), for an undisclosed amount. Together, these acquisitions significantly enhance WSP’s national water and environment business line, adding capabilities and resources and growing its staff to more than 1,200 employees. With approximately 775 employees—predominantly in offices across the U.S. and with a presence in Latin America—the addition of E&E brings WSP’s U.S.-based water and environment business line staff to more than 1,100. E&E’s established reputation for delivering diverse environmental and water-related professional services, including environmental engineering and assessment, ecological restoration, watershed management, and renewable energy solutions, further strengthens WSP’s capabilities and reach nationally and broadens the practice area globally. LTE, which is deeply entrenched in the Rocky Mountain West, furthers WSP’s reach into the region and its leading industries, including oil and gas, waste management, manufacturing,, and real estate development. Both acquisitions align with WSP’s overall strategic plan and provide strong alliances of professional consultancies with similar strategic ambitions, cultures and values.
NV5 (Hollywood, FL) for completing nine strategic acquisitions in 2019 that added 1,100 employees, enhanced service offerings in the environmental, technology, infrastructure and energy markets, and broadened the company’s geographic coverage. In January, NV5 acquired Celtic Energy (Glastonbury, CT), a national firm that specializes in energy project management and oversight, enables NV5 to secure additional energy-efficiency program capabilities and fuel the growth of current energy-efficiency revenues. In March, NV5 acquired The Sextant Group (Pittsburgh, PA), a national provider of audiovisual, information and communications technology, acoustics consulting, and design services. In April, JV Surveying (Phoenix, AZ), a land survey and mapping firm, was added to complement NV5’s existing ALTA survey services. In June, Page One Consultants (Orlando, FL), a program management and construction quality assurance firm, came on board with Alta Environmental (Long Beach, CA), a consulting firm specializing in air quality, environmental building sciences, water resources, site assessment and remediation, and environmental health and safety compliance services. In July, NV5 picked up GeoDesign, Inc. (Wilsonville, OR), a geotechnical, environmental, geological, mining, and pavement services firm, and WHPacific (Portland, OR), a firm that enhances NV5’s design engineering and surveying services. November brought the addition of GHD’s forensics engineering business, which enriched NV5’s current forensic staff. Finally, in December, NV5 acquired Quantum Spatial, Inc. (Sheboygan Falls, WI), the largest full-service provider of geospatial data services in North America.
CHA Consulting, Inc. (Albany, NY) for advancing its position as a full-service engineering and construction management firm in major U.S. metropolitan areas through three strategic acquisitions in 2019. In March, CHA acquired Daedalus Projects, Inc. (Boston, MA), a project and construction management firm with 30 employees who bring on board experienced cost-estimating and project-management resources that are accelerating growth in its project management business line and propelling growth in the metro-Boston market. Next, the acquisition of JBS Project Management (New York, NY) in July 2019 added approximately 30 employees with experienced and talented project-management resources that support CHA’s strategic objectives for expansion of its service lines and presence in metro-New York City. Then in June, CHA acquired Wolverton and Associates, Inc. (Atlanta, GA), a full-service transportation and civil engineering firm with 100 employees. Wolverton added depth to CHS’s transportation and energy teams, bringing immediate value to clients and fueling growth across the Southeast.
ERM (London, U.K.) for completing several key acquisitions in 2019 to bolster global capabilities to deliver successful outcomes from ‘boots to boardroom’—impacting from the ground level to the most senior levels of our clients’ organizations. The acquisition of The Fifth Business (Aberdeen, Scotland) brought on board a change management and communications firm known for embedding major change within large organizations to achieve optimal outcomes of projects and organizational transformations. ERM also acquired SustainAbility, a sustainability think tank and advisory firm with offices in London, New York City, and San Francisco. Next, the acquisition of CSA Global (Perth, Australia), a worldwide mining consultancy, provided additional capabilities across the entire life of the mine value chain, from business strategy to highly technical resource assessment and exploration expertise. Finally, the acquisition of Contek Solutions LLC (Plano, TX), a safety and environmental engineering company that increases ERM’s capacity to serve energy and chemical sector clients in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.
Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pasadena, CA) for acquisitions in fiscal 2019 that added more than 2,000 high-end technical professionals and further advanced the company’s “Leading with Science” strategy. Through the acquisitions of eGlobalTech (Vienna, VA) and WYG plc (Headingly Leeds, U.K.), Tetra Tech added innovative solutions enabled by digital technology and further expanded the company’s footprint in the United Kingdom and Europe. eGlobalTech is a high-end information technology solutions, cloud migration, cybersecurity, and management consulting firm. The addition of eGlobalTech and its laboratory incubator provides a platform for Tetra Tech to pilot and apply new techniques that incorporate artificial intelligence, data analytics, and advanced cybersecurity solutions for its government and commercial customers. WYG is a professional services firm that delivers consulting and engineering solutions for complex projects across key service areas, including water, environment, transport, infrastructure, the built environment, asset management, program management, and international development. WYG’s expertise and geographic presence enable Tetra Tech to deliver innovative solutions to support the United Kingdom’s infrastructure needs. In addition, WYG enhances Tetra Tech’s international development business both for the European Union and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.
Terracon (Olathe, KS), for completing two strategic acquisitions in 2019. In May, the company acquired Environmental Services, Inc. (ESI; Jacksonville, FL), a full-service, 32-year old environmental consulting firm employing more than 50 people at offices in Savannah, Georgia, and Raleigh, North Caroline. The addition of ESI support Terracon’s overall strategy of growing the environmental planning line of its business. Also in May, Terracon acquired Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (GEC; Macon, GA), a 20-year old, environmental (approx. 50%), geotechnical, and materials consulting firm employing more than 65 people at offices in Columbus and LaGrange, Georgia. The addition of GEC supported Terracon’s overall strategy of growing its environmental services practice while strengthening its geotechnical and materials service lines in a new geography to support existing Atlanta and surrounding operations. According to Terracon, both of the acquired companies have a strong, long-term, and respected presence in the Southeast.
Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (Irvine, CA) for completing at least five acquisitions in 2019, including Emerging Compounds Treatment Technologies, Inc. (ECT2), an emerging contaminant leader, from its parent company Haley & Aldrich. With successful applications on 1,4-dioxane and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in water using a proprietary approach that leverages the properties of ion exchange resins to enable analyte removal and on-site regeneration, ECT2 became the PFAS treatment leader in 2017 in Australia, a country leading the way in PFAS remediation. The acquisition is consistent with Montrose’s strategy to bring new, innovative technologies to the market and take on PFAS remediation which the company calls a multi-billion-dollar addressable market. Other Montrose acquisitions in 2019 included; Golden Specialty; Target Emission Services; Air, Water and Soil Laboratories; and Lehder Environmental Services, one of the largest air quality management companies in Canada.
RSK Group Ltd. (Helsby, U.K.) for completing the acquisition of multiple companies in 2018 and 2019. Company revenue grew by 42% to £209 million during the year ending in March 2019, operating profit grew three-fold to £1.7 million, and adjusted operating profit (EBITDA) grew 73% to £20.1 million. RSK Group’s acquisitions included the following companies: design, property and construction consultancy Pellings, a U.K. company employing about 125 people with an annual turnover of £12.5 million and four offices in London and the South East of England, providing surveying, architecture, planning and project management and facilities management services for housing, education and healthcare projects; environmental and geotechnical engineering firm Dr. Tillmanns & Partner GmbH (Bergheim, Germany), a specialist in soil and groundwater contamination, rehabilitation planning and monitoring, landfill technology and planning, subsoil investigations, geothermics, hydrogeology, and soil mechanics; oil spill and remediation specialist Raw Technology, which operates from 16 offices in the U.K. and Ireland and provides pollution response and remediation support to both residential and commercial sectors; Ecologia Environmental Solutions Ltd., a multidisciplinary site remediation specialist employing 45 people at offices in the U.K. and Italy; Silcock Leedham (Leeds, UK), a mechanical and electrical engineering specialist with offices in the U.K. and Dubai and consisting of three complementary businesses providing services in the areas of building physics, air quality monitoring, sustainability, specialist testing, commissioning, and validation and verification services; Biocensus (Bath, U.K.), which has a network of more than 700 U.K.-based ecologists and is focused on large infrastructure developments; and Consents Solutions (King’s Lynn, U.K.), which specializes in managing the consent process for utility and renewable installation processes. In five years’ time, RSK’s senior management hopes to employ 10,000 people with annual sales of £1 billion and operating profit (EBITDA) of £100 million. To accomplish this RSK plans to make 12 to 15 acquisitions per year using a £350 million debt package provided by its private equity backers Ares Capital Management.
INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERINGS
Parsons Corp. (Centreville, VA) for successfully executing in May 2019 an initial public offering (IPO) of 18.5 million shares of common stock in a transaction valued at $500 million. By mid-morning on May 9, 10.9 million shares had transacted, raising the stock price to $30.28, well above the opening bell price of $27. Parsons stock has been owned since 1984 by its estimated 15,000 employees through an employee stock ownership plan. The IPO represented an offering of about 20% of total shares. The stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PSN; Parsons will use the cash to fuel growth and pay down an estimated $300- million in debt. Parsons management said that the capital raised will propel the company’s growth through mergers and acquisitions, particularly in the federal sectors of cybersecurity, intelligence, and mission critical work. In January, Parsons acquired OGSystems (Chantilly, VA), a consulting firm specializing in geospatial intelligence, big-data analytics, and threat mitigation, primarily for government agencies. It was the firm’s third purchase in that sector
INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP AWARDS
Industry Leadership: CCR Management
AECOM for its work in the management of coal combustion residuals (CCR). The self-implementing federal 2015 CCR rule sets requirements for safe CCR disposal for 100-plus organizations operating more than 300 regulated sites with more than 700 CCR units with two-billion cubic yards of CCR material. Each owner/operator (O/O) houses its CCR-unit regulatory status/required reports/certifications on its individual website, making analysis of extensive, disparate pages difficult. AECOM, working with more than 25% of U.S. CCR units, recognized the need to collect and analyze data to anticipate market needs and technology solutions, and with California-based Firmographs created the Ash Mart CCR-industry data-analytics tool. The tool allows users to navigate through data quickly and effortlessly using dozens of visualization formats and sophisticated statistical analyses that allow comparisons, assessment of current market conditions, prediction of behaviors, the review and application of best practices, and the benchmarking of responses, thereby expediting analysis from hours or days to minutes or even seconds.
Industry Leadership: Brownfields
Terracon Consultants, Inc. (Olathe, KS) for its leadership in forming community partnerships to advance the redevelopment of brownfields. Terracon has been partnering with communities to achieve their revitalization goals by integrating the environment, community, and redevelopment through EPA Brownfield Grant applications and project implementation since 1995. Recently, Terracon worked with Centro Civico Mexicano in Salt Lake City, Utah, to redevelop the organization’s community center, a Hispanic cultural icon in the area, to ensure that the facility will be available for future generations. Terracon identified the contaminants on the property and helped obtain federal and state brownfield cleanup funding. Mixed-use redevelopment plans included low-income senior housing, offices, classrooms, a multipurpose gymnasium, a rooftop soccer facility, and a black box theater. In 2019, a significant project milestone occurred when the construction of senior housing began at the center. Terracon says that it has participated on more Phoenix Award winning teams than any other consultant—16 in total, representing more than $3.6 billion in reinvestment—and successfully implemented projects supported by more than 250 EPA cooperative agreements exceeding $63 million in federal brownfields grants.
Industry Leadership: Digital Transformation
Arcadis (Arnhem, The Netherlands) for launching the Expedition DNA digital transformation program in partnership with The Lovinklaan Foundation to engage its employees in the digital transformation of the company’s business. The program aims to build awareness and a common language centered on the four digital realities—customer experience, platforms, data, and ecosystems—through the two components: Base Camp and Expeditions. Base Camp is an on-line gamified program available to all 27,000 Arcadis employees to build awareness of the Arcadis digital strategy, its implementation across three time horizons, and tangibly connect the concepts to the company’s business. The program takes between six and eight hours to complete. Expeditions involves one-week, intensive face-to-face sessions, selected to maximize diversity across regions, business lines, and experience. Expeditions provide an opportunity to dive deep into the four realities in special “skills labs,” with inspirational guest speakers and activities throughout the week. The program helps participants solidify global networks around a common digital language.
Industry Leadership: Inclusion & Diversity
Jacobs (Dallas, TX) for aggressively implementing, over the past two years, a company-wide program focused on emphasizing inclusion and diversity as vital business pillars. When CEO Steve Demetriou joined Jacobs, he brought with him a firm belief that, to grow a business, you need to differentiate, to differentiate you need to innovate, to innovate you need diversity of thought, to activate diversity you need to enable an inclusive environment, and to engage all of this you need inclusive, inspiring leaders. The new strategy, which was briefed to the investor community in early 2019, made inclusion and diversity the central elements of the company’s culture, empowering its employees to bring their “whole selves” to work every day. In 2019, Jacobs continued to push the envelope in culture building through several initiatives, including the launch of “Conscious Inclusion” training for all employees; the broadening of ethnic and gender diversity in its executive team; the addition of an eighth global employee network, called “ACE” (Assist, Connect, Educate), to celebrate and raise awareness of those with physical, cognitive and mobility impairments, and to support caregivers, their families and friends, and clients and members of the community; and the broadening of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer or questioning/intersex (LGBTQI+) recognition, including taking top honors on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 Corporate Equality Index, as “Best Place to Work for LGBTQI+ Equality.”
Arcadis for establishing a pro bono program designed to bring the company’s services to under-served communities, with the goal of giving back where the company’s people live and work. Every year, a call for proposals is sent out within Arcadis, seeking projects that can demonstrate the impact and potential realized by improving the quality of life for others. From the many proposals that are received, two are selected for funding. The company selected two projects for 2019. First, the “Russell: A Place of Promise” project focused on transforming the historic Russell neighborhood, one of the poorest in Louisville, Kentucky, in a way that avoids displacing existing residents. Arcadis brought laser-scanning, 3D rendering, and engineering support to part of the project, which involves transforming a former cigar manufacturing facility into a vibrant community hub. Second, the William A. Barry Park project focused on a 15-acre city park located in an economically disadvantaged part of Syracuse. Arcadis brought drones, laser scanning, and BIM modeling to support the renovation of a single-story field house that serves as a gathering place for youth and community programming. Arcadis will also engage local students in job-shadowing and mentoring opportunities.
ERM for the work of its ERM Foundation. Unlike traditional company-sponsored foundations, the ERM Foundation is led by ERM employees who nominate organizations for funding, provide hands-on professional support for partner organizations, review funding applications, and lead regional engagement committees. Through this structure, ERM has created a unique and valuable partnership with its employees, under which every employee across 160 worldwide offices can be personally involved in a Foundation program. This past year ERM employees raised $141,000 and delivered 1,910 hours of pro bono support for 69 organizations across 30 countries. These projects contributed to the United Nations sustainable development goals by protecting the natural environment through planting 7,000 trees, providing 35,000 people with clean energy solutions, improving livelihoods for 900 women, providing clean water and sanitation for 12,500 people, and educating 6,000 people on sustainable development. In addition, ERM employees volunteer thousands of hours with local initiatives restoring habitats, building sustainable food systems, teaching environmental programs, and removing trash and plastics from waterways.
EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC (Hunt Valley, MD) for the efforts of a company-sponsored “ultra-cycling team,” which in June 2019 successfully finished the Race Across America (RAAM), raising $90,000 for Water For People to address today’s global water and sanitation challenges. The EA-sponsored team completed the Race in seven days, 20 hours, and 44 minutes, 10 hours ahead of the team’s 2017 pace. The four riders—Jeff Boltz, Lou Barinka, and Walter Migdal of EA and Eleanor Allen, Water For People’s CEO—were supported by a crew that included 10 current and retired EA employees, for their 3,000 mile journey across America. As a result of this great support and their competitive time, the EA-sponsored team earned the Jim Pitre Corporate Cup, which is awarded to the fastest team with 75% of the team being associated with a single company. According to Eleanor Allen, “The Race’s positive impact on Water For People is immeasurable. In addition to the money, which will be directed to providing potable water and sanitary services in nine developing countries, through its sponsorship, EA has vastly increased Water For People’s visibility and our ability to raise funds to help more communities in the future.”
Jacobs for its support for an anti-poverty program in the nation of Sierra Leone. Home Leone, a non-profit organization, is advancing a sustainable movement that seeks the end of slum living in Sierra Leone. Its first pilot, Destiny Village, develops a new community, relocating over 2,000 people from across Freetown’s 62 slums, to new secure low-cost homes. Home Leone adopts a holistic approach, providing jobs, education, social infrastructure, community utilities and health facilities. Its community design and layout, environmental considerations, social justice initiatives, and skills training help ensure this innovative, community-led relocation model provides a life changing opportunity for residents. A team of eight Jacobs employees traveled to Destiny Village on a voluntary trip to develop a surface-water drainage strategy that provides protection and mitigation to alleviate flood water (rainy season) impacts on the buildings, roads, and footpaths in the site. The solution involved collecting rainfall run-off from roofs and ditches and channeling the water away from structures into natural channels to a safe outlet point. The team also performed knowledge transfer of the sustainable drainage solution to the village inhabitants so they could continue with the project. The team also raised over £7000 prior to the trip to aid in the funding of further construction at the village.
Kleinschmidt Associates for the work of its Philanthropy Committee, which is a group of employees who interface with local nonprofits, develop partnership opportunities, and decide how to distribute an average of 6% of profits to dozens of organizations. Another avenue of giving is through the company’s “Day of Service” holiday, during which employees can take time for community service. Kleinschmidt supports organizations that align with the company’s vision and values; or that tackle problems at the nexus of energy, water, and environment; or any organization that is strongly supported by employees through personal donations or volunteering. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and outreach is a particular passion. By sponsoring the Kleinschmidt Windstorm Challenge, a competition in which middle and high school students design and build their own wind turbine blades and floating offshore wind platforms, students get to travel to the University of Maine to test their creations in a wind and wave tank. For many rural students, this is their first opportunity to visit a university campus. Kleinschmidt’s scientists and engineers present at schools and mentor student groups of all ages, from the local robotics league, to student chapters of engineering societies, to graduate students.
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