Each year Environmental Business Journal recognizes outstanding business performance in the environmental industry with our EBJ Business Achievement Awards. Environmental Business Journal is proud to announce its 16th annual business achievement awards. Our 2013 winners succeeded in a relatively difficult business climate, so we salute the dedication and commitment of the companies awarded. Congratulations to the winners, thanks to all the companies that submitted nominations, and we hope to see you in San Diego for the official awards ceremony at Environmental Industry Summit XII on March 12, 2014 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
In October-December 2013, EBJ solicited the environmental industry via e-mail, social media, its website, industry events and word-of-mouth for nominations for the EBJ Business Achievement Awards. Nominations were accepted in 200-word essays in either specific or unspecified categories. Categories or size designations may have been adjusted depending on the volume of nominations or the number of worthy recipients. Final awards were determined by a committee of EBJ staff and EBJ editorial advisory board members.
Disclaimer: company audits were not conducted to verify information or claims submitted with nominations.
Business Achievement: Very Small Firms (less than $10 million)
Gold Medal ? ARS Technologies, Inc. (New Brunswick, NJ) for growing revenue by nearly 50% to $7.4 million in 2013 and for achieving nearly 230% revenue growth over the trailing five-year period. Founded in 1991 by John Liskowitz, ARS Technologies is a remediation contractor specializing in environmental fracturing, remediation injection, and advanced environmental drilling. ARS’ management was successful in sustaining this growth through the recession by careful management of cash flow, implementation of strict financial controls and oversight, and a successful diversification strategy. Diversification included expansion of its operations through the opening of new geographical offices, entering into a strategic joint venture with Major Drilling, and acquisition of a drilling company. Internal investment focused upon key infrastructure investments, a comprehensive safety and field staff training program, and focusing on more cost-effective marketing strategies. In additional, as a part of the company’s efforts to build its leading-edge technology base, ARS successfully developed and launched an innovative patent-pending remediation technology called Hybrid Frac.
Silver Medal ? Environmental Management and Planning Solutions Inc. (EMPSi; San Francisco, CA) for reaching new milestones in 2013 for revenue growth, backlog, and securing new contracts for expanding market areas. For the fifth consecutive year, organic revenue grew by more than 20%, with total growth over the last five years of greater than 250%. In 2013, EMPSi was named by Inc. magazine as one of the top 15 fastest-growing private environmental firms. EMPSi also added to its growth expansion by opening an office in North Carolina. EMPSi continued expansion of both its government and commercial consulting business, including significant new energy work for third-party projects on federal lands in the western United States, including oil and gas development and renewable energy projects. EMPSi was also selected to lead a controversial project to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on federal lands in the southeastern U.S., as well as lead eight large controversial environmental projects on public lands in the West. In September 2013 alone, EMPSi received more than $3 million in new awards from the Department of the Interior, which included a contract to analyze potential fracking projects in California.
Bronze Medal ? Great Ecology (La Jolla, CA) for experiencing substantial growth since its inception 12 years ago, and for bouncing back in 2013 after losing a major client early in the year. Founded on September 10, 2001, with one employee, today Great Ecology is a multi-million dollar ecological consulting firm with 30 employees in five locations. The company’s growth has been rapid, with growth rates as high as 215%. At the start of 2013, Great Ecology’s had projected that revenue would reach $5 million for the year, continuing the firm’s remarkable growth. However, in January, Great Ecology experienced a dramatic and unforeseen drop in revenue as its largest client paused all consulting work to redevelop its strategy. The firm lost approximately $200,000 a month—40% of its annual revenue. In the face of this severe revenue loss, the firm developed a strategy to accelerate client-base diversification. Great Ecology replaced the lost revenue and experienced a positive growth rate and will reach $4 million in annual revenue, surpassing 2012 sales. The firm was recognized by Inc. magazine for the second year as one of the nation’s fastest-growing private firms and by The Zweig Letter as the nation’s 49th fastest-growing environmental consulting firm.
Bronze Medal ? Herndon Solutions Group (HSG; Las Vegas, NV) for significant growth over the past year and for its initial expansion outside the United States through a sustainable resort project. HSG, an SBA 8(a), woman-owned consultancy specializing in environment and safety, emergency planning, and sustainability management, grew revenue by just over 50% during its 2013 fiscal year—despite losing unrecoverable revenue during the government shutdown. During 2013, the company also increased staff from two full-time equivalents (FTEs) to seven FTEs and one part-time position. In 2013, HSG expanded to Aruba after a honeymoon stay at the Bucuti & Tara resort by President/COO Christine Herndon and her husband. Herndon noted that the resort handed out water bottles, re-filled by staff as needed, and a compliment to the owner on this rare practice in the hospitality industry led to a project involving a gap analysis of the resort’s effort to gain certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Operations and Maintenance (LEED O&M) program, followed by the preparation of LEED O&M certification documentation for submission to the U.S. Green Building Council.
Business Achievement: Small Firms ($10 million to $20 million)
Gold Medal ? Marstel-Day (Fredericksburg, VA) for achieving nearly 40% growth in revenue during 2013, opening three new offices, adding multiple new clients. Revenue totaled $17 million in 2013, reflecting 97% growth from $8.6 million in 2010 revenue. New clients for Marstel-Day included, among others, the U.S. Coast Guard (providing NEPA policy support to the regulatory branch); the Army Regional Environmental and Energy Office (providing on-site support in the DOD regional environmental coordinators offices managed by the Army; the Veterans Administration (supporting VA NEPA studies); the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (to study issues associated with the siting of renewable energy developments); and, the Army Chief of Staff for Installation Management (managing the Army’s energy and water use reporting system). During 2013, the firm’s staff grew by 25%, up from 100 at the beginning of the year to 125 at year’s end. In 2013, Marstel-Day opened new office locations in Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and San Antonio, a 50% increase in cities in which the company has an office presence.
Silver Medal ? PARS Environmental, Inc. (Robbinsville, NJ) for revenue growth averaging 38% per year for the past five years. The company’s growth has been consistent even during the economic slump. Over this period, PARS has expanded its office locations by more than five-fold, from three offices in three states (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) to 16 offices in 12 states. The services offered by PARS have also expanded to include the planning, design, and construction of waste-to-energy facilities, energy conservation, and sustainability planning. PARS Environmental has also invested in the research, development, and commercialization of advanced technologies. In 2012, PARS received the environmental technology award from the New Jersey Technology Center, and November 2013, CEO Kiran Gill was nominated as the most successful CEO under age 40 by the New Jersey Business Association.
Bronze Medal ? Stell Environmental Enterprises, Inc. (SEE; Elverson, PA) for substantial and sustained growth since 2010. Founded in 2004 by President Mary Jane Stell, SEE has grown from 28 staff, one prime contract and $1.5 million in capacity, and annual revenue of $3.1 million in 2010 to 150 staff, 28 prime contracts and $50 million in capacity, and annual revenue of $16.5 million in 2013. A small disadvantaged and woman-owned firm, SEE holds contracts with the Department of Defense and other clients that encompass a broad scope of restoration, compliance, and technical support activities. SEE attributes its performance to an understanding and connection with its chosen market sector. Its principals, through experience and professional networks, have identified partners and staff that bring innovation in technology and management to SEE. These alignments and hires have facilitated measured expansion with strategic intent in a market where there is still room for quality, successful small businesses. Ms. Stell continues to support the small business community and the development of woman-owned small businesses. Her proactive involvement has earned SEE the respect of industry peers and business partners.
Bronze Medal ? Cherokee Enterprises, Inc. (CEI; Miami Lakes, FL) for increasing revenue to $12.5 million in 2013—a 34.4% increase—after three years of decreasing revenues. From its beginnings as a five-person firm with one office and revenue of just under $400,000 in 1999, CEI has grown to more than 48 employees in two offices. The firm has won numerous awards for revenue growth since its inception, much of the growth due to participation in the Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) program. Through the benefits of the 8(a) certification, CEI experienced an increase in revenue in the fourth year of the program and was awarded one of its first and largest contracts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS contract resulted in the receipt of a Small Business Award for Excellent Performance. As a result of 34 8(a) contracts, CEI has developed a highly regarded reputation with various federal agencies.
Bronze Medal ? Southeastern Archeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH; Jacksonville, FL) for increasing revenue by 22% to just over $10 million in 2013. The company also utilization by 14%, backlog by 15%, and staff by 20% during 2013. The cultural resources firm, which employs 84 people at 14 offices, was awarded $21 million in prime indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contracts and master service agreements (MSAs) this past year, representing a contract win rate of 80%. SEARCH was also selected for 183 projects from 70 different customers, and the staff of its Maritime Archeology Division grew to 15 people. Projects spanned 15 states, several U.S. territories, and Japan, Germany, and Cuba. These projects included work associated with the response to Superstorm Sandy and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. During 2013, SEARCH also opened a 11,000 square foot curation facility in the Washington, DC area to procession the Department of Defense’s artifact collections.
Business Achievement: Mid-size Firms ($20 million to $100 million)
Gold Medal ? Element Markets (Houston, TX) for generating revenue in excess of $58 million in 2013, an 18% increase over 2012. Element Markets is the largest environmental commodities firm in North America, covering multiple markets including biogas, renewable fuel credits, emissions, carbon, and greenhouse gases. During 2013, the company experienced a transformative shift through its entry into the biogas markets, and it is now poised for a large revenue and net income increase in 2014 due to the long-term contracts for biogas that began delivery in mid-2013. The biogas contracts will serve as the foundation of the company’s revenue for the long duration of the agreements, through which Element Markets transports biogas from landfill collection facilities to natural gas fueling stations, where it is used to power natural gas vehicles such as trucks and buses. Element Markets has expanded its business to physical biogas and associated environmental attributes and plans to expand its presence in the renewable energy and renewable fuel markets associated with biogas based on this success.
Silver Medal ? EORM (San Jose, CA) for a third straight year of consistent, double-digit revenue growth. EORM¡¯s annual revenue for 2013 grew 28% over the same period in 2012, and over the last three years has averaged a 33% increase per year. Net service revenue averaged a similar 31% over the three-year period. Operating profit more than doubled from 2012 to 2013, and has seen a four-fold increase over the three-year period. EORM also increased its full-time employee count 31% since 2012 and has nearly doubled its count since 2011. The company attributes this sustained growth to above-expected demand for services in new markets identified in its strategic plan: in sustainability, healthcare, and clean energy technologies; in the focus areas of ergonomics, management systems, and construction environment, health, and safety (EHS); and in global EHS services to assist technology manufacturers, particularly those with third-party manufacturing operations in Asia, with responsible supply-chain practices. As part of its acquisition strategy, EORM began realizing increased revenues from expanded environmental services following it third-quarter 2011 acquisition of Sigma Engineering Services, Inc. (Oxnard, CA). For the second year in a row EORM was ranked the number one environmental firm in the Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Business Achievement: Large Firms (more than $100 million)
Gold Medal ? O’Brien & Gere (Syracuse, NY) for four consecutive years of 8 to 10% average annual revenue growth, ending 2013 with $220 million in revenue, and even higher rates of growth in profitability and backlog. The foundation of this growth is O’Brien & Gere’s commitment to its rigorous, rolling, and adaptive business planning cycle, called Checking Our Progress and Adaptive Change (COPAC). Through COPAC, O’Brien & Gere promotes employee engagement at multiple levels in a process that implements ongoing adjustments to the company’s strategic plan in response to changing market conditions. In 2013, to better support the company’s clients, O’Brien & Gere employees engaged in a higher level of brand understanding and promotion than ever before. In addition to increased focus on brands and markets, other critical factors to O’Brien & Gere’s success have included strategic investments, diversification, and improvements in project delivery. Employees also have remained focused on the heart of the company—a mission of creating a better future by making a difference each day through philanthropic activities.
Silver Medal ? TRC Companies, Inc. (Lowell, MA) for executing a successful turnaround that has resulted in increased revenue and profitability, growth in its stock price, and a resumption of the company¡¯s acquisition campaign, following a change in management and strategy in the mid-2000s. Revenue had flattened out following several years of solid growth in the 1990s and early 2000s, in part due to the fact that many of the more than 40 companies it had acquired were not adequately integrated into the company. After Chris Vincze took over as CEO, TRC moved aggressively to integrate its separate pieces under a single brand and accounting system, operate more effectively on a national scale, and generally pursue profitable growth and performance excellence. The turnaround strategy was essentially complete as of the spring of 2013, and the company has enjoyed 6% growth in net service revenue to about $350 million this year, accompanied by 8.1% in EBITDA on net service revenue. The company also began acquiring again in 2011 and picked up five operations in 2013.
Bronze Medal ? Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pasadena, CA) for growing its international and U.S. commercial businesses from 40% of net revenue in 2008 to over 60% in 2013. These two client sectors are the company’s fastest growth markets, led by U.S. commercial programs that are expected to increase approximately 10 to 15% in 2014. The growth was driven by strong demand for Tetra Tech’s water and environmental services provided to oil and gas and industrial clients. In addition, climate-related services accounted for one of Tetra Tech’s fastest growing markets in the U.S. government sector. Tetra Tech increased its revenue from climate-related services in international development projects by 30% in 2013, in particular growing its revenue with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to more than $250 million. Tetra Tech secured six new USAID contracts that support climate change adaptation and mitigation activities, totaling $1.8 billion in increased contract capacity.
Business Achievement: Mergers & Acquisitions
NV5 Holdings, Inc. (Hollywood, FL) for completing a series of acquisitions after taking the company public in April 2013. Through underwriter Roth Capital Partners, NV5 executed its initial public offering (IPO) of common stock, selling 1.61 million units at a price of $6 per unit, to provide a common of valuation for the company and to support its strategy of growing through acquisition. In its first acquisition since going public, it acquired Consilium Partners LLC, a Colorado-based program management firm. NV5 followed up this deal with the purchase of the Tampa office of Pitman-Hartenstein & Associates, a 10-person operation with strength in transportation engineering and a solid backlog. In mid-August, NV5 added Dunn Environmental, Inc. (El Dorado Hills, CA), a small provider of environmental and hydrogeology services to the northern California market, including major agro-business clients like ConAgra. And in November, NV5 acquired 68West, Inc. (Denver, CO), an infrastructure design, entitlements, and permitting firm that is being combined with Consilium Partners to provide turn-key civil planning, design, and program management services to NV5’s public and private clients in the Rocky Mountain region.
TRC Companies, Inc. (Lowell, MA) for acquiring Heschong Mahone Group, Inc. (HMG; Gold River, CA), a 40-employee provider of building science, policy development, and program management services in the energy efficiency marketplace; the air emissions testing business of GE Power & Water, strengthening a practice that had been a foundational business for TRC and remained a core capability; the Covina, California, operation of Ocampo-Esta Corp., a power delivery engineering company; Utility Support Systems, Inc. (USS; Douglasville, GA), an engineering company providing technical services to the power utility markets; and the Energy Engineering Services (EES) operation of EMCOR. Altogether, these five acquisitions added 240 full-time employees and 250 on-call staff to TRC’s operations and expanded its presence in California, the Midwest, and the Southeast.
Jacobs Engineering Group (Pasadena, CA) for successfully completing what may have been the largest deal in the environmental engineering industry in 2013-its acquisition of Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM; Sydney, Australia) in a transaction valued at $1.2 billion. SKM is a 6,900-person global consultancy, which generated revenue of approximately A$1.3 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of A$193 million during its most recent fiscal year. It provides consulting, engineering, planning, architecture, scientific, and construction management services to the mining, building, infrastructure, water, and power industries from 40 offices in the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “The combination of Jacobs and SKM further diversifies our geographic offerings and the end markets we serve,” Craig Martin, Jacobs’ president and CEO, said when the deal closed in December. “We look forward to integrating the two companies and see many excellent opportunities ahead to support our clients, develop our people, and grow our business.”
Louis Berger Group (Morristown, NJ) for its acquisition of Spanish engineering firm Apia 21, a Spanish firm with principal expertise in structural engineering but also with significant capability in planning and environmental engineering, at a time when the Spanish economy, along with the European economy generally, was struggling. When Apia 21 came on board in February 2013, employed about 400 people, including 250 to 280 in Spain and another 120 distributed among offices in South America, Central America, the United States, and the Middle East, according to James Stamatis, president of Berger International. Strategically, the addition of Apia 21 was meant to support Louis Berger’s growing business in the Middle East and Africa. Apia 21 “understands how to work on the international market with international contractors, especially the Spanish contractors, who have a great presence globally,” says Stamatis. “They’ve been able to help us come in and do a lot of value-engineering throughout the Middle East,” and “they’ve been key components of some of our winning projects in the Middle East, the U.S., and South America.”
Terracon Consultants, Inc. (Olathe, KS) for its acquisitions of three companies during 2013. In January, Terracon acquired Liesch Companies – Environmental Consultants & Engineers (Minneapolis, MN), a 50-employee environmental services firm. In June, the company added Florida-based Dunkelberger Engineering and Testing, Inc., a provider of geotechnical engineering, construction materials and inspection, environmental assessment, and building inspection services to the South Florida marketplace. And in August, Terracon picked up New England EnviroStrategies, Inc. (Concord, NH), an environmental consulting and water resources services firm employing seven people.
Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pasadena, CA) for completing three significant acquisitions that added more than 1,450 staff during 2013. The acquisition of American Environmental Group (AEG; Richfield, OH), a specialty waste management firm, brought on board more than 500 staff and approximately $95 million in annual revenue. AEG provides specialty environmental, construction, and maintenance services to industrial clients. Tetra Tech next acquired Parkland Pipeline, an Alberta-based company that serves the oil and gas industry in western Canada. Parkland Pipeline expands Tetra Tech’s water and environmental services to the North American energy market with the addition of 900 staff and approximately C$140 million in annual revenue. Finally, Tetra Tech expanded its Brazil presence with the acquisition of Sao Paulo-based Applied Science Consultoria Ltda. (ASA Brazil), a 50-employee provider of oceanic modeling and engineering services primarily to offshore oil and gas companies.
Business Achievement: Innovation
Resource Environmental Solutions, L.L.C. (RES; Houston, TX) for its success in bringing wetlands and stream mitigation banking to the upstream oil and gas industry. Although the majority of permits requiring wetland and stream mitigation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act have historically tended to be for small projects, RES recognized the huge under-served need for large-scale mitigation in the booming area of oil and gas exploration and production and is focused exclusively on establishing mitigation banks for the major infrastructure development that goes along with such projects. In 2013, RES established the Upper Susquehanna River Mitigation Bank Phase 1 in Pennsylvania, thereby bringing commercial mitigation banking to the state-which has experienced substantial development of shale gas resources-for the first time. Over the past six years, RES has spent $75 million in identifying, acquiring, restoring, monitoring, and maintaining acreage under easement, primarily in the South and the Northeast. As of late 2013, the company, working with land investment and consulting and engineering partners, has restored 22,000 acres of wetlands and 12 miles of streams across 10 Army Corps of Engineers districts.
Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure (Annapolis, MD), for becoming the first sustainable infrastructure Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to complete an initial public offering (IPO). Hannon Armstrong is a provider of capital for profitable, sustainable infrastructure projects that increase energy efficiency, provide cleaner energy, positively impact the environment, or make more efficient use of natural resources. Formed more than 30 years ago, Hannon Armstrong has provided or arranged more than $4.3 billion of financing in more than 450 sustainable infrastructure transactions since 2000. Hannon Armstrong went public on April 18, 2013, and is currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange. This transaction, along with a credit facility, provides the company with over $500 million to invest in sustainable infrastructure projects. The company’s management team believes that climate change is a generationally defining issue and thus has implemented a clear and transparent policy stating that, in order for the company’s investment committee to consider investing in a particular project, the project must result in a positive impact on the environment.
Business Achievement: Information Technology
EarthSoft, Inc. (Concord, MA) for continuing to release new products and signing up many new clients in 2013. Released at mid-year, EQuIS Enterprise 6 features integrated Esri web GIS, dashboards, and widgets. New versions of Sample Planning Module, EQuIS Data Gathering Engine, and other products were also released, along with the EnviroInsite K’Nect module for data visualization. New clients added in 2013 included the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (with Brown & Caldwell), Kuwait EPA, ExxonMobil, British Petroleum, SNC-Lavalin, Brion Energy, and Queensland Alumina. EarthSoft also won additional work from Cetrel in Brazil, Caltex/Chevron Australia, Shell Oil, and others. EarthSoft’s EQuIS Online hosting business grew 30%. Several case studies of EQuIS use were released, from Cetrel, Chesapeake Energy, and others. In addition, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced it has more than 15 million records in EQuIS, and EQuIS projects with states of Montana and New York continued to move forward.
Locus Technologies (Mountain View, CA) for introducing a new software platform, adding new customers and renewing current ones for both verification services and software, significantly enhancing its suite of software products, and attaining Microsoft Gold Application Development competency. The firm generated record revenue in 2013 and was recognized by sustainability market analysis firm Verdantix as one of the top 10 companies in the Green Quadrant report on sustainability management software. Locus was also listed as one of the top 200 environmental companies by Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine (the only software company on this list) and was named the second largest environmental firm in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Journal. The company added the Locus platform for sustainability, energy, health and safety, and environmental compliance management and reporting, which offers a fully integrated cloud-based software platform that brings all mission-critical environmental applications together in an ERP-like system. Among others, Locus added Fresh Del Monte and Pilkington Glass to its list of verification customers, and Rogue Disposal & Recycling, Minto Mines, and Alaska Railroad to its list of software customers. Locus also had its contract with Los Alamos National Laboratory significantly expanded and extended for an additional four years. Additional new customers were added in food and agriculture, mining, nuclear, and energy industries.
RegScan, Inc. (Williamsport, PA) for its introduction of the RegScan One system, which allows users to access both U.S. and international regulatory information on the same platform. The three-step system allows users to determine which regulations apply to their operations, build their own legal registers and audit protocols, and monitor the compliance of their facilities anywhere in the world. The RegScan One system includes the expert alert tools of My WatchList and LookOut, which send change notifications to a user’s on-line dashboard or inbox. Also included is the Strikethrough feature, which allows users to compare existing regulatory documents with past or future revisions. In addition, RegScan One data can now be accessed on any online environmental management system. Users can do their research and get their alerts through the RegScan One system, or have their content exported via web services to any online EMIS system. The interface will ultimately be available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Russian and Ukrainian.
WSP USA Corp. (New York, NY) for its development of tools to facilitate compliance with the new “conflict minerals” requirements in the United States. In August 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published its final rule implementing Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act -the Conflict Minerals Law requiring U.S. publicly traded companies to investigate and report annually on whether their products contain tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold extracted in countries that suffer from ongoing political unrest or violence. WSP developed a comprehensive program of services to provide end-to-end conflict-minerals support, including strategy development, country-of-origin inquiries, risk assessment, due diligence, and SEC reporting. WSP’s Product Compliance Module (PCM), a web-based proprietary digital solution, was quickly adapted to collect and manage information from clients’ supply chains that’s required to complete the SEC “Form SD” and Conflict Minerals Report. PCM supports direct data collection from suppliers using an industry standard template developed by the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition/Global e-Sustainability Initiative. Using PCM, supplier data are reviewed and validated to identify missing, incomplete, or inappropriate information. PCM also serves as a communication platform to contact suppliers, track template submittals, and follow up until complete and accurate templates are obtained.
Project Merit: Remediation
Desarrollo Integral del Sur, Inc. (DISUR; Ponce, Puerto Rico) for developing a reuse and implementation plan for a petrochemical zone in Puerto Rico. For 30 years, a 3,500-acre rusting former petrochemical complex has marred the landscape of the coastal towns of Guayanilla and Pe?uelas. With an eye to transforming the area, the non-profit organization DISUR completed a master plan in February 2013 for the cleanup of 1,800 acres and the reuse of 13 properties there. Following the cleanup, establishment of a new generation of industries to produce renewable energy and microalgae-based pharmaceuticals, as well as the recycling of post-consumer and electronic waste, is expected to create over 1,000 new jobs and attract $500 million in private-sector investment. The proposed reuses address two regional issues: the problems of solid waste management and the high cost of electricity produced primarily through non-renewable energy sources. In the process of developing the master plan, DISUR mobilized 350 community members and 348 volunteer hours from area universities and professionals. In addition, local, state, and federal government agencies have recognized the plan’s importance for economic development. To support the cleanup, DISUR won a $1 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to continue with environmental assessments and develop cleanup plans.
Abscope Environmental Inc. (Canastota, NY) for its work as a major subcontractor to ECC (Burlingame, CA) for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort in the New York City area. Due to the severe extent of damage to residential properties, normal asbestos survey and abatement means and methods could not be utilized. Working hand in hand with ECC, Abscope developed a work approach that satisfied the requirements of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, met all of ECC’s strict safety policies, and provided a safe, efficient abatement procedure to expeditiously remove the hazard from the public at large. Combining resources from Abscope’s Soil Remediation Division and its Asbestos Division, Abscope performed cleanup work on Staten Island, in Queens, and at Breezy Point. Working seven days a week and 10 to 12 hours a day from mid-January through the end of April 2013, Abscope logged over 25,000 hours with no loss time due to injuries. In excess of 90,000 tons of suspect asbestos-containing material was removed from over 500 residential properties encompassed by the project.
Mill City Environmental Corp. (Lowell, MA) for its work in cleaning up and restoring the USS Cassin Young, a former World War II destroyer that now serves as a museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA. Mill City was awarded a contract the National Park Service (NPS) to abate asbestos and clean 18 fuel tanks on the historic Navy vessel. The firm removed fuel that had been sitting in the tanks for over 40 years, and all of the tanks were cleaned, with gas-free certificates issued for each. The ship’s tight quarters required creative abatement plans and engineering of containments to remove and repair the asbestos, while preserving and respecting the vessel’s rich history. Several areas could not be abated until the team dismantled parts of the vessel to access the asbestos. Precautions were taken to ensure that those same parts could properly be re-assembled. Mill City completed this four month project on time and within budget. The remediation team was also commended for its professionalism, with NPS staff repeatedly commenting that they “had never seen environmental work done so well.”
AECOM Technology Corp. (Los Angeles, CA) for its work on Canada’s largest contaminated site to ensure that the remediation effort was completed ahead of schedule and within budget. The cleanup of the former Sydney tar ponds and coke oven sites reconnected communities and physically transformed the 100-hectare site into a park and recreation area opened to the public in September 2013. Solidification and stabilization (S/S) technology was successfully applied to remediate the tar ponds, a 32-hectare former tidal estuary where historic steel-making and coal-coking operations had left a toxic legacy of 750,000 tons of sediments contaminated with PAHs, VOCs, PCBs, mercury, and other heavy metals. The AECOM-led project team conducted bench-scale studies and full-scale pilot testing to demonstrate that the S/S design solution met the project’s specific environmental, health, safety, sustainability, structural, and constructability criteria. Other remedial technologies were applied on site to complement the S/S component, including groundwater collection and treatment, cut-off walls, capping, and creek restoration. Beginning in 2008 contaminated sediments were solidified and stabilised using cement prior to placing an engineered site cap. The project received several distinguished industry awards, including the 2013 ACEC-Canada Tree of Life and Award of Excellence and the Consulting Engineers Ontario Award of Merit.
Dade Moeller (Richland, WA) for its provision of rapid-response sample quality management to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the remediation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Through a contract with IEc, Dade Moeller operates a turnkey sample intake and logistical center in Louisiana, supporting response efforts across the full 1,600 miles of Gulf coastline. The primary objective is to ensure the highest level of quality and integrity for the samples and data collected by the program in support of the natural resources damage assessment (NRDA) and the resulting remediation. More than 99% of the 150,000 collected samples arrived at the correct laboratory with an intact chain of custody, within holding time, and under correct preservation requirements providing additional evidence as to the value of our services. For the project, Dade Moeller is providing sample and data intake support to environmental sampling and observation teams throughout the Gulf region; procurement, storage, and rapid delivery of supplies to sampling teams; on-site accessioning of samples to ensure complete and documented samples; packing and shipping of samples to ensure accurate delivery; and training for sampling teams.
Sullivan International Group (San Diego, CA) for completion of the Lava Cap Waterline Infrastructure Installation at the Lava Cap Mine Superfund Site in California’s Nevada County under the company’s Security, Disaster, Infrastructure, and Construction (SDIC) contract with the Army Corps of Engineers’ Omaha District. The $3.4 million project, funded by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9, involved installation of a new water line to provide a reliable municipal drinking water supply from the Nevada Irrigation District to residences that had their water wells impacted by contaminants associated with materials removed during mining activities at the former Lava Cap Mine. The water line consists of approximately 8,000 linear feet of 8-inch ductile iron water main and 3,000 linear feet of service lines. Sullivan’s pre-mobilization planning work quickly expanded to include participation in the finalization of property easements and access agreements, and well as conducting one-on-one visits with property owners, participating in an EPA-sponsored open house, and supporting EPA in gaining approval of the project with the State Historic Preservation Office. Sullivan maintained flexibility to support the Corps during an unexpected one-month demobilization that occurred following the initial mobilization to the project site. Personnel remobilized to the site just after the Labor Day holiday, and despite the unexpected delay, Sullivan completed the project on schedule.
Project Merit: Habitat Restoration
AECOM Technology Corp. (Los Angeles, CA) for its work in restoring coral habitat in the Maldives. As part of the expansion and development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in the Maldives, AECOM conducted one of the largest coral restoration (16 hectares) and transplantation feasibility studies anywhere in the world. The study included the technical evaluation of potential sites and feasibility of suitable coral transplantation and restoration techniques under local oceanographic conditions. The project was designed for implementation through involvement of local islanders for economic benefits and sustainability. Based on technical and social considerations (anthropogenic activities, light penetration, current and tides, availability of locally hired resources, etc.), three optimal lagoons were identified where coral transplantation and restoration work could be undertaken. Undersea sites were inspected by divers and snorkelers. Discussions were held with local councils to ensure stakeholder involvement. Multiple transplantation technologies were evaluated for suitability under local conditions and requirements. The study considered major risk scenarios, including tsunamis, cyclones, rise in temperature, and potential bleaching of corals.
Colorado Springs Utilities (Colorado Springs, CO) for restoration of habitat disturbed by a major pipeline project. Restoration of native vegetation on privately and publicly owned properties affected by construction of the Southern Delivery System (SDS) pipeline in Pueblo County, Colorado, reached a significant milestone during the 2013 growing season, employing these innovative techniques. The utility hired environmental restoration experts through a competitive process and managed them separately from the pipeline contractors. By the fall of 2013, native vegetation achieved significant growth and is on track to meet permit requirements. The utility also coordinated with university-based botanical experts to establish a foundation for placing native seed mixes on 323 acres. It installed an irrigation system, including 95,000 feet of underground HDPE pipe, 185,550 feet of PVC pipe, 222 watering zones, and nearly 16,000 sprinkler heads. Due to expense and water supply availability, irrigation typically is not used in restoration efforts; however, irrigation resulted in successful re-establishment of native plant varieties despite drought conditions before and after construction. Colorado Springs Utilities also assessed stakeholder needs and prevented or resolved issues by building relationships with hundreds of property and business owners, managers, and users of a state park, an all-terrain vehicle park, and other agencies.
Southeastern Archeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH; Jacksonville, FL) for its work in ensuring the protection of cultural resources during the restoration of the Chassahowizka Springs in Florida. For the project, which was aimed at restoring water quality and habitat of an important resource within the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), SEARCH developed the scope of work to ensure that restoration goals were achieved while complying with cultural resource legislation. SEARCH’s underwater archeologists recovered thousands of artifacts spanning historic and prehistoric periods, including Paleoindian, Spanish settlement, and Civil War-era periods. Following the completion of the fieldwork, on behalf of SWFWMD, SEARCH provided materials interpreting the artifacts for the public, including the hosting of a Public Archeology Day at the springs that was covered by CNN.
Project Merit: Green Building
EORM (San Jose, CA) for its role as the environmental consultant to Juniper Networks in the site preparation and planning for its new 635,000 square foot high-tech campus. The facility consists of two eight-story towers and a five-story parking structure on an 80-acre site formerly owned by Lockheed Martin in Silicon Valley’s Moffett Park. In preparing for the demolition of the old satellite and missile systems development and manufacturing facility, EORM directed the identification and removal of hazardous materials, the identification of hazardous materials in soil and groundwater, the Phase I assessments and permitting, and the site safety and environmental planning for construction. Sustainable project features include: photovoltaic arrays on the parking structure; heat-reflecting and green roofs; 2,300 square feet of green living wall; lab and server rooms cooled via outside air; extensive use of reclaimed water; and light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. The project also achieved 98% diversion of the materials from the old Lockheed building. The campus has achieved LEED Gold and Platinum certifications, and in 2013 it was recognized as the “Best Green Project/Most Innovative Design” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Project Merit: Water/Wastewater
A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc. (Rockville, MD) for its work on the conversion of a municipal parking lot into a water treatment project for the town of Ashland, Virginia. A. Morton Thomas provided surveying, civil engineering, and design services, including stormwater management analysis, for a new lot that eliminates runoff from 90th percentile storms and reduces the previous impervious surface area by 40%. The lot features permeable pavement and bioretention capability to handle the stormwater. The permeable pavement lot sits atop 18 inches of open-graded stone allowing water to be detained. The bioretention facility used native vegetation and specially designed soils to filter excess runoff providing additional water treatment. Filterra BioPave supplied the permeable interlocking concrete pavers, bioretention filter media, and associated plant materials.
CH2M HILL (Denver, CO) for the design, construction, and operation of the Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility in Pima County, Arizona. To comply with new regulatory requirements set by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (RWRD) needed to reduce total nitrogen concentrations in the effluent it discharged into the Santa Cruz River. The county awarded a design-build-operate (DBO) contract to CH2M HILL for $164 million, choosing this delivery method to secure substantial benefits for its customers including timely, efficient, and cost-effective scheduling, optimal risk allocation, competitive design selection, clear assignment of performance responsibilities to a single contracting entity, long-term project operations and maintenance efficiencies, and cost savings beyond those anticipated using the traditional delivery methods. Through the project, the 32 million gallon per day (mgd) Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility has addressed its discharge issues, transferring solids from the facility to the Tres Rios Water Reclamation Facility via the new sanitary sewer interconnect. CH2M HILL’s safety performance on the project has been excellent, with over 825,000 hours delivered with only a single recordable incident.
Environmental Managment and Planning Solutions Inc. (EMPSi; San Francisco, CA) for its work on the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System in northern New Mexico. Under a $4.3 million contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, EMPSi is providing resource surveying, environmental permitting, and NEPA compliance support for the water system, which will provide clean, reliable drinking water to the Pueblos of Namb¨¦, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, and Tesuque. The regional water system consists of surface-water diversion facilities on the Rio Grande, water treatment facilities, long- and short-term storage, including tanks and aquifer storage and recovery wells, and over 160 miles of transmission and distribution pipes. The water system is the result of the Aamodt settlement agreement, which resolved the nation’s longest running Indian water rights case. In 2013, EMPSi addressed a number of unique challenges, including fulfilling all milestones on an aggressive timeline to ensure the water system is functional within three years; coordinating with five sovereign nations, each with their own set of traditions, laws, and regulations, in addition to the state of New Mexico and Santa Fe County; implementing a dynamic and encompassing outreach program to address the cultural, environmental, and sociopolitical concerns unique to each Pueblo; and developing a compliance process to provide flexibility for implementation and unexpected events on the landscapes, such as discovering of archeological sites. The Bureau of Reclamation has provided EMPSi with an “exceptional” rating for quality of product and service, the bureau’s highest ranking.
J. M. Waller Associates, Inc. (Fairfax, VA) for its management of the stormwater improvement project at the Army Reserve facility in Duluth, Minnesota. J. M. Waller applied its stormwater mitigation expertise to analyze, plan, program, and implement an approach to protect Lake Superior. The company’s scientists conducted site assessments to analyze, collaborate, and develop a construction design that efficiently addressed stormwater runoff. Maintenance activities at the facility had created a high-risk situation with significant potential for oil contaminated stormwater runoff reaching the surface water. J. M. Waller solved this issue by adding rain gardens to handle the volume of water from the roof downspouts, mitigating the muddy conditions. The installation of new drain lines and more catch basins and re-sloping the pavement mitigated the standing water. New features, including infiltration trenches along the borders of the property, increased infiltration and added a spill migration barrier. The existing retention/infiltration pond was enlarged to accommodate additional paved surface in the Military Equipment Parking (MEP) facility. A new retention/infiltration pond to the south was added to ensure that additional MEP sheet flow was collected and prevented from directly entering the harbor.
Technology Merit: Remediation
CH2M HILL (Denver, CO) for the installation and operation of eight solar-powered bioreactor systems in five states and Puerto Rico. In 2013, bioreactors treated over one million gallons of contaminated groundwater using only solar energy for power. Bioreactors utilize organic mulch-filled excavations with groundwater recirculation systems powered by solar energy. This combination of enhanced bioremediation and solar-powered pumping has significantly reduced the time to complete cleanup at these sites. The remedy has achieved over 95% reductions in trichloroethylene (TCE) and other chlorinated solvents with minimal maintenance or oversight. The carbon footprint of a bioreactor is less than 10% of an equivalent pump and treatment system. CH2M HILL’s bioreactor systems have been featured in EPA green remediation case studies and publications. The bioreactor technology was a contributing factor in CH2M HILL’s success in winning and executing the Air Force performance-based contracts in 2013.
Technology Merit: Air Quality
Novinda Corp. (Denver, CO) for its development of Amended Silicates HgX, a non-carbon reagent that removes mercury from coal-fired power plant emissions, enabling utilities to comply with the EPA’s strict Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS). This mineral-based product removes mercury via a chemical reaction, providing economic and environmental advantages unavailable with competing products. Amended Silicates was the first non-carbon reagent for mercury emission control in coal-fired generating units. As a non-carbon product, AS-HgX leaves fly ash pristine for reuse in manufacturing concrete, eliminating landfill burial of millions of tons of fly ash annually and providing an important revenue stream. Extensive laboratory testing and full-scale tests at 35 power plants helped refine the product and understand its many benefits, including consistent compliance with MATS; a 90% smaller carbon footprint during manufacturing than carbon-based products; conversion of the mercury to mercuric sulfide, which doesn’t leach into the environment; mercury removal with two to three times the efficiency of competing products; and 25 to 50% operating cost savings and reduced operating expenses compared with carbon-based products.
Technology Merit: Information Technology
3E Co. (Carlsbad, CA) for its introduction of its 3ESC platform for enhanced regulatory and risk management. The new web-based platform is the foundation for 3E’s supply chain practice. It features a range of associated content, services, and solutions to support product compliance initiatives, such as compliance assurance, supplier engagement, customer response, reasonable country of origin inquiry (RCOI) due diligence, and information and documentation management. 3ESC serves as a central repository for critical product, supplier, and raw material risk information, including product content, compliance status, and country of origin. The platform contains content collected from upstream suppliers by 3E’s team of global obtainment specialists and enriched by 3E’s team of regulatory experts.
Groundwater & Environmental Services, Inc. (GES; Neptune, NJ) for applying a holistic approach to improve data management within unconventional gas well potable water sampling workflows. The upstream oil and gas industry relies on accurate pre- and post-drill data as a critical component of safe, sustainable, and responsible natural resource development. The workflow includes landowner, lab, regulator, and operator communications. GES’ approach incorporates multiple software applications, rugged tablet computers, stringent data quality and safety procedures, trained teams, and in-house data validation resources to streamline the pairing of field and lab data, greatly improve data quality, reduce wasteful paper usage, and meet the most stringent regulatory reporting and timeline requirements. The software set includes EarthSoft EQuIS/EDGE and Esri ArcGIS and GES’ own deliverable tracking system. GES’ deliverable tracking system is used to record the field electronic data deliverables and ensure that regulatory deadlines are met. Reports, including completion checks, landowner letters, and statistical comparisons of pre- and post-drill datasets, are automatically distributed to stakeholders. This process has been used to collect thousands of samples across US shale plays.
Golder Associates Corp. (Atlanta, GA) for expanding its remote monitoring product GolderWatch beyond the United States in 2013 and deploying units in Canada, Australia, and Europe. GolderWatch eliminates the need to manually collect data by gathering the data directly from instrumentation in the field and sending it to the cloud via cellular, satellite, wifi, or Ethernet connections. It can transmit immediately if a threshold is exceeded; otherwise it just sends the data at the scheduled time. GolderWatch is used to monitor flow rates, water quality, temperatures, and levels. Applications in landfill gas, leachate, groundwater, and tank monitoring have been central to the product’s acceptance. It’s also being used to monitor elevators at unmanned parking facilities, preventing people from being stranded. The product also reduces human error by eliminating data inaccuracies from manually entered data. In addition, by minimizing site visits, GolderWatch has a positive health and safety impact, decreasing field staffs’ exposure to hazards. The typical payback period for a GolderWatch deployment is less than one year.
Technology Merit: Biotechnology
Microvi Biotechnologies (Hayward, CA) for application of its MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) technology in the area of biochemical production. MNE is a method of synthetically engineering the microenvironment for microorganisms to create process-customized biocatalysts. Until 2013, the company’s focus was to scale up and apply MNE for water and wastewater treatment, accumulating operations in the United States and the Asia-Pacific related to metals removal, industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, and contamination degradation, including a job supported by a $1.5 million grant from National Institutes of Health for 1,4-dioxane treatment. In 2013, Microvi harnessed MNE for biochemical production, receiving in July a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for a new bio-butanol technology. In November, the company was selected by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for a $3.5 million grant for a gas-to-liquid fuels project.
Aquatic Informatics Inc. (Vancouver, British Columbia) for expanding international revenue from 24% of total revenue in 2012 to 50% in 2013 and establishing a new subsidiary in Australia. The 90-employee company, a provider of data management software for the water industry, provides the Aquarius package to government agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Water Survey Canada (WSC) and is in the process of completing the ambitious replacement of USGS’s legacy automated data processing system, using Aquarius to modernize the storage, processing, and publishing of hydrological data collected from 12,500 continuous gauging stations. New customers in Australia include the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Brisbane City Council, and Goulburn-Murray Water. After doubling overall revenue in 2012, Aquatic Informatics executed a major hiring initiative in 2013 and continues to enjoy significant revenue growth.
New Practice Areas
Marstel-Day (Fredericksburg, VA) for its initiation of a practice supporting the Air Force in developing policy for and implementing a newly established legislative authority. This new authority allows government services to develop partnerships between installations and surrounding communities. Marstel-Day supported the Air Force in bringing this collaborative process to nine installations, which brought together leaders of businesses, civic associations, government, environmental organizations, the military, and other stakeholders to explore the possibilities for cost savings and mutual benefits, many of which also have environmental benefits such as energy and water use reduction. Many ideas emerged in each of the individual communities, and community-installation committees developed these ideas through a series of meetings into a workable list of “can do” items in the near term. Examples of successes in the first year include combining recycling programs, sharing waste-management facilities and operations, sharing recreation, healthcare, and other functions, and providing for shared community/airmen training.
EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc. (Hunt Valley, MD) for success in its new contaminated sediment management practice area. Through significant contract wins, the revenue of EA’s contaminated sediment management practice has more than doubled over the past three years. With the addition of key new hires and the establishment of strategically located offices, EA has successfully leveraged the capabilities and experience of two of its core practice areas-hazardous waste assessment/cleanup and dredged material management-to significantly advance its expertise in contaminated sediment investigation, remedial alternatives development, and construction-phase services. The company’s capabilities originate from its long-standing aquatic science and impact assessment expertise, applying lessons learned to develop efficient sediment characterization strategies and effective remedies that restore aquatic function and habitat. EA utilizes a risk-based approach, which includes analysis of proportionate and relative risk, short- versus long-term effectiveness, long-term liability, new technology efficiency/reliability, and sustainability. Combined, EA’s sediment-related practices now constitute 10% of the firm’s multi-service portfolio.
Element Markets (Houston, TX) for establishing a new market for biogas, facilitating compliance under the Renewable Fuel Standard. In 2013, Element Markets established relationships with natural gas fuel providers, who can use biogas to produce compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) for vehicles, generating renewable fuel credits under state and federal programs. Element Markets registered multiple landfill biogas facilities under both the Renewable Fuel Standard and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in California (LCFS) in 2013-including the first landfill biogas facility under LCFS. The expansion of the company’s biogas business will add to base revenue, which is expected to come in at over $58 million in 2013. Element Markets continues to innovate novel marketing strategies for biogas, incentivizing development of new projects in the emerging biogas industry and spreading the use of renewable fuel.
Industry Leadership Awards
American Water (Voorhees, NJ) for taking a proactive approach to leveraging expertise and its large and geographically diverse footprint to become an early adopter of new technologies. The Innovation Development Process (IDP) fills a vital need to seek innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions for all water utilities. It combines research and development, technical expertise, and infrastructure assets from both internal and external business partners to create greater efficiencies in areas of drinking water, water reuse, desalination, wastewater, and bio-energy. The IDP provides a conduit for innovators to allow technologies to be evaluated and to accelerate the adoption and market penetration of products or services that help solve pressing needs within the industry. American Water uses this program to seek out, vet, validate, develop, and deploy water industry-related innovations that have potential commercial value. Through the IDP, American Water is bringing new solutions and technologies to the marketplace. Since the program’s inception in 2009, approximately 400 ideas have been reviewed and several have proceeded to pilot testing and the preparation of a business case.
Golder Associates Corp. (Atlanta, GA) for completing the 10th successful year of its Golder Trust for Orphans (GTO). In 2003, the employees of Golder Associates, a global design and construction, environmental and engineering consulting company, started the Golder Trust for Orphans to help put their company value of “caring” into action. Their plan was to raise funds that they would give to organizations in Africa who were caring for children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic. The funds would be used to start small businesses, the revenues of which would go back to the charity, creating more sustainable futures for the children. Over the past 10 years, Golder’s employees and operating companies have raised more than $3 million U.S. that has gone directly towards the projects. The funds have been used to support 14 organizations in seven African countries, positively affecting the lives of over 2,500 AIDS orphans and their caretakers. Over 50 Golder employees have spent time volunteering on site at orphan care projects supported by the GTO. To celebrate a decade of making a difference, Golder kicked off a program to have $10 donated for each new “like” on the GTO Facebook page. Beginning on July 10th and running until September 10th, the campaign resulted in over 3,700 new followers and raised a total of $36,760 for the charity.
Groundwater & Environmental Services, Inc. (GES; Neptune, NJ) for its role as a key technical content provider for the new Pennsylvania Water Well Handbook, a publication developed by the Shale Alliance for Energy Research Pennsylvania (SAFER PA) to serve as a valuable resource for private water supply owners. The handbook, in print and interactive online versions) offers important information related to domestic water supply systems, including aquifers, proper construction, potential pollution sources, well maintenance, water quality standards, and water treatment. GES is a member of the board of directors of SAFER PA, an independent, not-for-profit organization that collaborates with academia, government, environmental organizations, the natural gas industry, and other stakeholders to advance technology, analysis, and education in support of the safe and sustainable development of Pennsylvania shale resources.