About the 2021 EBJ Business Achievement Awards: In October-December 2021, 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 staff, EBJ editorial advisory board members and regular contributors. (Disclaimer: Company audits were not conducted to verify information or claims submitted with nominations)
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Large Firms
SCS Engineers (Long Beach, Calif.) for a 37% increase in gross revenues by fiscal year-end in December 2021, representing an unprecedented jump in business, and for focusing more attention on climate change and renewable energy. SCS Engineers has grown steadily for decades, celebrating its 51st anniversary this year with Founder Tom Conrad receiving the Solid Waste Assn. of North America’s (SWANA) highest honor, the Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award. SCS Engineers’ core capabilities are solid and hazardous waste management, renewable energy, land remediation, and environmental compliance. The firm’s scientists, and consultants produce technologies and create sustainable programs that help run industrial operations and essential public services more efficiently while reducing greenhouse gases and environmental impacts. In addition, the firm’s technologies and sustainability programs for solid waste management are finding footholds in the agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing sectors. SCS clients entrust the company’s more than 1,000 employee-owners with managing millions of metric tons of anthropogenic CO2e greenhouse gases every year. As environmental engineers, the firm collects and beneficially uses or destroys enough to offset greenhouse gas emissions annually from 14.8 million passenger cars.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Large Firms
Tetra Tech for achieving record financial results and completing the year with all-time high revenue, operating income, cash flow and backlog. Gross revenue was $3.2 billion and net revenue increased from fiscal 2020 by 9% to $2.6 billion. In the 4th quarter, Tetra Tech achieved record results with revenue totaling $892 million, up 18% year-over-year and backlog was a record $3.48 billion, up 7% year-over-year and sequentially. In 2021, the company leveraged its proprietary technologies and solutions, referred to collectively as the Tetra Tech Delta, to deliver on more than 70,000 projects in more than 100 countries on seven continents. In 2021, the company strengthened its industry leadership with five acquisitions of high-end consulting and technology firms that enhance its global technical capabilities. Tetra Tech has delivered on water and environmental programs for more than 50 years, and the company’s Leading with Science® approach was reflected in the acquisitions of IBRA-RMAC and Enterprise Automation, adding to Tetra Tech’s digital water expertise. The acquisition of Hoare Lea in the United Kingdom, an industry leader in sustainable design innovation, expanded Tetra Tech’s global high-performance buildings practice. Tetra Tech also acquired Coanda, adding high-end expertise in computational fluid dynamics, predictive modeling and a state of the art in-house research facility. Kaizen expanded its management consulting capabilities for international development clients with expertise in health, education, and sustainable economic solutions.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mid-size Firms
Verdantas (Dublin, Ohio), private equity fund Round Table Capital Partners and industry veteran CEO Gerry Salontai for partnering to create a vision to build an engineering and science consulting company focused on the environment. In less than 18 months, they acquired five similar-sized companies, each with $10-$25 million in annual revenues, and combined them into a single organization aligned under one brand: Verdantas —all the while operating above industry median profitability. The five companies merged to create Verdantas were: Hull & Associates in 2020 followed by Duffield Associates, HSW Consulting, GeoInsight, and Alden Research Laboratory in 2021. Accomplishments included: Structured operations and executive leadership teams; Introducing a common set of management KPI’s, authorities matrix, and other operating guidelines; Aligning under a single set of brand messages, core values, and visual brand assets; Developing quality and safety programs drawing upon each company’s existing best practices; Implementing a common sales-tracking program and goals; Establishing key client and practice group programs to grow portfolio accounts; Transitioning 450 staff to common payroll, benefits, project accounting (ERP) system, and incentive compensation plan; Introducing a career-pathing program and role-leveling across the company; Completing a new multi-year strategic plan.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mid-Size Firms
In 2021 Los Alamos Technical Associates (LATA, Albuquerque, N.M.) not only celebrated its 45th year of leadership in project excellence but also executed 40% growth in revenues thanks to organic growth with key clients in the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and commercial sectors. The company significantly expanded work in design and construction of environmental remediation systems, especially with regard to groundwater treatment systems, and continued its long history of successful decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of facilities with legacy radiological, chemical, and explosive contamination.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mid-size Firms
Air emissions monitoring and testing company Alliance Technical Group (ATG, Decatur, Ala.) for more than 100% growth completing eight acquisitions in 2021. These strategic acquisitions have allowed ATG to expand into four new service lines and increase revenue by more than 100% compared to 2020. This rapid growth has enabled ATG to expand from four locations in 2016 to more than 29 today while increasing headcount from less than 150 employees at the beginning of the year to over 750 at the end of 2021. Companies acquired by ATG in 2021 were Ace Environmental Consultants, Interpoll Laboratories, Ambient Air Services, Horizon Air Measurement Services, Air Quality Services (AQS), O’Brien & Gere (Ramboll’s Air Testing and Monitoring Division), Emission Monitoring Services, Inc. (EMSI), and Aeros Environmental.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mid-size Firms
Junk King (Burlingame, Calif.), a leading junk removal brand described as “the greenest junk hauling business in the market,” for an unprecedented growth year in 2021. Junk King ended the year with just over $100 million in revenue, representing a 25% YOY increase and 40% system-wide growth across the United States. Junk King attributed its performance to superior teamwork and logistics infrastructure. The customer-centric franchise has set a goal to keep 60% of all materials it collects out of landfills by repurposing and recycling materials. Extra-large trucks —20% bigger than competitors’ — help decrease the company’s carbon footprint while saving customers money. In 2021, Junk King added 20 new locations and 72 new trucks to its lineup, putting today’s total fleet at 501. “That’s a lot of junk and a significant impact on the environment and local communities,” said Michael Andreacchi, co-founder and CEO of Junk King Systems, LLC. Launched in 2009, Junk King was recently awarded a Franchise Innovation Award for the “Most Innovative Consumer Self-Service Tools” and was named on Franchise Times’ Fast & Serious list.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms
HSG, LLC (Herndon Solutions Group, Las Vegas, Nev.) for growth of 300% and annual revenues exceeding $13 million in 2021. The company experienced significant growth in both federal and commercial sectors, including the award in GFY2021 of a 10-year NASA Environmental and Medical Contract with a potential value of over $322 million. Described as NASA’s largest small business environmental contract to date, it includes the potential for additional growth related to 14 other NASA Centers. HSG was also a key contributor to environmental impact planning, including NASA Mars exploration projects and development of commercial space programs. Since 2008, HSG has delivered core environmental and emergency planning services for multiple federal and state customers. Recently, HSG has expanded professional services to include occupational and environmental health, pandemic response, and ecological services. In 2021, HSG also won multiple delivery orders specializing in environmental planning and resource development for the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management. In the commercial sector, HSG has assisted multiple water utilities with implementation of America’s Water Infrastructure Act requirements. Despite two Government shutdowns, multiple operations-impacting hurricanes, plus a global pandemic, HSG has consistently delivered efficient and effective services for its customers.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms
On behalf of Genlith, an American investment firm focused on the new energy ecosystem, SGA (Santiago, Chile) for growing from 90 to 110 employees and bouncing back from the pandemic in 2021 with excellent performance and profitability. SGA is a 28-year Chilean environmental consultancy firm offering strategic advice, environmental impact, permitting, cultural heritage consulting, water resources management, and environmental compliance. Growth was achieved by re-focusing as a leaders-oriented organization and concentrating on key people and clients. SGA adapted to the needs of the time, digitalizing processes and adopting massive work-from-home initiatives while keeping people in the field for essential operations. This allowed for the continued delivery of excellent service and quality work product. During the last two years, while developing some 100 projects simultaneously, SGA successfully obtained environmental approval for one of the largest mining projects in the world: Collahuasi mine expansion, valued at $3.2 billion and located in a very sensitive environmental hotspot. SGA was founded by its CEO Dr. Jaime Solari, who was nominated Engineer of the Year in 2021 by the Chilean Assn. of Consulting Engineers.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms
Marine Taxonomic Services, Ltd. (MTS, San Marcos, Calif.) for a milestone performance in 2021 distinguished by revenues of more than $3 million and growth of 42% for the year. From 2009 to 2021, MTS has expanded from four employees to 21 employees, generating 18% average revenue growth year over year and a 441% increase since 2009. Contributing significantly to business in 2021, MTS launched the largest aquatic invasive species management project in Lake Tahoe history. Valued at over $3.4 million, MTS is self-performing the entire project over three years. In addition, MTS partnered with another San Diego firm to respond to an infestation of Caulerpa prolifera. These large-scale projects, on top of a consistently growing portfolio of clients, have enabled MTS to grow sustainably over the last decade. Marine Taxonomic Services was established in 1990 by Howard Jones; in 2009 Seth Jones replaced his father as President and CEO in partnership with his wife and COO, Robin Jones, broadening the company’s capabilities. With a focused approach to expanding project management, field services and dive services, in addition to growing laboratory capabilities, MTS filled a unique niche in the environmental consulting industry. To support the company’s growth trajectory, MTS hired statistician and biologist Dr. Robert Mooney in 2012, and added seasoned project managers in 2017 to support growth in San Diego and in 2021 to support expansion in the Tahoe Basin.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: 100% ESOP Ownership
Dudek (Encinitas, Calif.) for transitioning from being partially owned to wholly owned by its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) as of Oct. 1, 2021. This move to 100% ESOP ownership preserves a 40-year culture of employee ownership. A vital component of Dudek’s growth and stability, the ESOP was established in 2003 to provide a means by which the firm could effectively transfer its ownership internally. The ESOP provides an equitable means for profit sharing and wealth building over time for all employees contributing to a company’s success. As Dudek continues to grow and evolve, the ESOP is a powerful tool in driving employee engagement by promoting an ownership culture, enhancing employee retirement planning, and bolstering employee retention. Dudek reports that its ownership culture motivates staff to perform passionately and responsibly on behalf of clients: “As employee-owners, Dudekians own the quality of the firm’s work products and reputation. Our culture breeds a higher level of accountability and delivers a greater level of excellence for our clients and their projects.” This move also coincided with the two highest-earning years in Dudek’s 41-year history. The firm believes its success is “best placed in the hands of the employees who own it, and the company’s performance continues to prove that.”
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
WSP (Montreal, Canada) for two acquisitions in 2021 – both broadening the firm’s environmental consulting expertise. In February WSP announced the acquisition of Earth Consulting Group Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.), an environmental and engineering consulting firm with approximately 90 employees. EarthCon added specialized technical expertise in remediation to WSP’s existing suite of services. It also further strengthened WSP’s capabilities in strategic environmental engineering and consulting, compliance, due diligence, and data management, while expanding its geographic presence in the southeastern United States. The deal gave WSP access to EarthCon’s proprietary Groundwater Plume Analytics® tools, helping governmental agencies and industrial clients better understand groundwater plume behavior. In April WSP completed the milestone acquisition of Golder Associates (Mississauga, Ontario), one of the most iconic and respected brands in the environmental industry, for approximately US$1.14 billion. Golder is a global consulting firm with 60 years of experience in providing earth sciences and environmental consulting. According to WSP, the addition of Golder increased WSP’s workforce by approximately 7,000 people “and together will represent the leading global environmental consulting firm with approximately 14,000 of our 60,000 professionals dedicated to accelerating the world’s green transition.” The Environment sector at WSP has been rebranded as Earth and Environment as part of the integration process to reflect Golder’s full breadth of capabilities that will be integrated into WSP’s platform. The acquisition directly contributed to the goals of WSP’s 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan and is expected to contribute to both strategic growth and value creation for many years to come.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Pace Analytical Services, a division of Pace Science and Technology Company (Minneapolis, Minn.), for rolling up a series of environmental acquisitions and growing its nationwide laboratory network: Companies joining Pace in 2021 included:
PDC Laboratories, Inc. specializing in water quality, groundwater, landfill monitoring, and environmental-related testing services. PDC Laboratories began as a family business in 1981 and included four laboratories across Illinois and Missouri.
Special Pathogens Laboratory, a market leader in Legionella testing, detection, remediation, and prevention.
Basic Laboratory, Inc., a full-service environmental analytical testing company with locations in northern California.
ProScience Analytical Services, Inc., a provider of environmental analytical services in the northeastern United States, and
BC Laboratories, Inc., a provider of environmental analytical services in the western region of the United States.
Throughout the year Pace also invested in life science acquisitions. Private equity firm Aurora Capital Group acquired Pace in 2016.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Kleinfelder (San Diego, Calif.) for acquiring Century Engineering, Inc. (Hunt Valley, Md.) in November 2021, the company’s fifth strategic acquisition since December 2019 when it purchased Advantage Engineers, followed by Garcia and Associates, Poggemeyer Design Group and Gas Transmission Systems in 2020. These five acquisitions have added more than 1,300 staff and over 40 offices, accelerating the firm’s growth in strategic geographies and expansion in robust markets. Kleinfelder has curated key management positions focused on mergers and acquisitions, including the designation of a Revenue Synergy Leader. This approach has enabled Kleinfelder to develop and implement a comprehensive revenue synergy growth strategy that is inclusive of all entities. By executing this strategy, Kleinfelder has strengthened client relationships, enhanced service offerings, and leveraged staffing resources, all of which have contributed to an incremental increase in revenue greater than each firm acting independently. Kleinfelder believes its approach to acquisition synergy has helped to reinforce the company’s position as a major player in the transportation, water, energy, and private infrastructure marketplace. Kleinfelder reported more than $12 million in synergistic project wins and a significant increase in new opportunities as the direct result of acquisition synergy efforts in 2021.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Terracon Consultants, Inc. (Olathe, Kansas), a 100% broad-based, employee-owned firm for strategic acquisitions to strengthen service lines and extend geographical reach for clients. In 2021, amid pandemic and remote operations, Terracon acquired Sport Environmental Services, LLC (Midland, Texas). Sport and Terracon joined forces to support Terracon’s 2023 Strategic Plan of expanding client base and service offerings. Sport serves clients in the energy production industry by providing solutions for the oil and gas industry and unique expertise in environmental risks and liabilities. Sport embraces technology and innovation that mirrors Terracon’s Innovation Division with their creation of GISport, a GIS-based tool that works with field data collector applications to increase efficiencies and manage client regulatory schedules. The Sport acquisition also brought some of Terracon’s existing services such as LDAR to Texas clients. In May Terracon added Pivvot (Kansas City, Mo.) and its 20 employees. Pivvot streamlines projects with geospatial location intelligence, including renewable energy siting and suitability, electric transmission and pipeline routing, environmental impact analysis, and custom data acquisition. The company primarily serves clients in the power generation and transmission, engineering and construction, and oil and natural gas markets. In March, Terracon acquired GET Solutions, Inc. (Virginia Beach, Va.), a full-service geotechnical, environmental, and materials testing firm with 95 employees serving public- and private-sector clients throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
In May 2021, Trihydro Corporation (Laramie, Wyo.), a national environmental and engineering firm, acquired Jacobson James & Associates (JJ&A), a California-based firm founded in 2004. The acquisition diversified and broadened Trihydro’s market presence in the western United States while enhancing the firm’s ability to serve its national client base with expanded resources and expertise. Trihydro and JJ&A have long-standing track records of delivering successful engineering and environmental consulting services. JJ&A’s reputation for client-focused solutions aligns with Trihydro’s culture and supports the team’s continued commitment to serving as a trusted advisor when partnering with clients on projects. The acquisition enhances Trihydro’s core service areas of complex environmental cleanup, stormwater, hazardous materials management, natural resource permitting, and regulatory strategy development while adding new service areas including forest resiliency planning, biomass management, and post-fire restoration. With the acquisition, Trihydro added two new office locations (Roseville and Arcata, Calif.) for a total of 21 offices nationwide. The expanded business is now comprised of over 500 professionals dedicated to providing quality environmental and engineering services to clients and communities throughout the country.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
ERM (London, UK) for completing a record nine acquisitions in 2021, adding more than 400 people to the business and strengthening ERM’s position as a leading global sustainability consultancy. ERM’s acquisition of Arcus Consultancy Services, E4tech, Renewables Consulting Group (RCG) and Element Energy will help ERM’s clients drive the change required to achieve the global low-carbon energy transition. The addition of Sustainalize and Stratos strengthens ERM’s strategic ESG (environmental, social and governance) expertise to support clients in navigating sustainability challenges across a range of sectors. ERM also enhanced its safety capabilities with the addition of Engineering Safety Consultants (ESC), a specialist in process safety, and First Option Safety Group, which specializes in media production safety. ERM’s most recent acquisition, OPEX, a specialist software company delivering artificial intelligence (AI) and data science solutions to carbon intensive industries, increases ERM’s digital analytics and AI capabilities related to both climate change and corporate sustainability services. Collectively, these companies have a material impact on bolstering ERM’s global capabilities while expanding ERM’s ability to deliver successful outcomes from “boots to boardroom”—developing strategic and technical solutions that advance objectives on the ground or at the executive level.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Trinity Consultants for completing its fourth private equity transaction with the June 2021 transaction where exiting investor-owner Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP transferred its majority ownership stake to NY-based Oak Hill Capital. Over the course of LLCP’s investment, Trinity Consultants completed 17 acquisitions, further cementing its position as a market leader in air quality consulting, and expanding its offerings across other strategic EHS, engineering and sciences service areas. (Trinity ranked 45th on EBJ’s environmental C&E list in 2020 revenues.) Jay Hofmann, President and CEO of Trinity Consultants said: “We benefited significantly from LLCP’s management-centric approach, valuable strategic insights, and support of both organic growth initiatives and accelerated M&A efforts.” LLCP acquired it stake in September 2015 from Gryphon Investors. In November 2011, Gryphon acquired it majority stake in Trinity from Sentinel Capital Partners, who invested in late 2007.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
CHA Consulting Inc. (Albany, N.Y.) for pressing on with its mergers and acquisitions strategy in 2021 despite the challenges of the global pandemic. In February 2021 CHA acquired Reiss Engineering (Winter Springs, Fla.), adding approximately 40 employees including experienced engineers and project managers in water services encompassing planning, modeling, design, construction management, permitting, and compliance. The acquisition added four new offices and local CHA staff across Central Florida. This acquisition expanded CHA’s water and wastewater reach into the growing Florida infrastructure market while providing both teams greater resources. CHA moved quickly to integrate Reiss under the CHA brand within 90 days. This expansion of the firm’s water resources team positions CHA as a significant resource to clients in Florida and other parts of the country as they tap into new infrastructure funding, which includes $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure. The Reiss Engineering transaction followed one acquisition in January 2020 and three in 2019, helping CHA to achieve an accelerated growth trajectory with expanded service offerings, geographic reach and market position.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Geosyntec Consultants (Boca Raton, Fla.) for acquiring Applied Technology and Management (ATM, Gainesville, Fla.), an engineering and consulting firm specializing in coastal, waterfront and water resource engineering with revenues of approximately $10-million. Previously owned by a yachting company, the acquisition provides greater access to experts in the United States and Dubai to create innovative, high-value solutions for coastal and inland resiliency and adaptation. Together the companies provide robust solutions in coastal resiliency and adaptation, waterfront development and redevelopment, and other adjacent markets such as offshore wind, offshore pipelines and conveyances, and ports and harbors. Post-merger, they have already won work each company could not have done so on its own, demonstrating the power of divestiture from a non-core holding company in a different industry to being a core service and strategic growth area for Geosyntec.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Jacobs (Dallas) for accelerating its growth strategy as a leading technology-enabled solutions provider in March 2021 by taking a 65% stake in PA Consulting, a U.K. headquartered innovation and transformation consulting firm with over 3,200 specialists in energy and utilities, transport, health and life sciences, defense and security, consumer and manufacturing, government, and financial services. As a partner to Jacobs in delivering climate response and sustainability solutions globally, PA operates at the intersection of environment, strategy, technology, and regulation, with a focus on energy, water, carbon, waste, products and packaging. PA’s strategists, innovators, designers, consultants, digital experts, scientists, engineers, and technologists work with public and private sector clients to drive business and digital transformation; unlock new potential in the energy sector; capture value and opportunity from water; deliver effective carbon action across industries; adopt circular economy principles for waste management; design sustainability into product lines; and develop sustainable materials and packaging design. At COP26, the UK government unveiled a new electric car charger to be rolled out across the road network from 2022 as part of a drive to facilitate EV adoption. The sustainable design was developed by PA Consulting in partnership with the Royal College of Art and is aimed at making EV chargers as easily recognizable as red postboxes and London buses.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Pennoni Associates, Inc. (Philadelphia, Pa.) for advancing its strategic focus on high-end environmental, health, and safety consulting with the acquisition of Cocciardi & Associates (Mechanicsburg, Pa.). Pennoni, an employee-owned multidisciplinary consulting engineering firm founded in 1966, has consistently focused on growth in the environmental market over the past 20 years. With the acquisition of Cocciardi in 2021 Pennoni’s environmental practice grew 55% in size, not including organic growth. For over 25 years, Cocciardi has been a leader in the environmental, safety, industrial hygiene, public health, and emergency preparedness fields. They offer safety, health consulting and management services, as well as training and education leading to national level certifications in all fields. Regionally, the acquisition enhances Pennoni’s market position in Pennsylvania by strengthening the firm’s presence in the Harrisburg and Scranton metro areas. “Acquiring Cocciardi is strongly aligned with Pennoni’s strategic objective of focused growth in the environmental, health, and safety market,” said Alan Lloyd, Vice President and EHS Practice Leader.
BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Mergers & Acquisitions
Stantec (Edmonton, Canada) for environmental and sustainability deals in 2021. In September, full-service natural and cultural resources management-consulting company Paleo Solutions Inc. (Monrovia, Calif.) joined the firm in line with Stantec’s strategic plan to grow environmental services capacity through mergers and acquisitions. In October, Stantec announced the acquisition of the North America and Asia Pacific engineering and consulting groups of Cardno Limited for US$500 million. Cardno’s key strengths in ecosystem restoration, health sciences, infrastructure, water, and government services are complementary to Stantec’s offerings in these growing sectors in the United States and Australia. The acquisition augments Stantec’s position as a leader in sustainability, growing its U.S. Environmental Services practice by more than 60% and nearly doubling Stantec’s presence in Australia; in total 2,750 professionals from Cardno joined the Stantec team. The acquisition closed in December 2021. At year’s end, Stantec signed an agreement to acquire Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc. (Austin, Texas), a full-service environmental consulting firm that provides comprehensive environmental and cultural resource compliance services. Stantec will continue to seek opportunities for growth investments in the environmental services industry to help build its business in sustainability, ecological restoration, and climate change mitigation.
Wind Point Partners for acquiring Vertex (Weymouth, Mass.), a $130-million multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm that provides integrated services throughout the real estate and construction management lifecycle. Formerly 100% ESOP, the firm recapitalized under Wind Point Capital. Founded in 1995, Vertex has grown into a national platform that operates coast-to-coast with 30 offices across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Services include forensic consulting, engineering design, construction management, dispute resolution, and environmental, and digital solutions. Clients include insurance carriers, law firms, real estate owners, property managers, public agencies, and commercial. Vertex’s management team, led by its founders, remained with the business and retained a meaningful ownership stake in the company. George Pierson, formerly president and CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff and of the Wind Point portfolio company The Kleinfelder Group, joined Vertex as executive chairman. Wind Point acquired The Kleinfelder Group in 2018, but Vertex represents a separate industry platform given the different services and markets it offers. Wind Point will support Vertex’s long-term growth plan by investing in organic initiatives and strategic acquisitions.
NEW PRACTICE AWARDS
NEW PRACTICE: Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy
Clients responsible for addressing legacy contamination are recognizing the value in robust analysis of a site’s stratigraphic framework to determine depositional environments that affect contaminant transport. EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC (Hunt Valley, Md.) is recognized for providing Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy (ESS) to carry out high-resolution site investigations, construct robust groundwater models, and enhance confidence in 3-D conceptual site models (CSMs). The results bring scale to stratigraphic heterogeneity of features of interest, allowing stakeholders to expedite the remedial investigation/feasibility study process, of particular interest at sites involving highly soluble emerging contaminants. EA has assembled an interdisciplinary team to apply ESS and refine CSMs for a range of complex hazardous waste sites. The team successfully employs ESS to identify and resolve data gaps, which reduces uncertainty, increases cost-efficiency, and facilitates greater understanding of fate and transport. In one instance, the team identified and validated the presence of a contaminant transport pathway not identified through previous investigation efforts. Through ESS, EA supports more accurate and site-specific identification of potentially complete exposure pathways for human health and ecological risk assessments. The work benefits the entire investigation/remediation process through a digital CSM structure that facilitates data sharing necessary to focus site strategies and more rapidly proceed to cleanup.
NEW PRACTICE: ESG & Sustainability
Citadel EHS (Glendale, Calif.) for launching a new practice in ESG & Sustainability. The new practice integrates Citadel EHS’s existing expertise with the market’s growing demand for responsible investing and development opportunities, marking its evolution into an environmental health and safety and sustainability (EHS&S) company. Citadel EHS is a local leader in environmental services for the Los Angeles region. Since forming in 1993, the firm’s client services for the building life cycle has been organized into four key practice areas: Building Sciences, Environmental Engineering, Compliance, and Industrial Hygiene & Safety. ESG & Sustainability represents the firm’s fifth practice area. Part of this new suite of services responds to market trends and clients requesting ESG and sustainability support; but the company will also be looking internally and celebrating its employee- and client-focused culture as an employee-owned company with an updated Green Promise. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices are drawing increasing attention in financial markets as more is learned about climate and social issues and the best ways to address them. Citadel EHS notes that when it comes to the built environment, ESG can be tricky to navigate due to the diversity of lease and ownership structures, building types, and lack of standardization in measurable outcomes. Combining Citadel’s existing expertise with its new ESG & Sustainability practice will further strengthen the company’s focus on objective, data-driven consulting for the life cycle of the built environment.
NEW PRACTICE: Air Monitoring
Alliance Technical Group, LLC (ATG, Decatur, Ala.) for advancing its rapid growth trajectory by entering four new service markets and six new geographic regions. Alliance is one of the nation’s largest stack testing companies, a leading LDAR provider, and now provides continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS), noise and odor consulting, ambient air monitoring, and other environmental services across the country. Through eight acquisitions in 2021, Alliance has expanded available resources to best serve their customer base by adding new physical offices in California (three), Florida, Indiana, New York, Arizona, and Minnesota. Companies acquired by ATG were Ace Environmental Consultants, Interpoll Laboratories, Ambient Air Services, Horizon Air Measurement Services, Air Quality Services, O’Brien & Gere (Ramboll’s Air Testing and Monitoring Division), Emission Monitoring Services, Inc., and Aeros Environmental. Alliance’s growth strategy has also enabled the company to expand its national, best-in-class air emission testing, monitoring, and laboratory analysis platform. With expertise in various end markets across the United States, Alliance helps customers achieve environmental goals and “focus on people, process, and technology to provide unparalleled response and service.”
NEW PRACTICE: Biodegradable PFAS Services
Arcadis (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for offering clients a new service to remove PFAS from fire suppression infrastructure, which is based on a newly developed, proprietary biodegradable cleaning agent designed to remove PFAS layers from fire suppression systems previously containing these hard-to-eliminate contaminants. As industry switches to largely fluorine-free firefighting foams to prevent further PFAS contamination, transitions are not as easy as foam-out, foam-in. Because PFAS self-assembles to form a resilient coating in fire suppression systems, it can rebound into replacement foams. Arcadis’ cleaning agent – Fluoro Fighter – simplifies the transition process by removing PFAS on foam-wetted surfaces, keeping it from contaminating new foams, preventing time-consuming re-work and avoiding the need for widespread asset replacement. Designed as an effective intermediary in the transition to fluorine-free firefighting foams, Fluoro Fighter has applications wherever PFAS firefighting foams were once used, particularly in aviation, defense operations, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, oil and gas storage, refining and emergency response. In line with Arcadis’ commitment to safety, the non-flammable Fluoro Fighter is safe for handling, user exposure and transportation. The biodegradable product can also help improve sustainability efforts by significantly reducing water used for flushing systems and can be regenerated for reuse, minimizing disposal costs.
NEW PRACTICE: Geographic Expansion
Pinyon Environmental, Inc. (Lakewood, Colo.) for building on its success as one of the largest environmentally focused consulting firms in Colorado and opening offices in Montana, Texas, and Wisconsin. Arizona: Pinyon has been working in Arizona since 2013 and continues to grow business in the area. Pinyon can support its full spectrum of services and is excited to help clients continue to navigate environmental complexities. Upper Midwest: Pinyon has experience supporting a variety of projects in the Upper Midwest and aims to be regionally suited to support and invest in long-term working relationships, as well as opportunities with new clients.Northern Colorado: In 1994, Pinyon won its first project in Greeley, Colo. and has completed over 200 projects across Northern Colorado. Pinyon opened this office in 2020, which allows them to respond more quickly to client needs. Texas & Montana: Pinyon opened offices in Texas and Montana to provide comprehensive services. This strategic growth aligns with Pinyon’s vision of attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent, while continually improving products and services. Pinyon remains focused on providing exemplary service to current clients and is committed to maintaining their status as the “go-to” environmental consulting firm.”
NEW PRACTICE: Debris Flow & Avalanche Prediction
Stantec (Edmonton, Canada) for providing specialized solutions to help manage landslide hazards and risk. To address these issues, Stantec has developed the DebrisFlow Predictor – the latest advancement in its suite of Geohazards solutions to make the world a safer place. Mountains cover over 30% of the global land surface and provide much of world’s water supply and other critical resources. But steep, rugged mountain slopes are also responsible for some of the world’s deadliest hazards that threaten infrastructure and cause thousands of deaths annually. To get ahead of the devastating effects of debris flow and avalanches, Stantec’s DebrisFlow software uses data and controls to inform a numerical model that simulates complex behavior of debris flows. The generated predictions include landslide pathways, run-out extension, and depth along the path due to scour and deposition. Simulation results can be overlaid onto mapped landslides for performance comparisons and used to predict the behavior of first-time landslides. Outcomes generated by DebrisFlow Predictor can help make decisions that preserve communities, infrastructure, and the environment.
NEW PRACTICE: Digital Consulting & Software
AECOM (Dallas) for establishing a brand new global, digital practice around three pillars: creating world-class software for the digital marketplace; offering customer-focused, digital consulting/advisory; and ensuring internal digital excellence. Its intentional design overcomes challenges associated with adding a digital-product business that develops or offers applications aimed to address marketplace needs to its longstanding, services-focused, global business model.
For market entry, AECOM released three applications that address critical environmental issues and demonstrate AECOM’s strong commitment to ESG products and solutions: PlanEngage™ and SewerLogic™.
For its consultancy business, the new practice rapidly matured into such a large portfolio of applications, a full, interactive, digital exhibition was developed for customers to connect with solutions. It used AECOM’s award-winning Virtual Consultation Room technology, which also was used to create the recent COP26 Virtual Pavilion.
Internally, AECOM is organically building a fully digital global organization rather than acquire a software company. Multi-year investment includes: blending its current 300-plus global digital team with newly hired digital experts; and building staff skills around product management and entrepreneurship.
The transformation underscores AECOM’s vision for a digitally driven consultancy and digital products that contribute to complete solutions to address the world’s critical problems.
NEW PRACTICE: Eagle Protection
To help minimize and offset impacts on eagles as regulated by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issues Eagle Incidental Take Permits (EITP) that allow for the incidental take of eagles when properly mitigated. One mitigation approach is to retrofit high-risk utility circuits in eagle habitats to meet Avian Power Line Interaction Committee recommendations. Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City, Mo.) is recognized for receiving approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to operate the Eagle Protection and Offset Program (EPOP) which implements a nationwide approach to eagle mitigation. As a mitigation solution, EPOP benefits eagles and allows development projects to move forward without delay. The EPOP works similarly to a conservation bank, in which the use of credits helps permittees save time and eliminate permitting uncertainties. A team of Burns & McDonnell environmental scientists and project managers leading the EPOP works directly with the permittee to review potential impacts and identify required offsets. Program representatives then collaborate with utility partners to complete necessary circuit-by-circuit rebuilds, reframes or replacements, providing permanent EITP compensatory mitigation offsets and improved conservation for eagles across the United States.
NEW PRACTICE: Geospatial Surveys
Geodynamics (Morehead City, N.C., acquired by NV5 in March 2021), a sonar-based, deep-water geospatial specialist, for completing a nearshore geophysical survey to support development of the Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Energy Area for Avangrid Renewables. Acquiring detailed bathymetry and subsea geophysical data in the surf zone and dynamic shallow ocean is challenging but critical to the success of bringing offshore cabling on to land. This high-resolution hydrospatial survey included vessel-based collection of multibeam for the seafloor topography, sub-bottom profiles for the geological composition of layers below the seafloor, and marine magnetometer to identify submerged obstructions. Shore-based mobile lidar simultaneously provided accurate beach-face topography. The project provided the geographic link between the offshore marine surveys and the onshore power distribution network, requiring smaller vessels specialized for working near shore. Project deliverables included the bathymetric surface, sub-bottom horizons, isopachs and elevations, and magnetometer anomalies. Data were integrated in a comprehensive GIS to support project engineers as they guide the final cable routing prior to construction. Kitty Hawk Offshore is located 27 miles from the Outer Banks and will provide 200 square miles of wind area for generation of 2,500 MW of power. The project area was selected to minimize impacts to ocean users (e.g., shipping, military, and fishing), the marine environment, and coastal communities.
NEW PRACTICE: Sustainable Planning, Design & Green Infrastructure
In 2021 Terracon added Landscape Architecture Design and Planning services to Terracon’s suite of services. EPG, a Terracon Company has landscape architecture design and planning teams in Phoenix and Salt Lake City providing services to local, national and international clients in the private and public sectors. Professionals specialize in sustainable & environmentally sensitive planning, urban design, community place making, project management, detail design, construction documentation, and construction administration, providing site inventory and analysis, master planning, site design, restoration/rehabilitation planning and design, project permitting, and public involvement and outreach services. Practice leaders seek to first understand the goals of the project and the project setting, and then create and visualize the PLACE it will become, then back into the iterative planning and design process to create a functional, exciting, environmentally responsible and meaningful place to live, work, and play! Landscape architects work closely with our company-wide team of over 200 architects, urban designers, environmental planners, community developers, resource professionals and public involvement experts.
NEW PRACTICE: HANA-Eco Analytics
HANA Resources, Inc. (Lake Forest, Calif.) for launching Eco Analytics, a division offering data-driven project solutions for the environmental industry. EcoAnalytics delivers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform through web-based and native applications wherein tools are provided to monitors, surveyors, and project managers to streamline the various processes involved when reporting to regulators. Each application implements deep learning models to enhance the quality of the data collected and delivered. The collective suite of applications seeks to enhance the experience of environmental professionals by reducing friction at every turn and by giving environmental professionals more time to do what they love most – being outdoors and in nature.
PROJECT MERIT AWARDS
PROJECT MERIT: Ash-to-Cement
CenterPoint Energy (Houston) for pushing the boundaries of infrastructure and environmental restoration by creating a complex ash-to-cement solution involving closure by removal of a 160-acre surface impoundment of approximately 6.8 million tons of coal ash. Construction included a one-of-a-kind, mile-long pipe conveyor with many curves and elevation changes leading to a repurposed barge-loading facility to transport select ash to a cement plant. Laboratory results used to characterize the ash’s composition were built into an Environmental Visualization System, and a 3D model was developed to validate remedy selection and guide material reclamation. Waste is sampled and reconstituted in a unique blending process to meet cement-manufacturing requirements. Work included design, permitting, procurement, and installation of the infrastructure to process and convey excavated coal ash to the barge-loading facility. Both the conveyor and barge-loading elements were completed in 2021. This environmentally and fiscally responsible pond closure resulted in numerous benefits: reduction of landfill waste, lower costs to end-users, protection and restoration of environment, elimination of long-term liabilities, mitigation of regulatory approval risks, and positive public relations. The next 13 years will involve excavation and removal of the ponded ash from groundwater, resulting in the restoration of a former stream valley.
PROJECT MERIT: PFAS Treatment
Tetra Tech (Pasadena, Calif.) for designing PFAS treatment facilities for Orange County Water District. Tetra Tech supported the District in developing per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment systems to purify groundwater that meets California advisory levels for drinking water. In February 2020, California established advisory response levels (RL) for two PFAS compounds. To meet these RL levels, dozens of wells were taken out of service and resulted in a loss of a critical source of drinking water. Tetra Tech was selected for design, permit assistance, and construction management services for the three water agencies: City of Fullerton, Serrano Water District, and Yorba Linda Water District (YLWD), to restore drinking water supply for a total of 12 production wells. Tetra Tech designed a first-of-its kind treatment facility for the YLWD Headquarters Plant, the largest ion exchange plant treating PFAS in the United States. It consists of 11 ion exchange systems, a 25-million gallon-per-day booster pump station, and an upgraded onsite chlorine generation system. Tetra Tech engineers provided a design that included extensive new electrical and natural gas services and addressed extremely tight site constraints. Tetra Tech initiated the design in May 2020 and the plant began producing water on December 21, 2021.
PROJECT MERIT: LA River PEIR
ICF (Fairfax, Va.) for preparing the 2020 LA River Master Plan Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), published in 2021 by Los Angeles County. Over 1 million residents live within one mile of the 51-mile-long Los Angeles River; LA County designed a master plan to reimagine and transform the river from a system engineered to prevent regional flooding into a modern-day, multi-benefit resource that better serves its vast community. This bold vision required an equally bold environmental approach. Recognizing sustainable infrastructure planning is not isolated from social and environmental needs, the Plan includes nine goals and three key themes: water, people, and the environment. The ICF team understood the importance of these objectives and designed the PEIR to serve as the first-tier analysis for the conceptual-level plans. ICF then tailored the CEQA process and covered potential environmental issues for up to 107 projects and six different project typologies. As a result of ICF’s approach, LA County now has a robust environmental planning document to streamline decision-making for the next 25 years. Using the PEIR as a guide, LA County and its partner stakeholders will be equipped to navigate the potential regulatory challenges and design, permit, and build projects to fulfill the community’s vision.
PROJECT MERIT: Environmental Consulting Job Site
Twin Cairns LLC (Los Angeles, Calif.) for its new job board website designed exclusively for the environmental consulting sector. Twin Cairns has brought forward several innovations: First is a Skills Log Matrix™, a system in which employees list their industry-specific skills and employers list skills required for a specific job. Twin Cairns notes that the system dramatically increases efficiency in finding the right employees for the right job. Second is a guild system in which members enjoy access to low cost healthcare insurance, retirement savings and other benefits. Third is an online training system, whereby guild members can learn new skills and advance their careers regardless of the training benefits offered (or more typically not offered) by the company they work for. Fourth, Twin Cairns allows employees to list date of availability on their profile pages so employers can see when an employee completes a contract and line up that employee for a new contract with their company. Finally, job postings are automatically posted to Facebook and Twitter accounts, alerting employees to new possibilities, with the option to turn account access on or off so alerts are received only when seeking a new position.
PROJECT MERIT: EIS for Governors Island
AKRF Inc. (New York, N.Y.), an environmental, planning and engineering consulting firm, for completing the Second Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement in 2021 for the phased development of Governors Island’s South Island in New York City. The New York City Council approved the phased development of Governors Island in 2021, a milestone in the ongoing revitalization of the 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. The phased project encompasses the creation of world-class parks and open spaces, adaptive reuse of historic buildings, two areas set aside for new mixed-use development (including a proposed Center for Climate Solutions) and modernization and upgrade of essential infrastructure elements. Working on behalf of The Trust for Governors Island, AKRF’s environmental and transportation analyses focused on rezoning and redevelopment of the South Island to spur approximately 4 million square feet of mixed-use development and to activate the Island for use 24/7.?AKRF previously prepared the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement for creation of the park and public spaces in 2011 and Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for reuse of the historic buildings on the North Island in 2013.
PROJECT MERIT: Interactive Transportation EIS
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) for publishing the first fully interactive transportation Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the United States in July 2021. The Final Tier 1 EIS for the Interstate 11 Corridor project was published after five years of study, technical analysis, and input from communities and stakeholders and is a groundbreaking achievement and important milestone for the proposed corridor. The interactive format facilitates a broader, more inclusive and engaged audience as demonstrated by capturing 3,000 views in just 75 days. Project components are illustrated graphically, allowing readers to zoom in and out of maps and click through layers of information. The interactive format yields deeper project understanding than a traditional static PDF for regulators and the public. It is also accessible through a mobile phone, translatable into other languages, and fully web accessible for those with visual disabilities. The success of presenting highly technical information in an easily accessible, simple-to-use format sets the bar for rapid industry transformation, especially important as the world demands meaningful equity and inclusion.
PROJECT MERIT: MGP Site Remediation
Cascade Environmental subsidiary Aquifer Drilling & Testing (ADT, Mineola, N.Y.), brought in by Creamer Environmental, Inc. (CEI), for supporting remediation at a former manufactured gas plant (MGP) site along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, N.Y. The remediation plan included excavation to address subsurface impacts, and ADT was tasked with abandoning wells and reinstalling them after CEI completed the excavations and sheet pile wall construction. There were challenges. Multiple consultants and contractors were on site, and ADT coordinated space and access to conduct work. Crews received specialized training to work on site. The subsurface was also unpredictable. When CEI attempted to install sheet piles, they encountered refusal in the subsurface. ADT was contracted by CEI to pre-drill the sheeting alignment and drilled more than 600 boreholes 40-50 feet below ground surface to facilitate the sheeting installation work, allowing the sheet piles to be driven into the ground. ADT has worked on numerous drilling projects in Gowanus Canal area since 2005, working with more than 20 consultants during that time. Working with CEI, ADT has drilled 1,000-plus feet of well depth and approximately 27,000 feet of boreholes. ADI is currently installing monitoring wells and continuing to support CEI as needed.
PROJECT MERIT: Railroad Demolition & Remediation
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and TRC Solutions, Inc. (Windsor, Conn.) for early environmental demolition and soil excavation to prepare a former BNSF railroad right-of-way (ROW) for future construction of the Metro Rail to Rail Active Transportation (bike path) Corridor. The project promotes Metro’s environmental justice policy by addressing legacy pollution in the community and improving connectivity in a disadvantaged, mixed-use commercial and residential area in South Los Angeles to provide more public transit options. Work crews accommodated local business traffic and kept bus stops operational to minimize disruptions. Environmentally, the project used stormwater BMPs and dust controls to maintain a clean work zone. Construction equipment was stored in safe zones along the ROW, which was occupied by homeless encampments and debris piles. Supporting public safety, the team worked together to relocate individuals and remove the trash prior to construction operations. Community outreach was coordinated with Metro throughout the project. TRC’s team removed six miles of abandoned railroad track, treated 20,000 cubic yards of arsenic-contaminated soils on-site, and recycled 6,000 tons of railroad materials. Small and minority-owned firms completed 75% of the work, and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise firms completed 5% with no OSHA recordable incidents.
PROJECT MERIT: Affordable Housing Development
Equity Environmental Engineering LLC (Mount Olive, N.J.) for a cross-practice approach (planning and environmental engineering) to successfully complete an affordable housing project in Brooklyn, N.Y. In a project highlighting the firm’s multi-disciplinary capabilities, Equity Environmental supported affordable housing development through a joint NYC Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) Special Permit and NYC Housing Preservation and Development financing process. These agencies required the completion of a City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS). Equity Environmental obtained a special parking waiver through BSA by providing a unique contextual analysis of parking for similarly situated properties in the neighborhood. This analysis found many affordable housing developments in the area were encumbered with antiquated parking requirements resulting in historically underutilized parking assets. The findings of the EAS also included a hazardous materials remedial investigation, which ultimately necessitated a Remedial Action Work Plan and full engineering and construction oversight coordinated with NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER). To offset the cost of soil removal and provide supportive grant to offset remedial investigative costs, Equity Environmental helped the developer enroll in OER’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, prepared the work plans and reports, and conducted the necessary remediation required to bring the project to completion.
PROJECT MERIT: Mine Bond Release
National environmental and engineering firm Trihydro (Laramie, Wyo.) for receiving notification in July 2021 from the Railroad Commission of Texas of final bond release of the Treviño Mine near Laredo, Texas. Treviño Mine is one of three surface coalmines formerly operated by Farco Mining, Inc., with operations beginning in the mid-1990s and encompassing 532 acres. Final bond release is rare in Texas; this is the seventh Texas mine to achieve final bond release in the last 30 years. (Trihydro coordinated final bond release for Farco’s Palafox Mine in 2019.) In 2007, Farco contracted with Trihydro to provide permitting, reclamation maintenance, and monitoring through the bond release process. Trihydro coordinated permitting efforts with regulatory agencies including the Railroad Commission of Texas, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The property has been returned to the landowner for recreation and wildlife habitat, including wetlands, ponds, streams, pastures, and outcrops. The reclaimed mine meets or exceeds pre-mine conditions for water and soil quality as well as vegetation diversity. Many species now call the former coal mine home, including whitetail deer, bobcat, bobwhite quail, Texas tortoise, Rio Grande turkey, blue indigo snake, and migratory birds.
PROJECT MERIT: Remediation Demonstration
Arcadis (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for completing a landmark project demonstrating an innovative remediation technology: the horizontal reactive media treatment well, or HRX Well, which provides a powerful new approach for passive treatment of groundwater plumes in challenging environments. The HRX Well is a large-diameter horizontal well installed along the groundwater flow-path, filled with replaceable reactive media. HRX Wells can be applied to a wide range of contaminants, including chlorinated solvents, metals, and PFAS. The demonstration and validation of the HRX Well at Vandenberg Air Force Base was recognized by Environmental Security Technology Certification Program as the Project of the Year and was also acknowledged with the National Groundwater Assn.’s Technology of the Year Award. The project validated the HRX Well as an in-situ remediation approach, with an average mass discharge reduction of approximately 1.8 g/day for over 1,200 days. HRX Well systems have been installed at additional sites to treat chlorinated solvents and PFAS, demonstrating successful installation under active infrastructure and in a wide range of hydrogeologic conditions. HRX Wells can significantly reduce lifecycle costs over current alternatives, control contaminant migration and mass discharge with little long-term maintenance, and be applied to a range of contaminants and geologic settings.
PROJECT MERIT: Hudson River Remediation
BASF Corporation (Florham Park, N.J.) and AECOM (Chelmsford, MA) for completing remediation of Hudson River sediment adjacent to the nation’s oldest dye manufacturing facility which was historically impacted by inorganic and organic compounds. Remediation included 39,000 cubic yards of dredging, installation of a 5-acre sub-aqueous cap, and habitat restoration. The project posed numerous challenges requiring multiple levels of environmental controls and monitoring. Removal of sediment in cold weather posed safety and production challenges, but all work was conducted without incident. The presence of two endangered fish species required innovative green engineering solutions. The project included installation of an ecologically enhanced sub-aqueous cover system and creation of a series of ecological habitats to provide ecological continuity between the river and the site uplands. For the first time in more than a century, wildlife can now move freely between the remediated portion of the river and the upland buffer in this urbanized environment. The remedy is fully integrated with BASF’s larger sustainable site development goals (including a LEED-platinum certified educational classroom and a clean energy cogeneration redevelopment project which provides jobs and increases the City’s tax base). The BASF Rensselaer project is a showcase for Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) and Engineering with Nature initiatives.
PROJECT MERIT: Mine Remediation
Ensero Solutions (Fort Collins, Colo.) along with joint venture (JV) partner JDS Energy & Mining (Kelowna, BC) for achieving three key milestones in the remediation of the abandoned Mount Nansen Mine site, a remote former gold and silver mine located approximately 60 km west of Carmacks in Yukon, Canada.
Preliminary Design Remediation Plan was reviewed by the Government of Canada and the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN) and received acceptance to proceed to the detailed design.
Approval of a Type B Water Use Licence from the Yukon Water Board, which will allow Ensero to finish the construction of a water treatment plant by February 2022.
Vesting approval received from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers, allowing the JV to take ownership of the site.
Ensero’s outcome-based solutions program, which makes closure efficient and convenient, will allow the project to progress to the next steps, including: Removal of around 880,000 m3 of tailings—potentially acid-generating waste rock and other contaminated soils; demolition of existing mine buildings; restoration of the Dome Creek valley by rebuilding creek channels and re-vegetating the site; and additional financial and training opportunities for LSCFN. Founded in 1996, Ensero is an environmental and engineering consulting firm focused primarily on the mining and industrial sectors.
PROJECT MERIT: Abandoned Uranium Mine Cleanup
The Four Corners Region of the Navajo Nation is where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. A tourist destination to many, pristine desert views of the ancestral lands of the Dine’ people are comingled with legacy abandoned uranium mine (AUM) contamination. For over 10 years, Weston Solutions, Inc. (West Chester, Pa.) has worked with EPA Regions 6 and 9 and USACE Districts to identify cleanup options, while being committed to cultural sensitivity and safety, especially through the pandemic. Weston also provides construction oversight and regulatory and technical support to accelerate cleanup actions and has worked at over 500 AUM sites to date. In 2021, these cumulative efforts merged in project work at the Northeast Church Rock (NECR) and Quivira sites. NECR is the largest underground uranium mine in the country, and both sites are among Region 9’s highest priority mines for removal, as they are adjacent to a residential community. Contaminant sources are drinking water and exposure pathways that are inherent with the residents’ way of life. Weston also supports EPA’s voluntary alternative housing program, responsible to help transition seven families safely prior to the mine remediation work.
PROJECT MERIT: Seawall Stabilization
CHA Consulting, Inc. (Albany. N.Y.) for innovative seawall stabilization for the City of Troy, N.Y. in the wake of Hurricane Irene. The project addressed urgently needed rehabilitation of the City’s 95-year old concrete seawall along the Hudson River due to damage from hurricane. After years of study, FEMA provided the majority of funding through a Hazard Mitigation Grant to provide additional flood protection, stabilize the century-old seawall, and protect the adjacent sanitary sewer. The innovative rehabilitation of the seawall presented many significant challenges, including performing most of the construction from barges in a tidal river environment, working within a very narrow footprint for the stabilization work due to concerns of encroachment into the river, and limitations imposed due to extensive permitting requirements. The rehabilitation included concrete repairs to the face of the wall, construction of a new precast concrete panel system supported by steel piles and tiebacks to strengthen the wall, and increasing the wall’s height to improve the resiliency of the business corridor against rising flood levels. Inspecting and verifying underwater work required specially trained hardhat dive inspections. The solution provides the public with an aesthetically pleasing view and enhanced access to the river, and protects a significant county wastewater interceptor sewer while providing essential flood protection to the thriving downtown commercial district.
PROJECT MERIT: Wetland Restoration
WSP USA (New York, N.Y.) for wetland restoration and the first wetland mitigation bank in New York City. This project demonstrates how nature-based solutions can reckon with the past and create a resilient and biodiverse future. Located on Staten Island near a heavily used marine channel, the wetlands became rife with debris and contamination. The WSP design transformed the site into a fully functioning tidal wetland with a forested buffer. The work included baseline studies, design, permitting, construction services, and post-construction monitoring (until 2024). The wetland bank provides mitigation credits to federal and state permit applicants. This creative, future-ready solution generates critically needed mitigation to support essential City projects. WSP’s design removed decades of debris and contamination, improved tidal hydrology exchange, reestablished native plant species, and increased fish and wildlife habitat. The landscape is now a self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem. With the restored wetland brimming with ecological energy, the public benefits from the restored amenity and increased resilience. The project:
Demonstrates capacity to facilitate larger wetland restoration projects in NYC coastal areas.
Helps direct funds towards the co-beneficial restoration of damaged ecosystems.
Demonstrates how nature-based solutions can make meaningful improvements to water and sediment quality, and plant and animal biodiversity and abundance.
PROJECT MERIT: Habitat Enhancement
WSP USA (New York, N.Y.) for providing design services to New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the East River Marsh (ERM) Habitat Enhancement project, Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island, N.Y. WSP provided design, permit applications, and support during construction.
The design included:
Restoring habitats of two off-river features (pond and ferry slip) providing protection for young fish.
Installing five reefs, providing habitat and wave protection to the shoreline.
Expanding public access to the Niagara River shore and achieving 2,600 feet of uninterrupted, protected shoreline.
Restoring and expanding a shoreline trail connecting park areas and providing access to the Niagara River for bird watching and recreational activities.
Innovative application of typical construction techniques included:
Use of pre-planted, established vegetation planting bags – safer installation and increased efficiency.
Reuse of excavated sediment to reclaim low areas in the park, allowing easier grounds maintenance.
Sustainable low-height rock reef design to prohibit growth of invasive vegetation, provide fish breeding and protection habitat, and require less long-term maintenance while providing wave protection to the shoreline.
The park has become a very popular waterfront destination. The reefs provide shoreline protection and habitat and increased the protected area for kayak and canoe enthusiasts from Niagara River waves.
PROJECT MERIT: Remediation
Pinyon Environmental, Inc. (Lakewood, Colo.) for clearing the way through a labyrinth of regulations and agency approvals to remediate a former construction and demolition (C&D) landfill in a busy, urban part of Colorado Springs and re-bury approximately 1 million cubic yards of debris on site under future open space. Through meticulous investigation, oversight and management, the remediation of the C&D landfill was completed. The project provided an environmentally cleared property for 194 much-needed workforce housing-units and the following social and economic benefits:
Transformation of a blighted property.
Remediation of an uncontrolled landfill.
Excavation and reburial of 99.5% of original C&D debris; proper disposal of remaining trash, vegetation, asbestos containing materials and metal recycling.
Extension of a missing link for a regional trail and creation of new Tier 2 trails
23 acres of land gifted to the City of Colorado Springs to allow for critical stormwater improvements.
Developable land for workforce housing.
Diversion of approximately 1 million CY of debris from a municipal landfill.
Utilization of the Voluntary Cleanup Program and resulting No Action Determination to document and demonstrate environmental clearance.
The new neighborhood is named Pikes Peak Heights at Sand Creek.
PROJECT MERIT: Riparian Habitat Restoration
Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City, Mo.) for partnering with Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton to plan and construct the Moosa Creek Riparian Restoration Project which will restore an out-of-use golf course, creating a protected natural riparian habitat. The work supports overall environmental and flight safety improvements at MCAS Camp Pendleton. MCAS initially reached out to Burns & McDonnell for assistance in meeting conservation regulatory requirements and facilitating pending U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approvals. Burns & McDonnell surveyed suitable properties within the eco-region and prepared ecological restoration analyses of each. Upon USFWS approval of the selected site, Burns & McDonnell engineered and permitted the restoration concept and is now performing restoration construction. Restoration of the approximately 67-acre site will benefit two bird species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The project will improve an existing flood plain, creating a mosaic of natural habitats for multiple species. It will also extend the habitat corridor of adjacent water bodies and improve local water quality and ecosystems.
PROJECT MERIT: Thermal Remediation
Cascade Environmental (Bothell, Wash.) and its subsidiary TerraTherm for supporting AECOM, USACE (Seattle District) and EPA (Region 10) by implementing a successful thermal remediation project at the Hamilton/Labree Roads Contaminated Groundwater Superfund Site in Chehalis, Wash. The site required an unusual combination of thermal treatment using electrical resistance heating (ERH) and steam enhanced extraction (SEE) to treat PCE DNAPL in the subsurface. ERH effectively heated the low permeability zones and SEE heated the high permeability zones. Also unusual was the stream running through the middle of the treatment zone; significant design, construction, and operational efforts were required to ensure the stream was not impacted from volatilized PCE or temperatures during treatment. An extensive vapor and liquid extraction system, including horizontal vapor extraction wells beneath and around the stream as well as multi-level multiphase extraction wells, prevented vapor emissions and ensured complete contaminant removal and groundwater containment during heating. Treatment started in February 2021 and was finished in July 2021. All 101 soil-confirmation samples collected at various depths from 15 locations met the thermal remediation goals (<10 mg/kg PCE). Total contaminant mass removed from the site was 7,800 lbs—more than triple the estimated starting mass.
PROJECT MERIT: Thermal Remediation
TerraTherm, Inc. (Gardner, Mass.), a subsidiary of Cascade Environmental (Bothell, Wash.), for providing thermal remediation services to treat subsurface hydrocarbon contamination at a former jet fuel storage facility at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J. TerraTherm was engaged by Amentum and TRC under contract to the Federal Aviation Administration. Measuring more than 183,000 square feet and requiring a heated volume of more than 154,000 cubic yards, it is the largest thermal conductive heating (TCH) project ever treated in the United States. The first phase was completed in January 2020. The Phase 2 treatment area is larger and was divided into two sub-phases. Treatment of each subphase was offset by three months to accommodate the use of the Phase 1 vapor and liquid treatment system along with the existing utility drop. A total of 891 TCH heater borings were installed, and contaminated vapor and water was removed from 194 multi-phase extraction wells. More than 400,000 lbs of contaminant mass has been removed to date. According to Amentum and FAA estimates, the existing pump-and-treat system would have taken more than 130 years to achieve that goal. Phase 2 of TCH treatment is scheduled for completion in February 2022.
PROJECT MERIT: Munitions Remediation
Parsons Corporation (Centreville, Va.) for winning three munitions remediation contracts in 2021. Environmental remediation is an expanding area within Parsons’ environmental, social, and governance portfolio. Awards included:
New four-year, $145-million contract from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District. This design-build delivery project for a new Energetic Waste Incinerator/Contaminated Waste Processor is located at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia. The new facility is expected to be a critical component in modernizing waste disposal, as well as mitigating emissions during the process to help protect the surrounding community.
Potential five-year, $49-million contract to investigate and remediate contamination at Military Munitions Response Program and Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste sites. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) multiple award task order contract was issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. Parsons will support a wide range of environmental services at formerly used defense sites located primarily in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
Potential 10-year, $1.1 billion multiple award task order contract (MATOC) by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The new award involves conventional munitions, chemical warfare materiel, environmental compliance, and remediation services, and will support USACE Huntsville in cleaning up land and water so it can be returned to use—whether for wildlife, military use or community development. Parsons’ will deploy advanced solutions to remediate munitions, explosives and hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste across current and former defense sites.
PROJECT MERIT: Site Closure
EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC for completing the last of multiple environmental remediation activities at the Atlantic Wood Industries Superfund Site in Portsmouth, Va., adjacent to the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and seven miles from the Chesapeake Bay. Creosote, PCP, and heavy metals were the main contaminants of the soil, groundwater, and river sediments. The site is actively used for concrete manufacturing, and restoration activities continued through the onsite construction of the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge. Under contract to EPA since 2008, EA has completed more than $50 million in design, characterization, and remediation services. Since 2013, EA has been prime contractor for design-build remedial activities that included groundwater monitoring, construction of waste containment cells, and site-wide capping. Recent services included 31 acres of environmental cap construction to isolate subsurface contamination at three areas. Challenges included working around active production facilities, equipment, structures, and utilities to allow the active industry to continue operations unhindered. In areas where the cap section was not practical due to heavy loading, EA partnered with the onsite industry to provide concrete pavement. Using the onsite concrete batch plant and existing labor facilitated flexible sequencing, timely execution, and lower costs. Services were completed in January 2021.
PROJECT MERIT: Waterfront Site Remediation
Year 2021 marked a major milestone for Pennoni Associates, Inc. (Philadelphia, Pa.) and the City of Camden, N.J. The grand opening of the Hilton Garden Inn marked the first hotel to open in this distressed city in over 50 years. The area was formerly part of the RCA Corporation and has been undeveloped for decades. Pennoni was retained to provide multi-disciplined engineering services for the redevelopment of the hotel site and the rest of the waterfront area in 2015. The waterfront development includes 1.44 million sq.ft. of office space; 188 residential units; a 150 room hotel; 17,557 sq.ft. of retail space; and associated parking areas. The multi-phased, mixed-use development has reshaped the Camden Waterfront while infusing the city economy with new jobs and long-term residents. While remediation of the 20-acre site began in 2015, specific milestones accomplished in 2021 included the excavation and disposal of 193 tons of PCB-impacted soils at a TSCA landfill, the issuance of a NFA letter for one of the 11 parcels, and the Grand Opening of the Hilton Garden Inn, Camden’s premier waterfront hotel. Currently, seven of the 11 sites have been fully remediated. Remediation of the remaining four sites is anticipated to be complete in 2022.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT AWARDS ————————–
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Smart Sewers
Global water technology company Xylem (Rye Brook, N.Y.) for delivering an advanced “smart sewer” system enabling the City of South Bend, Ind. to exceed the requirements of a wastewater consent decree for 60% less capital investment than originally planned and for saving the City $400 million. In 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and U.S. Department of Justice formally endorsed the City’s long-term sewer plan based on the advanced technology. The consent decree arose in response to the City’s aging sewer infrastructure that frequently overflowed, discharging millions of gallons of sewage and stormwater into the St. Joseph River each year. The plan to address the problem was set to cost South Bend ratepayers $713 million in capital improvements, but the parties agreed on a revised plan based on smart sewer technology. The City’s new approach, using Xylem’s wastewater network optimization solution, provides “better protection at lower cost,” according to the EPA. The revised plan involves a monitoring system of more than 165 sensors and software agents located throughout the City’s urban watershed. In addition to capital works savings, the City is benefiting from $1.5 million per year in reduced O&M costs.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT:Sustainable Remediation
Arcadis (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for patenting a new remediation method called TISR: Thermal In-Situ Sustainable Remediation. TISR is a practical, and sustainable method for transferring heat to contaminant zones in the subsurface via thermal conduction and advection. TISR specifically uses renewable energy sources such as solar radiation or waste heat collection within a closed-loop borehole heat exchange circulation system. Low-temperature heating can enhance physical, biological, and chemical processes that attenuate, degrade, and remove contaminants within a reasonable timeframe. Applicable in a broad range of hydrogeologic settings it can be readily incorporated and complementary to existing remediation systems (e.g., reductive dichlorination, air sparge/soil vapor extraction (AS/SVE), and chemical oxidation) for a moderate additional cost. Operations and maintenance associated with TISR produce minimal carbon footprint when compared to physical extraction systems; five years of TISR operation can potentially reduce CO2 emissions tenfold. TISR offers the flexibility of a stand-alone as well as an add-on technology that can help shorten treatment timeframes and offer potential for significant overall remediation life-cycle cost reductions.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: PFAS Water Treatment
Arcadis (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for an exclusive agreement with EVOCRA, an Australian-based water treatment company with a patented technology that uses ozone fractionation to separate and concentrate PFAS from impacted media. Fractionation is a separation technology that uses micron-sized gas bubbles to remove contaminants, such as PFAS from water. It can also work in conjunction with other water treatment systems to reduce PFAS waste. PFAS molecules have hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties attracting them to the gas-liquid interfaces present in fractionation as the injected gas bubbles move through water. Bubbles interact with PFAS and other constituents and are discharged as foam fractionate. Working in partnership with EVOCRA, Arcadis has made fractionation technology for PFAS treatment available in North America with its portable fractionation pilot system, the “PFAS 0250”. This technology can reduce waste generated through PFAS treatment and, as a result, reduce overall waste disposal costs. Previous full-scale systems have produced water with greater than 99% removal of targeted PFAS.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT:EHS Preparedness App
BSI Consulting (London, UK) for developing an EHS Preparedness Mobile App for a global food and beverage organization seeking to access emergency action plans, responders, their roles and contact information – as well as a seamless method of keeping this information up to date. In the absence of market-ready solutions, BSI Consulting worked with the client’s EHS, IT, and Enterprise Architecture teams to integrate critical design elements, as well as a third-party developer to design a solution. The solution had client branding in both IOS and Android app stores, quick access to Significant Incident workflows, broad accessibility, easy management of change, speed-to-deploy solution (12-24 weeks), human resources information system integration, and SSO (Single Sign On) compatibility.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Remediation Products
CERES Corporation (Los Angeles, Calif.), a remediation products company, for growing organically since inception in 2015 and continuing this successful track record through 2021. CERES is an acronym for Chemical Engineering, Remediation and Environmental Sustainability, reflecting the philosophy and values of the company. One of CERES specializations is in heavy metals sequestration remediation of soil and groundwater using its flagship product Metals Treatment Solution (MTS®) reagent group. MTS project accomplishments in 2021 included:
U.S. Forest Service Region 2. Mineral Park Former Mill and Settling Ponds in Park County, Colo., where MTS® was successfully demonstrated to stabilize lead at former abandoned mine tailings in soils at over 11,500 feet elevation in the Colorado Rockies. Cost and performance were key performance metrics used to achieve cleanup goals. Project was completed on budget and on time.
IR SITE 22 Former Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Detachment in Concord, Calif., where MTS is being utilized to stabilize arsenic in agricultural soils. In vitro bioaccessibility test (IVBA) method is the primary performance metric – the most rigorous leaching tests in the industry. Bench trials and field scale pilot trials were performed in 2021 with MTS achieving cleanup goals with high performance and value based on all stakeholder criteria. Full-scale trial is planned for 2022.
CERES has also championed production and use of microscale zero valent iron (ZVI) with great success utilizing hydraulic fracturing injection procedures. ZVI project completions in 2021 included supplying over 400 thousand pounds of ZVI to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard (NAVFAC) for the remediation of chlorinated solvents among other dry cleaner sites across the United States. In 2021, CERES successfully achieved remediation goals at sites in less than a year in Central America and South America at petroleum-contaminated sites utilizing the company’s Petroleum Treatment Solution (PTSTM) products. PTSTM has been successful in North America and internationally for years. The leadership at CERES incorporates geological and hydrogeological principles to understand fluid flow hydraulics and soil chemistry, which the company believes not only enables CERES products to outperform other commercial reagents but also makes them more cost effective.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Online Radionuclide Data Analysis
Risk Assessment Corporation (Neeses, S.C.) and ddms, inc. (St. Paul, Minn.) for developing RACER through a long-standing collaboration. Launched in 2007, RACER is an online data access and analysis tool with many custom reporting and data presentation features tailored for clients that manage radionuclide data in areas including nuclear power, low-level radioactive waste management and environmental remediation. In 2021, an innovative tool, AutoDose, was added to the RACER application. AutoDose facilitates communication of accurate and nearly instant information about the magnitude of dose following the release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. The AutoDose interface allows users to enter the timing, magnitude, and composition of a radionuclide release. This is evaluated using 15-minute average meteorological conditions during the release and the physical characteristics of the release point. The output is displayed using radial charts that show dose, if any, received at different locations within the site (e.g., nuclear power facility). Results for important operational receptors, like the site boundary and nearest resident, are put into context using various other sources of dose. The AutoDose feature has proven invaluable for clients that routinely convert concentration data to dose information in a manner that is highly usable.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Acoustics Engineering
Tetra Tech (Pasadena, Calif.) for using AI technology to assist in acoustics engineering. In 2021 Tetra Tech acoustics and software engineers developed AiHear®, an iOS application that can predict and simulate how a space will sound according to the input of various physical parameters and noise types such as moving footsteps, road traffic, moving aircraft and stationary sources. The software plays back accurate audio samples through calibrated high-quality headphones at specified decibel levels, displaying virtual or augmented reality graphics on a portable smartphone or tablet to match whatever physical parameters are inputted by the user. This allows all stakeholders to preview an acoustic environment and react according to the needs of their projects. AiHear provides potential cost savings to clients by mitigating potential rework during the construction process with its predictive capabilities. The application easily translates acoustic data into subjective experiences that can be easily interpreted and quickly manipulated to represent alternative scenarios. For example, after hearing the simulated sounds, stakeholders may request and preview the results of upgrades to the building façade, ceilings walls or reverberation treatment. This tool can also provide guidance to clients on appropriate acoustic criteria, again reducing the time, cost and risk around making these decisions.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: ESG Management Software
Intelex Technologies ULC (Toronto, Ontario) for new ESG management software that helps organizations collect, analyze, action, report, and improve ESG-related data from all parts of their business. With a specific focus on environmental and sustainability performance, the software helps users organize and integrate data into a “single source of truth” via APIs linked to utility meters/bills, connections with emissions hardware, streamlined employee data entry, automated asset hierarchy imports, and interfaces with other systems that house ESG data such as ERP software. Intelex’s robust and configurable Calculation Engine turns that raw data into clean, normalized, and reportable data points. This information can then be used for disclosure frameworks (GRI, SASB, TCDF, etc.), internal sustainability reporting, disclosure to ratings agencies or any other purpose. According to Intelex, what differentiates its ESG solution is its scope. Through an exclusive partnership with Datamaran, Intelex users can continuously assess and prioritize material ESG risks directly within the Intelex platform. Once risks are identified, Intelex’s inherent strengths in tasking, workflow configuration, document control, etc. take over and let Intelex users manage ESG, not just report it.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: BVLOS Drone Operation
Groundwater & Environmental Services, Inc. (GES, Wall Township, N.J.) for being approved for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for right-of-way (ROW) utility inspection. Less than 100 companies have received this type of waiver, and GES is one of only two environmental consulting firms to apply BVLOS technology to their projects. Pipelines and energy ROWs are typically monitored by walking, driving, eye-level digital photos and inspection forms or, in some cases, manned aircraft. Drones offer innovative solutions for cost-effectiveness, safety, and improved situational awareness with advanced sensors and data analysis. However, drones have one major obstacle: The operator must repeatedly land the drone and then drive to another location to re-launch it. BVLOS drone operations allow GES to inspect several miles of ROW from a single launch point. This approval is the culmination of collaboration with GES partners in developing the critical combination of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and artificial intelligence to automatically detect and avoid potential mid-air collisions. These risk mitigation strategies are critical elements of GES’ FAA-approved BVLOS safety case. BVLOS drone operations are making it safer, faster and cheaper to use drones for environmental inspections for long, linear infrastructure assets and associated facilities.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Drone-Enabled Lake Survey
Pinyon Environmental, Inc. (Lakewood, Colo.) for teaming with The City and County of Denver to investigate water quality and sediment load at Sloan’s Lake. Due to increasing frequency and duration of algal blooms and resulting fish kills in the lake, the City engaged Pinyon to evaluate potential causes and options for reducing future blooms. Pinyon’s initial task consisted of completing a bathymetric survey of the entire lake bottom to provide an accurate understanding of lake bottom topography and sediment volume. Such surveys are typically conducted by crews on manned watercraft. In 2020, Pinyon developed a prototype water drone, through a partnership with the Colorado School of Mines Capstone Program, which is an unmanned, autonomous vessel with a modular payload system. The vessel was fitted with a sub-bottom profiling sonar array and programmed to navigate a survey pattern over the entire lake surface. Because of the modular system design, the entire survey was completed by a single field technician and allowed for increased speed, safety, greater data density, and a cost savings of approximately 45% over traditional bathymetric survey methods. Pinyon used the data gathered to create maps of the lake bottom, sediment volume estimates, and preliminary dredging options for incorporation into the City’s budget planning.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: FloodVue
In 2021, Wood (Aberdeen, UK) for introducing FloodVue™, a remotely accessible, user-friendly tool that replaces standard floodplain maps with real-time, onsite, 4D visualization. FloodVue takes flood management, communication, planning and prevention to the next level in the journey to achieve a resilient future. The augmented reality mobile app provides real-time visualizations of potential flood scenarios by combining multiple data sources to create a clear, immersive picture of severe weather impacts at any location globally. It can also display a wide range of data sources, like high-water mark geo-locations, structural details, building information, and even flood flow. FloodVue helps communities and organizations anticipate flood risks before being impacted. Flood planning and prevention take on a critical front seat position, driving decision making to empower city operators, developers, and industry leaders looking to safeguard citizens, ensure livability, and attract investment. Immersive visuals, customization options, manual and automated data entry, and many other add-on features bring flood data analysis and prediction into focus in one place. FloodVue delivers valuable insights for improved flood forecasting, climate resiliency and emergency management to mitigate potential flood impacts and protect assets.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: ESG Rating Platform
ERM (London, UK) for launching ESG Fusion, an AI-enabled, on-demand custom ESG rating platform designed to provide reliable, consistent and comprehensive environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and insights to investors focused on privately owned companies. Investors are increasingly seeking actionable insights into ESG performance of companies in which they invest to help private equity clients shape a sustainable future. This new rating platform enables private market investors to make better investment decisions, quantify ESG risks and identify opportunities for value creation. The platform is powered by SmartFetch – intelligent web-crawlers, APIs from an ecosystem of data providers, and alternative data sources – to provide detailed ESG data and fetch relevant and granular content, which is curated by ERM’s team of domain experts. Investors can use ESG Fusion to perform ESG due diligence, engage with portfolio companies and measure performance and progress, as well as compare companies’ ESG performance within and across industries. ESG Fusion is already being used by several ERM clients in North America and Europe.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Habitat Conservation
ICF (Fairfax, Va.) and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District for launching an innovative web portal and dashboard to better approach Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) implementation and prioritize interactivity over static data presentations. This online tool is a dynamic hub of information, data tracking, and reporting that can be accessed through the Internet and provides full transparency to the public, stakeholders, permittees, and wildlife agencies, allowing them to track and report on HCP implementation in real time. The Upper Santa Ana River HCP is an ambitious and visionary plan that includes over 120 water infrastructure construction, operations, and maintenance projects within the upper Santa Ana River watershed, the largest coastal watershed in Southern California. The portal was designed with the HCP’s goals in mind and helps meet its needs during the initial years of implementation, making implementation manageable, efficient, and more effective. The online dashboard includes interactive mapping and tracking tools to visualize on-the-ground conditions in the preserve such as: species status, management, monitoring, threats, and covered activity (water agency projects). Preserve managers and other stakeholders can easily access the portal. Future features are planned to further enhance data upload capabilities, analysis, and integration with other regional databases.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Fleet Conversion
In 2021, Wood (Aberdeen, UK) introduced ZeroEmissionSim™, its interactive cloud-based toolkit that provides detailed analysis for converting fleets to battery or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. ZeroEmissionSim was created as a mandatory outcome as fleet managers need to transition internal combustion engine assets to electric vehicles to stay on target for current and future net-zero emissions goals. Transitioning to zero-emission vehicles requires significant planning because there are a variety of challenges including environmental monitoring, infrastructure and facility requirements, selecting fleet technologies and scheduled implementation, and training staff to support these new maintenance practices. ZeroEmissionSim uses machine learning and real-world data to model scenarios for battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle routes, charging and fuel infrastructure locations and vehicle types and sizes. The propriety digital tool helps fleet operators understand the true capital and operating costs for network hardware, infrastructure, energy, and utilities when scaling fleets. ZeroEmissionSim performs 360-degree triple-bottom line analysis of cost impacts associated with these challenges to map out the best options for individual fleet requirements. Since launching ZeroEmissionSim, the application has been used for multiple stakeholders in Canada and the United States, to implement full fleet electrification.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Munitions Response
Weston Solutions, Inc. (West Chester, Pa.) for developing a repeatable project framework to deliver munitions response services under austere conditions using an innovative blend of advanced geophysical classification (AGC) and positioning technologies as the remediation solution where previously not plausible. The framework is successfully used in densely forested terrain at Camp Croft and in residential neighborhoods at Spring Valley and Camp George West. DOD’s preference for AGC regardless of site conditions requires a flexible approach and progressive adaptation and ruggedization of the electromagnetic induction sensor hardware design for data quality and durability. Six APEX dynamic AGC systems are deployed across 1,200 acres of Camp Croft as a valuable engineering solution over a multi-phase data collection approach, reducing impacts to park visitors. Three Man-Portable Vector systems were deployed in dynamic and cued modes at 130 residences in Spring Valley and Camp George West to increase data coverage and overcome urban electromagnetic noise. When tree densities at Camp Croft impaired the effectiveness of laser positioning, the flexible framework enabled rapid integration of simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) with KAARTA Stencil to generate and navigate within a high-precision 3D laser point cloud that is agnostic to line-of-site and satellite connectivity. SLAM integration increased production by nearly 50%.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Artificial Intelligence
ehsAI for advancing artificial intelligence interpretation of regulatory documents into usable formats. ehsAI’s system takes any unstructured regulatory document and in minutes turning it into detailed, easy-to-track compliance requirements allowing organizations to analyze data more accurately, comply faster and mitigate risk. Using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural processing language (NPL), the ehsAI platform extracts the critical information inside compliance documents into a complete and actionable format. According to ehsAI, its platform is the only patented solution of its kind and is used by the world’s largest corporations and consulting firms. By eliminating the tedious review of regulatory compliance and permits, organizations can save up to 80% of time and money spent on traditional workflows.” Large organizations worldwide are obligated to comply with strict environmental regulations in every location they have operations. These obligations are imposed by multiple levels of government, which means the regulations can overlap and even contradict one another. As new environmental regulations are created on a regular basis, the work required to understand, reconcile, and implement processes to comply with regulatory requirements becomes more difficult and more costly. In 2019, American companies spent $300 million on this manual work. Manual processes are also prone to error and subject to inconsistent interpretations, the consequences of which could include regulatory fines for non-compliance and brand damage.
TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Sound Simulation
It is difficult to imagine architectural design these days without visualization. Auralization, or sound modeling and simulation, offer similar advantages for acoustics: Hearing is believing. AKRF Inc. (New York, N.Y.) is recognized for bringing the sounds of a space to life and constructing its own state-of-the-art sound simulation and audiovisual suite in New York City. Comprising 2,500 square feet, the new facility includes The PinDrop, a flagship conference room featuring highly engineered acoustical design treatments and audio systems for sound simulation. The PinDrop is a floating room-within-a-room that provides a high level of acoustical isolation, an extremely low baseline level of sound, neutral sound response, and premium audio playback capability from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The room was designed for a noise criteria of less than NC 20 with the HVAC operating – an extremely high standard of acceptable low background noise levels for occupied spaces (a standard typically specified for recording/mastering studios, radio and television production studios, and performing arts spaces).
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AWARDS
Matrix Solutions Inc. (Calgary, Alberta) for innovations relating to the rapid closure of abandoned oil and gas wellsites. Canada has hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wellsites that are no longer productive but have not yet been properly closed or reclaimed. Matrix is working with global energy companies in Western Canada to reduce environmental liabilities associated with abandoned wellsites. The company developed the Rapid Site Condition Model (RSCM) – a geospatial data management and visualization solution – to create remediation action plans efficiently for sites with contamination. This innovative solution provides interactive visualization of all information related to the impact plume extents and juxtaposes them against natural environmental and constructed features to facilitate an informed decision-making outcome. The RSCM is further enhanced by the addition of machine learning and artificial neural network tools, which easily access the large dataset stored in the system to gain insights on important trends and patterns pertaining to site management and mitigation. The RSCM has been used to develop remediation action plans for orphan wells and facilities that are timelier, more economical, and have a lower environmental footprint.
EarthSoft Inc. (Pensacola, Fla.) for continuing to innovate with EQuIS software. A leader in environmental data management systems, EarthSoft’s revenues grew significantly in 2021 and appreciates a retention rate over 95%. EarthSoft published its first edition of the Data Governance for EQuIS guidance and established a Preferred Laboratory Program with the two largest lab chains in the world as the first members. EarthSoft’s Collect field data collection tool set continued rapid adoption. The EQuIS REST API allows for integration with Microsoft Power BI and Esri ArcGIS among other uses. The EQuIS Power BI Data Connector was certified and is now a standard offering by Microsoft. Year 2021 also brought new global contracts with international consultancies, mining and nuclear firms, and one of the largest integrated-circuit manufacturers. EQuIS was listed as a top-50 technical software application for several global consulting firms and is widely considered the de facto market standard. A GSA contract was granted this year with multiple USDOE Offices and several port authorities joining the list of government clients. The USEPA named EQuIS as a Scribe-equivalent system. Many state agencies use EQuIS, for example, California Resource Water Board divisions, Montana DEQ’s Lead Reduction in Schools Drinking Water Program, as well as multiple state PFAS programs.
NV5 (Hollywood, Fla.) for INSITE, a cloud-based geospatial data management and visualization platform capable of viewing vast and diverse amounts of spatial data. INSITE has been architected from the ground up to provide access to myriad spatial data in many formats. Be it 2D rasters or vectors, 3D point clouds, photos or documents, even tabular data and Infrared, INSITE provides unique perspectives and data fusions which broaden our understanding of the environment around us. Some of the most exciting answers to the most important environmental questions lie in the ability to access vast amounts of spatial data. With INSITE, researchers have easy visibility and access to crucial datasets for their data-intensive models. The size of this data and barriers to access can often limit or stagnate the progress of this crucial data science work. The ability to solve problems facing the modern world requires powerful, cutting-edge toolsets. INSITE delivers on this promise for a new kind of toolset powered by NV5 geospatial to help get crucial work done.
Locus Technologies (Mountain View, Calif.) for achieving the following milestones:
Centralized and enhanced planning, collecting, analyzing, and reporting of environmental data for over half a million customers by providing Locus Technologies’ SaaS solution to the city of Hillsboro, Ore.
Enterprise-wide solution for environmental data collection, management, and compliance for Westinghouse Electric Company.
Offer of auditing expertise under new Oregon DEQ guidelines requiring third-party verification for GHG and CFP programs. Locus is the first to be accredited for this program.
Introduction of Augmented Reality technology to the company’s mobile environmental software, allowing environmental professionals to locate and identify inspection and monitoring locations easily and utilize real-time and historical data to quickly find areas of interest for chemical and subsurface data using precise geotagged information.
Providing built-in business intelligence tools allowing immediate actionable insights into EHS and ESG data. Locus also provides forecasting tools to predict future ESG reporting, in addition to enhanced surveying options for external users to its EHS and ESG software.
Finally, Locus now provides ENTACT with software key to environmental data management for environmental remediation and geotechnical construction services.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Data Management
When wildfires ravaged several California counties during a global pandemic in August 2021, the strategic implementation of enterprise geospatial data management workflows and tools improved decisionmaking and stakeholder communication, increased project efficiency, and supported operational health and safety. Through its Region 9 contract, the information management (IM) team at Weston Solutions, Inc. (West Chester, Pa.) supported EPA in its mission under FEMA, the State of California, and other local response partners on this project that involved household hazardous material assessments and removal at over 1,000 residential properties. Expert data workflows provided by Weston established a framework that maximized the effectiveness of both mobile data collection tools in the field and publicly available ArcGIS StoryMap for all stakeholders. Field team staff reported high quality, real-time data daily, providing situational awareness. When in-person public meetings were limited or not possible due to the pandemic, operational data were reported through the StoryMap that had near real-time cleanup status updates and links to county-specific resources. These IM systems and their seamless integration directly supported a compressed project schedule, data-driven planning and decisionmaking, health and safety, and a strong data quality transfer for the next phase of work during these critical operations.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Landfill Drone Services
SCS Engineers (Long Beach, Calif.) for SCS Remote Monitoring and Control (SCS RMC®) drones that fly with various cameras and technology and are especially useful for mapping facilities quickly and efficiently. They support safer, cleaner operations for industry, energy, and waste management. Orthomosaic maps are practical for scientific, compliance, and commercial purposes such as water and liquids management modeling, O&M, troubleshooting, due diligence support, and renewable energy facilities. The combination enables the following:
Detecting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in real time at landfills or facilities.
SCS’s program supplements satellite, airplane, and ground-based readings to create comprehensive emissions maps
Depicting the position and elevation of surfaces, such as facilities, infrastructure, vegetation.
High-quality orthomosaic maps, DTM, and waste volumetrics.
Operational efficiencies, especially over large and hard to navigate areas.
Safer surveying and data collection on dangerous or difficult-to-navigate sites and faster surveys and inspections.
SCS provides aerial thermal inspections at solar farms to help maintain optimal solar energy output. SCS’s pilots perform inspections using a high-resolution thermal camera to capture accurate, non-contact temperature measurements in every pixel. This timesaving technology identifies faulty solar panels, combiner boxes, and other key solar field infrastructure elements, pinpointing the exact location with geotags and making staff assignments and diagnostics more efficient.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: SCSeTools
The waste industry is responsible for keeping its essential services sound while complying with federal, state, and local environmental regulations. Whether running a solid waste facility, landfill, tank facility, or drilling operation, every landfill owner and operator knows that the expense of tracking the health and performance of their operation is escalating. Risk and infrastructure investment compounds for owners of large or extremely complex facilities. SCS Engineers (Long Beach, Calif.) is recognized for SCSeTools®, a web-based application platform that collects, monitors, views, charts, graphs, and manages data from a variety of sites in a range of industries to help facilities operate more efficiently, continuously gauging operational health and spotting trends that help determine when and how to invest in infrastructure. Users of SCS’s information management technology can track and analyze air quality, greenhouse gas, methane, landfill gas, landfill temperature, leachate, groundwater, stormwater, and a multitude of operational information for regulatory compliance and due diligence. The benefits of SCSeTools are immediately apparent to over 600 clients, one-third of the landfills in North America that are using it to create efficiencies. Keys to success follow SCS’s mission and values of maintaining close communications with clients, field staff, engineers, and eTools support staff (all landfill gas practitioners), with the help of software engineers. Technology companies are not up at night thinking about landfill operations, but we are.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Field Testing
Pennoni Associates, Inc. (Philadelphia, Pa.) and its project team member, 360 GOC, for being contracted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to assist with the safe reopening of the capitol complex buildings in 2021. Pennoni’s role was to provide environmental scientists to conduct field-testing throughout the buildings for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to confirm cleanliness. In addition to preparing testing protocols, Pennoni’s team collected over 10,000 samples over the course of several months. This enormous amount of data was collected through field tablets using IBM’s Maximo Asset Management System. The system was not originally designed for field data collection, but Pennoni’s team was able work with IBM to develop a program for efficient data collect and presentation. Data was automatically uploaded and, in real time, displayed on a dashboard for the client’s use. The dashboard had easy-to-read visuals and clear data presentation. The successful project “was a great example of the future of field collect methods and data management.”
Kristen Hazard, founder and CEO of Wildnote (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and developer of the company’s groundbreaking environmental compliance reporting software, for contributions to Industry Education, Public Policy Dialog, and Community Climate and Energy Action. Wildnote is a pioneering SaaS company that develops customizable software to replace manual processes, helping businesses reduce the cost and time spent meeting regulatory compliance reporting requirements while better protecting the environment.
Industry Education: In 2021 Kristen hosted free monthly webinars engaging industry experts with a wide audience to share best practices for integrating technology into environmental consulting activities. So far, more than 2,000 people have registered for this series.
Public Policy Dialogue: She has been instrumental in facilitating dialogue between environmental consultants, permittees, and regulators, seeking to identify and remove roadblocks to the full utilization of technology in service to the environment.
Community Climate and Energy Action: As Vice Chair of the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Climate Coalition, she has helped achieve the following successes:
Official adoption of a Carbon Neutral SLO City by 2035.
Community Choice Energy brought to the region.
Established Clean Energy Choice Program for New Buildings.
People Centric Climate Action Plan adopted.
Drive Electric Week community event executed three years in a row.
Produced Climate Speaker Series in SLO City.
SLO City named to A-List of Climate Action Cities (one of nine in California and 95 globally).
AECOM (Dallas) for launching Sustainable Legacies ESG strategy to embed sustainable development and resilience across its work, improve social outcomes, achieve net-zero emissions, and enhance governance.
Embedding sustainable development/resilience: Committed to 50% carbon reduction from major projects, known as ScopeX. AECOM is one of the first major infrastructure consulting firms to set such ambitious global targets.
Improving social outcomes: Launched Thrive, AECOM’s ambitious equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) program. Delivering social equity by understanding community needs and weaving it into project delivery. AECOM is developing the UK Department for Transport Social Value Policy to target investment and deliver social value. Developed capital infrastructure investment equity lens tool for Baltimore public works projects.
Achieving net-zero: Including operational net zero 2021/science-based net zero 2030, aligning new targets with 1.5C and halving value chain emissions. We are Amazon Climate Pledge signatories and co-founded Pledge to Net Zero. Collaborating through our BEIS Visions work, partnering with Deloitte, One Young World and University of Cambridge to leverage global network of academics, businesses, NGOs and youth groups to create engaging/collaborative workshops. Successfully established visions of net zero and resilient future for each region, and presented at COP26.
Enhance governance: Developing enterprise framework to assess and mitigate ESG risk in potential projects.
NORA, An Association of Responsible Recyclers, and Trihydro Corporation (Laramie, Wyo.) for supporting the refining, recycling and wastewater industries. NORA is a national trade association representing liquid recycling companies in matters related to used oil, antifreeze, oil filters and absorbents, parts cleaning, wastewater and chemicals, and environmental services. Trihydro has been involved with NORA since 2011, working to support the re-refining, recycling, and wastewater industries on regulatory, technical and strategic issues faced by the membership. In 2019, Trihydro’s Industrial, Commercial, and Energy Services Business Unit Leader Gary Risse became the President of NORA’s Board of Directors. Mr. Risse’s expertise in wastewater, remediation, oil processing, and related industries has supported NORA and its membership at large. On behalf of Trihydro, Mr. Risse has presented at numerous NORA events on topics such as environmental due diligence, odor controls, and health and safety. In addition to working directly with NORA, Trihydro assists NORA members across the United States and Puerto Rico with a variety of environmental projects.
Jacobs (Dallas) for upping the ante by unveiling its global sustainable business approach, PlanBeyondSM 2.0 — delivering beyond the company’s purpose to create a more connected, sustainable world. The enhanced plan is Jacobs’ companywide foundation for what sustainability means to its clients and the planet — propelling the integration of sustainability throughout operations and client solutions in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of 2.0, Jacobs developed six Sustainable Business Objectives to sit at the heart of Jacobs’ company strategy: Advance the health, wellbeing and safety of society (UN SDG 3); Deliver solutions for the global water and sanitation crisis (UN SDG 6); Foster a culture of technology and innovation important to the advancement of society (UN SDG 9); Create a fair and inclusive future for all (UN SDG 10); Develop efficient and resilient solutions that deliver net environmental and societal gain (UN SDG 11); and Accelerate solutions that address the climate emergency (UN SDG 13). Our goal is to have 100% of Jacobs’ client solutions contribute to progress in line with the UN SDGs by 2025.
Keep America Beautiful (KAB), the nation’s leading community improvement organization, and Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City, Mo.) for the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study. Keep American Beautiful retained Burns & McDonnell to conduct the study. Litter affects environmental, community, and individual health, as well as quality of life, economic development, the circularity of the economy, the safety of our water, environmental justice, and climate. Burns & McDonnell, KAB, and a team of litter research leaders developed a comprehensive scientific methodology composed of four components: survey examining public attitudes, visible litter survey that provides an estimate of the litter, behavioral observations of littering in public, and ongoing survey estimating the public costs of litter. Burns & McDonnell incorporated statistically valid data collection processes and architecture that enabled replication across time and geographies. Study findings were released in spring 2021 and established a national estimate of litter along roadways, waterways, and non-roadway areas. For the first time, the study provided a national estimate of litter along waterways and insights about the relationship between litter on waterways and roadways. Burns & McDonnell continues to work with KAB to eradicate litter across the United States.
Parsons Corporation (Centreville, Va.) for leading in the development of new international standards for mine closure and reclamation. The new International Standards Organization (ISO) Standard and Guidance Document for Mine Closure and Reclamation Management has been internationally approved and was published in October 2021. Michael Nahir, mine reclamation director for Parsons, served as the international project manager during the ISO guidance drafting and approval process, helping write and edit the standard and guidance document. “This collaborative, five-year process gathered input from many companies and countries to deliver the first-ever comprehensive standards for mine closure best practices,” said Nahir. “This guidance will help improve closure and reclamation practices, to the benefit of mining communities around the world.”
Matrix Solutions Inc. for delivering innovation and services for the protection of drinking water supplies. In 2000, an outbreak of E. coli in drinking water sickened more than 2,000 people and resulted in six deaths in Walkerton, Ontario, Canada. Following this tragedy, Matrix Solutions joined a team of experts to develop new technical practices and standards to protect the quantity and quality of Ontario’s drinking water supplies. Technical contributions made by Matrix resulted in the development of the Clean Water Act (2006), which is now followed by Ontario municipalities to provide safe potable water. The Clean Water Act requires municipalities to develop Drinking Water Source Protections Plans that identify any significant threats to drinking water quality or quantity along with mitigation plans safeguarding against these threats. Since 2006, Matrix has contributed to the drinking water source protection plans for many Ontario municipalities relying on surface water and groundwater supplies and continues to serve municipal clients in maintaining safe drinking water supplies.
APTIM (Baton Rouge, La.) for launching the Sustainable Sport Index (SSI) Industry Benchmarking Report, a first-of-its-kind initiative to understand the collective environmental and social impacts of the sports industry. In the report’s inaugural year, 20 sports venues from across the United States were surveyed to gather data in areas including energy, water, waste, carbon emissions, and procurement. Answers were analyzed to create the public-facing SSI Report, along with individual reports specific to each participating venue. The SSI Report delivers a comprehensive database of best practices in sustainable operations and data collection benchmarking and shares key performance indicators related to resource management, energy and water, waste management and diversion, carbon management, diversity, etc. The SSI Report has played a critical role in advancing sustainability across the sports and events industries, driving the adoption of industry best practices for venues across the country. The report will be replicated in future years and seek to build on its initial findings and influence.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION – – – –
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
American Water (Camden, N.J.) for launching Employee Business Resource Groups in 2021 – forums for employee participation and business impacts in the areas of culture, careers and community. Groups are dedicated to African Americans, women, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities; the goal is to build high-trust relationships that contribute to fostering a greater sense of belonging within American Water. Ultimately, the Groups are vehicles for inspiring conversation and encouraging diversity of thought and the identification of new ways to resolve issues, drive innovation and improve business performance. These efforts complement a growing array of events, dialogues, and other activities aimed at promoting inclusion, diversity and equity (ID&E) culture at American Water and in the communities its serves. Examples include an inaugural celebration of Juneteenth; an Inclusion Day live podcast during which 1,200 employees signed American Water’s I&D pledge; a Pride in the Workplace celebration of the company’s LGBTQ+ community; and a powerful podcast that addressed inclusion, diversity, and safety in the face of racism and protest, helping to make employees feel valued, respected and included.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Tetra Tech (Pasadena, Calif.) for programs to engage and advance under-represented staff and executives at all levels of the firm. Tetra Tech’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Program includes global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that provide a platform for professional and leadership development, engagement, and inclusion of employees from traditionally underrepresented groups in the industry. As part of the firm’s DEI Council, ERGs engage with executive leadership and help shape global DEI programming, recruitment and retention, and partnerships. The company’s ERGs are employee-led and develop immediate and long-term priorities to align with the needs of their communities within Tetra Tech. The ERGs currently support Black, Latino and Hispanic, and Asian employees; women; LGBTQIA+ employees; veterans and service members; and employees with disabilities. During 2021, employee involvement in Tetra Tech’s ERG Program increased by 47% compared to 2020. Last year, ERGs launched several new initiatives including enhanced mentoring programs; targeted sessions of Tetra Tech’s Fearless Entrepreneurs business development initiative; presentations focused on mental health during the pandemic, and allyship programming. ERGs have connected members and allies from across the firm’s global operations to network, provide mentoring and coaching, and share knowledge. All of Tetra Tech’s ERGs include allies – employees supportive of the ERGs’ members who are vital to helping foster an inclusive and equitable environment.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
As a champion of inclusion and diversity, Stantec (Edmonton, Canada) believes that everyone deserves to be their whole selves and to work without fear of judgment or discrimination. Stantec has designed its culture with community in mind and strives to fulfill its promise to represent the many communities its serves. Stantec was recognized by Forbes as one of the World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies in 2021, ranking 164 out of 300, in addition to being named one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity in 2021. The company also launched the Stantec Equity & Diversity Scholarship to provide people in historically underrepresented and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) groups with financial aid, contributing to the creation of a critical mass of talented students that will fully represent the industry.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
AECOM Global ED&I Steering Committee for launching a robust Employee Resource Group (ERG) program with six groups worldwide and 2022 plans to nearly double. The employee-led teams create a sense of belonging, generating an inclusive environment to achieve their rigorous goals. This approach supports AECOM’s ED&I pledge, “When we feel free to be ourselves, we thrive.” Employees committed to advancing a specific group build an inclusive team that encourages, supports, and celebrates diverse voices, enhancing engagement, fueling innovation and creating deep connection with AECOM’s clients and markets. The formally structured ERGs have senior-level sponsorship; establish business outcomes, charters and by-laws related to their group; follow guidance principles; and track their measurable outcomes – the ERG Advisory Team and business leaders help align goals. Activities are wide-ranging and allies are encouraged to participate. Goals can include recruitment, retention, and professional advancement of ERG members at all levels. ERG goals are consistently met and feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive – the forums allow participants to better understand community challenges and better anticipate clients’ needs. ERGs are the latest addition to AECOM’s award-winning ED&I initiatives that serve staff at all levels in forming a healthy and productive workplace home.
Environmental data services and systems company ddms Inc. (St. Paul, Minn.) for a stellar philanthropic year featuring Double Your Donation monetary match program, company volunteer time off, and employee mental health awareness. The Philanthropy Committee champions ddms’s core value of “We Care” by supporting generosity throughout ddms both as a company and as individuals. In 2021, ddms officially adopted a beach in Delaware where East Coast employees cleaned up beach trash and committed to revisit in 2022. Other efforts to engage “ddmsers” in philanthropy included a haiku competition, with entry donations and corporate matching funds going to the winner’s charity of choice. Employees pooled funds to buy items for immigrant refugees; rallied to donate to a suicide prevention walk; volunteered to count horseshoe crabs for research; and continued to participate in the firm’s Double Your Donation Program. Finally, ddms participated in an Are You Ok? training to encourage communication around employee and community mental health. ddms reported that the most inspiring aspect of its Philanthropy Committee is to see participation increasing year after year and, as a result, has doubled its philanthropic budget in 2022.
Dudek (Encinitas, Calif.) for supporting clients and community through a program of volunteerism and donations to local civic, educational, and professional development organizations. Dudek believes the most effective investments are made to local organizations that directly impact local communities. The company is involved at the financial, professional, and employee levels with various schools, charitable and professional organizations, and the community itself. Dudek is a strong supporter of the City of Encinitas, the Community Resource Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Greater San Diego Inner-City Games, Community Housing Works, and various scholarship programs including the Society of Hispanic Engineers scholarship program. Dudek is proud to support the community, and values the ongoing relationships it continues to foster. Work hard, play hard, give back! DuGood is the firm’s annual philanthropy program with team-driven community participation, fundraising, and corporate financial matching to benefit charities across the nation. Since its inception in 2015, Dudekians have raised more than $205,000 in support of 41 organizations. Nearly $150,000 was contributed directly by staff, family, and friend donations. The 2021 Team Challenge raised over $14,000. Dudek contributed an additional $7,500 to the year’s grand total.
Jacobs (Dallas) for launching its global Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) education and engagement program in 2021 to further advance the company’s commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity. The program fully encompasses Jacobs’ core values and unities and grows its global STEAM efforts to engage employees and students around the world. The STEAM program will also serve to identify and secure a diverse talent pipeline for the future, contributing to the company’s 40-40-20 goal by 2025 (40% women, 40% men, 20% any gender). A key element of the program is the Butterfly Effect, a forward-thinking education initiative designed by Jacobs to create lasting behavior change and habit formation by providing primary school students with the knowledge and understanding they need to put sustainability at the heart of every decision they make as the consumers of the future. Delivered throughout the summer term over the course of eight weeks and supported by Jacobs mentors, the curriculum covers biodiversity, carbon, food, water, waste, plastic, human rights and lives, and jobs of the future – in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Butterfly Effect resources are available online with a goal of generating the momentum for future generations to meet the challenge of climate change.
50-YEAR COMPANY RECOGNITION
ERM’s roots were planted in the UK in 1971, trading originally as ERL. Founded by William and Florence Fisher, the company was the first environmental consulting firm outside of the United States. Several years later, in 1977, Paul Woodruff established ERM in the United States, growing the business quickly across the country to reach 500 staff across 25 locations. Finally, in 1987, ERL merged with ERM. Today, ERM (London, UK) is one of the world’s largest pure-play sustainability consultancies, employing more than 6,000 passionate professionals in more than 40 countries. The company supports clients across the breadth of their organizations, helping them to operationalize sustainability from “boots to boardroom”—combining technical know-how with strategic insight. With 50 years of experience in sustainability, clients recognize ERM as their trusted partner in a complex environment. ERM is strategically positioned to influence clients’ decisions in building resiliency, achieving ESG goals, and transitioning to a low carbon economy as the company delivers on its purpose of shaping a sustainable future with the world’s leading organizations. In May 2021 KKR, a leading global investment firm, acquired a majority position in ERM with ERM’s management team and a large number of ERM Partners remaining as minority investors. Reports put the value the company at around $2.7 billion.