2023 EBJ Business Achievement Awards

Released in January 2024 in recognition of environmental industry achievements in 2023. (Note: Additions of modifications may be made to this list. Award certificates will be sent to recipients. In-person awards will be presented to those in attendance at the EBJ Awards banquet at Environmental Industry Summit XXII on April 3 in San Diego.)

 

About the 2023 EBJ Business Achievement Awards: In October-December 2023, 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 AWARDS

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Large Firms 

Tetra Tech, Inc. for an exceptionally strong 2023 fiscal year in which it achieved records for key financial metrics. Gross revenue was $4.5 billion and net revenue was $3.8 billion, up 29% and 32%, respectively, from a year ago, with double-digit growth across all customer segments. Milestones included closing the largest transaction in the firm’s history with the addition of RPS and expanding Tetra Tech Delta technologies, including the firm’s software subscription practice. The company was again recognized as an industry leader in water and environment, with #1 rankings by Engineering News Record (ENR) in water for 20 years in a row and environment for 15 years in a row. Tetra Tech’s favorable positioning for increased funding for water and environmental programs—including climate change mitigation and adaptation to address water security, coastal flooding, energy transition, and biodiversity protection—resulted in nearly $2 billion of new orders in the fourth quarter of 2023, a 45% increase that led to an all-time high backlog of $4.79 billion.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Large Firms 

Weston Solutions, Inc. for shattering records in 2023 with an 87% increase in gross revenue and 74% net revenue jump over 2022. Weston surpassed initial targets, reaching more than $1.7 billion in sales, testament to the dedicated leadership team, strategic vision, and two major project wins in Puerto Rico. Weston aided in the island’s energy transition and resilience by designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining critical temporary LNG energy generation facilities at two locations. These temporary generators are allowing facilities and grid improvements to be made without interruption of power on the island. Weston also invested significantly in the e-mobility market in 2022, which yielded strategic wins in 2023 with the execution of three design-build task orders for USACE to provide EV charging infrastructure and equipment at 14 locations across the United States. This year, Weston hired over 20 new staff members to support its commitment to expanding contract vehicle capacity to deliver these energy and resilience services by nearly $2 billion. These strategic expansions and new contracts further solidified growth with access to over 100 new clients in both the government and private sector.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Large Firms 

Stantec for reorganizing its U.S. Environmental Services (ES) leadership team after successfully integrating three recent acquisitions. Since 2021, Stantec has acquired Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc. (CMEC), Paleo Solutions, and select parts of the North American and Asia Pacific Divisions of Cardno. These three acquisitions are a continuation of Stantec’s commitment to sustainability and its environmental practice and have propelled, exceeding our goals with over $315 million in sales and increasing revenue 31% over 2022. to major player status in the U.S. environmental services industry. In just three years, the Stantec ES staff has doubled in the United States. Scott Storlid was named Stantec’s U.S. operations business unit leader along with an additional five regional business operations ES leaders.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Large Firms

SCS Engineers for achieving a 13% increase in net revenues by fiscal year-end in December 2023, representing another jump in business, and focusing attention on climate change, environmental justice, and renewable energy. SCS Engineers has grown steadily for decades and celebrated its 53rd anniversary in 2023. SCS Engineers’ core capabilities are solid and hazardous waste management, renewable energy, land remediation, and environmental compliance. With more than 1,200 employee-owners, the firm’s scientists, engineers, and consultants produce technologies and create sustainable programs that help run industrial operations and essential public services more efficiently while reducing and verifying greenhouse gases and environmental impacts. In addition, the firm’s technology and sustainability programs for solid waste management support sustainable environmental solutions in the agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing sectors. SCS employee-owners have a reputation for philanthropy in the communities they serve and generous donations during the holidays or when tragedy strikes.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Large Firms

SWCA Environmental Consultants for record-breaking business growth in 2023, with over $315 million in sales and increasing revenue 31% over 2022. SWCA attributed its growth to: expanding markets and service offerings, advancing its team, and the acquisition of ALO Advisors, an international consultancy focused on sustainability advisory services. Through ALO, SWCA opened its first international office in Monterey, Mexico and added sustainability and management consulting services. Keeping pace with the energy transition, SWCA added services in air emissions, green hydrogen, battery storage, biomass, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage. To support rapid growth nationwide, SWCA redefined its operating regions and formalized field data collection across regions. Many service lines saw substantial YOY gains, including 865% sales growth in construction and O&M, 765% upturn for mitigation and restoration, 325% rise in technology services, and 95% increase for water resources. The 100% employee-owned firm added more than 220 new employees in 2023 and increased community volunteer hours by 25%.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms 

KC Harvey Environmental for continuing its double-digit growth trajectory: 44% organic growth in 2022 followed by 29% organic growth in 2023. Momentum was maintained with strategic expansions into Salt Lake City, Utah, Boise, Idaho, and the recent alignment of sister companies, BEM Solutions (New Jersey) and Elos Environmental (Louisiana), into Environmental Systems Group. The synergy among entities enhanced KC Harvey’s capabilities, strengthening its position in sustainable growth and environmental stewardship. The firm was named one of Montana’s Top Work Places in 2023, reflecting its dedication to fostering a positive work culture, a commitment that thrived through immersive team experiences. Advocacy efforts at the national level for essential minerals development showcased KC Harvey’s industry influence and commitment to responsible practices, while expansion into North Dakota solidified its regional presence.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms 

Marstel-Day LLC, an environmental and sustainability consulting firm, for strong revenue growth of 49% year-to-year and net income growth of over 200% year-to-year based on a three-year running average. Marstel-Day staff grew 35%, expanding the firm’s expertise in master planning, landscape architecture, architectural history, archaeology, and conservation. Marstel-Day also doubled its contract backlog in 2023 compared to 2022. Profitability growth was due to streamlining operational expenditures and significantly reducing facility footprints as the company moved toward a mostly virtual work environment. In addition, Marstel-Day reduced overhead labor costs with significantly improved labor utilization. Although individual salaries increased beyond contract escalation rates due to inflation and labor shortage pressures, Marstel-Day reduced average direct labor cost per hour by 8% through significantly expanding entry- and mid-level positions, providing a more cost-effective labor mix to support contracts. Revenue and staffing increases in 2023 were primarily due to several prime Federal contract awards with DOD, BLM, NPS, USFWS, and FEMA. Key service areas of growth included ecosystem restoration, coastal resilience, climate resilience, NEPA, cultural resources, master planning, encroachment, asset management, and landscape conservation planning.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms 

Mabbett & Associates Ltd, a consulting firm specializing in planning, design, environment, engineering and safety services, for growing turnover from £7,900,000 ($9,480,000) in 2022 to £10,500,000 ($12,600,000) in 2023. Headquartered in Scotland, Mabbett & Associates grew staff numbers by 10% while enhancing staff utilization on projects and creating one of the largest energy practice areas in Scotland and the UK. The firm’s green recovery strategy combines organic growth together with the acquisition of specialist environmental firms to complement existing services and enter new markets in the UK and overseas. Mabbett’s UK-based team has worked across the globe on environmental projects in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Uruguay, United States, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Gibraltar and the Middle East. In the UK, Mabbett continued to reinvest profits in the fight against climate change and meeting the Scottish, UK and Irish governments’ ambitious net zero carbon targets. 

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms 

SC&A, Inc. for growing from $12 million in revenue in FY2022 to $16 million in revenue in FY2023, with roughly $20 million anticipated in FY2024. SC&A has been a trusted resource on nuclear energy and the health impacts of radiation exposure since 1981. Over the past 20 years, SC&A has diversified to offer air quality/climate change consulting services, EH&S management services (including NEPA compliance), remediation services, and emergency management policy, training, and exercise support. Contract wins in 2023 included a 5-year Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) to support the NEPA activities of EXIM bank; a $16-million five-year contract with the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to support Phase 2 decision-making for the West Valley Site; and a support contract to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT: Small Firms 

Pinyon Environmental Inc. for graduating from local MWBE/SBE/DBE status and continued growth while doubling its Federal Practice, expanding it to five additional states. Pinyon had strategically planned for the business effects of the change of status by implementing internal initiatives, developing deep client relationships, and diversifying markets. Pinyon’s successful graduation and growth in 2023 included: Revenue increase of 9% in 2023; 36 new hires; 45 new clients; 341 new projects award including 184 prime contracts and 50 new On-Call contracts; and Pinyon becoming a partial ESOP company. Notable new projects included: US Forest Service Environmental Assessment; Steel Mill Environmental Support; CCD Heron Pond Vegetation Support; and Northern Water Northern Integrated Supply Project Cultural Services.

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS AWARDS

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Terracon for acquiring 15 firms over the past five years, and 13 focused on environmental services, adding 35 offices, $90 million in revenue and 600 new employee-owners. In 2023, Terracon acquired Arkansas-based Pollution Management Inc. (PMI) and its 37-member team of engineers, geologists, environmental scientists, and construction/remediation specialists to enhance turnkey and self-performing remediation and industrial projects across Arkansas. PMI was Terracon’s second acquisition in 2023 after Ferguson Risk Management, and its 19th acquisition since the beginning of 2017.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

TRC for acquiring Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) in May 2023, a North American consulting firm specializing in low- and zero-emission transportation technologies, infrastructure, and ultra-low carbon fuels for commercial transportation. According to TRC, during the past 30 years, GNA has managed the design and development of more clean-fleet projects than any other firm in North America, fueled by its grant-writing and management team. A core focus of GNA’s business is working with commercial fleet operators to develop and execute clean fleet strategies that achieve economic and sustainability goals, navigate regulatory requirements and maximize the financial benefits through public incentives. GNA also works with leading truck and vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure developers, and technology and fuel providers to bring advanced transportation and energy solutions to market. In addition, GNA operates a full-service creative services group that provides marketing and communications and produces events and tradeshows, notably its flagship Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

SWCA Environmental Consultants for acquiring ALO Advisors, an international management consulting firm focused on sustainability advisory services. By hiring ALO Advisors’ group of 21 professionals across the United States, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden, SWCA established a sustainability and management consulting service line. The acquisition added an office in Monterey, Mexico and expanded the firm’s network of affiliates to over 50 countries. SWCA’s sustainability and management consulting team brings several new consulting services to SWCA, including strategy development, decarbonization investment, circularity, water security, collective action, and supply chains. While serving some of the world’s largest food, beverage, and consumer product companies, plus a wide variety of other industries, the team also provides services to SWCA’s traditional clientele in oil and gas, mining, power generation, transmission, and water. The ALO Advisors acquisition propels SWCA into a realm of global sustainability leadership, and furthers its commitment to business-aligned environmental stewardship.

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

UES, a national engineering and consulting company, for expanding its environmental capabilities with environmental acquisitions in 2023: InControl Technologies, an environmental consulting firm located in Houston and Dallas; Biome Consulting Group, an ecological consulting firm Florida providing ecological studies and regulatory compliance, in addition to mitigation banking in North Florida; and Faulkner Engineering Services, an environmental, geotechnical engineering, and construction materials testing firm, serving Florida’s construction development industry. Beginning in 2019, UES’ more than 20 acquisitions have included: Universal Engineering Sciences, GFA International, NOVA Geotechnical & Inspection Services, Contour Engineering, Wallace-Kuhl & Associates, Construction Testing & Engineering, SUMMIT Engineering, Laboratory & Testing, GEOServices, McGinley & Associates, Geotechnology, Alpha Testing, GSI Engineering, Speedie & Associates, Rock Engineering Testing & Laboratory, Dan Brown and Associates, Carmichael Engineering, Grubbs Hoskyn Barton & Wyatt, Riner Engineering and GEO Solutions. In July 2021, BDT Capital Partners made a strategic investment in the company, joining existing shareholders Palm Beach Capital, company founders and management team. Former AECOM CEO Michael Burke remains the chairman.

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Michael Baker International for acquiring Tidal Basin, a provider of services in disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, and program management. Founded in 1985, Tidal Basin has seven offices and in 2022 reported “remarkable growth” and the addition of 460 professionals. The two firms had a history of working together, including planning projects targeting wildfires in California and infrastructure projects in Colorado and New York. According to Michael Baker, growth opportunities exist through the strong relationship both organizations have with FEMA, while pursuing additional business across all federal agencies. Tidal Basin operates as a standalone sister company.

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Heritage-Crystal Clean Inc. for being acquired by J.F. Lehman & Company in an all-cash transaction that valued Crystal Clean at approximately $1.2 billion. Crystal Clean provides parts cleaning, hazardous and non-hazardous waste services, used oil re-refining, antifreeze recycling, industrial and field services, and emergency and spill response. Crystal Clean’s board of directors unanimously approved the merger. In 2022, Crystal Clean generated $709.3 million in revenue, an increase of 38% compared to the prior year; it has over 100 branch and industrial services locations.

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Anthesis for securing a leading global private equity partner and The Carlyle Group for strengthening its ESG strategy and decarbonization initiatives by acquiring a majority stake in Anthesis, a global pure-play sustainability advisory firm. Carlyle invested alongside Anthesis’ employee shareholders, with existing shareholder, Palatine Private Equity, reinvesting for a minority stake. At the time of the investment, Anthesis had made 18 add-on acquisitions in sustainability, ESG, and net zero in the last decade. The firm had 1,250 specialists across 39 offices in 22 countries serving blue chip corporates and financial and governmental institutions. Investment was earmarked for international expansion and Anthesis’s M&A program. 

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Atlas Technical Consultants, an infrastructure and environmental solutions provider, for being taken private by GI Partners in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.05 billion, including outstanding debt. “We are excited to enter this new chapter for Atlas. Under private ownership and in partnership with GI Partners, we will accelerate growth and drive greater value to our customers while providing continued opportunities for our employees,” said CEO L. Joe Boyer. In January 2024, Boyer retired and was replaced by Jacqueline Hinman, former CEO of CH2M Hill. Atlas became a public company in February 2020. With more than 3,500 employees nationwide, Atlas has four primary disciplines: Environmental; Testing, Inspection and Certification; Engineering & Design; and Program Management/Construction Management and Quality Management.

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Aqualis and its financial partner DFW Capital Partners for acquiring Stormwater Solutions Engineering LLC, a specialized civil engineering firm. “This opportunity represents a pivotal point in Aqualis’ history as we expand our portfolio of services to include sustainable water engineering,” said Chief Development Officer Erin Zaske. Stormwater Solutions’ expertise lies largely in flood management, water quality, drainage design, integrated site design, and stormwater inspections, maintenance, and certifications. Aqualis is a provider of sustainable water management services nationally.

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

VLS Environmental Solutions, a portfolio company of I Squared Capital, for acquiring Texas Molecular, a provider of industrial waste sequestration services. With facilities in Deer Park and Corpus Christi, Texas, Molecular specializes in handling, treatment, and sequestration of liquid hazardous and non-hazardous industrial wastes. The combined company had over 1,000 employees and 38 locations nationwide. I Squared Capital purchased VLS from Aurora Capital Partners in August 2022; it was the 11th acquisition by VLS since 2017. VLS provides waste management, marine services, and railcar cleaning. 

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Pace Analytical Services for acquiring Alpha Analytical, LLC, a full-service environmental laboratory services company based in Westborough, Mass. The acquisition greatly strengthened Pace’s capacity to carry out environmental testing in the Northeast United States and expanded its forensics and sediment testing capabilities. The full range of Alpha Analytical laboratory services, including two environmental laboratories and 11 service centers, were added to the Pace laboratory network. The company offers the largest laboratory capacity in the Northeast with 39 locations. Pace also welcomed the addition of hydrocarbon forensics used to detect petroleum-based contaminants, as well as additional dredging and ecological risk assessment support used in testing water, wildlife tissue and soil. Pace provides environmental testing and analytical laboratory services in support of regulatory compliance requirements, site assessments, remediation, product testing, environmental disasters, waste management, etc. 

 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Alliance Technical Group, LLC for the strategic mergers and acquisitions of eight organizations and expanding its expertise in laboratory analytics to new regions. While Alliance’s initial focus was on “stack-centric” lab services, client feedback guided the firm to broaden its horizons to include a comprehensive environmental testing suite encompassing air, water, and soil testing. This transition was orchestrated through noteworthy additions including Summit Environmental Technologies, Orange Coast Analytical, Fremont Analytical Inc., and Chester LabNet. The acquisitions enhanced Alliance’s analytical service capacity to about 55% in-house and significantly expanded its range of services. The growth strategy blended diverse expertise and resulted in expanded capabilities while establishing a national network of top-tier services.

 

GROWTH IN NEW PRACTICE AREA

NEW PRACTICE: eDNA Laboratory

ICF for opening an in-house laboratory to analyze environmental DNA (eDNA) samples. The lab performs DNA extractions and runs qPCR assays to supplement traditional field surveys for invasive and rare animals and plants without direct observation or handling. eDNA is essentially “environmental forensics”, enabling the detection of species based on DNA traces like shedding of cells or excretions. Federal, state, and local agencies increasingly recognize eDNA sampling as a valuable tool for detecting and monitoring species. By combining technology with biology, ICF is enabling clients to better detect and monitor species, supporting management decisions, permitting and compliance strategies, and research. ICF has assembled a team of field biologists and molecular biology experts with experience collecting eDNA in a variety of environments, designing surveys and performing analyses. Within the first month of opening, ICF had multiple projects underway using these techniques. The lab team has already extracted eDNA from over 30 water samples from different watersheds and is analyzing these samples.

 

NEW PRACTICE: R&D

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC for expanding its R&D practice by 300% from a single project in 2017 to nine contract actions valued at more than $7 million in 2023. EA’s practice

supports a range of research—from contaminants of emerging concern, such as PFAS resulting from aqueous film forming foams, to coastal-related nature-based solutions for climate adaptation and resilience. EA has established teaming relationships with top universities and is working with federal agencies, such as the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, as well as NGOs, including Trout Unlimited. EA professionals have also made significant contributions to R&D in the environmental consulting industry through peer-reviewed publications and presentations, as peer reviewers, and by serving on graduate student committees. By providing the opportunity to work on the environmental industry’s most complex scientific and engineering challenges, EA has attracted and retained PhD-level staff and supported professional growth for the more than 70 employees in its R&D practice. 

 

NEW PRACTICE: Ecosystem Restoration 

Marstel-Day LLC for significantly expanding its ecosystem restoration practice with the award of several new contracts pertaining to stream restoration, coastal resilience, living shorelines, wetlands restoration, pollinator habitat creation, restoration of upland habitat (forests and fields), invasive species control, and creation of habitat for threatened and endangered species. Marstel-Day won $6 million in new ecosystem restoration projects in 2023 primarily supporting Department of Defense climate resilience initiatives at military installations nationwide. Growth of the practice led to expanding staff capabilities in landscape architecture, design, and planning. Marstel-Day applies stakeholder engagement strategies; cost-effective technologies; adaptive management; a suite of blue, green, and gray infrastructure solutions; sea level rise (SLR) modeling; risk and threat analysis; landscape conservation modeling; and scenario planning to design the most cost-effective strategy to achieve ecosystem restoration objectives, enhance habitat metrics, increase ecosystem services, and ensure long-term functionality through a range of high-water events and SLR scenarios.

 

NEW PRACTICE: Managed Services 

Ddms, Inc. for launching its Managed Services offering for clients who need ongoing and affordable operational environmental data management and technology support. Designed to meet a real need in the industry, ddms developed Managed Services as an innovative subscription-based support model with predictable costs and prescribed services to meet the demand of industrial and government in-house database systems. Managed Service arrangements match highly trained and dedicated staff with client-specific support requirements. To establish the annual cost, ddms quantifies the scale and scope of data management tasks with consideration for in-house client resourcing and expertise. ddms then matches its expertise and job functions to support client needs to ensure day-to-day data value delivery. Clients have reported a high level of satisfaction with ddms Managed Services because they receive skilled, dedicated services to ensure uninterrupted support for a predictable and fair value-based cost.

 

NEW PRACTICE: Abandoned Wells 

Weston Solutions, Inc. for its Oil and Gas Well Plugging and Abandonment Practice to address orphaned and marginal oil and gas wells and supporting communities on the frontlines of historical oil and gas production by minimizing methane emissions and preserving groundwater quality. Funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to reduce methane emissions has spurred a focus on environmental risks posed by orphaned wells that are not properly closed. Led by a team of regulatory experts in navigating complex regulations and funding opportunities, Weston grew its client base in 2023, supporting over 100 well plugging, abandonment, and well site assessment projects with capacity to support additional clients. Weston has supported various well remediation projects for the U.S. EPA since 2003 and has recently been assisting other agencies such as the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. As Weston grows its portfolio in the assessment and decommissioning process, the firm continues to focus on efficiently providing the data needed to optimize plugging and reclamation work with a nationwide reach.

 

NEW PRACTICE: Sustainable Solutions Planning 

SCS Engineers for partnering with clients and preparing detailed plans and project execution to advance sustainability initiatives that scale. While other providers focus on identifying over-arching goals related to NetZero or climate change, SCS Engineers has produced built projects and programs for over five decades that lower industrial operating costs and reduce greenhouse gases. Integrating sustainability into core business strategy ensures long-term viability. Selecting a company that has engineered, constructed, operated, and monitored sustainable solutions helps ensure sustainable plans that scale based on funding and accommodate evolving technologies, market conditions, and regulatory requirements. SCS’s sustainable solutions planners team with the firm’s environmental engineers, scientists, and technicians, including its greenhouse gas monitoring and carbon sequestration practices. Professional staff are located according to their knowledge of regional and local geography, regulatory policies, and industrial or scientific specialties. Full service by these experts provides added value and quality for clients so that every project achieves NetZero or climate change plan goals.

 

PROJECT MERIT

PROJECT MERIT: Delta Conveyance Project 

ICF for leading the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Delta Conveyance Project on behalf of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). The final report was certified on December 21, 2023 and complies with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). ICF has served as lead environmental consultant to the California DWR for the Delta Conveyance Project, a vital climate adaptation strategy and water resiliency project, since 2017. The purpose of the project is to safely capture, move, and store water from big but infrequent storm events for use in drier times; protect against future water supply losses caused by weather extremes, sea level rise, and earthquakes; and address aging infrastructure by modernizing California’s primary water delivery infrastructure—the State Water Project (SWP). ICF led groundbreaking work requiring extensive coordination with federal, state, and public water agencies, as well as tribal representatives and other stakeholders. ICF also led Endangered Species Act compliance (federal and state), economic analysis and modeling; hydrologic and hydraulic modeling; public outreach and agency coordination; and cultural and tribal resources consultation. ICF is finalizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to secure federal permits.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Innovation in Crisis

GEI Consultants, Inc. for empowering emergency response planning by creating the Tulare Lake Atlas. In early 2023, severe storms and atmospheric rivers resulted in unprecedented rainfall and snow in Central California, with the Tulare Basin 6-Station precipitation index recording the wettest period on record. As substantial snowpack in the southern Sierras began to melt, it led to the reemergence of the previously dry Tulare lakebed, posing a significant threat to vital agricultural lands, critical infrastructure, and populated areas. Emergency management officials faced a daunting task due to the absence of a comprehensive hydrologic and hydraulic model for this historically dry lakebed. Addressing this critical gap, GEI collaborated with the California Department of Water Resources to pioneer the creation of a groundbreaking Atlas that offered an innovative visualization of the potential inundation areas corresponding to varying water volumes and associated water surface elevations. The Atlas significantly aided emergency response personnel, equipping them with invaluable technical insights to foresee and strategize against potential threats. Its swift development and effectiveness in empowering emergency planning marked it as a groundbreaking tool during an unprecedented crisis.

 

PROJECT MERIT: E-Waste Remediation

TRC for leading the e-waste investigation, remediation/cleanup, and collaborative management of the regulatory process for the former Tatooine Industries facility in Burns, Wyo.  In 2022, TRC completed removal of 1.2 million lbs of e-waste and 83,000 lbs of leaded glass, while recycling approximately 75%. In June 2023, after samples verified that contaminants of concern were below cleanup levels, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued the Certificate of Completion. The Tatooine facility had operated as an e-waste recycling facility from 2010 to 2014 but was abandoned after its owner’s arrest. The blighted property quickly posed risks to the community, including safety concerns, fire damage, illicit operations, and illegal dumping. Many Wyoming municipalities, state government entities, and schools had paid to have their e-waste recycled at the facility, and its unexpected closure resulted in their e-waste being permanently abandoned. TRC helped to bring this important facility back into community use. A lease agreement is pending that is expected to will result in positive business operations and economic benefits through increased jobs and tax revenues.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Sediment Remediation

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC for leading design and construction oversight to remediate impacted sediment across more than 200 acres in-water and on the shoreline of the St. Louis River, while also enhancing wetland habitat and creating new open water. Located within the St. Louis River Area of Concern in Duluth, Minn., the Spirit Lake Great Lakes Legacy Act Sediment Remediation Project involves a multi-disciplinary team that includes consultants, contractors, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office and their nonfederal sponsor. The Spirit Lake site presented many challenges for design, construction, and permitting. These included a large geographic area, competing stakeholder interests, consideration of sensitive resources and environmental work windows, balance of on-land and in water construction operations, large-scale restoration planning, community involvement, significant cultural resources coordination, and adaptive management. The project represents a decade of work conducted in a holistic manner from feasibility studies through to developing a design to balance remedial goals, habitat restoration, and stakeholder needs. In addressing chemical constituents of concern, environmental cleanup involved extensive hydraulic and mechanical dredging of more than 460,000 cubic yards of sediment, capping of 96 acres, monitoring of 127 acres of impacted sediment, and 138 acres of aquatic habitat restoration plantings.

 

PROJECT MERIT: PFAS Treatment Facility

Tetra Tech, Inc. for working with the City of Dayton, Ohio to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the City’s water supply, from planning to implementation. Once constructed, the PFAS treatment facility will be the largest in the United States. Tetra Tech developed a $400 million master plan for the City to address asset management needs at the City’s two 96 MGD water treatment plants (WTPs) and well fields. The strategy includes expanding pumping and recharge at the Miami WTP, installing a 48-inch interconnect between the WTPs, and installing a 96 MGD of PFAS treatment at the Ottawa WTP. To implement PFAS treatment, Tetra Tech will perform a Rapid Small Scale Column Test to select an adsorptive media (granular activated carbon, ion exchange, and novel adsorbents) for treatment, site the treatment process within a congested site, and develop a 30% design package for implementation through alternative delivery. Tetra Tech designed four new wells, sited eight future wells, and is currently designing 25 MGD of recharge expansion within the Miami well field. In total, Tetra Tech is planning and designing more than $200 million in improvements to address emerging contaminants and maintain a high-quality water source for the region.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Sites Reservoir Project

ICF for serving as the environmental compliance and permitting consultant for the Sites Reservoir Project, leading all permitting and agency coordination, and developing a mitigation strategy that satisfies both permitting and environmental compliance commitments. Final EIR/EIS was completed in November 2023. The Sites Reservoir Project is a planned 1.5 million-acre-foot off-stream reservoir that will capture and store excess stormwater from the Sacramento River for use in dry years. Sites Reservoir would be the first new reservoir in California in decades. ICF worked closely with the Sites Project Authority to ensure the necessary documents and assessments were prepared to streamline both the environmental compliance and permitting processes, be legally defensible, and gain agency support and approvals. ICF also engaged the permitting agencies early in the process to set clear expectations and milestone requirements. ICF’s strategy proved invaluable in preparing early environmental documents to help secure project funding; working with project engineers to ensure environmental tasks were integrated with the project planning, engineering design, and construction; coordinating with federal and state agencies to secure various permits and approvals; and developing a mitigation strategy.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Model for Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard

Marstel-Day LLC for developing the first ever bird aircraft strike hazard (BASH) model for predicting risks and incidental takes to federally listed birds and bats as part of a nationwide Programmatic Biological Assessment (PBA) covering flight operations at 32 Air Force bases. The integrated model utilizes Poisson probability modeling, surrogate species modeling, adjustments for observant bias in BASH reporting by aircraft type, analysis of more than 300,000 BASH incidences, risks to 35 federally listed birds and bat species across the nation, and analysis of millions of flight operations for all aircraft types at 32 bases. Formal consultation occurred with all USFWS regional offices and headquarters to develop a nationwide incidental take permit to cover all Air Force airfield operations, culminating in a Biological Opinion (BO) drafted by USFWS in 2023. This approach enables the Air Force to significantly streamline NEPA and Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance through establishment of a national bank for incidental takes to be applied to all military aircraft strikes from 32 bases. It also affords greater flexibility to the Air Force when changes in military mission require changes in airfield operations or new aircraft, as this approach eliminates the need to prepare additional BA/BOs in the future.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Sterling Natural Resource Center

Rincon Consultants, Inc. for working with East Valley Water District (EVWD) for several years to secure Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs) for the Sterling Natural Resource Center (SNRC), a brand-new wastewater treatment/water reclamation plant in San Bernardino County, Calif. The WDRs—the water quality permit that incorporates State Water Resources Control Board’s groundwater replenishment and reuse project regulations—were issued by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board on December 1, 2023. The SNRC is a groundwater replenishment and reuse project (GRRP) that will spread recycled water for recharge of the Bunker Hill groundwater basin. Constructed between 2018 and 2023, this potable reuse project will ensure reliable water supplies are available to the disadvantaged communities served by EVWD. By increasing the amount of local groundwater in storage, this project will ensure a local, drought-proof water supply for a California community that has faced repeated multi-year droughts and supply constraints. Based on extensive community engagement, SNRC also provides unique public meeting space and parkland available to the surrounding community. SNRC will begin operation in early January 2024, delivering highly treated recycled water to nearby recharge basins and securing a safe and reliable water future for the community.

 

PROJECT MERIT: PFAS Remediation

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for conducting an assessment and finalizing a Feasibility Study for Project 1007, a flood control initiative finalized in 1987. This study aims to comprehend the project’s role in propagation of PFAS contamination within the East Metro Area of the Twin Cities. Project 1007 directs water from the Tri-Lakes area to the St. Croix River via stormwater pipes, open channels, and creeks. One such creek flows through a former PFAS disposal site, where PFAS leached into the groundwater for decades. Designed and implemented by AECOM, the assessment involved sampling soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater in several communities. The result is an integrated surface water, groundwater, and fate and transport model that identifies site-specific PFAS trends. The project is informing targeted regional remedial action options while leading the way for PFAS remediation in the United States. In December 2022, MPCA became the first state government to pilot a combination of innovative technologies to address PFAS. Surface activated foam fractionation takes contaminated water and turns PFAS into a foam that separates from the water. The foam concentrate is then coupled with destruction technologies, including AECOM’s DE-FLUORO unit where electrochemical oxidation breaks the carbon-fluorine bonds.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Food recovery and waste prevention

The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) retained the services of SCS Engineers to help member cities comply with state mandates regarding edible food recovery and food waste prevention. Implementing commercial food recovery programs is important to ensure members meet state compliance, avoid penalty fees, and reap environmental and humanitarian benefits, such as addressing food insecurity. SCS collaborated with the SGVCOG team and local stakeholders to analyze commercial edible food generation, calculate edible food recovery capacity in the region, develop safe food recovery/donation strategies, and implement education and outreach to establish one of the largest SB 1383 edible food recovery programs in California. The combined effort has helped SGVCOG better understand how and where food waste is generated and to identify the capacity of food recovery organizations to recover excess edible food from businesses. The program has conducted inspections at over 500 businesses and recovery organizations to educate them on food waste reduction and edible food recovery. 

 

PROJECT MERIT: Emergency Response and Solutions

Burns & McDonnell for emergency response to an oil release from the Keystone Pipeline System in rural Washington County, Kansas in December 2022 and for follow-up design and implementation in 2023. The release, identified as the Milepost 14 Incident, discharged 12,397 barrels of crude oil, impacting roughly 3.48 miles of creek and posed a risk of downstream migration into a river and reservoir. Burns & McDonnell’s emergency response team was on site within hours of the release, working with client TC Energy to mitigate risk to nearby wildlife habitats, agriculture and the community. In 2023, Burns & McDonnell collaborated with its client and local agencies and led a group of subcontractors to design and implement a solution that included: 

  • 24/7 incident response, including removing and protecting wildlife and cataloging plant species.
  • Capture/analysis of drone footage and 3D site models.
  • Diverting 3.7 million cubic meters of surface water over land to investigate and remediate impacted creek bed and banks. 
  • Designing, installing and operating the seventh largest water treatment plant in Kansas (designed and built in 70 days) with a 71,200-cubic-meter water treatment pond.
  • Treating 204,000-plus cubic meters of impacted water with zero regulatory exceedances. 
  • Evaluating and remediating impacted soil and groundwater.
  • Restoring stream banks and habitats and reintroducing wildlife.

The Milepost 14 project was completed within a year, equating to 3.4 million total project hours performed without significant incident or injury, with around 135,000 hours attributable to Burns & McDonnell, which continues to work with TC Energy on long-term monitoring.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Site Remediation

TerraTherm, Inc., a Cascade Company, teamed with Jacobs to thermally remediate the Velsicol Chemical Superfund Site located along the Pine River in St. Louis, Mo. Historical chemical manufacturing operations produced chemicals and metals including DDT and 1,2-dipromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP). Between 2017 and 2023, in situ thermal conduction heating (TCH) was used in three phases to reduce dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPL) mass and mobility and eliminate offsite migration of DNAPL to surface water and sediments in 18 discrete source areas at the site. Unexpected removal mechanisms were encountered during TCH operations. While designed to remove the bulk of mass via vaporization and treatment via thermal oxidation, during the first TCH phase, DNAPL recovery was the dominant removal mechanism. During this phase, > 90% of the total mass was recovered as DNAPL, followed by 98% and 97% of the total mass removal in the following phases, respectively. The majority of the DNAPL mass was recovered late in the remedy when most of the site had been at boiling temperatures for a substantial amount of time. Over 380,000 lbs of contaminants were removed from the 18 source areas—more than seven times the original estimate—and more than 90% were removed as DNAPL.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Site Remediation

Cascade Environmental for playing a pivotal role in the successful remediation of a former chemical manufacturing site in Keasbey, N.J. Cascade worked closely with the client and site engineer to address groundwater contamination, specifically tert-butanol (TBA), impacting adjacent properties. Cascade’s innovative approach involved in situ solidification and stabilization (ISS) of approximately 15,000 cubic yards of TBA-impacted materials. Complications in prior site characterization led to the real-time discovery of stone fill in the area of former remediation. This posed unforeseen challenges in safety, remedial efforts, and material management. Cascade addressed these stone-related complications successfully, adapting mix designs during installation of a slurry wall and managing workspace and excavation support during ISS. Amidst the stone management, the team identified unknown utility lines and relocated numerous conduits. Cascade’s strategic approach mitigated risks and enhanced overall project success. Cascade demonstrated adaptability within unexpected conditions all while working within the originally proposed budgets and schedules. 

 

PROJECT MERIT: Central 70

Pinyon Environmental Inc. for the Central 70 Project in Denver and located near industrial and commercial uses and two U.S. Environmental Protection Agency superfund sites. Pinyon utilized the Public Private Partnership approach for the reconstruction of the corridor, adding toll lanes, removing the viaduct, lowering portions of the interstate, and placing a cover park over a portion of the lowered interstate. In preparation for construction and to minimize potential delays and additional costs, Pinyon developed a proactive sampling and agency approach. Pinyon collected 170 soil samples to identify areas where soils were available for material reuse, completed over 100 Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, and sampled 30 wells. The project team coordinated with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in the development of a Beneficial Reuse Materials Management Plan (BRMMP), which further defined the allowable limits for material reuse onsite, and the requirements and process for environmental covenants. Pinyon audited the contractor’s work to document compliance with technical requirements and the BRMMP, reviewed management plans, conducted field audits, and coordinated with regulatory agencies. Due to the unique BRMMP and subsequent reuse of materials on site, the project team reduced costs, as excavated materials were estimated to total over 1.3 million cubic yards.

 

PROJECT MERIT: Riverfront Park

AECOM/BASF for making major strides in 2023 in transforming a former industrial property into an ecological showcase. Progress on the Riverfront Park project in East Newark, N.J. included completion of design, installation of climate resiliency features, and commencement of Park construction. Located in an “environmental justice” community, Riverfront Park explores human connectivity with ecological systems with a design focused on biodiversity, featuring pollinator gardens, meadows, wooded areas, and native plantings. This universally accessible park includes a 1,000-foot-long riverfront boardwalk to allow users to explore the shoreline and enjoy sweeping views of the Passaic River. An urban amphitheater provides a peaceful setting for community members to connect safely with the natural world. The nature-based design addresses 15 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and features sustainable building materials and practices. Rain gardens highlight use of green infrastructure to manage stormwater. Collaboration between government, businesses, NGOs, and the community has enabled fast track restoration of this impaired property. The Park will be fully constructed in 2024, turning back the clock and transforming the East Newark waterfront into an extraordinary community asset, a rich landscape providing human and ecological uplift after more than 150 years of industrial use.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT AWARDS

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Sustainable PFAS Remediation

ecoSPEARS for developing sustainable technologies to eliminate “forever chemicals” from contaminated sediments, soils, and water. Existing methods for remediating contaminants in waterways primarily rely on the disruptive practice of dredging, which disturbs aquatic ecosystems, results in the additional release of harmful substances, and has significant economic consequences. ecoSPEARS’ innovative onsite remediation technologies are both green and sustainable. The NASA-developed SPEARS technology is a non-invasive surgical approach to sediment and porewater remediation. The technology is comprised of a specialized mat that contains an array of polymer “SPEARS” filled with proprietary solvent to absorb toxins. The mats are pressed down into the contaminated sediment, where they passively absorb contaminants. ecoSPEARS’ solutions have won international acclaim, notably through collaboration with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN). The technology has been integrated into international environmental policies, such as IPEN’s non-combustion technology for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Waste Destruction.

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: PFAS Mass Removal

Ivey International Inc. (Vancouver, BC) for developing a new formulation from its Ivey-sol® enhanced remediation technology to address PFAS contamination in groundwater, soil, and bedrock regimes. Tests of the PFAS-SOL® formulation conducted in the United Kingdom by IVEY in collaboration with the University of Greenwich, with analysis by ALS, have shown significant PFAS mass removal rates. The PFAS-SOL® formulation is non-toxic, biodegradable, and pH neutral. It is based on non-ionic formulations, with a novel additive, that can selectively desorb contaminants and render sorbed, globular and nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPL) soluble in the aqueous phase – that is, it forms a non-emulsified mixture with water and can thus be more easily controlled and removed from impacted soil, fractured bedrock, groundwater, and surface water while maintaining plume control. “With PFOA/PFOS, given the liability,” says George ‘Bud’ Ivey, president of Ivey International Inc., “if you lose control of your plume at parts per trillion it presents a great deal of risk when using absorptive technologies.”

TEHNOLOGY MERIT: Connect Climate

BSI for commercializing its Connect Climate software to support the burgeoning demands of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting and greenhouse gas (GHG) management. BSI’s innovative software enables companies to collect business activity information efficiently from diverse sites and suppliers. Connect Climate stands out by leveraging a robust library of global GHG emissions factors, powered by EcoMetrica, to calculate immediate Scope 1 and 2 emissions, in addition to all 15 categories of companies’ more complex Scope 3 emissions. Using this software, organizations can consolidate emission data in a centralized platform, enabling streamlined reporting and informed decisionmaking. By providing a holistic view of their entire value chains’ emissions, Connect Climate empowers companies to identify strategic opportunities to make impactful reductions in their GHG emissions.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: PFAS Site Evaluation Toolset

Jacobs for developing a proprietary (patent pending) PFAS evaluation toolset to map hundreds of PFAS transformation pathways under environmentally relevant conditions and to identify differing PFAS sources and release history. Jacobs’ PFAS pathway mapping is paired with hundreds of chemical “fingerprints” of source products. These evaluation tools, backed by the latest peer-reviewed publications and machine learning, create a unique “3D visual fingerprint” that presents data according to how the compounds transform and attenuate in nature. Jacobs’ approach simplifies interpretation and communication, including understanding of precursor transformation, a key to effective decision making for investigation, risk assessments and remediation. The toolset is used globally to identify source areas, model PFAS precursor transformation and refine fate and transport and attenuation pathways. This toolset accelerates understanding of the conceptual site models and streamlines investigation strategies. For example, Jacobs worked on an Australian national program of PFAS investigations across 37 civilian airports. Five years of data at one site were quickly processed using the Toolset, and a previously unknown source area was identified. In turn, Jacobs refined the conceptual site model and adjusted the sampling plan to close this data gap.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Ambient Air Monitoring

Burns & McDonnell for developing and implementing the Ambient Air Monitoring System, a sensor-based alert system and dashboard, for a client with an aggressive schedule for a $300-million EPC project driven by IRA tax incentives for renewables manufacturing and environmental justice considerations in the community. A state regulatory agency required ongoing air monitoring during expedited construction. The client needed an interface that was user-friendly and easily accessible for the construction team and would not interrupt construction work. The system is comprised of a network of air quality sensors around the perimeter of the construction site that aggregates data into a digital dashboard. Burns & McDonnell advised the client on recommended action levels for initiating dust control measures and programmed those levels into the dashboard. The technology solution included:  

  • Monitoring and display of ambient particulate matter (PM) concentrations onsite with location-based labels.
  • Automatic email deployment to the construction team if action levels were exceeded.
  • An ArcGIS Survey123 questionnaire to document responses to elevated PM concentrations.  
  • Logic to assist with implementation of a fugitive dust control plan.

The system verifies compliance and allows construction work to continue uninterrupted. Burns & McDonnell anticipates that more clients will require monitoring, data documentation and delivery in the future as sustainability and environmental justice efforts drive transparency and regulatory change.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Phase 1 ESAs

Citadel EHS for partnering with an AI consultant to develop a solution for Phase 1 ESAs using ChatGPT.  Phase 1 ESAs are an important starting point in the life cycle of real estate redevelopment. However, for many EHS consulting firms, they generate little profit, entail high risk (you can’t afford to miss anything), incorporate large amounts of data review and reporting, have tight deadlines, and are often done in large part by less experienced staff. Given the copious amounts of data to be uploaded, which would cost a vendor thousands of dollars, Citadel’s partner wrote project-specific code in Python and worked with the data provider to structure the data in a way that it could be efficiently uploaded. The end result was that Citadel was able to provide extra eyes with AI to assist the Phase I preparer review, sort, and comment on data of significance and automate sections of the final report. What is also noteworthy is that Citadel chose not to make the AI solution proprietary and has reached out to other industry firms that may benefit from the technology.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Patent for Sustainable Herbicide Test Method

Pace Analytical Services for being awarded a patent for ezHerbicide, the firm’s Analytical Herbicide Detection Technology for soil and water samples. The proprietary technology provides more accurate data up to 50% faster while reducing environmental impact. The ezHerbicide method combines liquid chromatography with a mass spectrometry system to detect herbicide particles at a lower, parts-per-billion level. This process ensures more accurate and precise determination of herbicide forms. Smaller sample sizes mean fewer sample containers, reduced shipping, and less solvents used in the processing of samples. Other traditional analytical techniques for measuring the presence of herbicides are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and have limitations on what can be detected.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: DebrisFlow Predictor

Dr. Richard Guthrie, a landslide expert at Stantec and the Director of Geohazards, together with Andrew Befus, one of Stantec’s application developers, for designing and building DebrisFlow Predictor software to predict the impacts of a debris flow by path, depth, total area and volume. Debris flows are extremely rapid flow-type landslides that travel long distances from their source and impact communities, lives, infrastructure, and the environment. Most often triggered by rainfall, debris flows are a serious hazard in mountain environments. That hazard increases many times after a wildfire season. Without adequate modeling, the run-out and potential impact of debris flows are hard to define. DebrisFlow Predictor is a visually intuitive, computationally efficient program that requires limited data inputs and quantifies the landslide threat in the receiving area—that zone where we build, work, live, and play. Stantec is converting the model into a Software as a Service (SaaS) that clients can use as a cloud-based tool. DebrisFlow Predictor is for anyone exposed to debris flow hazards who wants a visually intuitive way of answering Will I be OK?, “Will my infrastructure be impacted?” “How bad will it be?” DebrisFlow Predictor provides a new robust solution, to an old and dangerous problem.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Mobile Air Monitoring Initiatives

Alliance Technical Group, LLC for its Geospatial Measurement of Air Pollutants (GMAP) unit, a mobile air-monitoring unit developed in collaboration with Ken Garing and Associates, LLC. Based on the U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) GMAP program, this unit offers real-time monitoring, comprehensive coverage of various pollutants, advanced data analysis using geospatial mapping software, and versatility in application. Utilizing concentration data obtained through Alliance’s GMAP unit, detailed keyhole markup language output files can be produced which display relative concentration data and wind direction overlaid on the facility map via Google Earth.

 

TECHNOLOGY MERIT: Unmanned Aerial Systems

Groundwater & Environmental Services, Inc. (GES) for expanding its small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) services in 2023 targeting natural gas and petroleum pipeline right-of-way (ROW) and abandoned and orphaned oil and gas (AOOG) well services. GES obtained its first Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waiver for operating a drone beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) for a 7-mile pipeline ROW. During 2023, GES significantly advanced its capabilities for BVLOS by obtaining a non-geographically constrained FAA waiver, which allows GES to conduct BVLOS missions anywhere in the United States without submitting a specific waiver request as long as the flight area meets certain conditions (e.g., population density and road crossings). This accelerates GES’s ability to conduct ROW monitoring flights for clients. GES also expanded its service offerings for magnetometry and methane monitoring for visual line of sight (VLOS) missions. The company successfully located abandoned wells in 2023, including one beneath 6 feet of soil cover using the Geometrics MagArrow. To further support natural gas and petroleum pipeline clients, GES added the capability to conduct real-time methane monitoring from a drone-based optical gas imaging (OGI) camera and conducted its first-ROW methane monitoring project in 2023.

 

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: APTView

APTIM for developing APTView, a client-specific, customizable data collection and capture tool to efficiently manage over 70,000 solid waste related accounts, representing more than 60 public agencies servicing over 10 million people in 16 states. Waste minimization experts in APTIM’s Sustainability Solutions Team provide comprehensive solid waste services and solutions, including Senate Bill (SB) 1383 education and outreach, recordkeeping, route reviews, rate reviews, hauler compliance, waiver program implementation, and ongoing maintenance services. These customized platforms allow jurisdictions to watch APTIM experts conduct audits, move through field evaluations, and check compliance in real-time. In addition, the user-friendly interface allows jurisdiction staff to instantly pull data reports for immediate project status updates and review via their customized portal.

 

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Data-Driven Remediation Engineering

Jacobs for developing the Alluvial information management platform that provides a foundation for intelligent remediation operations and maintenance (O&M). Alluvial serves as the digital cornerstone of Jacobs’ innovative and data-driven “Intelligent O&M” approach. Alluvial acts as a centralized digital hub, aggregating data, analytics, and insights for easy access and exchange. Jacobs’ Intelligent O&M, powered by Alluvial, leverages the capabilities of Microsoft Azure services to develop state-of-the-art cloud Application Programming Interface (API) data pipelines tailored for remediation SCADA systems. Cloud APIs ensure the rapid availability of big data, providing the foundation for real-time insights and informed decision-making. Intelligent O&M dashboards provide on-demand data access for users, in addition to facilitating the evaluation of system performance and remedial effectiveness with contextual data summaries, visualizations, and statistical analyses to help users see beyond raw data. The Intelligent O&M platform was deployed in 2023 and is enhancing remedial systems operations for a chemical client’s remedial portfolio.

 

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: PFAS Remedial Investigation

Weston Solutions, Inc. and its Enterprise Visualization and Analytics team for implementing a novel data management framework using enterprise geospatial techniques to expedite a CERCLA PFAS Remedial Investigation at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst. Faced with the challenge of characterizing multiple media across 21 sites amid varying Regional Screening Levels, Weston’s project team needed a way to make informed decisions using near-real-time data from field operations and historical data. To address this, Weston implemented a centralized, spatially enabled data platform accessible through a secure interactive geospatial web viewer. The platform empowered stakeholders with (1) Real-time mobile data collection through map-based applications, efficiently streamlining field operations and capturing accurate data instantly (2) One-click access to soil boring logs eliminating the chance for possible error, and (3) A dynamic analytical search tool providing decision-makers access to all analytical results and plume distributions across sites. Weston has adopted this scalable framework as its standard approach on all projects, driving efficiency and client satisfaction.

 

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: EQuIS Geotech

EarthSoft, Inc. for launching EQuIS Geotech, a modern enterprise solution for the geotechnical industry. EQuIS Geotech was developed in collaboration with geotechnical industry leaders as an alternative to legacy standalone geotechnical software. EQuIS Geotech manages geotechnical and environmental data in a single, innovative enterprise solution that centralizes, standardizes, and manages geotechnical data collection, analysis, and reporting. EQuIS Geotech improves data quality and streamlines and automates project workflows for large-scale geotechnical data management. EarthSoft also challenged the environmental community to rethink data governance and management practices through its EQuIS Data Governance Initiative and Preferred Laboratory Program. Top industrial, consulting, and laboratory organizations partnered with EarthSoft to move this initiative forward; with their input, EarthSoft has published the 2nd edition of a data governance guidance document. An example of its impact on the industry is the development and implementation of a completely digital data workflow for what has typically been a manual or disjointed process.

 

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Non-Intrusive BMP Verification

Larson Design Group for its Non-Intrusive BMP Verification methodology, an effective and cost-efficient protocol that can be used to capture Resource Improvement BMPs (Best Management Practices). This method can be utilized to collect new BMPs or re-verify existing BMPs with the added functionality of data reporting consolidation within the Online ArcGIS Hub Site. Larson’s tool provides organization for agency staff and allows for use of third-party consultants to assist in the completion of this program. Although the methodology varies from traditional inspection reporting, overall data collection and accuracy are comparable. Multiple Conservation Districts within the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania have identified the need for just such a BMP verification program that can be conducted with non-invasive methods. Districts within Clinton, Potter, Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Susquehanna counties recognized this priority through the adoption of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s initiative to report implemented BMP projects for enhanced accuracy of environmental nutrient and sediment reduction calculations. This pilot program contains an established focus to limit the amount of additional staff time dedicated to identification, collection, and documentation while also limiting the reporting of private information required for BMP verification completion.

 

SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION

SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION

APTIM for forming a philanthropic partnership with the Louisiana State University (LSU) College of the Coast & Environment (CC&E) to support local middle and high school students. The APTIM Environmental & Sustainability Fund will provide students in Baton Rouge, La. the opportunity to learn hands-on about the environment, its connection to communities, and the importance of sustainability. The donation followed the grand opening of APTIM’s new headquarters on The Water Campus. APTIM’s support funded activities that enhance classroom learning, including program transportation, resources for research projects, and field trips for three East Baton Rouge Parish School System schools. EnvironMentors, a program involving students from Scotlandville Magnet High School, is one example of how CC&E is achieving its long-term objective of diversifying the coastal and environmental workforce. Through this philanthropic partnership, APTIM professionals shared information with students about potential career paths. As a result of Aptim’s support and their own hard work, five EnvironMentors proteges placed in the high school research poster category at LSU Discover Undergraduate Research Program Day 2023 and competed on a national level in Washington, D.C., this summer.

 

SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION

The Burns & McDonnell Foundation for inspiring young students to explore STEM professions. Burns & McDonnell employee-owners rely on STEM skills, passion and lifelong curiosity in their work, and the Foundation aims to ignite that spark in students. Burns & McDonnell partners with Science City, a science museum in Kansas City, Mo., to provide engaging, interactive STEM learning opportunities. Since 2008, this partnership has helped reimagine Science City as Kansas City’s world-class Science Center and influence STEM curriculum for area schools. The annual Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition allows schools to earn grants totaling more than $155,000 for STEM education by dreaming up an interactive museum exhibit. The winning team works with Burns & McDonnell professionals in an immersive STEM mentorship process to bring the idea to life as a $1 million exhibit at Science City. Since 2011, more than 30,000 students in 55 school districts have benefited from this educational opportunity, and Burns & McDonnell has distributed nearly $1 million in grants to schools. In September 2023, nearly 40 students and their teachers from schools in a highly diverse district in Raytown, Mo., helped unveil their newest exhibit.

SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION

Corvias Infrastructure Solutions LLC (CIS) for mentoring over sixty minority/small businesses across the nation. Established in 2013, CIS originated from a pioneering partnership with Prince George’s County in Maryland, evolving into the nation’s foremost Community-Based Public-Private Partnership (CBP3). This initiative has garnered acclaim as a national exemplar, harmonizing environmental, economic, and societal objectives. Across the past decade, CIS, as a frontrunner in CBP3s, has managed and sustained numerous projects, totaling over $450 million over 50 municipalities spanning the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, and West Coast regions. Its endeavors include executing the most extensive urban greening initiatives nationwide, facilitating access for local, small, and disadvantaged businesses while fostering environmental awareness within communities. Central to these CBP3 programs, CIS has mentored upwards of sixty small and minority business enterprises, augmenting their bidding capabilities and providing back-office support through Contractor Supportive Services. Embracing diversity and inclusivity, CIS leads by example with approximately one-third of its leadership comprising Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) members, and nearly half being women. This diverse collective embodies a multitude of perspectives that fuel innovative solutions and nurture an inclusive workplace culture.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

Terracon for grounding diversity and inclusion in the company’s guiding behaviors: “We treat everyone fairly and respectfully; We commit to inclusion; and We speak up for ourselves and others.” Terracon’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have grown from three ERGs to six in 2023, with over 500 employee-owners engaged in one or more ERGs. Terracon’s ERGs include:

  • iWIL (Increasing Women in Leadership). 
  • The HIVE – provides employee-owners passionate about sustainability the chance to engage, connect, share, and lead.
  • VetNet – fosters appreciation of the value and skills offered by military veterans and strives to increase the number of veterans working at Terracon.
  • SPHERE – promotes a safe and inviting environment for inclusion, cultural celebration, and belonging.
  • LEAP – creates opportunities for developing staff/field team members through mentoring and peer networks.
  • Prism – fosters community among LGBTQIA+ employees and their allies.

 

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

Tetra Tech, Inc. for its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council and eight global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that support company-wide goals of increasing employee diversity, fostering inclusivity, and supporting professional and leadership development of employees from historically marginalized groups. Tetra Tech’s ERGs work with executive leadership to shape global DEI programming, training, recruitment, and retention. In 2023, employee engagement with ERGs increased by a further 10%, boosted by the newly launched disability (TetrAbility) and emerging professionals (LEADR) groups. During 2023, the focus was on collaboration and supporting intersectionality. The firm’s BELIEVE, Professional Women’s Network, and TetrAbility groups co-hosted Pride month events with Tetra Pride; and ERGs built an award-winning collaboration with Tetra Tech’s Health & Safety Council to embed inclusion and diversity throughout its safety program.

 

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION 

CHA Consulting, Inc. for building an organic, employee-driven culture of behavior, actions, and dialogue that filters DEI&B principles into every aspect of the company. In 2020, CHA initially formed a Diversity Equity Inclusion & Belonging (DEI&B) Council comprised of members from all age groups and career levels. One example of the Council’s work is an ongoing facilitated discussion series, “Do you have a minute to CHAt?” to help focus attention on specific phrases in the workplace and outside the office, the definition and background of which may not be clear. Sessions included:

  • What do microaggressions and papercuts have in common? 
  • Walk in my shoes: Navigating the path of multicultural competency.
  • Not just a number: Embracing age diversity at work.

Bi-monthly sessions engage and advance employees in intimate conversations in a safe space where honest, frank conversation flows. Outcomes from the efforts of CHA’s DEI&B Council show up in thoughtful and targeted ways – in communications, resources, training opportunities, and additions to daily workflows.

 

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION 

Mabbett & Associates Ltd, a Scottish-headquartered consulting firm specializing in planning, design, environment, engineering, and safety services, for living up to its tagline to “See a Difference, Make a Difference”. Mabbett developed a Women in STEM initiative, which received the Women in Industry Award at the 2023 CEED Awards (Centre for Engineering Education and Development). Under this initiative, the firm’s female professionals mentor female talent in primary schools, high schools and further education establishments. Every year, Women in STEM celebrates International Women in Engineering Day with year-long activities. In 2023 these included:

  • Supporting SMART Stems by providing female centered career journeys.
  • Working with The Engineering Development Trust Industrial Cadets program through schools.
  • Providing valuable female-mentored work experience to provide confidence to high school students.

 

INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP 

APTIM for publishing the third annual Sustainable Sport Index (SSI) Benchmarking Report, a resource for environmental and social responsibility practices in sports venues across North America. The 2023 SSI survey gathered self-reported data from 41 professional and collegiate sports venues, with nearly one in four U.S.-based major professional sports venues participating. The report includes an anonymized analysis of trends, challenges, and best practices for the sports industry, including performance data in categories such as energy, water, waste, transportation, resilience, and stakeholder engagement. In 2023, APTIM’s survey participation increased 64% and retained 96% of last year’s participants, demonstrating SSI’s value to the sports industry. The 2023 report featured a new section on environmental resilience. Results showed 98% of venues acknowledge at least one climate-related risk could affect their venue but only 7% have developed climate adaptation plans. To help venues get started, the report features a short playbook on environmental resilience planning developed by APTIM’s Resilience team. Survey participation and the report are both free of charge.

Kelly Schaeffer, a Principal Consultant at Kleinschmidt, is a distinguished figure in the hydropower industry, known for her unwavering commitment to empowering women, supporting her community, and making a lasting impact. She was pivotal on the first Steering Committee that established the Women in Hydropower Mentorship program, which started informally in 2016 and has since grown into a thriving platform. Kelly’s leadership and dedication as the Steering Committee Chair since 2021 and her close mentor-mentee relationships have helped connect and support over 450 women globally, with over 100 pairs/triads formed in 2022 and 97 pairs/triads in 2023. Kelly is the founder and executive director of FIDOS Facility Dogs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising and training facility dogs.

 

50-YEAR COMPANY RECOGNITION

With a combined legacy originating in 1868, Jacobs’ mission is to create a more connected and sustainable world. Nowhere is this truer than in the firm’s environmental market, which represents over 150 years of achievements by companies such as Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, Babtie Shaw & Morton, Sinclair Knight Merz, Carter & Burgess, Edwards & Kelsey, Jordon Jones & Goulding, Halcrow and CH2M HILL.  

Jacobs’ heritage of environmental achievements encompasses iconic water projects such Clair A Hill Whiskeytown Dam named after CH2M HILL’s founder, remediation and regeneration at locations like Rocky Flats (Colorado), delivering 40% of Environment Agencies’ flood mitigation schemes in the UK protecting 314,000 households, and energy transition projects including the decarbonization of Thyssenkrupp Steels’ Mill (Duisburg, Germany). Today, as one of the “Big 4” global environmental consultancies, Jacobs continues to invest in environmental solutions that will be the iconic projects of the next 50 years, while maintaining a laser focus on its own environmental performance. Achieving PAS2080 accreditation in Europe was underpinned by the firm’s PlanBeyond 2.0 sustainability roadmap, aligning projects to UN SDGs and ESG principles. The environmental practice constitutes more than a third of Jacobs’ $15 billion in revenue, reflecting deep integration of environmental capability across projects.

 

EBJ LIFETIME BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Earth Science Pioneer: Gregg Roy

EBJ honors Gregg Roy, a Principal at ICF International, as one of the premier environmental planners for major water projects throughout the West. For over 35 years, Gregg has served federal, state, and local water agencies to address complex environmental compliance and permitting. He has led some of the most challenging projects with innovative ways to address aging infrastructure and modernize water supply and flood risk reduction improvements and management plans, such as:

  • Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and coordinated operations for Lake Power and Lake Mead—an award-winning NEPA document supporting a multi-state guideline for managing water in the West.
  • Bois d’Arc Lake Project—a NEPA evaluation allowing ground to break on the first new reservoir in Texas in 30 years; and
  • The Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project—extensive environmental compliance to support the coordinated operations of California’s water supply network.

Gregg’s leadership as senior NEPA/CEQA advisor culminated in the certification of the Delta Conveyance Project CEQA document in December 2023—a vital climate adaptation strategy and water supply resiliency project that will modernize California’s primary water delivery infrastructure. His leadership, dedication, and commitment to water are a model across public agencies and private industry.

Lifetime Achievement Awards
(detailed profiles to come)

Stephan Nalefski, Burns & McDonnell

James Walsh, SCS Engineers 

Phil Coop, EnSafe