Speakers: Kenneth S. Tramm, PhD, PG, CHMM Principal, Modern Geosciences and Thomas Szocinski, CEP Director of Vapor Intrusion, Land Science
Land Science is pleased to present a webinar with Dr. Kenneth S. Tramm, a founding Principal with Texas-based engineering firm, Modern Geosciences. Dr. Tramm specializes in air quality monitoring, environmental due diligence, risk-based closures, and remediation design. During this free webinar, Dr. Tramm provides us with an overview on investigating vapor intrusion and understanding risk.
Joining Dr. Tramm is Thomas Szocinski, Director of Vapor Intrusion at Land Science, who shares successful vapor mitigation case studies.
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An accomplished environmental professional, an author with a passion for textbook writing, a talented guitar playing musician, an entrepreneur, and a self-proclaimed difference-maker for the environment – all of these facets describe Kenneth S. Tramm, PhD, PG, CHMM. Dr. Tramm is the founder and General Manager of Modern Geosciences, a leading provider of environmental solutions, and a trusted Land Science client. When Kenneth founded Modern Geosciences in 2011, his goal was to build an environmental firm with a talented staff, focused on delivering innovative environmental solutions for its clients. Suffice it to say, Kenneth and his firm, based in Colleyville, Texas, a suburb of Ft. Worth, is indeed delivering on his objective of providing cost-effective solutions to environmental challenges for clients spanning a number of industry sectors.
Dr. Tramm’s Background and Experience with Land Science
Kenneth’s interest in impacting environmental remediation began in high school, where he developed an interest in earth sciences. Shares Kenneth, “When I learned I could apply engineering and geologic principals to earth sciences, it was a natural. Then at Texas A&M University, I was lucky enough to find a new degree program that mixed engineering, geology, and physical sciences into a combined degree. This gave me a good start to grow on.” After completing his Bachelors of Science in Bioenvironmental Sciences, Kenneth went on to earn his Masters and Doctorate of Science degrees in Environmental Science and Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to launching Modern Geosciences, Kenneth worked as an Environmental Practice Leader, managing a variety of high-profile projects across the United States. When asked what he enjoys most about working with Land Science, Kenneth points to professional, collaborative team-work. “The Land Science technical staff are always helpful to bounce ideas off of”, says Kenneth. “We use several Land Science products in conjunction with traditional source removal and plume management. We do a great deal of Vapor Intrusion Control System (VICS) design, installation oversight and confirmatory testing. While we have used other products, Geo-Seal® has been a great off-the-shelf tool for us because it easily allows us to update our designs to better reflect permeation rates or specialty foundations our clients need.” Underscoring the success of Geo-Seal®, Kenneth points out that in some years his firm has specified over a million square feet, and that the product has great acceptance from both regulators and equity partners.
Beyond the Environmental Industry
While managing Modern Geosciences no doubt keeps him busy, Kenneth manages to find time for one of his favorite hobbies- playing the guitar, a passion that eventually blossomed into playing with a band while at Texas A&M, and even led to radio airtime and a phone call from legendary record label Epic Records. Continues Kenneth, “We had the chance to play some cool gigs and made it on the radio, but as they say… the difference between a large pizza and a musician is that a large pizza can feed a family of five!” He also stays busy donating his time to several charities and helping shape college coursework/professional mentoring at Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Arlington. “There is no better feeling than selflessly helping another person”, shares Kenneth. “I think the old adage from Winston Churchill of ‘we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give’ says it best.” Married and with three children, he has also found time to author a textbook, Environmental Due Diligence: A Professional Handbook. Adds Kenneth, “It has been so cool to see it added to a lot of college curriculums. It’s a collection of all the things I wished I had access to when I was just starting out and learning.” True to his form of staying current with his work, Kenneth hopes to have the next edition out in 2018.
It needs to be 100%
Kenneth’s day-to-day responsibilities vary widely, and this variety is just one aspect of what he enjoys in his work. Shares Kenneth, “Simply put, I assist clients in problem solving. This could be designing an air compliance program one day, designing an investigation program for a refinery that was mothballed in the 1940s the next, or on another day, performing a building stress test to see if we can tackle vapor intrusion. In between the large and interesting projects are plenty of basic due diligence, remediation, and regulatory projects too. Each presents its own challenges and requires that you never underestimate what you are doing. I firmly believe if you are going to do anything, it needs to be 100%.” To stay current with the constant flow of information and best practices in environmental engineering, Kenneth and his staff participate in several in-house and professional training events throughout the year. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Civil Engineering department, which requires him to stay updated on the various dynamics of his field.
Cleaning up Brownfields
When asked what he enjoys most about his work, Kenneth is quick to point out that making a difference by creating solutions that ensure safe reuse of brownfield properties is extremely gratifying. “I like to think we make a difference,” he says. “While sometimes it may seem like a small step, everything we do to assist another job being created, help a part of the earth be a little less polluted, or help a client manage environmental risk is rewarding. It is always fun to drive by old sites that have now been cleaned up, closed, and put back into use.” Although Modern Geosciences has enjoyed success, Kenneth still sees room for improvement, and true to his nature, is always looking to take his firm to the next level. Shares Kenneth, “I really want to focus on mentoring great people and doing great work. We need to keep our eyes on delivering cost-effective solutions and growing our client base through direct experience and testimonials. So far it seems to be working.” As for the future of the bioremediation industry as a whole, Kenneth sees innovation as a catalyst for even more effective treatment solutions. He concludes, “While we have some great basic tools for enhancing bioremediation, there are always new approaches and site-specific scenarios which require us to get creative. I am not sure there are trends to follow on this, but I do see more and more firms considering options today that were fringe ideas just a few years ago.”
Land Science is proud to have Dr. Kenneth Tramm, Principal and General Manager of Modern Geosciences, as a preferred client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his leadership and comprehensive approach in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.
- 186,000 square foot Geo-Seal Barrier installed to meet regulatory goals
- Site development kept on-time and on-budget
- 60-mil barrier system chosen to offer highest level of protection against methane exposure
During initial environmental due diligence, this property was noted to have elevated methane in the subsurface (in excess of 15% by volume). While this was a perfect location for a multi-unit residential development as it was next to major traffic corridors and near many Fortune 500 employers, the environmental concerns paused redevelopment planning.
Modern Geosciences (Modern) was asked to develop a remedial strategy that could incorporate a methane mitigation system within the building design. Drawing on over three decades of methane mitigation experience, Modern’s lead design engineer developed a cost-effective approach that satisfied all the parties plugged into the development. This included a customized passive collection layout and use of Geo-Seal to mitigate potential vapor concerns.
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