Ask Denise Sullivan, Principal and Owner of Urban Green Environmental, LLC, an environmental consulting and engineering firm and valued Land Science® client, about how she chose a career in environmental remediation and you’re likely to get the response, “Well, my career chose me.” That’s because Sullivan, upon graduation from Tufts University, where she earned her BS in Civil Engineering, found that most of the jobs readily available were in the environmental market, predominantly investigating and remediating properties for environmental impacts and contamination. She shares, “I needed a job, and at the time I never would have guessed that I would find my passion for my career in that first job. My first position was at a company, Ensol, Inc. in Billerica, Massachusetts. It was a small firm, much like Urban Green Environmental, which I started in 2007, and I have modeled much of our internal culture at Urban Green Environmental based on my early experiences at Ensol.” Becoming an entrepreneur and starting her own business targeting the environmental sciences had always been a dream for Sullivan as a way to own and grow her own company while also giving back to the environment. She says her success is based upon nurturing a strong entrepreneurial spirit and choosing a field that she is passionate about. She continues, “I have dedicated my career to the environmental field and have worked hard to carve out a niche where my firm can successfully balance environmental goals with economic development. My proudest accomplishment as a business owner is the team of committed individuals that comprise Urban Green. In 2007, despite the challenging economic climate, I felt the time was right to invest in myself, my adopted hometown of Baltimore, and establish a niche firm focused on environmental investigations of Brownfields and urban in-fill properties. When I started, I was a one-person company and operated out of my home. Today, Urban Green has six employees, an expanding office in Locust Point, and a clear mission and vision.”
When asked about working with Land Science®, Sullivan feels the range of products offer important solutions towards successful project completion for their clients. “We have several projects in Baltimore City that employ the use of Land Science® vapor barriers,” she says. “Specifically, Geo-Seal® and Retro-Coat™. It is rare to have a project in our Maryland Department of the Environment Voluntary Cleanup Program, particularly in an urban environment such as Baltimore City, where we do not spec a vapor barrier with proven resistance to volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs. Retro-Coat™ has been a critical product for many of our projects, and we have used it with great success on some of our current projects.” As one would expect, staying current in an ever-changing industry can have its challenges, so Sullivan regularly attends the National Brownfields conference as well as local Brownfield conferences to stay abreast of the latest trends and technology. When asked about the future goals of Urban Green Environmental, she emphasizes the company’s need to remain focused on providing current solutions for successful outcomes. She shares, “Our mission is to investigate properties for environmental liabilities and provide solutions to those liabilities for private and public organizations and institutions. We have a wide array of clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors and are excited about the future of the company.”
Recently married for the first time and residing in Baltimore, MD, Sullivan’s husband also plays a key role in Urban Green Environmental’s success. She continues, “I’m married to a wonderful Frenchman, Sylvain Masset, who is also an engineer with a focus in the air testing equipment industry (ATI). His expertise has been invaluable over the past few years as Urban Green has developed diagnostic testing protocols for our vapor mitigation systems.” Outside of work, they enjoy hiking on weekends, and she hopes to one day build a new home with her “talented husband.” She also finds time to serve as a member of the Advisory Board for The Baltimore Center for Sustainable Careers (BCSC), a project of Civic Works, Baltimore’s non-profit service corp. In addition, she volunteers as an instructor for the B’more Green Brownfields Training Program, a workforce development program. “Since 2004, I have provided classroom instruction for future environmental field technicians, and I’ve also hired two graduates from this training program.” When asked about the most challenging aspect of her work, Sullivan points to the need to work effectively with people, yet stresses this can also be rewarding as well. She continues, “For me, working with people in general is the most challenging and the most rewarding. I believe our best efforts come from a team, and I find myself awed and so very lucky at the team that has been attracted to Urban Green. They work so hard and are extremely dedicated.”
As the environmental remediation industry continues to evolve, Sullivan sees potential for continued growth and development, particularly in soil and demolition materials, as well as vapor intrusion and mitigation. She shares, “Other than the investigation and remediation of PFOAs, which it seems most in our industry are tracking closely, I think we’ll continue to see progress in densely developed urban areas and on brownfields, along with emerging trends for the re-use of soil and demolition materials (concrete, brick, etc.) and vapor intrusion/mitigation.” And what advice would she give to others who might be considering a career in environment remediation? She concludes, “That’s an interesting question and one that is difficult for me to answer. I would encourage folks who are curious about Brownfields or contaminated properties who want to make an impact on the future of our environment to get involved early on and nurture their curiosity by exploring the various career paths that are out there.”
Land Science® is proud to have Denise Sullivan, Principal and Owner of Urban Green Environmental, LLC as a valued client and partner in vapor intrusion mitigation, and appreciates her diverse experience and knowledge base in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science® and its clients.