Client Spotlight: Brad Parish, P.G., Senior Hydrogeologist with Apex Companies LLC
If you ask Brad Parish, P.G., Senior Hydrogeologist with Apex Companies LLC, an award-winning water environmental services firm, what he enjoys most about his work, you’ll likely hear it’s the opportunity to distill his nearly 30 years of experience in groundwater hydraulics and contaminant plume movement into simplified solutions for his clients. He begins, “The best part of my job is that I have the opportunity to assist clients with sound science. Most of our clients are focused on their day-to-day business and they don’t have time to truly understand everything we do. Therefore, we must instill trust in our clients that we have provided the most technically feasible solution to their needs at the most effective long-term cost scenario.” Providing not only tech-based, feasible solutions, but also successful outcomes has been a hallmark of Parish’s work throughout his 19 years with Apex, a valued REGENESIS® and Land Science® client. In his current role, he manages projects involving subsurface characterization, contaminant transport and occurrence, development of site conceptual models, and development of plume remedies. He continues, “Essentially, I enjoy the science of geology and its application to groundwater hydraulics and contaminant plume movement.” Hired initially as a Senior Project Manager in 2002, Parish managed large-scale technical projects, before expanding his role into other related areas. “On many projects,” he says, “I am essentially a technical resource as a Senior Hydrogeologist, and I have also acted as an office manager for Geoscience Groups.”
Prior to joining Apex, Parish held Hydrogeologist positions at several other firms, after earning his BS in Geology from Tarleton State University and Master of Science degree in Geology, from Baylor University in 1992. It was during his master’s program at Baylor that he became interested in a career in hydrogeology. He continues, “At Baylor, I became drawn to the various geomorphic processes and how those processes were affected by subsurface geologic structure and surface lithology. Advanced level courses in hydrogeology really lifted my interest in subsurface fluid dynamics. The next step involved learning geochemistry and how chemicals in groundwater affect or are affected by groundwater flow.” The selection of Baylor for his graduate studies proved invaluable, since at the time, the program provided its own drilling rig. “This afforded me the opportunity to learn well installation, soil and groundwater sampling, and logging techniques while in graduate school- an experience few other programs could match. Overall, my graduate studies really helped solidify my future career path because, in my opinion, understanding subsurface geology and developing an accurate conceptual site model are the most critical in the development of a successful remedy for any site with groundwater contamination.” To stay abreast of trends in his field and new technology, Parish
spends 2-4 hours a month in continuing education. In addition, he participates in several ITRC training modules and webinars that focus on enhanced MNA topics, and studies current vapor intrusion trends and the ever-changing regulatory framework.
When it comes to working with Land Science, Parish is most impressed with the company’s involvement on product selection based on an array of project needs and budget parameters. He shares an example, “On a recent project, I asked Land Science to develop a repair sequence for a large vapor barrier and passive venting system that was fairly unique. Not only did they provide recommendations for a proper repair sequence, they actually developed the sequence for inclusion in our design for permitting by the local authority. This solution presented significant savings to our client, and we were able to receive approval for the repairs and keep the project on schedule.” In terms of Land Science product usage, Parish states that Apex mainly uses the company’s various vapor barrier products on pre-construction projects, but have also used Retro-Coat® on projects with indoor air quality issues in existing buildings. He shares, “In comparison with other vapor barrier products, Land Science’s suite of vapor barrier systems are typically a less expensive and more technically feasible product. It is also helpful that Land Science provides a list of certified installers for their products, and my experience with their installers has been very positive.”
When asked about Apex’s future goals, Parish is quick to respond by emphasizing the company’s commitment to innovation and client service. “At Apex, our goal is to consistently team with clients to assist them through their environmental challenges. We also strive to provide feasible strategies and to keep safety at the forefront of our business. We have distinct future growth strategies that we believe enhance our core business offerings. My personal goal is to always listen to a client first; they will always give subtle clues as to how much they understand about what technical scenario or proposal is being provided, along with the financial reserve they have allotted for environmental issues. I always strive to ensure that they understand where their reserve is being spent and the technical reasons why. Only then can we move forward as a team and make strategic decisions that keeps the project on the right path. ”
Residing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with his wife of 30 years, Parish has developed a keen awareness and fondness for Texas, since nearly all of his project work over the years has been located within the Lone Star state. He also enjoys a variety of hobbies outside of his work responsibilities. He shares, “Fortunately for me and my wife, who is also a geologist, most of our vacations center around some geologic concept or area. We’ve spent a lot of time in the Big Bend and Hill Country areas of Texas, the coastal regions of North Carolina, and the various Rocky Mountain states. Golf is also a favorite hobby for me and my family.” As one might expect from someone who has worked in the same industry for nearly three decades, Parish has observed an array of changes, although as he points out, some aspects of his work haven’t changed much. He continues, “I believe industry services have changed based on culture. Today, there is a lot more focus on Industrial Hygiene and Safety Compliance. For me, I am still looking at grain size analysis of soil cores- just like I did back in the early 1990’s!” And the most demanding part of his job? “Juggling the amount of time available to assist all clients, regardless of the size or budget of the project.” When it comes to encouraging others to join his field of study, he suggests that one should start with the basics. He concludes, “I would challenge every college student to take a Physical Geology freshman class. I was an engineering student as a freshman and decided to take Physical Geology as a science credit…and I’ve been hooked ever since!”
Land Science is proud to have Brad Parish, P.G., Senior Hydrogeologist with Apex Companies LLC, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his highly specialized background and commitment in providing successful remediation and mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.
Client Spotlight: Mike Schultz, Principal Engineer with SKA Consulting, L.P.
For Mike Schultz, P.E., Partner and Principal Engineer with SKA Consulting, L.P., a leading environmental engineering and consulting firm, having a diverse role with various responsibilities is both challenging and highly fulfilling. From overseeing technical aspects of an array of projects, to client management and new business development, Schultz is involved in nearly every aspect of SKA’s business – and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He begins, “As a Principal and Partner in the firm, I get to wear many hats. On the project side, my responsibilities include technical oversight of assessment, design, and installation projects. I’m also involved with project financial management, as well as business development and proposal writing for new work.” With a 16-year track record of success with SKA and an environmental remediation career that spans more than 30 years, Schultz continues to be driven by the gratification that comes from seeing first-hand how effective teamwork and environmental technology can work together to provide positive impacts on our environment. He continues, “As a firm, SKA brings together environmental and regulatory strategies to achieve unique solutions for our clients. We want to be part of solving problems in a client’s plan for a project. It’s gratifying to drive through town and see a new apartment complex or a retail center and know that before we became involved with that project, the site was a dilapidated former industrial facility or an abandoned railyard. We were part of the client’s solution for that property.”
Before joining SKA in 2004, Schultz served as a staff engineer, project manager, and an office operations manager at other environmental engineering firms, after earning his BS in Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He spent the first two years of his career involved in environmental permitting studies for surface mining operations as a member of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division of the Railroad Commission of Texas. He then joined Hall Southwest Corporation in Austin, Texas as a private consultant, conducting baseline geology and hydrology studies for proposed and existing mining operations. Schultz continues, “I fell into environmental remediation as the industry developed. When I graduated from college in the mid-1980s, there were no jobs in the US mining industry, so I took the regulatory position with the Railroad Commission because that agency regulated coal and uranium mining in Texas. Then in 1994, Hall Southwest was acquired by Groundwater Technology, Inc. (GTI), a national consulting firm, and I moved from Austin to Houston to manage a GTI office. The rest, as they say…is history.”
When it comes to working with Land Science®, Schultz values the high degree of professionalism, product knowledge, and responsiveness they provide. “Land Science is unique in that, with any project, there are always questions about the product or the application from the owners or other engineers and consultants. When I call Land Science, I get case studies, lab studies, quantifiable data, experiences, supporting products, and trained installation contractors. From my experience, Land Science is not just selling a product- they are partnering with owners and consultants to provide solutions.” Concerning Land Science products, MonoShield® vapor barriers are often used due to cost savings and reduced risk on the affected sites. When asked what he enjoys most about his work, Schultz points to two aspects in particular. “There are two parts of my job that I find very rewarding. The first is when we know we have been a part of helping a client achieve their goals for a project, and second, I enjoy mentoring junior staff and seeing them learn and develop.”
Schultz lives in the Houston area with his wife of 33 years and works out of SKA’s headquarters. Outside of work, he enjoys volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), working with youth, and leading them on various camping trips. He shares, “I have been an adult leader in the BSA for about 20 years, starting as a den leader when my sons were in Cub Scouts and serving as a Scoutmaster and a Venturing Crew Advisor. I have had the opportunity to take Scouts camping and backpacking all over the country and in 2016 we took a group of Scouts to Switzerland. My children are now grown, but I continue to volunteer as a merit badge counselor, a shooting sports instructor, a volunteer leader with underprivileged Scouts, and on our council’s International Scouting committee.”
When asked about the most demanding part of his job, he feels identifying the right candidates for the SKA team can be challenging. He continues, “To be a successful consultant, you must be inquisitive, always asking the ‘what, where, when, how, and why’ questions. To solve our clients’ problems, we need to ask those questions to better understand the situation and develop appropriate solutions. We must also stay focused on economically feasible solutions, and not every environmental professional has that kind of focus.” When asked whether he would encourage others to join the environmental field, he suggests they begin with a thorough understanding of environmental science and concludes, “I definitely would encourage young people to study environmental engineering and science. There are many facets to the environmental field, and it is a growing industry. When I came into the environmental industry, no one had heard of greenhouse gases and climate change. Now those are terms that every layman knows.”
Land Science is proud to have Mike Schultz, P.E., Principal Engineer with SKA Consulting, L.P., as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his deep and diversified experience and commitment in providing successful remediation and mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.