Client Spotlight: Rich Rago, Haley & Aldrich, Inc.

In a highly specialized career spanning 35+ years, Rich Rago, Lead Scientist and Vapor Intrusion Practice Leader at Haley & Aldrich, Inc., still enjoys the thrill of discovering new methods and approaches to his work. He begins, “Over the last 30 years, I have been fortunate to lead research on topics that have meaningfully advanced the environmental practice.” Rago started his career with Haley & Aldrich in 1991. The company is a national environmental and geotechnical engineering firm, headquartered in Massachusetts. Upon joining the firm as Senior Scientist, he initially worked in all aspects of environmental consulting, including field planning and execution, data interpretation, report development, and regulatory negotiation. He also established and managed Haley & Aldrich’s in-house analytical laboratory, performing screening for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), PCBs, metals, and petroleum fingerprinting. His current responsibilities include working with clients in manufacturing, aerospace, utilities, institutions, and real estate development across a wide range of complex projects, providing high level strategy across their portfolio of sites in the U.S. and abroad. He earned a BS in Environmental Earth Science at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Rago first became interested in environmental remediation while working for a commercial clinical laboratory in the mid-1980’s where he first became involved in compliance with hazardous and radioactive waste regulations. He shares, “This was fairly early in terms of the environmental field. It was my first introduction to the environmental practice, and it was really exciting to get in at the beginning of what is now the environmental industry. The rest is history.”

Today, Rago routinely participates in training programs as a member of professional organizations in several states. In addition, he conducts classes along with other experts via the Wentworth Institute of Technology, Air & Waste Management Association, and for an array of professional organizations in several states. He continues, “I love this aspect of my job. I currently provide lectures for Princeton Groundwater’s Remediation Courses, and later in October I will be providing lectures for a class in Brazil.” When asked about the future goals of Haley & Aldrich, he feels the company is on target to position itself as a leader in integrating technology and human potential to tackle tough environmental issues facing the world. He shares, “The company is always looking forward, and we recognize the future will require nimble adaptation to meet our clients’ changing needs. Regardless of how we adapt, we’ll always stay focused on delivering an extraordinary client experience, while continuing to be a place where talented people want to work.”

When it comes to working with Land Science, Rago appreciates the staff’s high level of expertise and commitment. He shares, “With Land Science and REGENESIS, you get to consult with seasoned professionals. I appreciate that they are taking an active role in educating the practice on the advancements in barrier technologies.” As for specific product usage, he makes recommendations, depending on the unique situations dictated by each site. He continues, “Most all of my mitigation practices have been active and passive systems, and barriers are generally not products I use as a standalone solution.  However, I recently recommended that a colleague consider Retro-Coat® for a project in the southwestern U.S., and I have specified MonoShield® and TerraShield® on previous efforts.”

When asked how he’s seen the industry evolve, he feels increased competition and tiered pricing have begun to shape the industry. He continues, “I have seen many firms fail over the years, and a lot of growth by acquisition. In my view, a commodity atmosphere has developed amongst some of our peers, with competition resulting in lower prices and lower quality. On the positive side, we all have brought our successes and failures to the table to better the practice. Some regulations have become more streamlined, flexible, and practical, and some states have gone on to develop successful privatized programs. Firms have also become more agile and specialized, which means I get to work with some very smart people.”

Residing in Glastonbury, CT with his wife, Rago finds time away from work to enjoy several outdoor activities. “I love skiing and managed to get in 50 ski days last year, which also included snowshoeing and skating. In other seasons, I enjoy biking, kayaking, boating, and hiking. I love being outdoors!” When asked what Haley & Aldrich has planned for the future, he says the firm is always working towards advancing the practice. He shares, “Haley & Aldrich is always looking to innovate in the field of science and engineering. In essence we’re always looking for approaches to apply advances in new ways to solve our clients’ emerging problems. We also want to make sure we continue to connect with what’s important to our staff so that we all feel engaged and energized by our work.” While he appreciates working on his own projects, he finds collaborating with others especially rewarding. “I enjoy working on teams, both internal and external. I love finding technical and practical solutions to complex problems.” And the most demanding part? “Working in consulting means sometimes giving it 100% and oftentimes going beyond 100% to meet the demands. For me, the biggest challenge is to do all of it – to be a leader and a mentor, to be a teacher, while constantly learning and looking for new ways to do the same things better. And, of course to make sure we are doing all the other things correctly.” And how would he encourage others to join in his field of study? He concludes, “I would encourage entry level practitioners and those thinking about a career in environmental sciences to get broad and comprehensive field experience. Good technical writing skills and data reduction skills are also a must. For the vapor intrusion practice, incorrect decision making can lead to potential inhalation exposures so it’s important to take this profession seriously.”

Land Science is proud to highlight Rich Rago’s work in the industry as Lead Scientist and Vapor Intrusion Practice Leader at Haley & Aldrich, Inc. As a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, Land Science appreciates his seasoned experience and leadership in providing successful remediation and mitigation outcomes for clients across the industry.

 

August 2021 Land Science Newsletter


For Laurie Chilcote, a career in environmental remediation allows her to pursue several professional interests, and helped garner a diverse background. She begins, “I like variety, challenges, collaboration, and helping others. I am grateful for the opportunities my career has provided- meeting and working with so many people and organizations in the environmental industry from all over the world, and collaborating on how to protect the environment.” Chilcote admits to “wearing many hats” when describing her current position with Cox-Colvin & Associates, Inc., a leading environmental firm and valued Land Science® partner.

Featured Video: The Association of Vapor Intrusion Professionals (AVIP)

The Association of Vapor Intrusion Professionals (AVIP) is a collaborative community of professionals specializing in disciplines related to vapor intrusion. This includes conceptual site modelers, soil gas scientists, chemists, engineers, geologists, groundwater specialists, remediation specialists, architects, building scientists, electricians, and other craftsmen in the development and environmental industries. AVIP exists to create nationally recognized educational and credentialing standards for industry professionals as well as resources to regulators, consultants, and the general public. The Association is also committed to promoting industry-acceptable, and actionable thresholds for vapor intrusion.

Featured Project Snapshot: Townhome Residents Protected from Exposure to Vapors

A townhome development in Greenville, South Carolina, implemented the MonoShield® vapor barrier and TerraVent™ low-profile venting system to address low-level volatiles organic compounds, keeping future tenants safe from exposure. The environmental consultant required a turnkey installation for the barrier and venting system along with quality assurance/ quality control testing of the system. The consultant also evaluated a single-layer polyolefin sheet system that relies on taped seams and is not installed by a certified applicator or smoke tested. In comparing the approaches and costs of the two options, the MonoShield system was selected based on the time-efficient, certified installation in addition to its proven chemical resistance.

MonoShield: A Vapor Barrier System that Delivers on Safety and the Bottomline


MonoShield is a chemically resistant and easy-to-apply barrier specifically designed as a preemptive solution for vapor intrusion at brownfield redevelopment sites. It is backed by unparalleled design support, robust warranty options, and a network of certified applicators who can ensure quality installation.

Are You a Member of the AVIP?
Join Today!

Land Science is pleased to be 2021/2022 Annual Platinum Sponsors for AVIP! The purpose of AVIP is to build a community of professionals dedicated to advancing the industry and providing a forum for informational exchange of knowledge and science related to Vapor Intrusion (VI); as well as establishing a central resource for technology, guidance, standards, credentialing and best practices for both those in the industry and those seeking VI related services.

At Land Science, we know many environmental firms are investing time to focus on staff training to get up-to-date on new technologies and regulations. We have prepared a library of pre-recorded webinars available on our website at no charge. Topics include vapor intrusion regulations and mitigation. We will also provide certificates of attendance for any webinar viewed upon request by emailing marketing@regenesis.com.

Have a Vapor Intrusion Project? Get Started Today!

To receive a custom vapor intrusion solution, please call 949.481.8118 or visit landsciencetech.com/contact-us. One of our Technical Solutions Managers will review your project details and provide you with a customized vapor intrusion solution designed to achieve your site goals.

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