Industry Expert Spotlight: Ben Alter, Principal at GZA

Ben Alter GZA

When the U.S. oil industry collapsed in the mid-1980s, Benjamin Alter, at the time an Exploration Geophysicist with Chevron, was prepared to rebound. He quickly leveraged his passion for the earth’s sciences into a second career in environmental remediation. Now a Senior Vice President and Principal of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., a leading environmental engineering and consulting services firm, Alter has amassed a deep reservoir of applied experience, which includes serving 22 years at GZA alone, as well as authoring a book, Environmental Consulting Fundamentals. Alter is in many ways contributing to help sustain our environment, while also impacting the future success of GZA. He continues, “My general role at GZA is what I refer to as a “Seller-Doer,” which means that I’m responsible for bringing clients and projects to GZA and then managing them. Each project typically has a Project Manager who reports directly to me, and other staff that reports to the project manager.  I’m also responsible for limiting GZA’s liability on a given project, project invoicing, and collections.” In addition to his role as principal, he is also co-chair of GZA’s Environmental Site Investigation technical practice.  In this capacity he oversees the integrity of the practice and ensures that GZA practitioners are properly trained and equipped.

To prepare for a career in earth sciences, Alter earned his BS from State University New York/Albany (SUNY), where he double-majored in Geology and Mathematics.  He followed that with an MS in Geophysics from Cornell University, and later earned an MBA from Columbia University. To stay abreast of industry trends and evolving technology, he completes required coursework, as mandated by the state of New Jersey. He continues,  “As a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) I’m required to take 36 credits of continuing education courses over a 3-year cycle.  These courses must contain a mix of technical and regulatory oriented courses as well as an ethics course.” In addition, he teaches two continuing education courses, one regarding environmental due diligence in New Jersey and one on technical writing.

Through the years, he’s noticed how the industry has evolved, from a focus on legacy sites (those properties that had become contaminated before the advent of environmental regulations) to Brownfields. He shares, “When I initially started environmental consulting, most of my work involved cleaning up legacy sites and environmental compliance work for industries. However, because of the de-industrialization of the greater New York City area, I now do very little work for industrial clients.  While there are still plenty of legacy sites to clean up, more and more of my work is focused on redevelopment of inner-city properties, such as Brownfields.” When asked what he enjoys most about working with REGENESIS, he feels they offer a strong combination of service, product, and value. “I’ve worked on several projects with REGENESIS,” he says.  “Their products are effective and competitively priced and their staff is consistently very helpful. As for specific product usage, I’ve used ORC® Advanced on sites, and GZA as a company has used a wide range of REGENESIS’ products over the years.”

Alter works out of GZA’s northern New Jersey office in Fairfield, a short 10-minute drive from home. In his free time he sings in two choirs and is the piano accompanist for a variety group called “The Loose Canons” (theloosecanons.org).  “I also write parodies and arrange songs, and write my synagogue’s annual play.  In addition, I’m an avid cyclist, hiker, and racquetball player.” To give back to the community, he sits on the Board of Trustees of the LSRP Association and chairs its College Outreach Committee.  He continues, “I’m also a board member and founder of the LSRPA Foundation, which provides scholarships to students and grants to environmental organizations.  Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of handing out $25,000 in checks to nine young people with terrific futures in environmental remediation.” When asked what he likes most about his work, the human aspect quickly comes to mind. He shares, “My favorite part of my job is the people – my co-workers especially.  GZA nurtures a great family vibe – people really care about each other.  It’s a demanding job, so having the support of your colleagues helps everyone get through the day.  As one of the senior people in the office, I particularly enjoy mentoring the younger staff and watching them grow as professionals.” In his leadership role, he is also able to play a key role in the overall success of the company. He shares, “Our objective is to grow organically and by acquisition, focusing on increasing our geographical coverage, expanding our technical services, and bringing in expertise to augment our existing technical services.”

When asked how he’s seen the industry evolve over the years, he points to how the consulting aspect has matured, with numerous high quality, seasoned competitors, and how the LSRP program brought about change. He continues, “The LSRP program in New Jersey, which began in 2009, was a paradigm shift, since it allowed licensed people like me to investigate, remediate, and close spill cases with minimal involvement from the regulatory agencies.” And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “The LSRPA College Outreach Committee encourages students to pursue careers in environmental consulting by offering a variety of services that include on-campus presentations, webinars on resume building and job interview skills, and managing a resume portal where students can post their resumes for LSRPA members to access. And of course, the scholarships I mentioned earlier are a terrific benefit as well. I would suggest if someone is interested in this field, they take advantage of as many resources as possible.”

REGENESIS is proud to have Benjamin Alter, Senior Vice President and Principal of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his exceptional experience and dedication in providing successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.

Mark Quimby webinar

Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Design And Constructability Challenges: Using An Innovative New Vapor Barrier Technology

Learn the following in this free webinar:

  • Use of a reliable, cost-effective vapor mitigation solution allowed client to meet milestones and stay on time and on budget
  • Sites required a vapor barrier that was resistant, with documented diffusion coefficients, to low level TCE and methane that could be approved by Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE)
  • Collaboration between EGLE, local community leaders and the developer ensured a smooth and successful result
  • Traffic control program minimized barrier damage during construction and the enhanced smoke testing program successfully identified areas requiring repair

In this webinar we are pleased to have as a special guest speaker Mark Quimby, Senior Consultant at SME. His presentation discussed overcoming vapor intrusion mitigation design and constructability challenges at two large industrial sites using an innovative new vapor barrier technology. The sites discussed were new buildings approximately 575,000 square feet (SF) each, on two different, but similar, former landfill sites. He is joined by Ryan Miller, East Region Manager at Land Science, who discussed technologies to mitigate vapor intrusion.

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TerraShield site

TerraShield Mitigates Vapor Intrusion on Former Industrial Site

A former industrial site located in Southern California was targeted for redevelopment and chosen to be developed into a federally funded public site. Historical operations left the original property contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition to the presence of these contaminants, new buildings constructed in the area are required to feature a vapor intrusion mitigation system due to the presence of methane gas in the soil, which may eventually enter unprotected buildings on the surface. Because of these factors and the completed site’s intended purpose for public use, an effective vapor mitigation system was necessary.

TerraShield application

This case study features the following:

  • The former industrial site required an effective vapor mitigation solution to move the federally funded project forward
  • The consultant determined TerraShield was the safest and most cost-effective vapor barrier system to install at this site
  • The installation of TerraShield was completed on schedule and the site is currently pending closure (NFA)

Certified Applicator Spotlight: Mike Steel, Director of Operations at MTN Inc.

For Mike Steel, Director of Operations at MTN Inc., a leading provider of vapor barrier systems and a valued Land Science® certified applicator, the decision to pursue a career in environmental services, specifically vapor mitigation, was in response to a longstanding desire to make a positive contribution on our environment. He shares, “Through working construction in the early years of my career, I saw the outcomes caused by some of the effects of chemicals, gas, and VOCs.  I felt the need to provide a safer environment for future generations and decided to  make it my mission to  work in the industry, with the hope of making a contribution toward real environmental progress.”  After owning his own firm, Mountain Mitigations, for several years, Steel helped form MTN Inc. in 2012, and worked his way up through the organization into management, before being named to his current position as Director of Operations. Since vapor intrusion mitigation regulations were somewhat new to the industry, the need to educate various target audiences was at the top of the list. Steel continues, “We needed to educate the public, investors, and contractors on the need for vapor intrusion mitigation and how it can prove to be beneficial when transferring properties, obtaining No Further Actions (NFAs), and ultimately providing a safer environment for owners and tenants. I continue to educate myself and look for opportunities to share that knowledge in ways others can understand.” In addition to his outreach and educational efforts, his responsibilities include managing and overseeing the various teams within the company, along with project management and development.

Steel takes pride in knowing MTN places a priority on maintaining the high standards required in the industry, due to the human health aspects. “Here at MTN we have a strong philosophy to offer the highest quality service,” he says. “We also want to be known for our high integrity. In addition, we are not afraid to work on a range of projects- regardless of the contaminants. Whether it’s a small or large job, we welcome the challenge to take on what other firms may shy away from.” In terms of achieving the company’s long-term goals, Steel sees MTN making significant progress.  “We want to continue being a leader and help revolutionize the future of the industry.” As part of his position, Steel has played a key role in developing several of the company’s primary services. These include vapor intrusion, waterproofing, coatings, concrete restoration, environmental remediation, indoor air quality, air barrier assemblies, consulting, inspections, and design. When it comes to working with Land Science, he enjoys and admires the company’s innovative approach. He continues, “They take a progressive approach to our industry. Land Science is always thinking outside the box. Their modified systems enable effectively dealing with lower level VOCs and provide a more cost-effective approach. Just recently Land Science assisted on a school project where the contaminants were fairly low but still warranted a vapor mitigation system.  It was a tight schedule due to freezing rain and void forms, yet we were able to install one of the first Nitra-Seal modified systems. The end result was a thinner mil that installed in less time and ahead of schedule so that the void forms didn’t get wet, and we were able to pour concrete.” In terms of specific product usage, Steel says MTN uses the full suite of Land Science products,.  “They always seem to have the right vapor barrier solution for the job,” he says.

Living in the Denver metro area with his wife and four children, where he works out of MTN’s main office, Steel appreciates the beautiful surroundings his adopted state has to offer. He continues, “I have been fortunate to claim the state of Colorado as home, but have worked in all 50 states, including Hawaii.” In his free time, he can be found mountain biking or hiking along one of the state’s pristine, challenging trails, with Summit County as a favorite destination. He shares, “I also enjoy riding motorcycles, snowboarding, traveling, and coaching. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have coached my children in soccer, basketball, football, track, and cross-country.” He also finds time to volunteer with groups to help build schools and churches, in remote areas such as Nepal and Zambia.  “About three years ago,” he shares, “we built a school in Zambia and I continue to travel and promote the educational aspects and development of the community. It’s gratifying to see how the school has continued to grow- it now includes the seventh grade. We have also sponsored a youth center, mentoring programs, coaching, and youth clubs there.”

When asked about the most rewarding aspect of his work, he responds by saying how much he enjoys leading a team, particularly when it involves achieving a goal. He continues, “The hard work is worth the effort. It’s gratifying for the teams to see the fruits of their labors, along with helping to provide a healthy environment for others.” And the most demanding aspect of his work? “The day to day challenges and unforeseen issues, which I enjoy overcoming.” In conclusion, Steel looks forward to an industry with a bright future. “Our industry has grown immensely, and the technology seems to be improving with more awareness and new technologies, like the ones developed and provided by Land Science. MTN really enjoys and appreciates working with Land Science, and we look forward to their continued innovation.”

Land Science is proud to have Mike Steel, co-founder and Director of Operations at MTN Inc., as a valued certified applicator and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his diverse background and approach in providing successful remediation and mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.

Jessica Law webinar

Successful Large-Scale Vapor Intrusion Investigation: A Regulatory Perspective

In this webinar we are pleased to a special presentation from Jessica Law, engineering geologist and case manager for the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. This presentation discussed a case study outlining the largest residential vapor intrusion investigation in California at the site of a former aerospace manufacturer. Ms. Law provides a thorough overview of the team’s effort to manage both community concerns and changing regulatory guidelines as it applies to this challenging investigation. Joining Ms. Law was Thomas Szocinski, CEP Land Science Director of Vapor Intrusion, who shared effective approaches to mitigating vapor intrusion on sites like the one discussed in the featured case study.

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Greg Page

Client Spotlight: Greg Page, Senior Engineer with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc.

Greg PageFor Greg Page, Senior Engineer with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT), a valued Land Science® client, working as a team to solve challenging environmental issues is a daily reminder of why he chose to pursue a career in bioremediation. He begins, “To partner with a client as a team versus just being a hired vendor is very satisfying. A true partnership facilitates a thorough understanding of stakeholder objectives, the ultimate end use of the property, and knowing the community impact leads to effective evaluation of remedial technologies so that the proposed application solves the right problem.” Greg’s commitment to his work and, more specifically, to fostering collaborative client relationships, spans 30+ years. He began his career in 1989 as a Remediation Engineer with a regional environmental services company, before joining a global design and consultancy in 2006 as a Resource Manager. He was promoted to Operations Leader in 2012, and later joined ECT in 2015 in his current role.

He continues, “I work with project managers to develop remedial alternatives to meet client objectives and satisfy regulations.  Holistic planning is paramount in our approach, and seeing properties returned to beneficial use is satisfying.” Greg’s initial interest in environmental remediation was sparked, in part, by the experience he had while working during the summer with his best friend’s mother, who happened to be an independent geologist.  “After seeing the results of assessment through cleanup at some petroleum sites, I was hooked,” he says. He subsequently decided to focus his university studies on the environment as well as civil planning, attending Tennessee Technological University, where he graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering.

Although he possesses three decades of experience in his field, Greg realizes the industry is constantly evolving. Understanding the importance of staying current on new technology and emerging trends, he makes an effort to regularly attend webinars, presentations and conferences to share and learn new applications and remedial strategies.  He continues, “Land Science Webinars, along with other technology leaders, have been extremely beneficial, and it is always refreshing to see new applications in different situations.  The recent webinar entitled “RetroCoat 101” was especially helpful in explaining options to regulators on a South Florida project.” When asked why he enjoys working with Land Science, Greg points to the company’s vast expertise in solving vapor intrusion challenges.  He explains, “Their approach to design and application is straightforward, which facilitates smooth communication to clients and regulators.  We recently installed TerraShield® at an expanding car dealership in South Florida and Land Science integrated the solution within a tight construction schedule that exceeded the client’s expectations. Historically, we have used Geo-Seal at most of our brownfield and new construction sites requiring vapor mitigation.” When asked what he sees the future hold for environmental remediation, he points to the likelihood of further adoption of risk-based solutions.  He shares, “While applicable in some cases, the resources spent to remediate some sites to low concentration levels can be high.  In addition, future use evaluations can create lost opportunities to utilize those resources for better and higher use.” He also realizes that while there is much about his work he enjoys, he concedes there are challenges. “We are constantly balancing project completion demands with internal continuous improvement and training opportunities.  This creates a healthy tension that can be demanding, but with focus and discipline, the work can be rewarding.”

Residing in Knoxville, TN, where he works out of one of ECT’s 22 offices, Greg enjoys his time away from work. “I have two grandsons,” he shares. “From hunting to dirt bikes to fishing, they keep me pretty busy, on the farm.”  Barbecuing, mountain biking, kayaking, and hiking are especially high on the list.  He adds, “We are also fortunate to live close to the Great Smoky Mountains and Big South Fork.” When asked how he’s seen the industry change over the years, he feels complete site restoration may not be practical in every situation. He shares, “Over the course of the last 30 years, the remediation industry has recognized that returning a contaminated site to its original state is often neither necessary nor possible, and often limited by financial resources.  Fortunately, the industry and regulators have responded with risk-based applications, including vapor barriers, that allow many long-time blighted properties to return to beneficial reuse.” And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “I would suggest seeking out internships and meetings with industry experts, both managerial and technical, to understand the many aspects of environmental engineering and remediation. From there, one can decide which particular area is of most interest.

Land Science is proud to have Greg Page, Senior Engineer with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc., as a valued Land Science® client, and appreciates his wealth of experience and dedication in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.

Scott Kurtz

Client Spotlight: Scott Kurtz, Ninyo & Moore

Scott KurtzWith more than 30 years of experience at Ninyo & Moore Geotechnical and Environmental Sciences Consultants, Inc., a leading environmental services firm and valued Land Science® client, Scott Kurtz has been involved in nearly every facet of the company’s business. As its Director of Environmental Sciences, he is responsible for the performance and growth of the company’s Environmental Divisions, which includes overseeing work across 18 offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. He shares, “We have eight environmental divisions- from San Diego to Alameda in California, and across the Southwest to Houston, Texas and Denver, Colorado.  As Director, Environmental Sciences I’m responsible for business development, growth, recruiting and profitability. In addition, I’m also focused on strategic positioning and in assisting all of the environmental divisions with top line issues.”  Since starting with the company in 1988 as a Project coordinator, Kurtz has steadily progressed through the company’s ranks. He was promoted to Principal Environmental Scientist, then to Manager of Environmental Sciences of the firm’s Irvine office, before being tapped for his current Director position.

Although his career in environmental sciences spans more than three decades, Kurtz’s initial career path began by serving his country in naval ship repair. It was during this time that an opportunity surfaced that offered him a manager position with an industrial waste management/tank cleaning/decommissioning firm. He continues, “While working in that capacity, around 1986-87, environmental regulations began to ramp up regarding hazardous waste handling and disposal.  Between 1986-1988, I transitioned that company from a Navy ship repair subcontractor to a waste management/disposal and cleanup firm. It proved to be a unique way to launch a career.” To bolster his knowledge of environmental sciences, and in particular hazardous waste, Kurtz earned his Professional Certificate in Hazardous Materials Management from the University of California San Diego Extension. To stay on top of developing technological issues in his field, he subscribes to several industry publications, and regularly participates in webinars, workshops, and conferences, with many offered through the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California EPA. He points to the recent 2019 USEPA Brownfield Conference in Los Angeles as one that was especially productive. “It was great a conference for information sharing, gathering and networking.  Approximately 2,000 attendees from across the country were present, and a few international contingencies gathered to share Brownfield redevelopment experiences and best practices.” In addition, he participates in economic development and urban redevelopment organizations, webinars, workshops and conferences, and is a member of the California Association of Local Economic Development (CALED).  He also serves on their Economic Development, Finance and Real Estate committee.

As one who has garnered so much experience throughout his career with Ninyo & Moore, Kurtz can look back with pride, knowing he has contributed greatly to the success of the company, and yet he also keeps an eye forward. He shares, “I’d like to continue helping the company achieve its goal of creating a rewarding, high quality environment for our professional staff to work in, while simultaneously maintaining our high standards for project performance and client satisfaction. In addition, we want to look for growth opportunities which target new geographic locations when opportunities arise.” When it comes to working with Land Science, Kurtz appreciates the company’s technical prowess and its commitment to providing superior service. He continues, “We work with Land Science on a variety of vapor barrier projects and have purchased and installed several of their products.  I know that historically, on the REGENESIS® side, we have used ORC® products in groundwater hydrocarbon remediation projects. Both the REGENESIS and Land Science staff have always provided access to very good technical data and they offer top notch service and support.” When asked about the most rewarding aspect of his work, he points to the opportunity of working with so many dedicated, talented professionals at Ninyo & Moore. “I also enjoy seeing the growth we’ve had and the reputation that our company has developed through the years.” And the most demanding part of his job?  “Finding qualified, young professionals to join us can be challenging. Another tough aspect is competing for work in the public works and local government markets-  it can be extremely competitive.”

Residing in San Juan Capistrano, CA with his wife, Kurtz works out of the Ninyo & Moore Irvine office, and travels extensively to the company’s various offices to direct and manage the firm’s eight environmental divisions. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family including his wife Shelly, two grown daughters and their husbands and two grandsons, golfing, sailing, boating, traveling, collecting albums, listening to music, and attending rock ‘n roll concerts. Favorite golf courses he’s played include Pebble Beach and those in the Hawaiian Islands, and last year he traveled with his wife to French Polynesia.  He continues, “I got re-certified for SCUBA two years ago and have been diving in Belize, the Tahitian Islands and Hawaii.  My favorite music genre is rock ‘n roll from the late 60’s through today, with the Rolling Stones and The Band as favorite rock groups.” When asked what he sees the future holds for environmental remediation, he feels a robust industry, combined with evolving technology, are positive signs. He continues, “I believe the industry is strong, and technical advances in treatment technology continue to develop that allow positive outcomes to challenging remediation projects. There are continually new environmental contaminants discovered that require modifications to investigation techniques and remediation approaches, however, I think the industry will continue to thrive based on those developments and challenges. And how would he encourage others to join his field of study?  He concludes, “I would advise young professionals to study hard, work hard, follow your interests and passion, and recognize the opportunities that arise and pursue them.”

Land Science is proud to have Scott Kurtz, Director of Environmental Services at Ninyo & Moore Geotechnical and Environmental Sciences Consultants, Inc., as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his wealth of experience and approach in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.

ca high school

Pre-emptive Vapor Mitigation Protects Students from Potential Exposure

Pre-emptive Vapor Mitigation Protects Students from Potential Exposure

This case study reviews a high school that has been a fixture in its Southern California community since it was built in the 1930’s. Due to onsite pesticide use, a vapor intrusion mitigation system was necessary to protect students and staff. The environmental team responsible for treating the potential vapor intrusion identified the historical use of pesticides on site and voluntarily sought a remedial solution to protect the site’s future occupants. In efforts to protect students and staff against potentially harmful vapor intrusion as a result of historic releases, a vapor intrusion barrier system was proposed as the most appropriate remedial approach. 

Retro-Coat

This case study features the following:

  • High school is located in an urban Southern California area with more than 3,000 students.
  • Due to onsite pesticide use, a vapor intrusion mitigation system was necessary to protect students and staff.
  • The vapor barrier was applied throughout the 14,000 square foot library building located on-campus.
Garnet Johnson

Client Spotlight: Garnet Johnson, Director of Remediation Services at Triterra

Garnet JohnsonFor Garnet Johnson, Director of Remediation Services at Triterra, an environmental consulting firm based in Lansing, MI, a career path leading to environmental remediation began with a different destination, but ultimately, he’s happy where his professional journey has since taken him. That’s because Johnson, who joined Triterra in 2017, did not initially plan on a career in environmental remediation when he entered college.  He shares, “I earned my BS in Biology with an Environmental Studies minor from Alma College in 2003, and started out in the Due Diligence industry doing Phase I projects for cell phone towers throughout the U.S. As my experience and career progressed, I focused more towards Phase II work and Leaking Underground Storage Tank sites. Looking back, it is amazing to see my path to Director of Remediation Services at Triterra, and it’s one that I feel fortunate to have followed.” Prior to working at Triterra, Johnson was an Environmental Scientist for a consulting firm, a Project Professional with a civil engineering firm, and prior to that served as a Project Manager at an environmental services firm. He continues, “I began working in the environmental industry in 2003 and travelled across the country completing Phase I ESAs in 39 different states over an 18-month period. I decided in 2005 that the travel was too extensive and accepted a position at an environmental consulting firm with specialization in leaking underground storage tank sites. Since that time, I have focused on both due diligence services and leaking underground storage tank sites.” In his role at Triterra, Johnson manages the firm’s Remediation and Investigation Group Staff, which primarily includes overseeing investigation and remediation projects, mentoring staff, and attracting new clients. He continues, “What I enjoy most about my job is working with the staff and creating unique solutions for complex problems. It is very rewarding to know that our solutions are often the key to making a development project feasible.”

When it comes to working with Land Science®, Johnson feels the company’s suite of products address a wide range of needs and challenges. “With regard to vapor intrusion”, he says, “Land Science has an effective solution for anything we’ve encountered, or likely will encounter relating to vapor intrusion. As an example, we had a very public project with a high-level of scrutiny from our governing agencies. Land Science was an invaluable partner and helped solve numerous complex vapor intrusion issues with the added pressure of looming construction deadlines and public review.” He adds, “I look forward to continuing to work with them on many projects in the future.”

Currently, Triterra uses Land Science vapor barrier systems at most of its new construction sites requiring vapor mitigation, due to their constructability under various scenarios. He shares, “Most important is the testing data that supports chemical resistant requirements established by the State of Michigan, and ultimately knowing that our clients can provide a safe environment for their customers. We are looking forward to the advantages Nitra-Seal® and TerraShield® can offer to the market.” He also looks forward to continuing to assist Triterra in achieving its goals, both long-term and short-term, and notes that the company has grown an average of 25% each year for the last 10 years. He continues, “We would like to maintain that consistent healthy growth. One of our biggest strengths is our office culture, and as a leadership group we have agreed that we want to maintain our healthy ‘family style’ culture. Prior to working at Triterra I was working from home. I was not looking to change that situation when Triterra approached me, however, I fell in love with the work environment here. Although my work has its challenges, it is much more enjoyable to work on those challenges with a group of people you enjoy being around.” To stay abreast of the latest industry trends and technologies, he regularly attends webinars, presentations and conferences. “We can’t provide the most comprehensive solutions to our client’s problems if we don’t know all the options that are available.”

Johnson resides in Alma, MI, and works out of Triterra’s Alma, MI office. He and his wife have three children.  He shares, “All of our kids are active in youth sports and are currently learning to play piano. For family activities we enjoy summer camping trips and have a 3-acre pond on our property where the kids spend much of their summer break swimming, fishing and catching frogs. Our family garden provides us with most of our vegetables throughout the year. In addition, we added two beehives two years ago and we were able to harvest about 5 gallons of honey last year. My own hobbies include hunting, fishing, camping, running and most other outdoor activities.” He also serves as a volunteer softball and baseball coach for his community’s local youth programs. In addition, he and his family are very involved with their local school’s weekend backpack program that provides food for children who might not otherwise have anything to eat over the weekends.

When asked how he’s seen the industry change over the years, he feels new technology continues to play a vital role. “The environmental industry is always changing. We must be prepared to advance with all the new technologies and the ever-changing landscape of contaminant discovery and risk assessment.” And how would he encourage others to join in his field of study? He concludes, “I would suggest that anyone interested in our industry reach out to local consulting firms and ask a lot of questions. Anything to help build that relationship with people who are working in the field is a big help. I’ve found that many in our industry are happy to share their knowledge with other people. In addition, the answers to those questions can be used to help guide in your class choices and even help make decisions as to which area of consulting is of the most interest.”

Land Science is proud to have Garnet Johnson, Director of Remediation Services at Triterra, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his diverse background and approach in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.

Spencer Cox United Consulting

Client Spotlight: Spencer Cox, Project Environmental Specialist at United Consulting

Spencer Cox with United ConsultingIf you ask Spencer Cox, Project Environmental Specialist at United Consulting, a multidiscipline engineering consulting firm and valued Land Science® partner, what his primary role is at work, you’re likely going to get more than just one answer. That’s because in addition to performing due-diligence assessments on residential, commercial, and industrial properties, he also negotiates properties through the Georgia Brownfields program, conducts Corrective Action Plans for hazardous waste facilities, and performs a host of other important responsibilities that impact the success of United’s diverse client base. Cox shares, “I also supervise and document UST closures, manage hazardous waste remediation, perform air quality modeling, conduct school site hazard analyses and modeling, and conduct asbestos and lead-based-paint analysis.” He continues,  “In addition, I am a technical advisor for field sampling, data analysis, and personnel management, with a specific focus on vapor intrusion.” To prepare for such a diverse range of responsibilities, Cox earned his BS in Biology from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, where he also minored in Stream Ecology. He had developed an interest in environmental sciences as a child, partly because his father works in the forestry and millwork industry, with a focus in sustainability.  He continues, “While in college, like many incoming science-oriented freshmen, I found myself on the pre-med pathway. But my interests changed when I took my first biology course. Soon I was taking every biology and ecology course that the college offered, earning not only a biology degree but a minor in stream ecology too.” Now, with almost 10 years of experience at United Consulting, he believes his contributions are making a difference. Working for a company that strives to reach its long term goals of promoting enhanced ethical professionalism in the industry and continuing its strong customer service focus, with an overarching goal of becoming the premier consulting firm in the Southeast and abroad continues to motivate Cox. With headquarters based in Norcross, Georgia, United Consulting offers extensive experience in environmental and geotechnical consulting, geophysical services, construction materials testing, and inspection services.

When asked what he likes most about working with Land Science, Cox says the company’s approach to offering turnkey solutions helps set Land Science apart from other environmental remediation providers. He continues, “Land Science is solutions-oriented much like United Consulting. When our clients come to the table with issues, it often takes a collaborative approach to identify cost-effective solutions. Land Science has set a high bar for customer service and detail and have been specifically requested to provide their services on several projects by our clients. When issues arise on projects, their team is working immediately to provide insight and real-world solutions for our clients.” As an example of the quick on-site response that Land Science offers, he points to a project that called for extensive vapor intrusion mitigation. He continues, “Recently, we worked with a fast-paced client who elected to install a Land Science vapor barrier product within days of the keystone development deadline. By working with Land Science and their network of certified installers, we were able to install a full vapor intrusion mitigation system within a two-week period. This was a key factor that allowed this development to reach completion on schedule.” When it comes to product usage, Cox says United Consulting uses a full range of Land Science solutions. He continues, “We use Land Science’s range of vapor intrusion barriers the most. Not only do these barriers provide a mitigation approach for vapor intrusion issues, but they add future protection and value for our clients. Working with redevelopments, and specifically with the Georgia Brownfields Program, we’ve seen first-hand the benefits of a spray applied barrier time and time again.” To stay current with technology and evolving industry trends, he makes it a priority to read the latest periodicals and information, which also helps in his staff training. He continues, “Working in such a technical industry, it’s important that I am constantly learning and growing to ensure I can continue to train individuals from a technical standpoint, and foster better relationships with our clients. It’s also important that with evolving sciences such as vapor intrusion and emerging sciences such as Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), that we are providing the very latest solutions.”

During his time at United Consulting, Cox has been based out of the company’s corporate office in Norcross, Georgia. To date, he has worked on projects in thirteen states and says he hopes to reach all 50 states one day. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering at a woodworking shop on the weekends, assisting various charity organizations. The large southeastern based not-for-profit that he works with recently promoted him to a Director position. He shares, “We operate and donate our time for organizations such as the Shriners Hospital and Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. In my Director role, I oversee and operate woodworking and prop designing for various charities. We also put on a yearly event ourselves that raises money for charity. In the past four years we have raised over $250,000 in local Atlanta donations for various organizations and wildlife sanctuaries. It is extremely rewarding work that allows me to interact with young adults from many backgrounds and situations.”

When asked what he enjoys most about his professional work, Cox is quick to point to the gratification of seeing his efforts come to fruition. “The most rewarding aspect of my job,” he says, “is coming back to a development and seeing the impact of our work on a community. Many projects we work on become keystone developments that spur further positive changes to a local area.” And the most challenging aspect of his work? “Working with rapid redevelopment projects that do not fit into the typical schedule. Land Science has been a great partner with these developments by assisting certified applicators that are flexible, proactive, and engaged with installation schedules.”

When asked how he’s seen the industry change over the years, he feels clients are more familiar with the various solutions available. He continues, “The industry has definitely changed. Our clientele and contractors are becoming more aware and knowledgeable about the products and services they are utilizing to conduct due-diligence, remediation, and mitigation on properties.” And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “Encouraging others about the environmental industry starts with understanding that what we do has an impact on not only the environment, but people’s lives. It is important that, as an industry, we are teaching the next generation the broad value of services and solutions, and how people can impact and address environmental issues in the future.”

Land Science is proud to have Spencer Cox, Project Environmental Specialist at United Consulting, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his highly diverse background and approach in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science® and its clients.