Tools and Tricks to Solve Non-Traditional Vapor Intrusion Issues

Date: Thursday, March 25th, 2021
Time: 11am pacific / 2pm eastern

Learn the following in this free webinar:

  • When traditional vapor intrusion investigations can not solve more complex or unusual vapor intrusion problems
  • Various tools, sampling methods, and field equipment that can help solve these challenges
  • A look at several projects that required Total Vapor Solutions to think outside the box
  • Advanced vapor mitigation barrier technologies from Land Science

Land Science is pleased to present a webinar with vapor intrusion expert, Jim Fineis P.G., President and Owner of Total Vapor Solutions. During this webinar presentation, Mr. Fineis will discuss tools and tricks to solve non-traditional vapor intrusion issues. He will be joined by Aimee Plowman, Southeast District Manager for Land Science, who will discuss advanced vapor mitigation barrier technologies from Land Science.

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Client Spotlight: Maura Pliska, TriMedia Environmental & Engineering Services, LLC

For working professionals who aspire to raise a family, staying on a chosen career path can be especially challenging. But when one gets back on track, it is worth the effort. Just ask Maura Pliska, Project Environmental Engineer for TriMedia Environmental & Engineering Services, LLC, a leading environmental and engineering firm and valued Land Science® client. She begins, “Initially, I worked for Waste Management and their associated entities in the Chicago area for approximately ten years after graduating from college with an engineering degree.  I then stayed home to raise my children for approximately 13 years. When it came time for me to return to the work force, my work experience in the waste and environmental industry lined up well with TriMedia, an established environmental consulting firm located in Marquette, Michigan where we were raising our family. I was excited to return to work in my field of choice and have really enjoyed the opportunities TriMedia provides me so I can continue learning and developing additional technical skills.”  In her role with TriMedia, where she has worked the past 11 years, Pliska’s responsibilities include environmental due diligence on Phase I and Phase II Environmental Assessments of commercial and industrial properties, and managing environmental regulatory compliance, including the development of various compliance plans and reporting required under state and federal regulations. She also works on Brownfield redevelopment, investigation and remediation of contaminated sites, accidental spill reporting, and air permitting.

To prepare for a career in environmental engineering, Pliska graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign, with a BS in General Engineering.  She continues, “The General Engineering program at U of I provided a solid technical overview of the various engineering disciplines, in addition to a business and communication core curriculum. After earning my degree, my initial work with Waste Management and their various entities allowed me to gain valuable experience in designing and permitting solid waste facilities. I also developed operating, closure and construction plans, and participated in quality assurance during the construction phase.”  In addition, Pliska has completed the Land Science training, which qualifies her as a certified inspector. When asked what she enjoys about working with Land Science, she points to a recent project that involved significant construction on a prior industrial site. “I had the opportunity to work with Land Science during the Lake Superior State University/Center for Freshwater Research and Education project.  This was new construction on a former industrial site. Portions of the project were funded through an approved Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Brownfield Redevelopment Grant and Loan, which provided additional new experience for me.  Land Science was great to work with throughout this project, providing both expertise and excellent service. It was through this LSSU-CFRE project that I became familiar with the Land Science TerraShield® vapor barrier system.” As she continues to gain experience in her field, Pliska looks forward to strengthening her technical knowledge and enhancing her project management capabilities. With regard to TriMedia, she admires the company’s diverse business model, which includes providing industrial hygiene, GIS, health and safety, and land surveying services.  She shares, “The opportunity to be involved in variety of projects is a big part of what makes TriMedia a great company to work for. For example, projects include industrial facility demolitions, mine safety oversight, river recovery projects, drinking water surveys, and utility locating services.”

Recently relocated to Grand Rapids, MI, where she lives with her husband, Pliska enjoys a variety of activities outside of work, with hiking and kayaking as favorites. “A favorite hiking spot was Harlow Lake in Marquette, MI and our favorite kayaking was East Bass Lake in Gwinn, MI.  There are so many beautiful spots in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – you really can’t go wrong.  We look forward to finding new spots in Southwest Michigan!” She also enjoys cooking, reading and the movies. She shares, “ I like making comfort food in the winter like a beef stew or Guinness shepherd’s pie.  I recently made Ina Garten’s Tuscan turkey roulade that was a hit with the family!” When asked what she enjoys most about her work, she emphasizes how much she appreciates the opportunity to see a project through from concept through construction. And the most demanding aspect? “Keeping up with the ever-changing rules and regulations. Environmental regulations in this industry continue to increase in complexity, so this is an area I need to continually focus on.”  She also feels vapor intrusion continues to evolve. She continues, “The increasing data and knowledge concerning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) will undoubtedly have an impact on trends in environmental remediation.” When asked how she would encourage others to join her field of study, she underscores the need for a younger generation to explore the many choices that are available. She concludes, “My daughter is a college student in engineering, and that is certainly a good start.  I would definitely recommend young people pursue internships in this field to ensure that environmental work is what they think it is. We can certainly use bright and curious minds going forward!”


Land Science is proud to have Maura Pliska, Project Environmental Engineer for TriMedia Environmental & Engineering Services, LLC, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates her highly specialized background and commitment in providing successful remediation and mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.

Tom Hatton webinar

Subjective Standards and the Long-Term Liability of Vapor Intrusion

Learn the following in this free webinar:

  • The evolution of the standards process and solutions toward harmonizing best practices in VMS design
  • Best technical merits of state guidance documents as well as integrating standardized practices
  • How adopting a framework of best design, mitigation and operation maintenance & monitoring (OM&M) practices could promote transparency in performance, documentation, energy efficiency, and limit health and long-term liability risks
  • The industry’s most protective vapor barriers featuring metallized films and nitrile-advanced asphalt latex

In this webinar we were pleased to have as a special guest speaker Tom Hatton, CEO of Clean Vapor LLC. His presentation discussed subjective standards and the long-term liability of vapor intrusion. He was joined by Jordan Knight, Central Region Manager of Land Science, who shared advanced vapor mitigation barrier technologies that can be incorporated into vapor mitigation system (VMS) designs to minimize the long-term liability that often comes with contaminated site redevelopment.

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TerraShield Assists Development in Sacramento’s Downtown

This project snapshot features the following:

  • Innovative Vapor Barrier Chosen for Electrical Substation as Safest, Most Cost-Effective Solution
  • Timely and Cost-Efficient Application Allows Development to Proceed
  • Innovative, Nitrile-Advanced Core Quickly and Effectively Seals Utility Penetrations and Terminations

Sacramento is experiencing a renaissance, with a metropolitan area that has grown to include over 2.5 million people. As the city continues to grow and change, the downtown Sacramento area is evolving rapidly with many new buildings in various construction stages. Roebbelen Contracting, Inc., a leading Northern California based contracting and construction firm, was engaged by their client to build an electrical substation in the downtown area. The substation development included the need for a contaminant vapor barrier system due to past heavy industrial land usage. Keeping pace with the latest vapor mitigation innovations, the environmental consultant, working with their client, recommended Land Science’s TerraShield® based on it having demonstrated 100 times more chemical resistance than other vapor barrier systems.

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TerraShield Installed at New, State-of-the-Art Aquatic Research and Education Center

This project snapshot features the following:

  • Volatile Organic Contaminants
  • State-of-the-Art Research and Education Center
  • 8,500 Square Feet Installed

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) is constructing a $14.5 million expansion that will house its state-of-the-art Center for Freshwater Research and Education (CFRE). When completed, the CFRE building will include freshwater testing laboratories, classrooms, an aquatic learning center, and an expansion of LSSU’s internationally-renowned fish hatchery. The new building is being constructed in an area of past spills of volatile organic contaminants (VOCs), posing a potential vapor intrusion risk. Assessing the risk and the options to mitigate it, the project team opted to install TerraShield® with a TerraVent® passive venting system. Terrashield was determined to be the vapor mitigation solution providing the highest level of protection at a competitive cost and offering superior installation efficiencies as compared to alternative vapor intrusion mitigation approaches.

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Client Spotlight: Brad Parish, P.G., Senior Hydrogeologist with Apex Companies LLC

Brad Parish

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.

Retro-Coat Lansing

A Growing Manufacturing Company Brings New Jobs to Lansing Area following Retro-Coat Treatment

This project snapshot features the following:

  • Retro-Coat Allows Repurposed Industrial Building to Create Jobs in Michigan Community
  • 140,000 Square Feet Manufacturing Facility Successfully Treated

A growing manufacturer looking to expand its operations purchased a vacant industrial facility in Lansing, Michigan, where chlorinated solvents were used and spilled into the subsurface. The environmental consultant was asked to address the suspected vapor intrusion concerns resulting from the former industrial operations. In working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE), the consultant proposed utilizing the Retro-Coat® Vapor Intrusion Coating System, in combination with passive venting, to ensure safe indoor air for the future workers. EGLE approved the vapor mitigation approach to address the potential indoor air concerns. The Retro-Coat installation was sequentially phased in accordance to the construction schedule, where the Certified Applicator worked closely with the general contractor and the consultant to meet project expectations and deadlines. Since the Retro-Coat system will act as the wearing surface at this facility, the Retro-Coat Top WB topcoat was also applied to maintain the desired aesthetic of the building owner. Following the Retro-Coat and passive venting system’s successful application, the potential exposure pathway has been mitigated, and the site is eligible for restricted site closure designation by EGLE.

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Client Spotlight: Mario Sternad, Senior Engineer with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.

StantecAsk Mario Sternad, Senior Engineer with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., a global environmental services company and valued Land Science® client, what he enjoys most about his work and it will quickly become apparent that he draws immense satisfaction from providing effective and energy efficient solutions to address contaminants in our ever-changing environment. He shares, “Suffice to say, I love the technical and chemical aspects of my work. In-situ technologies has always been something of great interest to me- how soil, soil-vapor and groundwater contaminants move, are treated, and managed in the ground. Plus, the fact that there are always new products being developed that can make our lives simpler, make systems more reliable, and provide energy efficient ways to control chemicals in our environment is also exciting.” A 36-year veteran in engineering and environmental sciences, Sternad joined Stantec 17 years ago, first as a Safety Manager, and then as Project Manager, prior to being promoted to his current position. In his current role, he serves as a Remediation Subject Matter Expert in the Environmental Services Division of Stantec’s Walnut Creek, CA office. His day-to-day responsibilities include in-situ cleanup technologies for soil vapor, soil, and groundwater, as well as vapor intrusion and vapor barrier design. He continues, “More specifically, I prepare RIFS, RAPs and WPs for soil and groundwater remediation of VOCs, chlorinated solvents, hydrocarbons, petroleum, metals, and pesticides.” In addition, Sternad acts as a Stantec design lead and advisor during field work and construction, system and process development, equipment design, and other project related matters.

Throughout his career Sternad has worked on a variety of projects which include various refineries, coastline and beach cleanups, landfills, government sites, and a broad range of industrial sites. To prepare for a career in environmental sciences, he earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California Berkeley, and followed that with a CA CHE Professional Engineer Certification, and then a CA Civil Engineering Certification. He adds, “I have also been an active AIChE NorCal Section Member/Director since 1984.” When asked how he chose a career in environmental remediation, he says the technical aspects are what initially attracted him. He shares, “I was looking for an atmosphere of technical expertise to further my engineering knowledge. In environmental consulting, I liked the idea of multiple disciplines involved in soil and groundwater cleanup technologies, along with the unique, difficult, and complex solutions being used, and the need for chemical engineering expertise in the design, application, and equipment operation.”

With regard to working with Land Science, Sternad feels the company’s products, commitment to service, and knowledge base help set them apart.  He continues, “Land Science has been, and continues to be, a dependable partner, offering outstanding products and expert engineering expertise, solutions, documentation, flexibility, and accurate and comprehensive procedures for installation of vapor barriers. We recently prepared a vapor barrier for a large office warehouse that required a unique solution to add and compact four feet of soil over the top of the vapor barrier in an expedited manner. This required using large scrapers, rollers, and bottom dumps, and resulted in faster application and easier vapor barrier installation below future building utilities, as well as added protection from volatiles in shallow groundwater. We successfully tested a small area first with Land Science’s involvement to see if this would work without damaging the vapor barrier.” Sternad is currently designing solutions using TerraShield® and TerraVent® products as preferred vapor intrusion solutions. “These products offer reduced vapor permeation rates, flexibility with application thickness, ease of application and testing, and an enhanced warranty that meets our project requirements. I also appreciate that Land Science provides their technical expertise during the design, application and testing of TerraShield.”

Residing in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife of 27 years and two adult children, Sternad spends approximately 20% of his time traveling to various project sites. Outside of work, he enjoys playing the trombone, mountain climbing, and working on cars. He shares, “I’ve been playing trombone for some 50 years in local symphony orchestras, symphonic bands, marching bands, jazz bands, and small instrumental groups.  I currently play with various big bands in the Bay Area. In college, with the UC Berkeley Jazz Ensembles, I traveled in a big band touring group and recorded in Europe and Japan.” His climbing exploits include a month-long trek through Nepal in 2008 to the Khumbu glacier area, which included Mt. Everest base camp. “My brother and I have climbed various 14,000 ft. peaks in the Eastern Sierra, along with Mt. Whitney, and last year we climbed Mt. Shasta.” In addition, he finds time to stay involved with the Boy Scouts, teaching science-related merit badges.

When asked how he’s seen the industry evolve through the years, Sternad points to what he sees is a decrease in vapor intrusion regulatory levels. “The need to address vapor intrusion impacts has increased as regulatory levels have decreased,” he says. “This is both on the vapor extraction and vapor barrier sides. It has helped that the market has provided new, improved, and cost-effective technologies as the need increased. In addition, environmental assessment tools have changed (soil vapor and indoor air sampling), and remediation electrical controls have improved with higher accuracy.”

And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “It is amazing to be working in the environmental field at this time. I would suggest to new and young engineers, as well as scientists, that they try to see the larger picture- see how an individual project works as a whole. Be aware of the politics, the history of the project and how it started, and try to learn from anyone they can meet, whether it’s in contracts-administration, field staff, equipment vendors, or laboratories. They can all provide valuable insight into how systems work as a whole.”

Land Science is proud to have Mario Sternad, Senior Engineer with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., as a valued client 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.

Client Spotlight: Paul French, Envirologic Technologies, Inc.

With a career in environmental remediation that spans nearly 35 years, Paul French, Senior Project Manager/Hydrogeologist with Envirologic Technologies, Inc., a full service environmental consulting and services firm and valued Land Science® client, has seen first-hand how the industry has evolved from an emphasis on groundwater and cleanup to a vapor intrusion focus.  He begins, “When I started in this industry, the primary focus was groundwater and cleanup to specific criteria. However, with the advent of the Risk Based Corrective Action process in 1994, the site investigations and closure fittingly moved toward elimination of an exposure pathway. Since most exposure pathways can be eliminated with institutional and/or engineering controls, vapor intrusion has become the primary driving factor for a good portion of our work.” As one might expect, French has also experienced how evolving technology continues to impact the industry. He continues, “The changes in technology have been immense. Computers were rare in my early years, and report were done by hand and submitted to clerical staff to decipher. Today, reports and communications are submitted digitally instead of printed and mailed. Information searches that used to take weeks to receive can now be completed and reviewed in a matter of minutes, and remote data recording and wireless transmission are now becoming the mainstay for monitoring of mitigation systems.” As a 28-year veteran with Envirologic, French finds himself utilizing much of today’s evolving technology as he fulfills a role as the company’s in-house specialist for vapor intrusion, which includes responsibilities involving the design, installation, and operation of vapor mitigation systems for Envirologic and its clients.

French joined Envirologic as a Project Manager/Hydrogeologist, prior to his promotion to his current position. In addition to his vapor intrusion responsibilities, he oversees all aspects of remedial investigations and cleanup at underground storage tanks and industrial and brownfield sites, while also serving as client, local, state, and federal regulatory agency liaison. Additionally, he manages proposal and work plan preparation, coordination of field staff and subcontractors, data assessment, reporting, budget tracking, and coordination of funding programs. In addition, his experience includes design, construction, operation, and maintenance of remedial systems, including groundwater pump and treat, NAPL recovery, soil vapor extraction, sub-slab vapor mitigation, and enhanced bioremediation. Although he has a vast and diverse range of responsibilities, more than anything it’s the hands-on approach to his work that he enjoys most. He continues, “In my current role I really enjoy the freedom to break away from office duties periodically to actually build the remedial systems that I design.”

To prepare for a career in environmental remediation, French earned his BS in Geology from Murray State University, in his home state of Kentucky, and has since taken graduate level courses in Hydrogeology from Western Michigan University. To stay abreast of evolving trends and the latest technology in vapor intrusion, he regularly attends workshops, webinars, and regional training events. His expertise, culled through 3+ decades, no doubt helps in his efforts to achieve Envirologic’s goals, as outlined recently by CEO/Co-owner Jeff Hawkins. French continues, “While filming our recent 30th Anniversary video, Mr. Hawkins stressed that Envirologic has always been a boutique firm, rather than a subset of another company or another core business. He stated that this is our core business: environmental consulting. He and our leadership envision over the next five to ten years that we are likely to remain a consistent, nimble, customer-oriented company with some modest growth, adding team members who fit well with our organization and who can provide the integrity and level of service that we are known for. He closed by saying while growth is important, it is not our intent to ‘conquer the world’ with respect to the work that we do.”

When it comes to working with Land Science, French appreciates the company’s expertise and product knowledge.  He shares, “Everyone I have dealt with at Land Science has an excellent working knowledge of their products and great insight on how their products can be best applied to my given issue. I appreciate that Land Science has always been willing to defend their products and our remedial goals with our state’s regulatory bodies.”  With regard to using specific Land Science products and solutions for vapor mitigation barriers and venting systems, TerraShield®, Retro-Coat™, and TerraVent™ are often used with significant success. Residing in Kalamazoo, MI, He continues, “My projects have taken me throughout nearly all of lower Michigan. I have also spent a considerable amount of time in the Marquette, Houghton, and Calumet areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” Outside of work, he enjoys household remodeling projects and yardwork, “which helps to keep my wife happy — and me healthy.” He continues,  “Keeping her projects up to date helps me to bank time for my real hobby of the last few years- motorcycling.”  He also finds time to remain an active member and officer in an organization at his church that raises money for numerous causes, and for several years he has volunteered to provide a monthly meal and friendship at a home for recently released state prisoners.

When asked about the most challenging aspect of his work, he is quick to emphasize the impact of prioritization. “We all experience clients needing their projects completed ‘yesterday.’ Thus, there never seems to be enough time in a day to manage the current workload and address new projects and deadlines. It’s probably a combination of both, but if my white hair wasn’t hereditary, I’d blame it on my job.” He also feels it is a constant challenge to navigate inconsistency within various regulatory agencies and keep a project on schedule. He continues, “It is understood vapor intrusion pathway understanding is evolving, and to its credit, our state has come a long way in recent years in specifying how to evaluate the pathway. Currently however, there is no consistent process in the review of design specifications for a mitigation system or for performance monitoring. While Envirologic is competent in the design and installation of mitigation systems and conducting performance monitoring in accordance with industry standards, the inconsistency comes to light when state review and approval of a design, performance monitoring plan, or other document is necessary to satisfy the requirements of a financial institution or brownfield authority. The inconsistency typically results in the desire for additional data and/or multiple redesigns and nearly always results in the delay of a development, and in Michigan, for the most part, a delay means next year.” And how would French encourage others to join in his field of study? He concludes, “I would encourage others to develop an appreciation of science, since many of those disciplines can be adapted to this industry. I would also encourage anyone who wants to get ahead in this field, or any field for that matter, to become comfortable speaking in public. Overcoming that fear will bring about opportunities.”

Land Science is proud to have Paul French, Senior Project Manager/Hydrogeologist with Envirologic Technologies, Inc., as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his diverse background and thorough approach in providing successful remediation and mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.