Ben Alter, Senior Vice President and Principal of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., a leading environmental engineering and consulting services firm, has amassed a deep reservoir of applied experience, which includes 22 years at GZA, as well as authoring books about the fundamentals of environmental consulting. With a role at GZA that includes meeting prospective clients, entering into contracts with them, and then overseeing that the contracts are executed properly, Alter is in many ways contributing to help sustain our environment, while also impacting the future success of GZA.
For Greg Page, Senior Engineer with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT), working as a team to solve challenging environmental issues is a daily reminder of why he chose to pursue a career in bioremediation. He shares, “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.” Learn more in our client spotlight.
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.
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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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.
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)
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.
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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For 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.
Land Science is pleased to present a webinar with vapor intrusion technical expert, Hieu Nguyen. Mr. Nguyen is the Senior Technical Engineer for Land Science and in his role is responsible for product development and training on all Land Science vapor intrusion technologies. In this webinar, he will provide an in-depth overview of the Retro-Coat vapor intrusion system along with tips on best practices when applying Retro-Coat for existing structures.
Learn the following in this free webinar:
- An introduction to Retro-Coat
- Detail understanding of the Retro-Coat Vapor Barrier System
- Overview of system specifications
- Recommended surface preparation
- Examples of various installation techniques
- A review of best practices and lesson learned
- Understanding of the QA/QC Process
Recording now available
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