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.
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.
When Torin Snyder isn’t swimming or being dance-dad extraordinaire, he can be found pursuing another lifelong passion – finding effective, creative solutions to complex environmental issues. Snyder is a principal at Rincon Consultants, Inc., a leading California-based environmental consulting firm and valued Land Science client. His career path was no surprise to him, as Snyder recalls his interest in the environmental sciences blossoming during his university days. When he began to explore the field as a potential career path, he soon realized environmental site assessment and remediation would provide the ideal avenue to satisfy his curiosity.
“I have always been fascinated in environmental sciences, but I found early on, and still find, that environmental remediation is especially interesting because it is always evolving with emerging chemicals, new clean-up goals, and new technologies,” Snyder says of the field. “This industry offers an opportunity to introduce innovative options to clients, enabling them to achieve their overall project goals and expectations, and it lets me learn and think outside the box.” Snyder joined Rincon in 2010 as a senior hydrogeologist and was promoted to principal in 2018. Prior to joining Rincon, he served as a project manager in the hydrogeology department for an environmental planning company.
To prepare for his career in environmental remediation, in 1999 Snyder earned his BS in Soil Science, with a Hydrology concentration, from California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo. “After-graduation, I focused on getting the certifications and licenses relevant to the environmental consulting industry. First, I became a Certified Professional Soil Scientist, then a Registered Environmental Assessor, then a Deputy Methane Building Inspector for the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. Later, I became a Professional Geologist, Qualified SWPPP Developer/Practitioner, Certified Hydrogeologist, and finally a Trainer of Record for the Qualified SWPPP Developer/Practitioner program. Sometimes people tease me for having so many initials behind my name.”
As a Principal for Rincon’s statewide Environmental Site Assessment and Remediation practice, Snyder is responsible for business development, client management, technical and quality control, and staff mentoring and development. He says of his many roles at the firm, “I provide leadership for the Environmental Site Assessment and Remediation group, and I support the Environmental Sciences and Land Use Planning group and Natural and Cultural Resource team at Rincon. The diverse clients and projects keep me engaged, while giving me new challenges to meet, which I enjoy very much.”
To stay abreast of new technologies and emerging trends, Snyder keeps up with seminars, conferences, and training programs for the field. “Our industry is always evolving,” he says. “So, education and training are critical to remain current with new solutions our clients expect and deserve. It seems there’s always a new or better way to complete a project.” With his diverse background, responsibilities and commitment to staying current in the industry, Snyder does his part to help Rincon achieve its long-term goal of “offering clients the best services, best products, and best people in our field.”
When it comes to working with Land Science, Snyder appreciates the company’s wide range of technologies. “Land Science has done a good job providing alternative products to solve vapor intrusion challenges. There are many solutions available, but few are as effective as those Land Science offers.” He goes on to say that “finding a product that is cost-competitive and that protects the occupants of the building is the most important consideration. Land Science offers multiple products for different applications, which is critical. For example, our clients like the protection that MonoShield™ offers for low-risk vapor intrusion sites and they appreciate that the product is cost-effective compared to most other vapor barriers.” Recently, Snyder has recommended MonoShield™ for a number of projects Rincon has tackled that included low-risk vapor intrusion concerns for low-income housing projects.
Residing in Carlsbad, California with his wife and two daughters, Snyder works out of the Rincon office there. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, with mountain biking, open-water swimming, and off-road triathlons (Xterra) topping his list of favorite activities. He likes them so much he participates in mountain bike and open water swim racing. “I’m a fairly competitive guy so I love to sign up for races,” he shares. “One of my favorite race experiences was when I competed in the Xterra Off-Road World Championship in Maui in 2018.” He also finds time to volunteer as an Advisory Council Member for the Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
When asked what he enjoys most about his job, he points to the collaborative nature of working with co-workers and clients. “I also take satisfaction in providing a client an out-of-the- box solution for their specific problem.” And the most demanding aspect of his job? “Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic. This has changed our day to day routine and requires us to be nimble and adaptive to the new norm.” He also feels the trend of emerging chemicals, evolving clean-up goals, and discovering new solutions to help solve remedial challenges is here to stay- at least for some time. He continues, “As regulations become tighter, consultants will be forced to reconsider how a project is scoped and completed. For example, as clean up goals become more conservative, it may not be economically feasible to remediate a site the same way we did 10 years ago. Therefore, interim mitigation measures, like vapor barriers, sealing concrete floors, and HVAC modifications, need to be considered to reduce the time a building may sit unoccupied during remedial activities when there are indoor air concerns.”
And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “I would not necessarily use the word “encourage.” Finding your passion is the most important aspect to a rewarding, challenging, and successful career. So, I feel it’s critical for people who might be interested in this field to first understand their own passion- what makes them tick. Once this is understood, the path to a fulfilling and successful career path can be tailored to an individual.”
Land Science is proud to have Torin Snyder, Principal at Rincon Consultants, Inc., 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.
Ask Frank Poss, Department Manager/Senior Geologist for Intertek-PSI, a nationally recognized environmental consulting firm and valued Land Science® client, what he enjoys most about his work, and you will likely learn why he is such a valuable asset to Intertek. That’s because his role covers such a diverse range of responsibilities and allows him to leverage his nearly 30 years of professional environmental experience. As Department Manager, he effectively manages several aspects of the business- from accounting to HR to project management, and more. He shares, “I have a plethora of responsibilities. These include the profit and loss of my department, operating Human Resources, managing accounting, and addressing most technical issues. I also oversee and approve all the proposals that are generated from the office, as well as developing proposals myself. I take pleasure in the fact that I complete something different every day I walk in the door. The wide range of responsibilities fits my personality.” To prepare for a career in environmental remediation, Poss earned his BA in Geology from University of California Santa Barbara. He then embarked on his MS in Geology from San Diego State University, during which time the environmental industry took off. He continues, “Ultimately, my career kind of chose me. Coming out with my BA from UC Santa Barbara there were not many jobs for Geologists, so I went back for my Masters. While working on that, environmental work exploded, so many geologists went where the work was and that was environmental. My timing was right on.” Prior to joining Intertek, he held positions as a Staff and Project Geologist for environmental services companies, primarily on the West Coast.
When it comes to working with Land Science, Poss appreciates their collaborative approach to finding the most effective solutions. “I have really enjoyed working with Land Science on several vapor intrusion projects,” he says. “I especially enjoy that they do not act like a subcontractor, but as a partner trying to solve a problem for a client.” With regard to specific Land Science products, Retro-Coat™ and Geo-Seal™ have been used successfully on a variety of projects. Poss continues, “Retro-Coat was great for an existing building in San Francisco, where the building took up the entire footprint of the property. As part of a property transaction, it was determined that the subject property was formerly a dry cleaner with elevated concentrations of PCE found indoors. Working with Land Science, we were able to apply Retro-Coat in a basement and in a restaurant above, and reduce the levels of PCE to below regulatory action levels.”
When asked about his goals for Intertek, he emphasizes the importance of growth and profitability, while maintaining a fun and productive company culture. He continues, “My goals are to continue to expand, while having a good time doing so. I find that having a great team around me is crucial because it stimulates productivity, thereby increasing profitability. I believe people who enjoy their work environment are much more productive. In fact, my number one criterion during hiring is finding people I want to be around beyond the typical 40-hour work week, since in many ways, we are a second family.”
Residing in Northern California with his wife of 27 years, Poss works out of the Intertek-PSI Oakland office, and has worked in Long Beach, San Francisco, and Oakland. “I have spent half my career in Southern and Northern California.” When asked what he enjoys most about his work, he points to an appreciation for the variety in his everyday responsibilities. He continues, “I enjoy having different challenges every day and getting to share those challenges with a great group of people. I am definitely not someone who wants to know that I will be sitting down and doing the same thing over a long period of time. Rather, I prefer juggling lots of balls and feel I excel most when a number of things are going on.” And the most challenging aspect of his job? “I would say human resource issues. I have been extremely fortunate that over the years I have had very few HR issues to deal with. However, when they have risen, we have worked through them in a positive and productive way.”
Away from work, Poss enjoys travelling, playing golf, reading, coaching, and is a self-confessed foody. “The reason we work is to enjoy the things outside of work. For travel, my favorite destination is Paris. I have had the good luck of being there three times and each time was more enjoyable. First of all, Paris is beautiful with the Seine and all the wonderful parks. It has tons of history and some of the best art galleries in the world- I especially love the Orsay. Most of all, Paris turned me into a foodie. From a Michelin star restaurant to the fruit stand on the corner, you cannot go wrong.” His coaching experience includes both competitive soccer and baseball. He continues, “Coaching has been the best experience of my life. Kids can be very competitive when striving to get better, and I love seeing the joy that players have in doing things. Coaching was also a great way to be part of my kids’ lives in a different dynamic compared to just being a dad.”
When asked what he sees the future holds for environmental remediation, Poss feels the inevitability of continued property transactions, coupled with California’s increasing vapor regulations, will keep the statewide industry busy indefinitely. He shares, “With vapor intrusion and the now incredibly low regulatory limits, we are telling clients in industrial areas to just assume they are going to need to place a vapor barrier as part of their construction plan. If they do not need one, then that’s a bonus of sorts.” He’s also noticed that while the industry has evolved over the past three decades, the importance of teamwork has not changed much. “Obviously, the industry has changed a lot, but the same things hold true. Working with clients on solutions to their problems and working as a team to solve them is still the same. This is how you end up with a working relationship that can last decades. I would say as technology and work styles have evolved, that people do not pick up the phone as much as they used to. A one-minute call can typically solve an issue that might not be solved over 10 e-mails.” And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “I would encourage anyone who is going into any science field to write, write, write. I spend most of my day writing and was very unprepared coming out of college. Being able to write well is a skill that is hard to teach and is typically critical as you ascend within an organization.”
Land Science is proud to have Frank Poss, Department Manager/Senior Geologist for Intertek-PSI , as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his diverse background and commitment to providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.
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.
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.
With 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.
For 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.
If 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.
Ask Denise Sullivan, Principal and Owner of Urban Green Environmental, LLC, an environmental consulting and engineering firm and valued Land Science® client, about how she chose a career in environmental remediation and you’re likely to get the response, “Well, my career chose me.” That’s because Sullivan, upon graduation from Tufts University, where she earned her BS in Civil Engineering, found that most of the jobs readily available were in the environmental market, predominantly investigating and remediating properties for environmental impacts and contamination. She shares, “I needed a job, and at the time I never would have guessed that I would find my passion for my career in that first job. My first position was at a company, Ensol, Inc. in Billerica, Massachusetts. It was a small firm, much like Urban Green Environmental, which I started in 2007, and I have modeled much of our internal culture at Urban Green Environmental based on my early experiences at Ensol.” Becoming an entrepreneur and starting her own business targeting the environmental sciences had always been a dream for Sullivan as a way to own and grow her own company while also giving back to the environment. She says her success is based upon nurturing a strong entrepreneurial spirit and choosing a field that she is passionate about. She continues, “I have dedicated my career to the environmental field and have worked hard to carve out a niche where my firm can successfully balance environmental goals with economic development. My proudest accomplishment as a business owner is the team of committed individuals that comprise Urban Green. In 2007, despite the challenging economic climate, I felt the time was right to invest in myself, my adopted hometown of Baltimore, and establish a niche firm focused on environmental investigations of Brownfields and urban in-fill properties. When I started, I was a one-person company and operated out of my home. Today, Urban Green has six employees, an expanding office in Locust Point, and a clear mission and vision.”
When asked about working with Land Science®, Sullivan feels the range of products offer important solutions towards successful project completion for their clients. “We have several projects in Baltimore City that employ the use of Land Science® vapor barriers,” she says. “Specifically, Geo-Seal® and Retro-Coat™. It is rare to have a project in our Maryland Department of the Environment Voluntary Cleanup Program, particularly in an urban environment such as Baltimore City, where we do not spec a vapor barrier with proven resistance to volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs. Retro-Coat™ has been a critical product for many of our projects, and we have used it with great success on some of our current projects.” As one would expect, staying current in an ever-changing industry can have its challenges, so Sullivan regularly attends the National Brownfields conference as well as local Brownfield conferences to stay abreast of the latest trends and technology. When asked about the future goals of Urban Green Environmental, she emphasizes the company’s need to remain focused on providing current solutions for successful outcomes. She shares, “Our mission is to investigate properties for environmental liabilities and provide solutions to those liabilities for private and public organizations and institutions. We have a wide array of clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors and are excited about the future of the company.”
Recently married for the first time and residing in Baltimore, MD, Sullivan’s husband also plays a key role in Urban Green Environmental’s success. She continues, “I’m married to a wonderful Frenchman, Sylvain Masset, who is also an engineer with a focus in the air testing equipment industry (ATI). His expertise has been invaluable over the past few years as Urban Green has developed diagnostic testing protocols for our vapor mitigation systems.” Outside of work, they enjoy hiking on weekends, and she hopes to one day build a new home with her “talented husband.” She also finds time to serve as a member of the Advisory Board for The Baltimore Center for Sustainable Careers (BCSC), a project of Civic Works, Baltimore’s non-profit service corp. In addition, she volunteers as an instructor for the B’more Green Brownfields Training Program, a workforce development program. “Since 2004, I have provided classroom instruction for future environmental field technicians, and I’ve also hired two graduates from this training program.” When asked about the most challenging aspect of her work, Sullivan points to the need to work effectively with people, yet stresses this can also be rewarding as well. She continues, “For me, working with people in general is the most challenging and the most rewarding. I believe our best efforts come from a team, and I find myself awed and so very lucky at the team that has been attracted to Urban Green. They work so hard and are extremely dedicated.”
As the environmental remediation industry continues to evolve, Sullivan sees potential for continued growth and development, particularly in soil and demolition materials, as well as vapor intrusion and mitigation. She shares, “Other than the investigation and remediation of PFOAs, which it seems most in our industry are tracking closely, I think we’ll continue to see progress in densely developed urban areas and on brownfields, along with emerging trends for the re-use of soil and demolition materials (concrete, brick, etc.) and vapor intrusion/mitigation.” And what advice would she give to others who might be considering a career in environment remediation? She concludes, “That’s an interesting question and one that is difficult for me to answer. I would encourage folks who are curious about Brownfields or contaminated properties who want to make an impact on the future of our environment to get involved early on and nurture their curiosity by exploring the various career paths that are out there.”
Land Science® is proud to have Denise Sullivan, Principal and Owner of Urban Green Environmental, LLC as a valued client and partner in vapor intrusion mitigation, and appreciates her diverse experience and knowledge base in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science® and its clients.