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.