When Thomas Donn decided to launch his own environmental consulting business in March of 2001, his primary goal was to provide practical solutions to emerging environmental challenges. His objective, along with his then business partner, was to grow a firm that could clearly explain complex technical and regulatory issues in a manner that was easily understandable to a wide range of clients. They also wanted to cement and deliver on their mantra of, “on budget, on time, and no surprises”, as a way to firmly differentiate themselves from other environmental remediation firms. Fast forward to today, and it is clear Donn has successfully grown and positioned EnviroSouth, a valued Land Science® and REGENESIS client, into a leading environmental consulting company. Headquartered in Greeneville, SC, EnviroSouth offers its clients an array of services that include soil and groundwater remediation, real estate environmental site assessment, soil and groundwater contamination assessment, Brownfields property restoration, and other environmental related services. Donn shares, “We have become successful in setting ourselves apart from the competition. And that’s why many of our clients rely on EnviroSouth environmental consultants year after year for all their environmental needs.”
As the founder, President, and Principal Hydrogeologist of EnviroSouth, Donn’s day-to-day responsibilities include advising clients on the technical and regulatory options related to purchasing and remediating commercial and industrial Brownfield properties, as well as troubleshooting projects to ensure the outcome matches client expectations and passes through the regulatory approval process. When asked what he enjoys most about his work, he points to the satisfaction of seeing properties converted into reusable sites, suitable for redevelopment. He continues, “I appreciate being part of the vibrant growth and remediation of a Brownfield site as a key advisor and facilitator.” Donn continues, “Transforming blighted properties that are often eyesores, into productive and attractive facilities which bring jobs to communities is very gratifying. I also enjoy developing our professional staff of geologists, engineers, and environmental scientists, since it helps them become more independent and confident in their abilities, translating to their success on projects they manage.” Prior to starting EnviroSouth, Donn gained valuable experience in the environmental remediation industry, serving in several key positions, including Geologist, Hydrogeologist, and Environmental Services Department Manager, as well as Branch Manager for a 27-person branch office, where he performed environmental consulting, ecological services, geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing.
Prior to beginning his professional career, he earned a B.S. in Geology from the University at Buffalo and a M.S. in Geology from Miami (Ohio) University. He shares, “I chose a career in environmental sciences because I had a keen interest in geology and a desire to provide effective and cost-conscious solutions to help contribute to cleaning up our planet.” To stay current with industry trends and the latest technology, Donn often attends technical conferences to maintain familiarity with new remediation methods, as well as refinements of design and field techniques. In addition, he occasionally serves as an expert witness, and has authored several white papers and articles for publication.
When it comes to working with Land Science, Donn says he appreciates their advanced experience and responsiveness. He continues, “Land Science provides good technical resources and they are proactive to our requests for quotes. They also offer excellent customer service and assistance with our logistical needs. We recently completed a project with them on a former textile mill that was redeveloped. They were very helpful in ensuring the project was a success , including coordinating with installation contractors.” The project included the installation of Geo-Seal® and Vapor-Vent™. He explains, “The project was a Brownfield redevelopment of a long-shuttered textile mill in South Carolina. Based on the poor condition of the concrete and wood floor, the client decided to remove the existing floor, so it provided a perfect opportunity to install a top of the line vapor barrier, such as Geo-Seal®, to prevent TCE in the shallow soils from entering the renovated building. The installation was inspected thoroughly by EnviroSouth’s own in-house LandScience® certified inspector. Subsequent testing showed the indoor air was free of TCE, and the roof vent showed elevated TCE concentrations as evidence that the vapor vents were doing their job as planned.”
Residing in Greeneville, SC, outside of work Donn enjoys wilderness backpacking trips, especially to his favorite destination in Glacier National Park. He shares, “Glacier is the perfect place for getting away from it all with no cell phone coverage! There is also the rush of knowing that around any corner you could come across a bull moose or an angry mama grizzly!” He has also enjoyed volunteering at a local YMCA, where he holds a Board position, and serves on the March of Dimes Real Estate Executive Committee for his local chapter. When asked what he sees the future holds for environmental remediation, Donn points to an increased emphasis on risk assessment as a growth area. He continues, “I believe the trend toward performing remediation based on risk assessment is here to stay. Remediating sites that have a likelihood of adversely impacting human or environmental receptors just makes good sense. The recent trend of looking much closer at and preventing the presence of potentially harmful vapors inside buildings is one of the most logical and cost-effective types of remediation we can provide. For the past few decades, environmental regulators were requiring millions upon millions of dollars to be spent on cleaning up soil and groundwater, but largely ignored the effects of breathing harmful vapors. This new awareness of evaluating vapors seems obvious now, but it was just a matter of the awareness of the environmental regulators and good technical practitioners to bring the science to this point.” And what advice would he offer to those considering a career in the environmental remediation industry? He concludes, “I would suggest becoming involved with an environmental services company early on, perhaps as an intern. We have had several summer interns from Clemson University’s highly regarded Environmental Engineering program. This provides them the real-life aspects of environmental consulting work, especially working outside in the field.”
Land Science is proud to have Tom Donn, President and Principal Hydrogeologist at EnviroSouth, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his technical experience and diverse contributions in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science® and its clients.