85 F
San Diego
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Environmental Considerations Fuel Demand for Firms’ Work

Companies on the San Diego Business Journal’s Environmental Consultants list and Alternative Energy Suppliers list are holding down a respectable amount of work for some significant clients and in some cases are even expanding.

Take Dudek, for example, the No. 1 ranked company on the Environmental Consultants list. CEO Frank Dudek said the number of companywide employees has increased from 243 to about 260 this year. He says much of the growth is attributable to increases in renewable energy work as well as providing environmental regulatory and engineering contract staff for agencies that are downsizing.

“Contrary to some of the gloom in the papers, we’ve been quite busy,” said Dudek, explaining that a large portion of the company’s work involves helping public and private clients comply with new and existing regulations.

Along with performing water/wastewater engineering work for municipalities primarily, Dudek offers environmental consulting in the areas of endangered species and botany, and performs wetlands permitting as well as specialty studies for cultural resources.

- Advertisement -

The Glass Is Half Full

Some of the company’s more notable projects involve permitting and environmental documentation for seawater desalination plants from Rosarito, Mexico, to Santa Cruz, including permitting for the Carlsbad desalination plant. Locally, the company is preparing an environmental impact report for MiraCosta College’s facilities expansion in Oceanside and Encinitas.

Business is also picking up at Tetra Tech, the No. 3 ranked company on the Environmental Consultants list with 115 local environmental employees as of Jan. 1. Principal Engineer Steven Geyer says business activity is 10 percent better than last year.

“That’s pretty good considering the market in general isn’t that great,” said Geyer, attributing most of the growth to energy management services.

With 150 offices worldwide and about 12,000 employees, the company offers environmental consulting and remediation as well as energy management services. The local office on Columbia Street downtown specializes in environmental site assessments and performing energy management services for the Navy and the City and County of San Diego. Another large client is the Port of San Diego, which hired Tetra Tech for work at the South Bay Power Plant. Other environmental consulting services are being provided for sites throughout San Diego Bay.

Although Geyer says redevelopment work is down, the company is finding ways to expand through acquisitions. During the past couple of years Tetra Tech has acquired several Canadian engineering and environmental companies, he said.

“There are a lot of companies up there that are heavily involved in the mining industry, and we perceived that as an area of growth,” he said.

A Sign of Success

Another company on the Environmental Consultants list that’s experiencing a steady workload is Helix Environmental Planning Inc., ranked No. 6 with 79 local environmental employees as of Jan. 1. The La Mesa-based company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and introduced a new logo in the spring, helps clients comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. The versatile company also prepares natural resource management plans, performs habitat restoration and designs and installs drought-tolerant landscaping.

One of Helix Environmental’s more notable current projects involves preparing an environmental impact statement/environmental impact report for state Route 11 and the east Otay Mesa Port of Entry, the planned border crossing into Mexico east of the current Otay Mesa border crossing. Helix Environmental CEO Michael Schwerin says groundwork has been laid for the project through a multiphase process involving CalTrans and the federal government as well as binational efforts to identify the specific location. Now it’s moving through the environmental analysis stage.

“This is work to get approval for environmental compliance to move forward with the project,” said Schwerin, estimating his company’s portion of the work will be wrapped up this winter.

On the Alternative Energy Suppliers list, the No. 4 ranked company, Independent Energy Solutions Inc., is a design-build firm that engineers and constructs solar power systems.

The Vista company with 50 local full-time employees as of Jan. 1 is busy working on a 1-megawatt carport system at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton bachelor enlisted quarters that will generate up to 1.8 million kilowatt-hours per year, the equivalent of powering up to 290 homes per year.

Although Independent Energy Solutions President and CEO Linda Strand says the bulk of its work is in the Southwest, the company has been called on to work on an embassy project in Rwanda, Africa, and other projects on remote islands.

“We’ve worked in the Caribbean islands for a multimillionaire who owns a private island and wants to have enough electricity to have parties and plug in his yachts,” Strand said.


Featured Articles


Related Articles