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False 118 www. bus- ex. com May 08 Clean Environmental awareness isn’t a new concern, but a 38- year- old business dedicated to it is certainly unusual. Ruari McCallion talks with Kevin Neumaier of Ecology and Environment, Inc., about growth in the ecology sector and green

False May 08 www. bus- ex. com 119 E & E’s services to the private sector involve providing advice and sometimes oversight on construction sites, evaluating the impact of various major projects and, increasingly, helping to cut overhead with better practices. An environmentally effective office building, for example, saves money in electricity, gas, oil and all utility bills. The company leads by example; its corporate headquarters in Lancaster, New York, were built to its own standards in 1988. The architect and contractors queried things such as opening windows— they didn’t do things like that back then, what with the ready availability of air conditioning and high- capacity boilers. “ We used our building as a test ground and in assessing operational and behavioral practicalities,” says Neumaier. “ We took a superbly engineered building and were able to reduce energy use 25 percent with lots of little things. We can do things as simple as sending out an email to our staff, telling them to open the windows or that we’re going to open the atrium if it’s getting too hot. If it’s too cool, we ask everyone to close the windows. It saves a lot of money on heating bills and gets people involved.” The approach has achieved recognition. “ We have received a LEED Platinum award— it’s the oldest building so far to have gained that recognition.” E & E has worked in more than 80 countries worldwide and has around 900 people on the payroll, generating revenues in excess of $ 104 million. Gerhard Neumaier’s vision has turned out to be a valuable business indeed. “ We have engineers, biologists, physicists, sustainability experts, medical doctors and lawyers on our staff, covering a range of disciplines including chemical engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical, electrical and health,” he says. “ We have experts in all types of biology, in lakes and oceans and wildlife ecology. We have over 100 different disciplines, and our people hold several hundred different university degrees. They help us and our clients to understand the scientific part of something new. It could be climate, nanotechnology, whatever. We’re inputting into the business model, and that’s a big shift. Early on, the problem of hazardous waste hadn’t been solved; now we’ve moved from cleanup to prevention.” The founders— Gerhard Neumaier, Ron Frank, Frank Silvestro, and Gerry Strobel— were physicists and engineers who had a good idea even before EcologyandEnvironment When Gerhard Neumaier founded Ecology and Environment, Inc. ( E & E) in 1970, it could have been regarded as an idealistic leap in the dark, or a superbly timed visionary move. “ It was probably a bit of both,” says Kevin Neumaier, CIO and senior vice president of environmental sustainability of the company. While there were the beginnings of concern about the environmental quality of our water, air and land, there was no environmental legislation to speak of. When the government began to turn its attention to the very things E & E was established to work on, the timing couldn’t have been better. “ The National Environmental Protection Act was passed shortly after the company was formed,” he says. “ Many of the projects we’ve undertaken over the years were probably caused by that change in legislation. One of the first big projects we got involved with was mitigation of the impact on wildlife and the environment of the Trans- Alaska Pipeline. We’re still involved with a number of large-scale projects today, including pipelines, wind and solar farms, air stations, and so on.” Another area of ongoing involvement is “ Superfund” sites. “ In the late 1970s, there was a growing realization that toxic waste was being dumped improperly. The catalyst was probably Love Canal, which is a project we worked on,” says Neumaier. “ There are thousands of sites around the country that have contaminated groundwater, surface water, and air emissions and are serious hazards to health. It was a new problem back then, and there are still new issues now. We’re able to take a variety of environmental scientists, health scientists and multi- disciplinary teams to solve these problems.” Those early days must have been a fun experience, confronting Big Business about their environmental behaviors and dealing with illegal or careless dumping. “ It was a challenging environment. There were probably a few corporations that had an issue with us doing this— it was basically costing them money.” But things change. “ Early on, our primary customer was the government; we were responsible to the Environmental Protection Agency and were assigned to look at environmentally hazardous spills nationwide. In the mid 1990s the business environment changed tremendously, and now we’re working for a lot of corporations in addition to the government.”