Sullivan International CEO grows environmental services company
JEN LEBRON KUHNEY, The Daily Transcript
Steven Sullivan, the chief executive officer and chairman of the board for Sullivan International Group Inc., grew his company from a one-man commercial environmental services business to a 150-employee, $30 million company with the federal government as its primary contract.
Sullivan said he has always been interested in environmental issues, but was given the opportunity to really learn more about handling them while he was in the Navy.
When the Federal Facility Compliance Act of 1992 was implemented, government agencies like the Navy had to comply with environmental regulations similar to what the public sector had to deal with.
Rather than solely hiring contractors to better understand and implement new policies due to the regulations, the Navy asked for volunteers. Sullivan was one of those who raised his hand at the opportunity.
"It was a two-prong thing," he said about starting Sullivan International Group. "I had interest from the technical perspective in the Navy, and I really had a passion to help the community."
Though founded in 1998, the company took off in 2000 and 2001 when it made the shift from providing consulting services in the commercial sector to working more closely with governments.
Since then, Sullivan International has grown exponentially. In 2004, it was ranked number seven on the Inc. 500 list. Within four years it grew nearly 4,000 percent and today, the company brings in more than $30 million in revenue.
One of the projects Sullivan's team currently is working on is a database for a clean-up effort in Jacobsville, Ind. for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Homes were built on top of toxic land leftover from a lead smelting plant. The EPA is digging up 10 inches of soil off each homeowner's property and replacing it with 10 inches of clean soil.
Sullivan Group International is providing updated information for homeowners and the community regarding the project.
"What we try to do is bring value to every project we support," Sullivan said. "That value is in the new technology we provide to streamline projects."
Sullivan said it is the innovation of his engineers and the skill of his employees that really make the company thrive.
"We've got a very friendly, fluid, creative consulting environment," he said. "Our employees are the company."
Over the coming months, Sullivan's reliance on his management team and employees will grow as he goes to Manchester Business College in London for his Master of Business Administration.
Most of the program will be done remotely through working groups and online classes, allowing Sullivan to conduct business in San Diego. However, he will have to go to England for two months to participate in various workshops.
Sullivan said he hopes going back to school will teach him how to make Sullivan International a world-class company as well as expand the company name abroad.