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EBS gets a boost from new parent company

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A lot can happen in three years -- especially when you're a growing engineering and construction firm adopted by a big daddy national firm.

Dan Johnson

Ken LaConde

SCS Engineers, a licensed engineering and construction firm with offices located throughout California and the United States, has been doing business in San Diego County for more than 20 years -- including notable projects at numerous county landfills.

In late 2001, San Diego consulting firm Environmental Business Solutions (EBS) merged with SCS Engineers.

EBS now functions as SCS Engineers' official San Diego office, working closely with the firm's regional headquarters in Long Beach. SCS Engineers recently was named the nation's "Number One Solid Waste Consulting Company," according to an annual report in Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine.

"It's been exciting to see our clients and other members of San Diego's municipal and building communities make the EBS/SCS connection over the last three years," said Dan Johnson, co-founder and former managing principal of EBS. Johnson continues to work from the San Diego office as a vice president with SCS Engineers.

EBS' established presence in San Diego, along with the diverse expertise and national recognition of SCS Engineers, has proven to be a fruitful combination. For EBS in particular, the merger has diversified the firm's areas of expertise, which formerly consisted of primarily soils remediation, brownfield consulting, and stormwater runoff consulting.

As an SCS Engineers company, EBS has added solid waste management, recycling facility design, landfill gas collection and energy recovery, landfill engineering and construction management to its list of services.

"We're still discovering all the ways in which the two companies complement each other, and just how well we work together as a team," said Ken LaConde, vice president with the Long Beach office of SCS Engineers. "We'll continue to look for more opportunities to utilize the specialized expertise of both our Long Beach and San Diego offices to collaborate on projects across Southern California."

EBS and SCS Engineers currently are working together on the environmental site assessment for a closed landfill located at Mission Bay in San Diego. The scope of work includes a thorough forensic evaluation of available historical site data, which includes aerial photography, existing maps and reports, historical topographical maps, and operational data. Project work also includes the evaluation of previous site investigations and a subsequent field investigation. Project completion currently is slated for late spring of 2005.

"As a possibility for future collaboration, SCS Engineers has proven expertise in brownfield remediation, which has been a particular area of focus for EBS in recent years," LaConde said. "Our resources have reached a whole new depth."

SCS has completed such notable brownfield projects as the Staples Center in Los Angeles; and the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., formerly the Kaiser Steel Mill.

The last three years also have brought changes among the management staff at EBS. Tessa McRae, a vice president at SCS Engineers, recently was appointed to serve as the operations director of the San Diego office, fulfilling a leadership role in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

"Shifting many of the operations management responsibilities to Tessa has enabled us both to better serve our staff and SCS Engineers' clients," Johnson said. "Her experience, organizational skills and proven commitment to the welfare of our firm and its clients made her the natural choice for this position."

McRae directs and oversees employee training, mentoring and management; procedural oversight of all project management operations; and overall office management. McRae also is continuing her role as a leader of the firm's phase II environmental site assessment practice.

As a registered geologist, she provides oversight for several properties undergoing transactions, including San Diego's Petco Park.

Johnson, in his role as a vice president with SCS Engineers, focuses on business development and key client management for the San Diego office, as well as for the California practice of SCS Engineers as a whole.

Johnson also continues to sit on the board of directors of SCS Engineers.

EBS also has played a key role in several significant projects in San Diego County within the last three years. The firm's most notable project to date is the turnkey assessment and remediation of the approximately $1 billion, 35-block redevelopment area contained in downtown San Diego's East Village Neighborhood. This includes the seven-block footprint of the new Petco ballpark.

The project was honored with an Alonzo Award by the Downtown San Diego Partnership, as well as the prestigious 2002 Award of Excellence by the California Redevelopment Agency.

EBS has been assisting developers and redevelopers on a number of downtown projects, as well as working with several local municipalities. EBS worked with the Community Development Commission (CDC) of National City to identify and secure $750,000 in funding from the Integrated Waste Management Board (IWMB) -- and an additional $200,000 brownfields assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- to address a historic landfill in the 200-acre Harbor District Redevelopment Area, located west of Interstate 5 and south of Bay Marina Drive in National City.

"The brownfields redevelopment efforts taking place in National City serve as a model for cities across the U.S. that are recognizing the need to protect undeveloped land and improve living conditions for their residents," Johnson said.

Currently, EBS is providing environmental consulting services for a number of notable redevelopment projects, including the $100 million mixed-use project anchored by the Hard Rock Hotel, to be located at the corner of Sixth Avenue and L Street in downtown San Diego.

"As we look forward to 2005, EBS will continue its steady pace toward becoming more integrated with the SCS identity," Johnson said. "We're excited about the opportunities that this partnership will bring in San Diego and throughout Southern California."

Kutch is principal of Kutch & Co.

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