Environmental services company enjoys steady work by providing top-notch customer service
Back in 1992, Tom Murphy and Lisa Negri saw a need to offer high-quality, customer-centric environmental services for the oil and gas industry. Their timing, coupled with a drive toward constant innovation, has resulted in strong and steady growth for the company they started – LT Environmental Inc., of Arvada, Colorado.
The company, now solely owned by Murphy, employs more than 115 people in offices in six states and serves customers nationwide. LT Environmental has distinguished itself in the remediation industry for its development of a range of alternative-energy designs for clients. It’s no surprise, then, that LT Environmental was recently chosen as a winner by the Oil and Gas Awards for 2015 in the environmental stewardship category.
“Our initial focus was on soil and groundwater remediation,” notes John Peterson, executive vice president for LT Environmental. “From that we’ve grown into a full-service environmental-consulting company, offering compliance consultation, construction management, permitting and a full range of related services.”
LT’s founders had experience in the oil and gas industry and currently about 60 percent of LT Environmental’s clients are in that industry. But the company also serves customers in the transportation, real estate development and industrial manufacturing sectors. With its focus on oil and gas, half of the company’s offices are clustered in the mountain states of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and North Dakota.
“Our knowledge base makes it possible for our firm to focus on the complete life cycle of a well,” says Peterson. “This encompasses everything from initial exploration, well drilling and operation to closing a well down and remediating the area after shutdown.”
Peterson notes that people who work in oil and gas engineering are a fairly compact group, and thus word has traveled about the company’s know-how and earned it a stellar reputation. LT Environmental obtains most of its clients through referrals and word-of-mouth, Peterson says.
“We provide a client-centric service and as a result, we are in contact with each of our clients on a daily basis,” notes Rob Rebel, project engineer/innovation manager at LT Environmental. “Our clients will sometimes require a fast response, particularly in an emergency. Depending on location, we can usually be at a client’s site within a matter of hours.”
Peterson points out that client needs have dictated where LT Environmental has established its nine satellite offices. The firm recently opened an office in Gainesville, Florida, to better serve the needs of a transportation client. This particular firm operates a network of fuel terminals throughout the U.S.; fuel is transported by truck to these terminals and then shipped by rail or barge to other parts of the nation or world.
Innovation is key
Constant innovation is one characteristic that distinguishes LT Environmental from its competitors. One example that’s especially popular with clients is an off-the-shelf smartphone application, which helps them keep track of environmental, safety and health data.
LT Environmental also uses tablets to record field notes, soil boring logs and water quality data. The wealth of data collected then forms the basis for sophisticated data models. This provides LT’s field engineers with a more accurate picture of where soil contaminants are, enabling them to pinpoint better solutions.
“Tablets also help us to enhance communication with our clients,” says Rebel. “For example, many of our projects involve excavation. We can keep clients updated 24/7 on an excavation project, which also gives clients a way to provide their inputs at every step in the process.”
Especially noteworthy, LT Environmental has successfully utilized alternative power sources to run field equipment. “An oil and gas field is not like your neighborhood gas station – typically, there’s no power nearby,” says Peterson. “For small-scale equipment we’ve used solar power in the field. For larger systems such as for soil vapor extraction and air sparging, we’ll bring in a gas-powered generator and fully enclosed remediation trailer that can be tied directly to the on-site production equipment.”
The company’s move into the real estate realm came about as a result of interest by developers in brownfields. These are sites that once housed industrial facilities and often have some degree of groundwater or soil contamination. In certain cases, they’ve been partly or almost fully remediated for reuse. In numerous other cases, the industrial firm that used to own the site no longer exists.
In both situations LT Environmental will complete the remediation of the site for its new owners. With the rebirth of once-industrial inner city locations, property owners can then develop what is now prime real estate.
“We also do a significant amount of the same work for municipalities,” notes Peterson. This includes acting as an on-call consultant for communities nationwide. In smaller municipalities it can be more cost effective to retain LT’s services than to employ an in-house engineering team, Peterson points out.
The company has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years, and the current downturn in oil prices hasn’t slowed the demand for its services. “The need for environmental services remains pretty steady regardless of the economic environment,” Peterson says. “And one of the things I enjoy most about my work is that when I go to sleep at night, the earth is cleaner because of what we do at LT Environmental.
Adds Rebel, “Even though the industry first came into being in the 1970s, a lot of new technologies have helped firms like ours to do a better job. It’s a good feeling to know that our company helps to make the world a better place, every day.”