Hart Crowser

Specialty: Environmental engineering
Principal/owner: John Crowser, CEO
1999 gross revenues: $30 million
2000 gross revenues: $35 million
Projected 2001 revenues: $40 million
Headquarters: Seattle

Photo courtesy Hart Crowser
To mitigate impacts of a bridge-building project, the city of Kent hired Pentec/Hart Crowser to design new salmon-rearing habitat in Ramstead Creek, a tributary of the Green River.

Business was strong at Hart Crowser in 2000, according to CEO John Crowser. He says the firm’s merger with Pentec Environmental last January led to a substantial increase in revenues in the firm’s natural resources work.

In terms of trends, principal Doug Hillman sees the environmental industry shifting toward natural resources management and restoration, with a decreasing emphasis on stand-alone treatment of chemically contaminated sites.

“Economics and land use decisions,” he says, “are replacing hazardous waste regulations as the principal driver behind our clients’ environmental projects.”

Crowser observes that despite predictions of funding cutbacks, the firm is seeing strong growth in environmental work for the federal government. This includes traditional clients such as the Department of Defense in addition to the National Forest Service, National Park Service, and other agencies using the General Services Administration procurement process. Commenting on the impact of new legislation, Seattle operations manager David Eckberg says the Bush administration “clearly presents a different outlook toward environmental issues, but it is too early to tell how the policy shift will manifest itself.

“We are working with industrial property owners who anticipate business-friendly policies and a resulting opportunity to divest themselves of under performing assets,” Eckberg said.

The federal Endangered Species Act protections for salmon and updated state shoreline regulations are “very significant, posing the potential to influence most all of our work in Puget Sound and Washington state,” he said.

Hart Crowser is embracing new technology, according to principal Hillman who says, “Our environmental tool kit is steadily growing.”

He says that this past year the firm applied two innovative technologies with great success — including the construction of an underground iron-filings wall to treat chlorinated solvents in groundwater and in situ oxidation to chemically destroy dry cleaning solvents at a site where excavation was impractical.

In both cases, these techniques transformed hazardous chemicals to harmless by-products while eliminating the need for long-term operations and maintenance, Hillman said.

Hart Crowser says it continues to grow steadily. Staff size grew 10 percent in 2000 with the expansion of natural resource capabilities; an additional 10 percent growth in staff is expected this year.

The firms plans to expand its natural resource management work in Portland, Alaska and the Northeast. Hart Crowser recently opened an office in Japan to support the growing demand for environmental compliance services from Department of Defense installations in the Far East.

One of the firm’s projects this year was environmental assessment and engineering services for the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Garden on the downtown Seattle waterfront.

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