Leading with Longevity and Lateral Thought

Written by Pauline Müller

Preparing building sites takes more expertise than one might think. To the uninitiated, clearing a few shrubs and shipping out large piles of rubble may appear to be the simplest part of construction site preparation—but that is not necessarily true.

With sterling technical capabilities and solid leadership at the helm of this legacy business, EnviroVantage Inc. is the go-to self-performing demolition contractor for other construction professionals, mainly serving the Federal Government of the United States. The company serves several departments such as National Parks, Homeland Security, and Defense—including its subsidiaries—with protecting the well-being of the environment at the heart of its overall mandate.

EnviroVantage also serves industrial commercial customers like environmental engineers, construction managers, general contractors, and similar, providing a breadth of services including post-construction cleaning and historical restoration. It also provides environmental and indoor air quality services, specializing in duct cleaning certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NACDA) and mold remediation. Furthermore, the company is trusted for its groundwater and soil remediation services, and more.

“EnviroVantage is a hybrid company with specialized field training and skilled labor, with heavy equipment operators and environmental specialists along with trained business executives and operational expertise,” explains Matt Preston, President.

Driven by its commitment to grasp the full scope and challenges of every project and all the aspects thereof before digging into the heavy-lifting aspect of its work, EnviroVantage Inc. has established itself as a notable industry partner, supplying much more than expert demolition work. By first getting the lay of the land, its entire team of civil and environmental engineers, geologists, specialist laborers, superintendents, heavy equipment operators, managers, and other partners knows what services it can offer and in what ways it can add value to its customers’ projects. This value proposition includes completing projects on time and on budget.

According to Preston, understanding the construction methods of a demolition project is paramount to safely and efficiently tearing down any building. Clear communication is the next important aspect of ensuring a smooth operation from beginning to end. And, because this is a company that cultivates engagement amongst employees by welcoming independent thought, Victoria Hinton, Marketing Manager, points out that its people thrive on innovation—a huge plus for customers.

With plenty of challenges facing the industry, including limited landfill capacity, recycling and processing challenges, and lifting and clearing contaminants safely, legally, and optimally, intelligent strategizing is something this team excels at.

EnviroVantage was founded by CEO Scott Knightly while studying at the University of New Hampshire in 1984, and the young visionary certainly had more drive than the average student his age when he pioneered groundbreaking new methods of removing lead—a major problem in construction at the time. Not only was Knightly an active participant in New Hampshire’s development of legislation governing the use and removal of lead, but his involvement in setting up this iconic piece of law, written in the early ’90s, also meant that the company was the first to be granted a lead removal license in New Hampshire, numbered 0001.

Evolving from a lead and asbestos abatement and repainting outfit into an interior select demolition expert, the next decade and a half saw the company morph into a fully-fledged and dynamic structural demolition giant that owns its own fleet of heavy equipment operated by its EnviroVantage experts. Now, after more than four decades in the abatement and site preparation industries, this team of industry leaders can attest that setting landscapers and contractors up for success later in their projects is the reward that working with integrity from the beginning renders. Its depth of expertise has secured the company vigorous growth in recent years, taking the business across New England to the mid-Atlantic and beyond.

At home in its 26,000-square-foot headquarters in Epping, New Hampshire, EnviroVantage has supporting facilities as far as San Juan, Puerto Rico as well as closer to home in Edgewood, Maryland, Westbrook, Maine, and Stoneham, Massachusetts. For this team, traveling long distances—typically for federal work—is just another part of what it does to serve its customers.

“For federal work, we travel nationwide. We are committed to executing the work that really is going to make a difference in building the future,” says Preston. “All the work we do happens on the front end of construction projects and… sets the stage for something new and transformational to take place inside of a space.”

As a firm believer in the importance of building lasting relationships, the company holds its longstanding membership with the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) in high regard, as it allows for precious networking opportunities it may not otherwise have had. It is also a proud member of the National Demolition Association (NDA) and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), with a few of the company’s leadership holding key positions in these organizations at one point or another. To ensure that the company remains abreast of all industry developments, its Vice President of Indoor Air Quality, Chris Prior, represents the industry on numerous related boards.

Part of achieving responsible growth is the company’s approach to treating its employees well. Taking pride in the opportunities it provides staff with for personal and professional development, EnviroVantage goes all out to ensure it does its part to secure the quality of its growing workforce. As such, people are treated as the unique contributors they are, considering their personal goals within the greater framework of the company’s goals. In terms of its training capabilities, one of its three classrooms seats more than 100 students while two seat 25 people each, and here, staff are kept up to speed with everything from the latest administration protocols to how to navigate new software, alongside receiving training for a wide range of certifications and licensing.

A natural aspect of this sense of care toward its people is the company’s staunch safety policy. At EnviroVantage, ongoing safety training and custom safety plans for every project are overseen by its Vice President of Safety, Greg Mackey, and his department, supported by two safety officers. “The kind of work our field team is dealing with necessitates a high level of safety and integrity from our employees,” says Hinton.

When it comes to adhering to the strict legislation governing the safe disposal of concrete, dangerous materials like asbestos, and hazardous chemicals containing toxins like the now-banned polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) often found on old sites, EnviroVantage has its work cut out. And more so when it comes to the complexities of its offshore, island-based work, which adds an entirely new dimension to its skills as it demands unique specialized capabilities and logistics considerations. By expanding its presence in the Caribbean, the company is growing its relationships and reputation in the region. And, by blending its professionals with those of local operators, the company will continue to build on its existing experience with island operations—a specialized field by anyone’s measure.

As a result of the complexities of the industry on the whole, the company takes education seriously. To secure a steady stream of well-educated employees, it is a big supporter of the University of New Hampshire and its affiliate, Northeast Passage, which supports disabled individuals with physical challenges to participate in sports. In terms of other charity work, EnviroVantage has also donated hundreds of labor hours and equipment to do its part for local and surrounding communities, charity events, the restoration of buildings, and more.

Looking ahead to the years to come, the company is committed to expanding its presence toward the Carolinas and Virginia and eventually toward the West, while continuing to build its name in the Caribbean. It is also further developing its capabilities, particularly regarding technology and responsible disposal solutions, alongside further strengthening the scope of its staff’s abilities.

Proudly described by Preston as a group of problem-solving collaborators, there is no doubt that EnviroVantage will go from strength to strength under the watchful eye of this stalwart team. “Teamwork is one of our core values. And it shines through in the day-to-day operations when you look around. People want to help each other find a better way to get the job done,” he says with a smile. “It is ingrained in our culture here. There isn’t one right way to solve a problem. Everybody here understands that.”



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