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Helping businesses stay up to par on environmental regulations is where Environmental Works Inc. thrives, says CEO Jamie Sivils.
“What we try to be is the outsource environmental department for these large companies,” Sivils says. “There’s a lot to know in the environmental regulation world, and it changes constantly. For those large companies to be on top of all that, it would take a lot of resources for them.”
Sivils says environmental regulations cover anything put into the air, waterways and sewer system, or anything that has to be disposed of. Environmental Works’ largest business clients rely on the firm to keep their work and community’s environment clean through services such as compliance, environmental investigation and mediation, industrial cleaning, demolition and construction and tank closures.
Locally, some of the company’s largest clients include Bass Pro Shops, Prime Inc. and City Utilities of Springfield.
Sivils says the company has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in September 1992. Robin Melton started the firm in Springfield, and EWI was mostly run by her as she was the primary business developer. In the previous company model, there were about 60 employees and EWI brought in about $10 million in annual revenue.
But in 2012, Melton died in a private plane accident.
“You can’t imagine the size of the hole it left in the company,” Sivils says. “What we had to do was completely recreate ourselves.”
As per her succession plan, the company established a board of directors and the management team on the board ended up purchasing the company from the Melton Trust in 2013. Jason Smith was appointed as president and Sivils as CEO. Sivils says that everyone had to do their part, and become a business developer, reestablishing client connections and changing the way EWI did business. Instead of just keeping the business afloat, it ended up making the business grow.
“We have grown 45% a year for the last three years,” Sivils says. “A lot of it has to do with giving this responsibility and authority to a lot of different people, and trusting them to go make things happen.”
EWI operates offices in Springfield, Kansas City and St. Louis, as well as in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma. Now, they have 240 employees companywide and bring in just over $42 million a year.
Sivils says it has not been an easy road during COVID-19. However, it’s actually made a difference in the services offered and how EWI has had to respond.
“We’ve had some areas that have dropped off, because some of our clients have not been able to allow third-party vendors on-site,” he says. “We have other parts of our business that have increased. We have provided COVID disinfection and sanitation emergency services. If a company has an employee infected, we will come and disinfect the whole area.”
SBJ interviews the interim dean at the William H. Darr College of Agriculture at Missouri State University.