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Thread: Recommendations for Environmental Consulting Firms

  1. #1
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    Default Recommendations for Environmental Consulting Firms

    Presently in Canada's Capital, but would like to make my way up north. My background is in the environmental consulting field, and I'd like to know whether anyone has first hand knowledge of some of the local employers.

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    Just found the jobs wanted forum so left something there too.

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    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    Where are you looking to settle? Jacobs engineers in anchorage is usually staffing up this time of year. Shannon & Wilson in anchorage has some legal problems looming that could put a crimp in their work for the city. I work for a small company on the Kenai peninsula we just filled our last opening for the summer season a few weeks ago. Check out the statewide listings at www.jobs.state.AK.us
    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,
    Teach a man to fish and he'll also learn to drink, lie, and avoid the honey do list.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    SLR started their serious north american operations up here in Anchorage. The local firm and the head dude in WA are Brits. Good people and former coworkers.

    Oasis started up here in the 1990's and expanded to the states. Good people and former coworkers.

    URS still has a local office and access to larger DoD contracts. Don't know anyone there anymore.

    CH2M Hill has a large office up here with access to large DoD contracts.

    Shaw Group has an office up here and are doing something for someone, maybe, but who can tell.

    There are some other national firms that have small offices up here to handle contract specific requirements for local hire.

    There are several Alaska Native Corporations that have Environmental or Construction Engineering subsidiaries.

    Bristol Companies
    Ahtna Engineering
    Bethel Services
    Northwind (CIRI)
    Marsh Creek (?)

    There are others but I don't work with them so I don't have much to offer.

    Historically the environmental consulting community in Alaska exploded in the early 1990's due to changes in Federal law. From 1993 to 1998 you couldn't go anywhere in town with out running over an environmental consultant. By 1998 the work from the Feds had died down to something normal, leaving a lot of consultants looking around for a job. A lot left for home, leaving behind what is still a large community of professionals scattered across dozens of firms. You either need a seriously impressive resume that is easily sold to a customer, or be willing to log soil cores for peanuts. The middle ground is pretty thick with great people.

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    Haven't decided where I'd like to settle yet.

    As for my resume, not sure that it is impressive but it is solid, three years in the field and these past three in environmental assessment. Thanks for the leads, I'll poke around. Have seen positions with CH2M and Aecon advertised recently...and the aboriginal side of things is of particular interest. Key is securing a Visa but I managed to live in China for 2 years, I'm certain Alaska wouldn't be any more difficult.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Work visa story....back in 2002 or 2003 the AK Dept of Env conservation hired a Canadian chemist to review the risk assessments submitted by consultants. Wonderful job. Worked well with a lot of people, even ADEC risk assessment haters. Then the feds decided they would not renew her visa and she left. My customer's final risk assessment for one of their sites is still not approved after 5 years. I ask and the ADEC says they will look into it. Nothing.

    One of the biggest issues we had was with folks that wanted to NOT do serious amounts of field work. Nobody wanted to be away from home for longer than a week. We had a lot of three week to five week projects on the DoD side of things and it killed the budget when folks started missing their friends and family. I didn't have much to miss so I got stuck for long periods of time in some cool places. Like a paid vacation, but I was in charge most the time and could never relax. Now I just watch others work for my customer and have fun.

    Three of the best field workers I ever supervised were ladies. All were just out of school and wanted a job doing "anything" environmental. trained them on sampling, drilling, well installation, etc. They all wrote better than I did. However, none of them enjoyed drum sampling. That was always a hard task to get anyone one interested in. They all inched their way into the oil business and did extremely well, as they should being as smart as they were..are.

    Right now the Native 8a companies have some political issues as well as staffing issues. The firms are mostly white folk and the board of directors keep hammering them to hire share holders or other natives. The problem is few share holders or their kids are making it through college to become a qualified scientist or engineer. Even with the offer of a fully paid corporate scholarship, few kids are taking advantage and earning a degree. Or they get a business admin degree which does not help them outside the corporate realm. Most the engineering subsidiaries are ran by old white male civil engineers, not book keepers.

    Things on a resume that catch the eye are: risk assessment data processing, NRDA and ICS (oil spill stuff), supervising field projects, doing lab chemistry.

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    Is it too late do you think to get up there before winter sets in? I've been poking around the Yukon but nothing has come through so far...not sure why but there is something telling me to go north...must be my small town northern Ontario roots. Does anyone know anyone at Jacobs? They have several openings. Then there's the visa thing, which I've not really looked into, sigh...maybe it's more of a spring 2012 thing.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCanuck View Post
    Is it too late do you think to get up there before winter sets in? I've been poking around the Yukon but nothing has come through so far...not sure why but there is something telling me to go north...must be my small town northern Ontario roots. Does anyone know anyone at Jacobs? They have several openings. Then there's the visa thing, which I've not really looked into, sigh...maybe it's more of a spring 2012 thing.
    Winter in Anchorage is still a few months away, but work will be winding down come October.

    Jacobs typically leaves several openings up all year long and then nothing comes of them. You would have to call someone and ask directly to send a resume in and they would pass it around. Terry Heikkila is the local manager for all Alaska Operations. He is a really good guy.

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