As more companies find that they have to clean up their acts to comply with tougher environmental standards, the business of cleaning up the environment is looking like one of the few growth sectors of the economy.
With new opportunities in sight, Dynamac Corp., the 20-year-old environmental services firm, has started to change gears. Larry White is one of the new gears.
White's appointment as senior vice president for corporate development and marketing should start the Rockville-based company on a new track toward more private industry consulting.
Government contracts cleaning up pollution and disposing of hazardous waste -- especially with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense -- always have been the company's mainstay. But increased competition in that field and more opportunities in other parts of the industry have caused the company -- and many others like it -- to look outside government for work.
Moreover, White's appointment also should draw to a close the upheaval following the death of the company's founder, Donald MacArthur, in November 1989.
After MacArthur's death, his widow, Diana MacArthur, came in as chairman of the board to pick up the pieces and reevaluate the firm's direction.
In April, she hired Paul Goldstein as president; in August, White, 47, started work in the "number two" position. In the interim, Alain Hirsch, a high-ranking company scientist, was promoted to president of the company. When Goldstein came aboard, Hirsch was demoted to chief scientist and in September he left Dynamac for a job at another company, Goldstein said.
In hiring Goldstein and White, Diana MacArthur was trying to change the way the company does business, both executives said. Because the two have strong backgrounds in consulting with private industry, they will be able to help steer the company away from a dependence on government clean-up jobs.
"Dynamac previously was in the environmental business, and also other businesses, but it never declared what its specialty was," White said.
Most companies entering the field are pursuing remedial work, Smith said, and Dynamac is too. But for company growth, they're also looking at another, less-tapped field: prevention.
"Once we've cleaned everything up, the emphasis is going to be on prevention. We're aggressively pursuing the pollution prevention market because we see that is going to be the way of the future," he said.
Because the regulatory environment, and subsequently clients' needs, have changed as environmentalism has taken the national spotlight in the last decade, a market for environmental management consulting has grown, White said.
The company's plan is to create a demand for consultants who help industry comply with environmental regulations, and even stay ahead of the trend. White and Goldstein hope to encourage companies to clean up their manufacturing processes and reduce emissions to stay ahead of the regulatory curve.
To bring about such a change of focus, the company was looking for someone with both technical and marketing expertise. White has both.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, White went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore. He stayed there eight years and studied at night for a master's degree in geotechnical engineering from Catholic University.
Moving on to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, White said, he gained more technical experience and continued his tour of area universities, studying at night for a second master's degree in engineering administration at George Washington University.
In 1981, White was hired by Roy F. Weston Inc., an environmental consulting firm in Philadelphia. There, White worked on various hazardous waste disposal and emergency response projects before coming back to Washington, where the firm's computer operations were concentrated. He changed the office's focus to management consulting. The group sought contracts to advise industry and government in strategic planning and regulation compliance.
At Dynamac, White and Goldstein hope to cultivate the same type of projects, which would make the company less reactive to -- and dependent on -- regulatory changes.
To bring about this change in corporate culture, creating a market for more programs to clean up industrial procedures is as important as developing innovative technology, White said. And marketing has got to be done at all levels of the company.
"Marketing is something you cannot force," White said. "You've got to educate and train people to be consultants. My philosophy is that in this business we all have a role in marketing."