EnviroScience Inc. – Dan Dunston, CEO, Martin Hilovsky, president
Q: Give us an example of a business challenge your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.
As we’ve grown over the years, we recognized that our management was heavy on the technical side but lean on business and banking know how. Although we learned a lot over the years from the ‘school of hard knocks’, we reached a point where the lack of professional financial management was limiting our growth. We addressed this a few years ago by reaching out to our board of directors. We convinced one of them to come out of early retirement and join us as CEO. This individual was a CFO at a large public company and now provides us with a high level of management, finance and banking expertise.
Q:In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?
We believe that the best new ideas for growing our business come from our employees. For this reason, we encourage them to follow their interests, draw on their unique expertise and experience, and look for new opportunities in allied areas. We hire to fill specific roles, but then give our employees the freedom and encouragement to branch out and develop their own niche.
Q: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned and how have you applied it?
There is nothing more important to the longevity and growth of our business than high ethical standards. Doing right by our clients, even at the expense of short-term profits, will pay dividends. And if it doesn’t, we will still do it because our reputation depends on it. By going beyond what was expected and creatively applying ecological principles, earlier this year we resolved a huge lawsuit for one of our railroad clients. Doing so cost us more than $500,000 in future business, but it won us a client for life. Despite starting the year with this huge hole in our revenue projections, we went on to have a record year, enjoying a 35 percent increase in sales for 2010.
Q: How does your organization make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?
We are proud to be able to take regulatory challenges faced by our clients and turn them into positive outcomes that make our clients look good in the eyes of the regulators and general public. We create win-win situations that benefit our clients, the environment and the public-at-large.
In addition to our permanent staff of nearly 50 environmental professionals, each summer we reach out to local universities and hire at least 25 summer paid interns. These interns gain practical experience in their fields of study while getting real-world experience solving environmental problems.
In addition to our local work restoring streams and protecting waterways, wetlands and other natural resources, our company has adopted a section the Little Cuyahoga River in Akron and we organize semi-annual stream cleanups. We also volunteer and present at numerous school functions and educational forums each year.
We believe that all of these activities not only provide employment opportunities for a growing number of professional, but also enhance the natural environment in our community.
For more from EnviroScience, see their January cover story in Smart Business Cleveland.