Weston Solutions’ foray in 2009 into design-build work on a U.S. diplomatic office building in Taiwan didn’t turn out so well when a Chinese subcontractor defaulted and left the firm in financial turmoil by 2013, generating layoffs and a C-suite reshuffle.
With that episode now in the rear-view mirror, the West Chester, Pa., consultant (No. 44 on ENR's Top 200 Environmental Firms list) is staying closer to home and primarily in the environmental services niche in which it has long specialized—but with a keener eye on risk management. “We feel the North American market is a geography in which we can successfully grow and effectively manage risk,” says Alan Solow, who rejoined the firm last year as CEO.
Even with federal market contraction, the firm is banking on new work from a long-time client, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in cleanup of abandoned mines. That effort accelerated last year in a $5.1-billion federal settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which assumed liability to clean up hundreds of uranium mines and other facilities once owned by its Kerr-McGee unit.
Weston says it also hopes to leverage its innovative nuclear waste management technology into more U.S. Energy Dept. cleanup work. “Weston has been positively impacted by a moderate increase in demand for the environmental services we offer; however the move to low-price, technically-acceptable bid selections in the federal market–and to a lesser extent, in commercial, state and local markets–continues to be a challenge,” Solow says.