Q. Please give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. Earth Services & Abatement, Inc. is an environmental remediation and demolition firm. We specialize in asbestos abatement, demolition (both interior & structural), and contaminated soil and water remediation. We have offices in Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Oregon, and Texas. We perform work in 35 states.
Q. Give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I (Kory Mitchell) grew up in our business from the age of 13. My dad started the company and he wanted me (and my brother Kristian) to learn the business from the ground up. I worked in the office and my brother worked in the field. That division of skills continues to this day. Today, we co-own the business 50/50 and he oversees operations and I oversee business development & finance. I went to college at Morningside College in Iowa. I was fortunate enough to win a Fulbright Fellowship in Belgium and then went on to graduate school at Northwestern University (M.A. Political Science).
Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. My dad started the business. My brother and I are proud of the diversification and growth of the firm. Since we acquired the firm in 2009 we have tripled the revenues. As part of that growth we have acquired two businesses in Iowa: Iowa Demolition and Pro Environmental Abatement. This has allowed us to offer turnkey environmental and demolition services in the Midwest. The additional diversification has allowed us to better weather the downturns, both in terms of geography and revenue type. If one geography or revenue type is slow, hopefully the others make up for it. It has worked very well for us overall.
Q. What is included in the Demolition Commodity Stream?
A. A significant amount of the demolition waste stream is recycled. We recycle the majority of the concrete and scrap metal.
Q. How exactly are Demolition and Deconstruction Different?
A. with the focus on beneficial reuse of materials, deconstruction focuses much more on reuse and recyclability of the building’s materials. This allows us to reach certain standards such as LEED.
Q. Is Demolition a Regulated Industry?
A. Demolition is highly regulated, particularly when it comes to the environmental issues surrounding demolished structures. Our unique expertise is self-performing all elements of the abatement, demolition, and remediation scopes of work. The primary regulated items in the demolition process are: asbestos, lead, and other hazardous waste streams such as bulbs & ballasts, mercury switches, Freon, PCBs in caulks, among others.
Q. Does Demolition Involve Historic Conservation?
A. At ESA we are involved in a lot of historic conservation. We perform selective demolition and abatement on historic buildings being restored. Here is a recent example at the Hotel Maytag in Newton, Iowa:
Q. What are the different types of demolition?
A. Interior demolition (also known as selective demolition) is typical when a building is being renovated and so the building remains. Our team performs this type of work as both interior asbestos abatement as well as clean interior demolition. Both of these typically involved the removal of old finishes, walls, flooring, ceilings, etc. in anticipation of a renovation. ESA also performs full structure demolition. This is typically the full demolition of a structure or the ‘separation’ of a structure or wing from another structure. Finally, ESA performs site demolition, such as removal of a parking lot or other surfaces, such as utility demolition, curb and gutter demolition, or tree removal.
Q. How much does a demolition cost?
A. ESA performs demolition projects ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $10 million
Q. Who can perform the demolition act?
A. ESA has highly trained operators that operate heavy equipment to perform demolition. The unique thing about ESA is that we also cross-train our demolition team in environmental training, such as asbestos, lead, and hazwoper. ESA also holds a license to perform demolition. ESA is licenses to perform class A demolition, or buildings above 4 stories.
Q. What Happens to the Building Materials During Demolition?
A. ESA works to safely perform demolition. This means carefully wetting the materials to minimize dust. ESA also focuses on all appropriate regulations, such as OSHA and EPA to protect our workers, the public and the environment.
Q. Is Demolition Bad for the Environment?
A. ESA does its utmost to minimize the waste stream from hitting landfills. This means a constant focus on beneficial reuse and recycling of the demolished materials.
Q. Can some projects be accomplished for the value of the scrap or assets?
A. Almost never. We have rarely seen projects where the value of scrap covers the cost of equipment, labor, fuel, disposal and other costs associated with this work.
Q. As a client, what can we do to help with getting a project started?
A. The most important thing owners can do is start the process of getting an environmental survey of the structure done prior to involving the demolition contractor (particularly a full and complete asbestos survey). Additionally, starting the conversation with the local utility contractor can shorten the wait for the utility disconnects. This can take months once the initial contact has been made.
Q. Do I need to have an asbestos survey prior to any demolition or renovation?
A. always. Yes
Q. Who needs to file the Asbestos Removal or Demolition Notification form(s)?
A. At ESA we take care of all permitting and notification to the appropriate agencies.
Q. How do you know the amount of explosive that can be used without causing any damage due to ground vibration?
A. ESA is not an explosives demolition contractor. ESA subcontracts this type of work to the experts who focus only on this type of work (implosion).
Business name: Iowa Demolition