Keeping it clean: LT Environmental Inc.

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TMM1Every day we clean up a little more of the U.S.,” says Tom Murphy, founder of LT Environmental Inc. (LTE).

Based in Arvada, Colo., the environmental engineering and remediation firm helps oil and gas companies, manufacturers, real estate developers and property owners meet regulations and clean up contaminated properties. “Our work enables clients to maintain normal, environmentally safe operations and benefits communities,” Murphy says. “We’re helping the U.S. economy grow in an environmentally responsible way.”

Launched in 1992, LTE has been achieving strong growth since 2006, which Murphy partly chalks up to a new matrix structure that allows the company to serve clients more efficiently. Today LTE generates more than $20 million in annual revenue, has more than 110 employees and maintains offices in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Florida as well as Colorado.

Initially LTE’s core business was soil and groundwater cleanup, but in recent years the company has expanded into safety, air, asbestos, water treatment, stormwater control and other specialized services. “This enables us to provide a broader range of job opportunities — and an environment where younger employees can advance through the ranks,” Murphy says.

Indeed, staff development is a priority at LTE. For example, the company has developed performance metrics that help employees see not only how well they serve clients but also how both they and the company are growing. “The metrics give employees both internal goals and recognition for meeting those goals,” Murphy explains. “This is really important because people don’t just want a paycheck — they want to contribute, to be part of the system.”

LTE also provides management training to employees. “We hire scientists and engineers — professionals who typically have had little exposure to managerial issues during their education,” Murphy says. “We believe it’s our responsibility to help them become better leaders.”

The company’s strong focus on employees has been recognized by a variety of awards. Among these, LTE was named a 2012 Colorado Companies to Watch winner by the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, a “top company in consulting and professional services” by ColoradoBiz magazine, and a “top company to work for” by the Denver Post.

As a second-stager, LTE not only has been able to introduce more resources for employees, but also increase philanthropic activities. One pet cause is supporting a robotics club at a local high school. “Even though this field isn’t directly related to our work, it’s still about encouraging bright young students to become engineers,” Murphy says. In 2012 the students qualified for a national competition, which won the club greater visibility and support in the community, he adds. “It’s been really exciting to see this take off.”

LTE also provides pro bono services to develop environmentally sound but business friendly regulations regarding asbestos mitigation and oil and gas drilling activities. This is something the company has only been able to do in recent years, Murphy says. “In Stage 1, you don’t have the financial wherewithal to do this kind of volunteer work.”

When working with regulatory authorities, LTE strives to provide a balanced perspective. “We want to protect public health and the environment while keeping regulations realistic so the industry and developers can continue to create jobs and boost the state’s economy,” Murphy explains. “LTE is unique in that we have the expertise and ability to understand both sides.”

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Second-Stage Rockstars

Because second-stage entrepreneurs are so focused on their businesses, their contributions often go unnoticed by the media, policymakers, economic developers and community stakeholders. With that in mind, celebrating growth entrepreneurs and communicating their value is part of the foundation’s entrepreneurship mission, which it carries out in a variety of ways.

Among these is Second-Stage Rockstars, a series of online articles that examines the ongoing impact of second-stage companies. These stories chronicle not only second-stagers’ economic growth, but also how they may be transforming their industry, creating empowering workplaces or excelling as corporate citizens. Below are some recent Rockstars; others can be found in our archives.