Five-Division Diversification Proves Successful for Eagle LP

June 1, 2001
THE BEGINNING for Eagle Construction & Environmental Services LP was in 1981 when Joe Walraven formed an oil field service company. Through two decades

THE BEGINNING for Eagle Construction & Environmental Services LP was in 1981 when Joe Walraven formed an oil field service company. Through two decades of careful diversification, the company progressed from oil well service to environmental and remedial services to emergency response.

Today, Eagle Construction & Environmental operates with five divisions throughout the south-central US under the direction of Walraven and his son, Marc Walraven. The company is based in Eastland, Texas, and has six offices in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

“The growth has been a natural business progression,” says John Cagle, vice-president of marketing. “Our mission statement reflects our strong, but thoughtful growth — creative development of comprehensive, cost-effective, and environmentally conscious waste programs.”

As government and industry have placed more emphasis on controlling hazardous materials spills, the company has honed its services to meet the demand — and the regulations. To that end, investment in employees is as intensive as it is in equipment. More than 340 people make up the workforce. Almost all are specialists trained to handle specific jobs, including industrial hygienists, registered environmental professionals, safety specialists, biologists, hydrologists, geologists, environmental and mechanical engineers, and chemists. With the expertise in house, the company is able to enhance its services.

“We see this as the ability to deliver all the necessary resources to manage and resolve environmental-related projects to three key advantages — time savings, enhanced quality control, and reduced costs,” says Cagle. “Complementing our personnel are computer databases for regulatory tracking and access to federal, state, and local environmental regulations and records.”

Five Divisions

The company's five divisions include Emergency Response Services; Environmental Remediation Excavation, and Field Services; Technical Services; Industrial Transportation Services; and Environmental Training, Industrial Hygiene, and Safety Services.

Eagle Construction & Environmental specializes in hazardous material (hazmat) emergency response; oil and chemical spill cleanup; and remediation, demolition, and transportation of various waste streams.

Other services include environmental, civil and industrial construction; underground utility construction; railroad chemical transfers; landfill and pond cleaning and closures; rental and transportation of rolloff boxes, frac tanks, steel tanks and poly tanks; and disabling and disarming unstable reactive and explosives devices.

District offices are located in Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas, and in Gonzales, Louisiana, and Little Rock, Arkansas.

The management team includes regional managers, Robert Beardsley, North and Central Texas; Casey Wills, South Texas; JT Ponder, Arkansas; Reggie Grimes, Gulf Coast; and Robb Clay, Louisiana.

Tracy Clark and Tony Stamper manage the emergency response. Damon Waresback oversees the Technical Services Division, and Jana Osborn is the Industrial Services Division manager. David Jones directs the Safety Training Division.

The Emergency Response Division responds to hazardous materials incidents, says Clark. As many as four emergencies may occur daily. The company has client contracts in place but responds on call to others.

“We have the ability to respond in minutes to almost any hazmat incident,” says Clark. “Our response teams at each of the six offices are supported by fully-stocked vehicles with a complement of protective equipment and response materials.”

Safety Resources

Resources in the vehicles include high-pressure transfer equipment, reference libraries, electronic communications, respirators, air sampling equipment, and encapsulated suits. If more supplies are needed, they can be obtained from the company's stocked warehouses. Eagle owns an airplane for airlifting key personnel and equipment to a site. On site, the hazmat team applies spill, leak, and fire control measures to minimize damage. Eagle responders are experienced in the stabilization and destruction of products containing explosive peroxides, picrate salts, picric acids, nitrates, and specialty gases.

Each office has its own responder teams, but dispatching is coordinated in Fort Worth with two people handling calls during the day and one person on duty at night. Two-way radios and cellular phones are used for communication. Supervisors have laptop computers that link to Geniums software, which provides lists of hazardous materials and material safety data sheets (MSDS). The program defines chemical incompatibility and contains metallurgical information.

In addition to hazmat responder training, personnel receive regulation instruction. Responders are trained under rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which includes instruction for confined space entry and use of respirators. Those who drive trucks are trained additionally in Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

Clark, an explosives specialist, not only oversees company training, he and others visit carrier clients for tank trailer component familiarity. The company also has a community service program that provides training to local government responders.

On the transportation side of the business, the company provides a range of hazardous waste treatment, disposal, and transportation services to clients throughout the operating area. Among the services are vacuum trucks used to empty waste pits at airports and transfer the product to waste disposal areas on site. “The trucks are dedicated to the airport,” says Cagle.

Vacuum trucks and tank trailers also are used to transfer liquid and dry products from vehicles damaged in industrial, highway, or railroad accidents, and to remove product that has been spilled. The company handles spilled product that may occur from leaks and fires from drums, compressed gas cylinders, tanks, and intermodal containers.

There are 80 bbl vacuum trucks and 140 bbl vacuum tank trailers in the fleet. A typical example of the DOT407/412 tank trailers in the fleet comes from Keith Huber of Gulfport, Mississippi. The 5,000-gallon vacuum trailers are equipped with a Fruitland pump. Other trailers are from Fruehauf, Heil, and Trailmaster.

Typical tank trucks that come from Keith Huber are usually the King Vac equipped with a Moro pump. Truck chassis are provided by Kenworth and Freightliner. Most of the tractors in the fleet are Macks.

Maintenance Facilities

Maintenance facilities are located at the Fort Worth office where four bays are dedicated to tractors, bobtails, and trailers. Preventive maintenance is handled at each of the six terminals. Work on code tanks is outsourced. Three additional bays are used for welding and fabricating other equipment.

The company's fleet includes many other vehicles, including roll-off tractor-trailers, bobtail trucks, dump trucks, and drum trucks.

Working as a support element with the transportation division, as well as the other company divisions, is Eagle's Technical Services Division. Engineers, geologists, hydrogeologists, chemists, biologists, and environmental scientists are all on staff. In addition to in-house support, the division provides its services to national consulting and engineering firms, individual companies, and government agencies.

Like an environmental Sherlock Holmes, the division gathers and evaluates site information to establish a plan of action to solve a problem. Services include investigations and assessments, groundwater remediation, environmental audits, waste management, and emergency response planning.

Also working in conjunction with the company's other services is the Remediation Construction, Demolition, Railroad Maintenance, and Field Services Division.

“The key advantage we offer is our ability to provide an integrated approach to environmental management, as well as our ability to handle all project phases from investigation through design to final cleanup,” says Cagle.

Eagle established its Safety Training and Industrial Hygiene Division to provide specialized and customized training services to industrial personnel who handle hazardous materials. The training division also offers services to consultants, industrial emergency responders, municipal firefighters, and governmental agencies. The training program includes instruction in hazardous materials, biological hazards, firefighting, health, industrial hygiene, rescue, and safety.

Instructors are available for presentations at client facilities or at Eagle's offices.

Variety of Projects

Throughout its history, the company has handled a variety of projects. In 1999, the company excavated soil from locations within the site for the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, future home of the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks. In addition to excavation, the company performed air monitoring, sedimentation and erosion control, ground water and rainwater handling, and demolition.

The company also performed the cleanup after a fire destroyed the Branch Dividian compound in Waco, Texas, in which members of a religious cult died following a standoff with federal agents.

More recently the company has been involved in numerous projects for various semiconductor manufacturers that required decontamination and dismantling of large equipment and duct work. Decontamination and dismantling of equipment included the decontamination of equipment contaminated with acids, solvents, and other hazardous materials.

These examples of the broad expertise Eagle brings to the job bode well for the company's future growth. The owners of the company have operated with the philosophy of continual reinvestment in specialized personnel, quality equipment, and training. With that philosophy in force, the company appears well placed for future challenges.

About the Author

Mary Davis