After 20 years working for geotechnical engineering firms and 25 years serving as an environmental regulator in California and Oregon, Dr. Mavis Kent decided it was time to take her environmental problem-solving expertise and start a business of her own.
In 2009, Kent founded Battle Ground-based Plateau Geoscience Group and since then, she and her team have offered environmental services to medium- to large-sized industrial clients around Oregon and Washington.
When the company was established, one of Kent’s main goals was to seek out diverse federal contracts for environmental work and, to date, she and her team have achieved this goal by working with federal research laboratories, superfund sites and other federal and state regulatory programs.
In addition, the company provides services that address environmental issues for commercial, residential and industrial properties. Some projects include nuclear site investigations, monitoring of dams and fish hatcheries, soil and groundwater cleanup, environmental permitting and stormwater management.
“The biggest challenge is to compete for projects with larger firms that offer every service under the sun,” explained Kent. “The second challenge is finding good partners with which to bid on projects. Finding partners means having compatible services (not overlapping) with similar business goals.”
Kent went on to share that her company is working closely to find good bidding partners that can help expand combined services.
“With the economy getting stronger, we believe there are going to be many opportunities for environmental firms like ours to continue to grow and prosper,” she said.
A woman-owned business, Plateau Geoscience currently has five employees including an environmental engineer, a computer scientist/field technician and three geologists. The well-balanced team brings a variety of expertise to the table.
Kent said her more experienced staff members bring a broad range of knowledge in engineering and environmental projects to the table, whereas younger employees are eager to use their skills to help serve the community as a whole.
“We have an extensive knowledge of the geology and environmental framework in the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “We’re growing at a steady rate and now, with the main goal certification in hand, we hope to grow more quickly.”
Kent is referring to her company’s recent certification with the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program, which has the goal of helping disadvantaged businesses compete with larger companies for federal contracts.
“We are working hard to utilize this resource to keep growing the business,” she said.
The five-year growth plan for Plateau Geoscience Group includes winning more projects and sharpening the company’s growth curve.
Kent believes the 8(a) program will be an extremely beneficial avenue to compete for federal projects that align with their know-how and established business goals.
The company also plans to continue being active in the community. Kent was recently involved with the Battle Ground Parks and Recreation Board, where she was in a subgroup that developed the concept for the Battle Ground Veterans Memorial. She has also been involved in local Boy Scout groups since the 1990s, where she has consistently led geology-based trips and taught geology at Cub Scout events for various troops.
Looking forward, Kent believes that her business motto of “providing small business responsiveness with big results” will help give the company a unique opportunity to use geologic skills to directly impact the communities around the Pacific Northwest.
PLATEAU GEOSCIENCE GROUP