PBS Engineering and Environmental

PBS/Verdant Expanding Services via Technology Incubators

The firm is capitalizing on employee/leadership collaboration to spur innovation.

PBS Technology Incubator

A key challenge for consulting firms is dealing with the large libraries of data that amass over the years. This is particularly true for firms who provide inspection or data collection services for multi-facility clients. There is a great deal of value in being able to quickly access that data from anywhere, even from mobile devices. PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc. (PBS), a 250-person GBA Member in the Pacific Northwest, made a strategic decision 10 years ago to invest in a home-grown technological solution to organize their extensive volumes of hazardous materials collection data. Their solution:

  • Leverages thousands of historic investigations and sampling data
  • Allows secure cloud access for clients and authorized users
  • Provides intuitive data migration and uploading
  • Improves efficiency with technical and administrative staff
  • Has good potential for a solid return on investment
  • Makes PBS indispensable to its clients

Since that initial decision to become both a technology and professional service provider, PBS has created a spinoff company to meet the data management needs of their clients. In 2016, PBS created Verdant Web Technologies Inc. (Verdant) to provide SaaS model solutions for its clients throughout the US and Canada. “Verdant was created as a result of client requests for an asbestos compliance solution. It has since evolved to address a variety of environmental health and safety (EH&S) related issues,” says Ron Petti, Verdant CEO. Verdant has received numerous awards for their landmark software, including an award from industry analyst organization, Verdantix, as well as recognition by Amazon Web Services for their Well-Architected Framework program.

Verdant now serves some of the largest institutions and corporations in the US. The key to Verdant’s momentum was choosing the right partners who valued data as an asset that needs to be protected. They quickly learned that to scale up, they need the help of partners such as ESRI (GIS applications), Five Talent Software, and PBS. Each have provided substantial system design and investment support to help grow Verdant. Today, PBS is not only a partner but also a reseller of the Verdant system along with a growing list of other GBA members around the country.

Based on the Verdant journey, PBS now has a formal Technology Incubator Program which incentivizes innovation for the company. “Currently, we have three other applications going through our Technology Incubator Program: unmanned aerial system services, mobile data collection apps, and a stormwater monitoring system,” says Guy Neal, President of PBS. “Having a formalized process for evaluating and fostering success stories will help ensure quicker adoption. It’s a win-win result for the company and incubator participants.”

Not all firms have the desire or assets for developing technological solutions, and it can certainly be a drain on resources if not done carefully. However, the principals of technology incubator programs can be applied at a smaller scale. For example, programs that blend employee contributions with top-level support can similarly be used to evaluate off-the-shelf solutions, from phone systems to training applications. The key is to make sure there is appropriate leadership, user engagement opportunity, and a clear process for advancing through the purchase and roll-out phase of any new technology.

Posted: February 6, 2019

© 2019 PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc.

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