Citadel EHS CEO, Loren Witkin
Citadel EHS CEO, Loren Witkin

A Letter from Citadel ‘s CEO…

“Not all consultants are created equal!”

How many tools do you have in your toolbox? How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet? How many spices and seasonings do you have in your cabinet? I would guess a lot of each. Each has a role and purpose.

Similarly, there are a lot of environmental, health, safety, and sustainability consultants in our industry, many are excellent at what they do. However, not all consultants are the same, their areas of expertise, capacities, and abilities may differ. I learned this firsthand while heading UCLA’s lead and asbestos programs to support the university’s capital and maintenance projects and hiring multiple consultants to assist in the annual, multi-million-dollar endeavor.

What I came to recognize through trial and tribulation (and unexpected change orders and project delays) is that the consultants that I needed to manage complex capital projects differed from those that handled day-to-day operations and maintenance. Just because they had the same certifications, did not mean that they were interchangeable.

The consultants that I needed to manage capital projects and challenging operations ones were those that had a thorough understanding of the built environment – how it was built, operated, and eventually deconstructed. They could read architectural plans and MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) systems, they understood the needs and concerns of our user groups, and they could interact with the various trades and stakeholders.

You would think that these were my most expensive consultants, but you would be wrong. When used for the appropriate assignments, they were my least expensive and, certainly, most valuable ones. Because it’s not about first costs, it’s about last costs. Consultants that properly understood the task at hand, created the proper scoping, and conducted the most thorough and appropriate assessments minimizing costly change orders and project delays which would far exceed the nominal increased costs of hiring them (first costs versus last costs).

When I first envisioned Citadel 30 years ago, it was a company that thoroughly understood the built environment and could support clients “For the entire life-cycle of real estate and business.” Now, 30-years later and looking at our multiple success stories, I feel that I can exude a little braggadociousness and say that we got it right. Between our Building Sciences, Engineering & Environmental Sciences, Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Compliance, and ESG & Sustainability practices, I am surrounded by professionals at Citadel that are better at executing that original vision than I am. I am fortunate (as are our clients) to have some of the absolute best environmental specialists, hygienists, geologists, engineers, safety professionals, hydrologists, etc. (you know…smart people) in the industry that allow us to successfully execute our mission. Happy Holidays to you and yours – Be safe!

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