San Diego Daily Transcript , April 11, 2011 Cover Story
By: James Palen
SCS Engineers Head Embraces Change
Weathering trying times is often thought to take some good forward thinking. If that's the case, Dan Johnson, head of the San Diego offices of SCS Engineers, might have a reason to stay optimistic as the economy slowly works on a comeback.
As an environmental consultant, Johnson has made it through a few lulls, and even managed to expand in some tough economic climates. During another down period, in 1992, he and his former partners at Environmental Business Solutions took $40,000 and ran with it. Through perseverance and hard work, Johnson said, they grew to a company of 35 employees. By 2001, EBS had made a name for itself with some of the largest possible clients in town.
"We had a great reputation in town," Johnson said. "Our flagship project was working with CCDC, the Padres and JMI and the ballpark."
When EBS initially contracted with Center City Development Corp., the company didn't initially plan to work on a project as large as the ballpark district, as they were only at the time under a $20,000 as-needed contract with CCDC. But timing was on Johnson's side when the possibility of a new downtown ballpark was being discussed. As CCDC's on-call consultant, EBS wound up working on 35 city blocks for redevelopment, including the land on which Petco Park now stands.
"At that point it was confidential," Johnson said.
Dan Johnson heads up the San Diego offices of SCS Engineers. Photo by Sarah Strong
After building up the EBS brand, Johnson decided it was time to broaden his reach. He had already wanted to diversify, so he began looking for other companies that EBS could be an asset to, while at the same time filling the gaps within his own, such as the solid waste side of consulting.
"I was a little worried that we were a little too concentrated on environmental due diligence and brownfields," he said.
But he was careful to find the right fit. SCS Engineers was a larger company that had done work in San Diego but didn't have a strong, permanent San Diego presence. EBS had an established network of customers. It appeared a win-win situation to Johnson.
"That was what I was looking for," Johnson said. "I was looking for a diversification of experience and revenue streams, a good client base, and growth too."
For the full cover story, visit San Diego Daily Transcript's March 11, 2011 issue.