For John Mundell, President and Senior Environmental Consultant at Mundell & Associates, a leading environmental consulting firm and valued REGENESIS client, starting his own remediation services company was a logical step in addressing the emerging complexities of plumes and remedial treatment designs of various Brownfields. Since he founded Mundell & Associates in 1995, based in Indianapolis, IN, the firm has grown to serve industry, municipalities, governmental agencies, engineering firms and the legal community throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia. As the top executive in his own firm, Mundell enjoys a multi-faceted role in determining environmental remedial outcomes across a broad range of sites. He shares, “I really like what I’m doing. I’m responsible for the entire operations of the company and most of the senior-level review of our projects. This includes setting the standards for how we do work and the methodologies we use to investigate and remediate. Our work is quite comprehensive and covers site characterization, remediation, geophysical surveys, groundwater and contaminant modeling, and water resources.”
When asked how he chose a career in environmental remediation, Mundell is quick to point out that his career chose him. He continues, “I came out of graduate school in 1981, from Purdue University, where I earned my BS and MS in Civil Engineering. One of my first projects was the closure of a hazardous waste landfill in southern Indiana. The company I was working for was primarily a geotechnical engineering and materials testing company and was encountering contaminated soils and groundwater in many of their standard site investigations, and frankly, they were unsure what to do. At that time, senior engineers did not want to get involved in environmental contamination, so I as a young engineer I began working with these investigations and cleanups, as well as the design of landfills. Ultimately, I was involved in many of the first leaking underground storage tank sites as well as other industrial properties. However, I soon realized I needed to advance my knowledge in the environmental side, so I went to graduate school at Notre Dame and conducted research on the movement of chemicals in the subsurface. From there, I became the Director of Technical Service at ATEC Associates, and from 1988 to 1995 we grew the company to the 25th largest environmental consultant firm in the country. It was at that time that I decided to start Mundell & Associates, and focus on higher-end environmental consulting, dealing with complex plumes and the design of remedial alternatives for major site cleanups of Superfund, RCRA and other industrial properties.”
When it comes to working with REGENESIS, Mundell appreciates the company’s high level of expertise and experience, and as an example points to a recent project his firm supervised in northern Indiana. The project involved the remediation of a chlorinated solvent plume that was progressing towards a wellfield. “We evaluated a number of in-situ injection treatment options,” he says. “REGENESIS provided the technical knowledge and support to allow us to design an effective system of permeable reactive barriers for the off-site groundwater plume.” Two REGENESIS products his firm has used recently, with much success, include AquaZVI and 3D Microemulsion®. He continues, “We like AquaZVI for its reactivity and easy handling, and 3-D Microemulsion® for its ability to both adsorb and then slowly redistribute and move with groundwater. Both are excellent qualities to have when you are trying to treat large plumes in a cost-effective manner.” To stay abreast of the ever-changing remediation industry, Mundell attends conferences and seminars, and makes a habit of reading industry-related articles as much as possible. He shares, “Education never stops, whether it is attending national or international conferences on site characterization and remediation, or continually reading peer-reviewed journals with articles on in-situ treatment and modeling. There is always something new to learn or evaluate that can be used on a project.”
Residing in Indianapolis, where he works out of the company’s office, Mundell has completed projects in every state across America, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, and from an international standpoint, has been involved in environmental projects in Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe. “The world is small,” he says, “So it is relatively easy to share expertise over long distances.” Away from work, he enjoys spending time with his wife Julie, whom he’s been married to for 40 years, their four children, and three grandchildren. “All our children are grown and on their own in San Francisco, New York City, Atlanta and Indianapolis,” he says. Hobbies include playing guitar and singing, which he’s enjoyed since he can remember, and his wife is an accomplished singer-songwriter (www.juliemundell.org). When it comes to making a difference with philanthropic activities, Mundell points out that his company is part of the Economy of Communion network of companies, a group of companies committed to ending poverty around the world (see www.edc-online.org). He shares, “I’ve helped start new small social companies committed to these same principles in Africa, South America and Europe. I’m a member of the Economy of Communion International Commission, which helps coordinate the activities of the more than 850 companies we have involved around the world.”
When asked how he’s seen the industry evolve during his career, Mundell points to an increase in the use of technology, and a potential shortage in resources from agencies that oversee various aspects of remediation. “The environmental industry has grown up during the 40 years since I began my career,” he says. “Technologies have been discovered and implemented, and cleanups have improved. However, the agencies overseeing our work have less resources and staff to review our work in a timely manner with the expertise needed, and educating regulators is a constant.” And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “I would encourage young people to focus on science and engineering and try to obtain a multi-disciplinary education, because that is still what is needed. Communication skills are also paramount – speaking and writing is not the domain of only politicians and English majors. In the future, it will be even more important as we face challenges to the validity of scientific principles.”
REGENESIS is proud to have John Mundell, President and Senior Environmental Consultant at Mundell & Associates, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his experience and commitment to providing successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.