Though the recession has cut into demand for everything from cars to candlesticks, the need to clean up pollution keeps on growing.
And Thomas R. Hundt, the new head of mid-Atlantic operations for EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc., says environmental cleanup firms like his expect to keep expanding.
Dr. Hundt, who received a doctorate in environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1985, said he is only one of the new hires he expects the Hunt Valley-based environmental cleanup firm to make in the next several months.
"We will be hiring more engineers, scientists, planners . . . a wide gamut of people," he said.
Dr. Hundt, 37, will oversee a team of six engineers who will study polluted areas from Pennsylvania to Virginia and will recommend ways to clean them up.
Normally, EA hires contractors to run the heavy equipment and do much of the actual decontamination.
EA, founded by former Hopkins limnologist (lake expert) Loren Jensen, does about half of its pollution studies for governmental agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense.
But Dr. Hundt said he hopes to increase EA's share of cleanup jobs contracted by the private sector, to protect the company against cutbacks in federal spending.
Winning pollution cleanup contracts isn't like selling more vacuum cleaners, though, he said.
"This isn't a sales job. . . . You don't go door-to-door," he explained.
Instead, Dr. Hundt said he expects to win new business by answering requests for proposals with responses that show "how what we can do is better than what others can do."
Dr. Hundt, who has lived in the Baltimore area for 11 years, came to EA from the Baltimore office of Gannett Fleming Inc., another environmental engineering firm.
While at Gannett Fleming, he advised some community dumps on preventing pollution from leaching into water and advised the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the cleanup of polluted waterways.
He lives with his wife and two children in Cockeysville.