2019 proved to be another exceptional year for CIRI subsidiary North Wind Group (NWG), with record-breaking financials, a new office location, prestigious safety awards and recognition in top industry publications.
“The North Wind team achieved tremendous success in 2019,” said NWG President and CEO Chris Leichtweis. “Thanks to the dedication and overall performance of our team, over the last three-and-a-half years we have taken on exciting and important contracts in the federal environmental services market and doubled our company’s revenue.”
A few highlights include:
New Office Location
NWG kicked off 2019 with the opening of a new office in Guam. The event was commemorated Feb. 7 with an open house and partner outreach, which included a traditional Chamorro blessing ceremony. With staff and offices in Alaska, Hawaii and now Guam, North Wind is committed to working in the Pacific Rim and will continue to build and strengthen long-term relationships with subcontractors, vendors and teaming partners in the area.
Project Performance and Safety Milestones
- NWG participated in the reopening of the USS Arizona Memorial, part of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Battleship USS Arizona was bombed Dec. 7, 1941, killing 1,177 sailors and Marines. More than 900 bodies could not be recovered and remain onboard. Today, the Arizona rests where she fell, submerged in about 40 feet of water just off the coast of Ford Island. A memorial was built in 1962 atop the sunken ship, memorializing the crew, service members and civilians killed in the attack. NWG completed a major repair to the USS Arizona Memorial, installing a new anchoring system using giant screws and helical pilings, some longer than 100 feet. The pilings were driven into the sea floor and attached with synthetic ropes to the dock. The job was completed safely and ahead of schedule.
- The Portsmouth Mission Alliance, a North Wind Solutions majority-owned joint venture, serves as the infrastructure support services contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio. In April, the Alliance was recognized by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for safety excellence; three months later, it surpassed 1 million safe work hours without a lost workday case or recordable injury. In August, the Alliance was awarded a DOE Voluntary Protection Program “Star of Excellence” award. Award recipients must maintain efforts and statistics for an injury rate 75% below industry average and demonstrate safety excellence through community outreach and mentoring efforts.
- As part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, North Wind/ Portage provides environmental service activities— including cleanup of soils and debris contaminated with beryllium, lead and radiological waste—near the community of Luckey, Ohio, 22 miles southeast of Toledo. As of June 26, approximately 47,800 tons of waste had been safely transported 197,500 cumulative miles to a disposal facility. The project has also treated or disposed of almost 3 million gallons of wastewater and completed a major milestone of backfilling in the lagoon area. As of November, the project team had worked 1,580 safe workdays and put in 290,000 hours without a lost-time incident.
- NWG was recognized during a community celebration in Moab, Utah, for its cleanup efforts at the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action project site. To date, the project has cleaned and transported more than 10 million tons of mill tailings to a site 30 miles away. The DOE Office of Environmental Management thanked the team and state and local government partners for their continued dedication to the project. An estimated 6 million tons of material remain at the project site. Cleanup continues at an accelerated pace, and since February 2019, the project has doubled its weekly disposal shipments.
Awards and Recognition
In 2018, North Wind Inc. completed a hazardous residential cleanup project near Klamath Falls, Ore. In 2019, the project received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 10 Howard Orlean Excellence in Site Reuse Award, which is given to stakeholders who demonstrate dedication to safely and productively reusing contaminated areas while keeping them protected for both the public and the environment.
- For its work at the Transuranic Waste Processing Center project in Oak Ridge, Tenn., NWG received the DOE’s Voluntary Protection Program “Star of Excellence” award. Contractors whose programs meet the requirements for outstanding safety and health programs receive STAR recognition, the highest achievement level.
- For demonstrating excellence in safety and health systems that protect employees and promote superior corporate citizenship, Alaska-based Silver Mountain Construction, a North Wind company, received the Alaska Governor’s Safety Award of Excellence.
- NWG moved up 10 spots to No. 45 on the Engineering News-Record (ENR) “Top 200 Environmental Firms” list. ENR annually ranks the top environmental services firms based on the percentage of gross revenue for environmental services.
- NWG was ranked No. 2 in the Book of Lists in the Knoxville-Area Environmental Engineering and Consulting Firms category and No. 26 in Idaho’s Top 100 privately owned businesses.
- NWG was pleased to sponsor the 14th Annual Boise St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, during which more than $1.1 million was raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
- NWG awarded the 18th Annual Tom Sherwood Memorial Scholarship to Idaho State University student Heather Phillips. Since 2001, the Thomas Sherwood Memorial Endowment has provided nearly $40,000 in scholarships to Idaho State University students majoring in biology and geology.
- North Wind/Portage joined the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Nuclear Waste Partnership and several local oil companies to participate in the first annual fundraiser for the Desert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Carlsbad, N.M.
- In April, NWG employees participated in an Earth Day event at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., which included trash pickup and constructing a pollinator garden.