A profile on Citadel Environmental Services, Inc., one of the founding companies in the Institute's Corporate Partners Program.
“A lot of businesses see sustainability and profits as competing interests engaged in a zero-sum game—we don’t," said Citadel's Loren Wikin.
Citadel Environmental Services, Inc. and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability are perfect partners—both are distinctive, multifaceted organizations with an interdisciplinary approach to work. The collaboration commenced when Citadel signed on as one of the original companies in the Institute’s Corporate Partners Program.
Founded in 1993, Citadel Environmental Services, Inc. is an employee-owned (ESOP) firm that provides consulting services in the fields of industrial hygiene, geology, environmental sciences, safety and training, environmental compliance and sustainability. Citadel provides services to the world's largest corporations, organizations and industry leaders including: energy producers, aerospace firms, real estate owners/developers, universities, entertainment firms, retailers, financial institutions, health care, architectural firms and others.
Recently the company’s headquarters in Glendale were awarded the highest rating, Platinum, in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Certification. Citadel Principal Loren Witkin noted, “This is only 1 of 10 such facilities in California and only 1 out of 89 in the entire country.“
Citadel’s team of professionals come from the architectural, construction management, health and safety, geology, industrial hygiene and legal fields. According to Witkin, "it really takes a village to complete Citadel’s various projects."
“In our business, when we speak about the “environment,” we’re talking about both the “built” environment (the structures we reside and work within and travel on) and the “natural” environment. Often, our consulting projects require us to have understandings of both, which means knowledge of air, water, soil, construction and construction materials, and all of the associated Federal, state and local safety and environmental regulations. No one person or discipline could have proficiency in such disparate fields, let alone have the capacity to deal with the volumes and volumes of data that are needed to fully understand the needs of these projects,” said Witkin.
He continued, “We take a collaborative approach. What differentiates Citadel from any of the firms that I’ve ever come across is how well the people here interact, work together and share knowledge—this diversity is incredibly valuable and the reason the company is successful.”
Citadel has an impressive range of sustainable principles and practices across many facets of the company: reducing paper consumption and utilizing electronic communications, purchasing and employing “green” products, placing recycling stations in offices, offering telecommuting as an option for employees, promoting healthy lifestyle choices, encouraging use of mass transit and fuel efficient and alternative energy vehicles, making use of teleconferencing and videoconferencing to reduce travel, choosing vendors that support the company’s sustainability goals, and providing a continually maintained interactive intranet site to share sustainability information, news and best practices.
Witkin explained the motive for these initiatives: “A lot of businesses see sustainability and profits as competing interests engaged in a zero-sum game—we don’t. Citadel believes in the premise that the interests of stakeholders (clients, employees, shareholders, vendors and the community) can be aligned, not just balanced. The environment is one of those stakeholders. What the world needs is everyone doing something, either by choice or by mandate.”
Citadel and the Institute’s common philosophy of integrating business and the environment is what united the two entities. It also helps that Witkin has a history with the University, starting with cheering on the Bruin basketball team at 5 years old.
“I love UCLA. I went to school here, met my wife here, worked here and have been a consultant to the University for the past 17 years. When a fellow Bruin and I were traveling in Japan, anytime we were wearing gear with the UCLA logo, people would approach us and want to talk about the school. With that kind of world class reputation, when as a business owner you are given an opportunity to associate yourself or to partner with such a school, you don’t think twice – it’s an honor to have our names mentioned together. My staff and I learn through their lecture series and corporate boot camp and we hope to contribute to the diversity by sharing our real world experiences,” said Witkin.
Citadel’s plans for the future include a new “green team” charged with exploring ways to continue the company’s sustainable programs and the recent hiring of a new employee from France to run their air emissions and sustainability practices group. They also hope to expand these service offerings to their clients.
Reflecting on the relationship with the Institute, Witkin stated, “UCLA has given me so much and, hopefully, in return, I’ve given back to them as well. It really has been a partnership.”
Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2011