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Environmental Consultancy EI Group Grows Where Clients Go

Published: February 28th, 2024

Through more than three decades, the owners of environmental, health and safety consulting services firm EI Group Inc. have felt the company’s best path to growth has been to respond meaningfully to its customers’ growing services needs. Now, in 2023, EI Group’s leaders are thinking about partnerships that could unlock their next stage of expansion.

Morrisville, N.C.-based EI Group was founded in 1989 and has been increasing its footprint in various sectors after starting out with a focus in environmental consulting. Clients’ requests drove it to expand its offerings into safety, industrial hygiene, training, occupational health and environmental sustainability.

Today, EI Group tries to be a one-stop shop for its clients, owner and founder Greg Lathan told The Deal alongside senior vice presidents Adam Underwood and Phil Fincher.

“We had some initial services back when the company was young, and our clients asked us if we could also do this other service or had any expertise in another field,” said Lathan, who graduated University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977 with a degree in chemistry and received his master’s degree in public health from the same institution in 1980. “That was a sign to us that we could and should grow to accommodate the needs of our clients.”

And as EI Group has adapted to its existing clients’ needs, it’s been able to expand its client-base exponentially.

In the past year, the company has had 1,274 different customers including Pfizer Inc. (PFE), PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) snack unit Frito-Lay Inc., Ingersoll Rand Inc. (IR) and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The firm’s ability to pivot is also what has helped them break into completely new and high-growth verticals, such as the healthcare sector.

For instance, the company’s size and expertise in related areas helped it offer new services during the Covid-19 pandemic, including health safety training and medical screening for workplace entry.

Adding these new services helped the company avoid laying off any of its employees despite the economic challenges of the pandemic.

The Competitive Landscape

To be sure, EI Group is not the only environmental consultancy in the U.S., but its diverse service offerings and expertise make it stand out among its already few competitors.

The EI Group’s environmental consulting services include air permitting, energy audits, underground storage tank assessment and industrial site remediation planning.

We’re the only ones in the Southeast U.S. who have these kinds of services.
EI Group founder Greg Lathan

The company also offers OSHA compliance audits and recordkeeping, electrical safety and fall protection analysis and training. And in healthcare, EI Group has expanded with the hires of occupational health physicians, nurses and audiologists and provides course training for audiograms and employee respirator fit testing.

“We’re the only ones in the Southeast U.S. who have these kinds of services,” Lathan argued. “There may be others in California or Texas, but they still don’t really do what we do.”

Another factor that sets EI Group apart from its competitors is that it obtained an engineering license early on, Lathan added, and its employees are often certified to offer expert consults in compliance-heavy fields such as indoor air quality and medical clearance.

Privately held companies that advertise some similar services to EI Group include Rosenberg, Texas-based CRG Texas Environmental Services Inc. and Ventura, California-based Rincon Consultants Inc., according to The Deal’s research.

As the ESG movement took hold during the coronavirus pandemic and the energy transition gained momentum, private equity firms have shown an increasing interest in the environmental consulting services space.

Cleveland growth equity firm Evolution Capital Partners LLC invested in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based EnviroScience Consultants Inc. in September 2021.

And Dallas firm BP Energy Partners LP invested in emissions testing and leak detection services provider Encino Environmental Services LLC in October 2020 via its $348 million BP Natural Gas Opportunity Partners LP II fund. Encino in October purchased Butler, Pa.-based source emissions testing services provider Lemos Labs.

Editor’s note: The original version of this article, including financial information and other exclusive details, was published earlier on The Deal’s premium subscription website. For access, log in to or use the form below to request a free trial.

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