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Leadership Spotlight with Andy Adams: Vice President and Principal Scientist

Andy Adams family

We recently spoke with Andy Adams to learn more about his new role as Vice President and Principal Scientist. We asked him about his background, what he enjoys about working at Braun Intertec and his new role, and his advice for those just starting their career.

What is your current role at Braun Intertec?
I am a Vice President and Principal Scientist in the clients and markets section that focuses on Energy, Industrial, and Legal sectors. I work specifically on energy and industrial projects, but also aid the greater Environmental Consulting (Encon) office on any and all projects.

What is your professional background?
I have two science degrees. I have my Bachelor of Science in environmental studies from the University of Kansas, then I have a Master of Science in environmental chemistry from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. I also received an MBA from the University of Houston – Downtown which makes me somewhat unique to consulting.

I’ve been at one job since finishing school: W&M Environmental, now a Division of Braun Intertec for 16 years. I started off as “Chief Bottle Washer” and worked my way up to Vice President, doing just about every job in between. I’ve worked most of the jobs in our company at some level.  Which is invaluable when it comes to aiding the Enviromental Scientists, and Project Consultants in the office.

What interested you about your profession?
I wanted to save the world! In a lot of respects, I still do. I like to help energy and industrial companies figure out how to do that too – and if I can help them do it more efficiently than others, that’s great. My job is very entertaining in that way.

What is your favorite aspect of your role or the most rewarding part of what you do at Braun Intertec?
I’m in a new role so there is some adjustment time right now, but I really enjoy the client work. Beyond that, I have a little more time now than when I directly managed people, so that has given me the opportunity to mentor the junior staff, which I’ve really love. It’s great to see how inspired they are, and fantastic when you see the light bulb go off as you work through projects.

What is your favorite thing about Braun Intertec? What do you feel makes it unique?
We’re employee-owners. We have a completely different view on things when we’re making decisions. We think about things in a way that will not only help the client, but it will help ourselves as well.   

What technical specialties/services do we offer that you feel differentiates Braun Intertec from other firms?
I can speak a little better to the environmental consulting side of things, but we have smart people overall. We’re built like a consulting company, yes, but we also have tailored technical specialties. Our groups working in industrial hygiene and risk base closures and consulting are exceptional. They fit well with the clientele that we work with.

On a bigger side, everyone is a problem-solver. We can make things happen and hire smart technical people who know what they’re doing.

What is your approach to client problem-solving?
They have problems and we must have answers, multiple answers to fit their needs. We need to think through them. The biggest piece of thinking through answers is going to be conversation. I may have 100 different answers to a question, but the solution comes down to the client’s risk level and risk tolerance. We often forget that just because something is the most efficient answer, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Clients have different motivators. We need to understand those before we give our answer.

What traits do you look for in your team members?
Do the right thing. Get it done. Take ownership. Go the extra mile. Be a self-starter. Those are cliché, but they’re true. If I can get those five things in somebody, we can shape them into a good consultant. They don’t even need to be too technical. We can always work on that! If they care and want to go to work, we can make a lot happen here.

What should new Braun Intertec employees know about working here? What piece of advice would you give them?
Consulting is a unique profession, especially at Braun Intertec because you have interesting clients with complex problems. When you work here, you need to be able to step outside of the box. You do different things every day, you’re challenged every day. Be the person that will seize the day!

What are some of your hobbies, or things you like to do outside of work?
I’m a workaholic but I love the beach whether that’s in Texas or in Florida. My wife, daughter and I love basketball, too. We play, I coach, we watch a lot of it — it’s great to bond with my whole family over that. And, I’m a Chicago Cubs addict, so I watch them every chance I get.