Practitioner Spotlight--Phil Gilchrist

Practitioner Spotlight--Phil Gilchrist

July 30th, 2018

Name:Phil sitting in his 1969 Corvette

Phil Gilchrist

Office:

Long Beach, CA

Practice Area:

Environmental remediation, mergers & acquisitions, health and safety, EHS auditing and compliance

Area(s) of expertise:

Remediation assessment, phase 1/ phase 2, and site characterization. I’m not an engineer or geologist – I focus more on the regulatory side.

About Me in 140 Characters:

I am a step-father of two girls, I have two cats and a dog, and I'm part of a competition barbeque team. I enjoy hiking and working on my '69 Corvette.

Favorite thing about being an environmental liability practitioner:

The variety of projects we get to work on. Environmental remediation is such a broad practice area, I'm never doing the same thing twice. Every site and every problem is different, and every objective is different. It is very rarely boring. 

What areas of environmental remediation are you most interested in? Why?

I really enjoy the regulatory aspect of environmental remediation-- understanding the various standards and regulations that we use to navigate and perform our job. From the federal regulations to state, especially in California, state and local areas have a lot of different regulations come into play. In most states you have two, maybe three sets of regulations or groups of regulations. In California, state regulations change from county to county, city to city, and so on. And you also have city jurisdictions. Understanding the regulatory framework is a challenging and interesting part of what we do. It is extremely fascinating to me.

If someone at a party asks what you do, how do you respond?

I respond, “I’m an environmental consultant, I spend my time cleaning up my clients’ messes.”

What surprises people about your job?

Everybody expects me to be an “environmentalist,” and they assume my focus is on saving the planet. In client meetings, I’ve had to come up with a tagline to explain what I really do – “Environmentalists save the planet from businesses, environmental consultants save the business from environmentalists.” One of the things we run into a lot is that most businesses consider environmental compliance to be a cost center, something they have to do, not want to do. We are automatically somebody they don’t want to deal with, so we have to spend a lot of time explaining the value of doing this, how much cost they can save in the long-run, and why it’s good for business.

Is there something unique that people might not know about you? (hobbies, hidden talents, etc.)

I’m not exactly a closed book, everybody pretty much knows everything there is to know. But back in 2016 I lost 100 pounds in 30 weeks through a medical weight-loss program. That was one of my biggest achievements.

What is your most treasured possession?

At the present moment, my most treasured possession is my dream car. Since I was an eleven-year-old kid I have wanted this car. I'll tell you the story of how I found it. I was doing a site walk for a client back in the spring of 2017, I walked into their barn and found a 1969 Corvette. It took me six months to convince them to sell it to me, and I finally bought it in October of last year. I’ve spent the last several months getting it ready to be back on the road, and I finally got it out and raced it this February. I want to have it ready enough to do a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, from San Diego to Seattle.

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Barbeque. I enjoy trying different types and styles of barbeque all over the world.

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