By: Tami S. Scott
More About the Major Players
- President and CEO Bob Romagnoli has spent all of his career in the environmental world, primarily on the consulting side. He has led multi-million-dollar Superfund remediation programs from investigation/design to construction and developed turn-key environmental strategies for numerous Fortune 100 companies. He served as Sr. Vice President at Arcadis and Managing Director at TIG Environmental before joining Abscope in January 2019.
- Executive Vice President Rob Gray has more than 28 years of experience in the Environmental Remediation field. He has been an instrumental member of the Abscope Team since 1995. He has extensive project experience with MGP remediation, Hazardous Waste Remediation, Stream Sediment Removal, ISS, Sheet Pile Installation, Deep Excavations, and Site Development Projects.
- Executive Vice President Robert Duffy has been a key employee of Abscope Environmental since 1989 and Vice President since 2009. Prior to 2009, Robert was General Manager for five years, managing and coordinating a variety of asbestos abatement projects throughout the Northeastern and Midwestern US. Since 1989, he has successfully supervised and/or managed more than 3,500 asbestos abatement projects.
Based in small-town Canastota, New York, Abscope Environmental’s roots reach back to the early 1970s when John Romagnoli established Canastota Constructors, a company that focused on heavy highway construction and site development.
It was 18 years later in 1989, when John, together with his sons, Jack and Jerry, founded Abscope, once described by Jerry as a spin-off of his dad’s livelihood. Over time, the company has grown to become one of the premier environmental remediation construction firms in the country. Today, Abscope embraces an era of new leadership, and is proud to announce its most recent developments.
A New Era
Over the past two years, Jack and Jerry gradually hung up their Abscope hats for new roles as retirees, and gracefully passed the torch to their youngest brother, Bob Romagnoli. It was somewhat an expected rotation of ownership as the trio had talked about it for years, but as Bob explained, the timing now was finally right. With more than 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, Bob is more than prepared to take on the family dynasty—and with good company.
In March 2020, long-time employees and minority owners since 2010, Robert Duffy and Rob Gray, signed on as majority partners, having an opportunity to own a larger percentage of the company. The contract was signed about two weeks prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and Robert joked that had the deal been further delayed, he might have run the other way. As with Bob Romagnoli, timing is everything, and fortunately, Abscope is surviving the pandemic with minimal upset, having been deemed “essential” from the start.
“[Rob Gray and Robert Duffy] have been an integral part of the company for decades now, and together with my brothers, developed the successful business that we have today,” President and CEO Bob Romagnoli said.
General Manager Steve Mitchell, who has been with the company for 30 years, has also been a critical piece in the growth and success of Abscope. Mitchell handles the day-to-day coordination of resources and equipment, and according to Romagnoli, “stands on his head” to keep things running smoothly. “Stevie is laser focused on ensuring that all of our projects are properly staffed and equipped; his attention to detail is extraordinary,” he said.
The New Normal
Though the current pandemic has postponed some state-funded school-related projects, overall, it has been business as usual — with just a few tweaks. Since COVID-19 has surfaced, there has been a heightened need for both preventative and reactive office cleaning to ensure a safe workspace. This type of service is a natural fit for Abscope’s Industrial Decontamination capabilities. Abscope can provide all surface sanitization and disinfection (aggressive industrial cleans), or it can serve a client through containment, decontamination, and remediation of coronavirus infectious sites and waste.
The company’s response methods are in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approved antimicrobial products, and OSHA’s COVID-19 planning guidance.
The team has had no active cases of the coronavirus to date.
Areas of Expertise — Rob Gray
Executive Vice President Rob Gray heads up both the remediation and geotechnical divisions, the former having gained “expert” status, the latter being a relatively new area for Abscope.
“Over the last 10 or 15 years we’ve been a pretty strong player in the MGP market,” which is short for Manufactured Gas Plant Remediation, Gray said. “We do much of that work for utilities such as NYSEG, National Grid and Rochester Gas & Electric Company (RG&E). This is an area where we’ve established a solid presence, and get a good share of the work, given our expertise.”
New York State has numerous MGP sites, Gray said, adding that “the list of sites gets longer each year [and] utility companies are doing all they can to get the sites cleaned up.”
While Abscope also provides a variety of geotechnical services such as shoreline stabilization, sheet piling, groundwater cut-off wall installation, and in-situ soil stabilization (ISS), they tend to fly under the radar a bit. Despite that, Abscope has worked on numerous geotechnical projects throughout its history, inspired by the company’s civil construction roots. Most recently, Abscope completed a shoreline stabilization project on Onondaga Lake, located directly in front of the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater. The next shoreline stabilization project may be out of state. “It’s an active market in Michigan right now, and we’re accustomed to working throughout the Mid-West,” Gray said.
Abscope is also gaining traction in another new territory, providing civil works for windfarm repowering projects. The work generally includes developing lay down areas, access roads, crane pads, and various other site improvements needed to replace wind turbine components. This relatively new market for Abscope began in 2018 when a “green energy” developer contacted the company for support at a local windfarm. They selected Abscope due to its stellar safety record and reputation in the region. Since then, Abscope has continued to service this client throughout the US.
Areas of Expertise — Robert Duffy
Executive Vice President Robert Duffy, alongside General Manager Steve Mitchell, is charged with leading the asbestos abatement and industrial decontamination division.
Asbestos abatement services include the removal, encapsulation, enclosure, transportation, and disposal of asbestos-containing materials, as well as building demolition or selective demolition of building components. It also entails both lead and mold remediation.
Like Gray, Duffy’s involvement at Abscope goes back decades. He has been, and continues to be, a key player at Abscope, interacting daily with clients, regulatory personnel, subcontractors, and project engineers. He is also responsible for estimating, proposal development, submittal generation, waste disposal coordination, and final report development. Duffy has been instrumental in the development of project-specific health and safety work plans and Abscope’s company-wide, behavior-based Health and Safety program.
Reflecting on his years of dedication and service to Abscope, Gray said the opportunity that Jack and Jerry gave both him and Duffy has meant a lot to him. “They saw a lot of potential in us and determined that we were guys they should hold onto to help keep the company going when they retired,” he said. “I appreciate and thank them for the opportunity they gave [us].”