From Superfund Sites to Harbor Cleanups, ’MT’ Filled to the Brim

Sat July 28, 2007 - Northeast Edition
James A. Merolla



People call Maxymillian Technologies Inc., “MT” for short. Seldom, though, does a general contracting company with such a nickname fill its plate with so many environmentally important projects.

Whether providing environmentally based construction services such as site remediation, wetland and water way remediation, earth support systems, landfill closings, demolition and restoration, brownfield redevelopment or two dozen other kinds of onsite work, Maxymillian Technologies has grown into a diversified earthmoving, earth-cleaning company with four regional offices and approximately 250 employees.

“As with any business, our field has its challenges. The key to our success has been to attract and retain outstanding people, develop innovative technical solutions and provide outstanding customer service,” said company president Neal Maxymillian.

From Pittsfield to Hong Kong

More than 35 years ago, James Maxymillian founded J.H. Maxymillian Inc. (JHM), a Pittsfield, Mass.-based general contracting firm that initiated the family-owned Maxymillian group of companies.

In 1974, JHM commenced the first of many hazardous waste construction and cleanup projects at the General Electric Company facility in Pittsfield. JHM’s success with these projects exhibited a natural progression from the construction industry to the environmental cleanup field. The Maxymillian Construction Company was created in 1980 to specialize in the remediation of important environmental concerns.

During its first nine years, the Maxymillian Construction Company applied in-depth construction knowledge and technical engineering expertise to solve serious environmental problems. It operated as a separate corporation and focused solely on providing clients with technologically sound solutions to particular environmental remediation needs.

In 1989, the Maxymillian Construction Co. was renamed Clean Berkshires Inc. (CBI), as the company added a host of additional environmental services. Clean Berkshires’ focus became researching and developing new and innovative site cleanup technologies.

Over the next few years, Clean Berkshires’ client scope expanded beyond Berkshire County to include New England, New York and the greater northeast region.

Clean Berkshires Inc. evolved into Maxymillian Technologies Inc. (MT) in June of 1994 and once again the owners implemented a strategy to expand. Today, MT remains committed to identifying, developing, and providing the latest technology-based solutions to environmental challenges.

The present company has done work throughout the Northeast and as far as California in the Rocky Mountains and even in Hong Kong.

Its Own Fleet

MT owns, operates and maintains a large number of water and soil treatment systems and a large amount of construction equipment.

“Because of Maxymillian’s heavy construction background, we own and operate a vast fleet of ’traditional yellow iron.’ Therefore, unlike most remediation firms, we self-perform all of our work and do not have to rely on the availability of a rental fleet to complete our work,” said Maxymillian. “In fact, throughout MT’s company history, we have never had to rely on the availability of a rental fleet to complete a project. Ownership of our own equipment allows us to meet just about any on-site need.”

The company focuses on integrating technology with in-house civil construction expertise to deliver cost-effective remediation services, with projects ranging in size from residential spill response to large, federally-mandated superfund projects.

Backed by a talented in-house staff of engineers and scientists, and 35 years in the field, MT continues to develop and implement state-of-the-art technologies for environmental remediation projects. While the Maxymillian family of companies expanded its reaches far beyond Berkshire County in Massachusetts, it still maintains the individualized and site-specific service that has served as its mission for 35 years.

It operates today from two main office locations: its headquarters at 1801 East St., Pittsfield, Mass., and its East Region Marketing Office, 1100 Winter St., Suite 4300, in Waltham, Mass. It also has satellite offices in Albany, N.Y. and Wilmington, Mass.

Maxymillian’s Pittsfield headquarters is a 60,000-sq. ft. location, which provides field management, project oversight and administrative support. The core of their extensive fleet of construction equipment also is stored and maintained there.

A Strong Foundation of Repeat Clients

Because of its very solid industry reputation, MT has a long history with large clients such as General Electric. The Maxymillian companies have performed more than 300 projects at GE sites across the northeast. It also has worked on challenging superfund site projects, several for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The company has extensive experience working for utility clients on former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) sites, successfully remediating 26 MGP sites throughout the northeast in the past 15 years. They pioneered the use of thermal desorption for the treatment of MGP soils, and have worked extensively with regulatory agencies throughout the northeastern United States.

Founder and Chairman James H. Maxymillian has more than 40 years experience in the general construction and environmental remediation industries. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Yale and a master’s degree in building engineering and construction from the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he began his career at a major construction company in western Massachusetts.

His heavy construction background, environmental expertise, entrepreneurial experience and tremendous work ethic, combined with pride of ownership resulted in an unsurpassed quality of workmanship.

Key Maxymillian principles — including safety as a priority and never failing on a contract — have resulted in a high level of professionalism and performance, and numerous repeat clients.

In late 2005, James transferred the responsibility for day-to-day operations to his son, Neal, who took over as president of the Maxymillian Companies.

A professional engineer in Massachusetts and Vermont, James is still involved with many aspects of the business.

Neal applied his business school education (Tufts University, BS Economics and Civil Engineering; Amos Tuck Business School, Dartmouth College, MBA) to the family construction firm, championing the environmental services division. Under his direction, the firm grew from an added service to one of the largest environmental remediation firms in the Northeast.

“Our executive team is in daily communication with our project managers and other key project and support staff,” said Neal Maxymillian. “Our senior project managers average well over 15 years of experience working for the Maxymillian Companies. It’s a great feeling to meet with a client about a project we did ten years ago and point to the guy at the table with me and say, ’He worked on that.’”

New Technologies

As the company’s name implies, MT has a reputation for developing new technologies to meet emerging environmental remediation challenges, developing several thermal treatment technologies, as well as innovative water treatment systems.

Its thermal treatment technology has not only proven efficient and effective over the years, but has allowed Maxymillian to stand apart from the competition. MT has been actively involved in the remediation of PCBs for more than 30 years.

Since 1989, MT has designed, constructed, and operated mobile thermal treatment systems for remediating contaminated soil. These systems have included both separation (thermal desorption) and destruction (incineration) technologies.

MT also designs, manufactures and operates fixed and transportable water treatment facilities to solve specific site problems for decontaminating groundwater, surface runoff water, wash water and wastewater. The company owns five mobile water treatment systems that are frequently used at industrial decontamination sites to treat wash water on-site.

MT also has constructed permanent water treatment systems including air strippers and carbon adsorption to prevent migration of groundwater contaminated with PCBs, VOCs and SVOCs.

“By keeping the entire process in-house, MT can produce and customize an immediate inventory of water treatment systems,” said Tony Pisanelli, vice president and executive sponsor for many MT projects. “This results in a quick field response as well as cost and time savings for the client.”

Diversified Projects

MT’s history of projects is vast. Among the highlights are:

• Treatment of contaminated water from a 600-ft. (183 m) portion of the Nashua River in Nashua, N.H. Overall site cleanup included river excavation, water treatment and riverbank restoration.

MT’s water treatment and discharge system was capable of continuous treatment of 500 gal. (1,893 L) per minute of sediment-laden, asbestos-and coal tar-contaminated water obtained from dewatering an excavation of the Nashua River. The final stage involved MT removing spent filter media, piping, frac tanks and solids/sludges. This was followed by the decontamination of the entire treatment system and related materials and demobilization.

• Under a Remedial Action Contract to the Corps of Engineers, MT remediated portions of the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site in New Bedford, Mass. For 30 years, the harbor was contaminated by manufacturing plants discharging PCB waste into the waters. The harbor was one of the largest and most challenging hazardous waste sites in the country.

MT removed PCB-contaminated material from the Acushnet River and surrounding areas and restored the site. The project involved the construction of earthen berms, diversion piping, dredging, excavation, materials handling and slurry mixing and transportation.

MT excavated both soils from outside of the river and sediments from within the river. Long reach excavators were used to remove the material from the river channel. Using a specially designed 80-ft. (24.3 m) long-reach excavator fabricated in-house to reach the center of the channel, MT removed approximately 12,400 cu. yds. (9,480 cu. m) of soil and sediment from the site.

• The company recently returned from a project in Hong Kong, where its thermal treatment system was mobilized to support site work for the development of Disney Hong Kong.

MT teamed with Leighton Asia Environmental Services Ltd. (LAES) to perform remedial action at the former Cheoy Lee Shipyards site at Penny’s Bay on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. LAES managed the overall site remediation, while MT provided technical assistance and thermal treatment equipment.

The fast-tracked site remediation was part of the Disneyland Theme Park construction by Hong Kong International Theme Parks Ltd. The Shipyard operations on the 47 acres (19 ha) parcel of reclaimed land commenced in 1964, and lasted until the recent site decommissioning process began.

MT processed 54,000 tons (48,988 t) of contaminated soils through its TSCA permitted, Indirect Thermal Desorption System (IDS).

Facing Change Head On

As the company’s expanding contracting world changes with stricter environmental regulations and complex bidding processes, MT has changed with it.

“One of the biggest changes over the last few years is the expanded role of contracting goals. Many of our clients, especially the government ones, have goals to award a certain percentage of work to small, disadvantaged, or minority businesses,” said Maxymillian. “MT is a small business according to the size standard, so we can help a client meet some contracting goals. We also have relationships with businesses that meet other goal categories such as women-owned, hub-zoned, etc. We’re often able to help our clients meet their goals by developing an experienced and qualified team that happens to meet subcontracting requirements.”

Need a job filled? Look first to a company simply called “MT.”