Who We Are!

AEM Air Water Fire CircleAbbey Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment, Inc. (AEM) is the brain­child of Michael Schluter­busch.  This is the lat­est ver­sion of an Envi­ron­men­tal Con­sult­ing Firm that began in 1988 with MNS Enter­pris­es. Michael was the sole pro­pri­etor and pret­ty much did every­thing nec­es­sary for any project. Kath­leen Flana­gan and Michael began a coop­er­a­tive busi­ness rela­tion­ship in the ear­ly 2000’s, when she served up her exper­tise in any­thing com­put­er-dri­ven, legal based, busi­ness back-office relat­ed knowl­edge. The sec­ond iter­a­tion was Annectens Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment, named after an age-old, tough-as-nails lung­fish. Who knew at that time that the Crash of 2008 was loom­ing in the near future, and that type of sur­vival­ist men­tal­i­ty would be sore­ly need­ed? Kath­leen also began to take on some of the field respon­si­bil­i­ty around 2010. 

city-leaf-banner1-1024x237AEM was incor­po­rat­ed in 2012. We serve a two-state region: Col­orado and Wyoming. We’re hap­py to trav­el any­where; it’s just that’s where our clients are for now. Our clients are pre­dom­i­nate­ly school dis­tricts, com­mer­cial prop­er­ty own­ers, coun­ty com­mis­sions, a few souls in Dutch with a reg­u­la­tor, and a few home­own­ers. Our core com­pe­ten­cies are indoor air qual­i­ty and indus­tri­al hygiene issues, and help­ing our clients deal with haz­ardous mate­ri­als in their build­ings before they remod­el or demol­ish.  We do HVAC stud­ies, mold inspec­tions, asbestos test­ing, project man­age­ment, abate­ment and mit­i­ga­tion over­sight, demo­li­tion specs and over­sight, and lots more. I tru­ly believe we are the very best at solu­tions-ori­ent­ed ser­vice that’s sim­ply more valu­able since when we close out a project, we leave behind an excel­lent prod­uct, com­plete clear, con­cise and edit­ed paper­work and a clean slate: no envi­ron­men­tal skele­tons in the closet.
We once helped a nice fam­i­ly who had recent­ly ren­o­vat­ed their east-Den­ver home, and all were get­ting sick, and com­plain­ing of a sick­ly-sweet odor. Long sto­ry short, the con­trac­tor had spilled (and didn’t both­er to clean up) an adhe­sive, meant for glu­ing deck boards togeth­er, on the floor in the liv­ing room. The pos­i­tive out­come was that the recal­ci­trant con­trac­tor had to cor­rect the issue, faced with over­whelm­ing evi­dence that they were the direct cause of the odif­er­ous odor. We have lots of sto­ries like that, and soon you can vis­it our abbeyem.com site for some exem­plary case studies.
Cur­rent­ly, there are two Prin­ci­pals under con­tract with AEM: Kath­leen Flana­gan and Michael Schluter­busch. Although Kath­leen deals pri­mar­i­ly with busi­ness and admin­is­tra­tive man­age­ment issues, and Michael is the go-to guy for any in-the-field issues, the lines often blur, when Kath­leen takes her turn man­ag­ing projects, and Michael takes over the office. We tend to share the field duties, espe­cial­ly those hap­pen­ing out of our local Den­ver mar­ket. Any time we require tech­ni­cal com­pe­ten­cy not part of our rather robust range of expe­ri­ence, we have devel­oped an excel­lent net­work of trust­wor­thy, depend­able, fast-respond­ing experts we can rely on for support. 
We believe this struc­ture allows for a fair­ly lean oper­a­tions bud­get, cou­pled with time­ly, con­fi­den­tial response. We respect and val­ue our clients enough to always tell the truth, com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly and time­ly, and deliv­er a prod­uct that pro­tects their short and long-term lia­bil­i­ty. I guess that’s why we’ve nev­er lost a client, even though we often seem to work our­selves out of a job. There’s always some­thing to do in this crazy busi­ness, and it’s nice to get called by a client who remem­bered how well we took care of them in the past.
Our mar­ket­ing scheme is cen­tered in the fact that our clients stick with us, and they often talk to oth­ers in their com­mu­ni­ty while at, say, build­ing main­te­nance work­shops. Word-of mouth has kept AEM flour­ish­ing, and we expect to pro­vide the same qual­i­ty ser­vice for years to come.  Noth­ing in the world com­pares the great feel­ing of hav­ing a new client request our assis­tance based on a con­ver­sa­tion they had at some con­ven­tion, espe­cial­ly when they’d gone there express­ly for get­ting the low-down on some envi­ron­men­tal issue. Blog­ging and oth­er inter­net-based adver­tis­ing is new to us. Hope­ful­ly, because we recruit­ed an excel­lent men­tor in this strange, fast chang­ing are­na, we can avoid mess­ing things up. Same mod­el, just a dif­fer­ent prod­uct. Wish us luck. 
Our busi­ness mod­el is based on a coop­er­a­tive hands-on approach, where every­one puts their cards on the table and we sort out the best solu­tion avail­able, not sole­ly based on the cheap­est price, like the cur­rent­ly pre­dom­i­nant com­pet­i­tive mod­el. I wish we could get into the heads of build­ing own­ers and reverse the trend of “cheap­er is always bet­ter.” I know that’s harsh, and let me explain: long-term intan­gi­ble lia­bil­i­ty can sneak up on a com­pa­ny sev­er­al years after the ink has dried on a tidy sum paid to “fix” an envi­ron­men­tal issue, when an attor­ney shows up in a suit with a suit for per­son­al injury caused by a neg­li­gent asbestos removal con­trac­tor that wasn’t watched while they yanked can­cer­ous boil­er insu­la­tion out a win­dow at mid­night, fill­ing the build­ing with invis­i­ble tox­ic fibers that got into the lungs of an inno­cent ten­ant. Don’t kid your­self: this hap­pens more often than you think. Some­times the truth is hid­den in piles of paperwork.
AEM is sure that, long after the sharks of the indus­try have blood­ied the waters with the corpses of oth­er com­pa­nies com­pet­ing for a larg­er share, and clients are tired of poor ser­vice based on vague promis­es, we will still be here, doing our best to treat our clients like we want to be treat­ed: respect­ful­ly, hon­or­ably, effec­tive­ly, with integri­ty. In fact, some of our busi­ness comes from just that kind of sce­nario: a new client comes to us with a reg­u­la­to­ry or lit­i­ga­tion issue result­ing from a belief that asbestos abate­ment is like hang­ing dry­wall: sim­ple, fast, and paint­ed to cov­er up the faults.
There’s some­thing both­er­some about an unsus­pect­ing own­er, just want­i­ng to save mon­ey or stay on sched­ule, hir­ing a con­sul­tant that’s will­ing just to go along to get along. Those wimpy tongue-wag­gers will tell the client “that’s just the way they want it done” when a reg­u­la­to­ry com­pli­ance issue comes up ear­ly into a ren­o­va­tion project. Those guys are will­ing to take the mon­ey and run, with­out ever look­ing back. Buy­er beware! Instead of look­ing to inno­v­a­tive, time and cost-sav­ing, reg­u­la­to­ry-com­pli­ant process­es that aren’t cur­rent­ly “approved” by some­one in the pub­lic sec­tor, the con­sul­tant instead uses that excuse to cost the build­ing own­er (and some­times, them­selves as tax­pay­ers) thou­sands, even mil­lions. This is very inter­est­ing: the reg­u­la­tors are so very human (most of them any­way) and every one of them are will­ing to lis­ten, and change their minds when there’s enough rea­son, evi­dence to demon­strate a new con­cept, approach, tech­nique that still pro­tects the pub­lic and employ­ees from tox­ic haz­ards that often take years, decades to man­i­fest as ill­ness and some­times death.
This is my first blog, and it feels good to clear the air about my cho­sen way to keep body and soul togeth­er. I love that Kath­leen and I still will­ing­ly and grate­ful­ly serve our well-informed clients, all the while wish­ing we could do more. Yes, we are cap­i­tal­ists, and we like get­ting paid, and we can sleep at night know­ing we were the best we could be. Yes, we make mis­takes, and yet I’m pret­ty sure we’ve nev­er exposed any­one to any­thing more tox­ic than one of my stale jokes. I think this is com­plete, for now. Stay tuned. Thanks for read­ing so far. Oops, for­got to tag you with a new ser­vice: free asbestos aware­ness train­ing. If you want cer­tifi­cates, that’ll cost you ten bucks each. Just vis­it abbeyem.com for details.

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