We recently had the opportunity to interview Don Zuch, a principal with Hull & Associates, Inc. (HULL), a project development and engineering company that focuses on quality of life by solving complex challenges related to environment, energy and infrastructure.
Q. What services does your company provide to support shale development and/or infrastructure expansion in Pennsylvania and this region?
Don Zuch: Hull & Associates, Inc. (HULL) is a full-service, safety-minded, engineering and environmental consulting company that provides surveying, civil and geotechnical engineering and design services to producers from the beginning stages of the staking of a well to permitting and design, through construction and compliance needs. HULL has managed hundreds of miles of pipeline route development projects for both interstate and intrastate projects, providing sUAS, survey, ecological, engineering and comprehensive environmental support to our clients. Our professional engineers, geoscientists, and support staff are available twenty-four hours per day to serve our oil and gas industry clients.
Q. What makes your company stand out from your competitors?
Don Zuch: HULL is local to the tri-state area of the Appalachian Basin, meaning that our folks were born and raised in the very areas where our customers explore, develop, and operate. Additionally, over the past forty years, HULL has grown a nationally respected Brownfield redevelopment practice that is in high demand within the Ohio Valley region as operators, petrochemical companies and other end users compete for developable space to build facilities and infrastructure critical to the long-term viability of local usage of both the Marcellus and Utica resources. HULL’s local relationships, Oil and Gas expertise and ability to facilitate strategic Brownfield Redevelopment initiatives will continue to benefit our customers in the tri-state area as the basin development matures.
HULL’s in-depth understanding of laws and regulations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia allow us to provide strategic services to our clients when they face difficult regulatory challenges. A major pipeline company applied for permits in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia for a significant interstate project and prevention and contingency plans were required by both the PADEP and the Ohio EPA/ODNR as part of the permit application process. In light of significant litigation in Pennsylvania on a similar project under the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution, the pipeline company was referred to HULL by their attorneys. HULL worked with our client, their internal and external attorneys, and their technical consultants to create extremely detailed studies and contingency plans that met the technical regulations in each state and were also specifically designed to be legally defendable against potential litigation under the Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment. The contingency studies and plans were prepared in such a way that they were applicable to each State to ensure consistency in implementation.
Q. Name one product your company has created or was involved in creating that made you feel like you made a positive impact.
Don Zuch: HULL’s founder, John Hull, invented and has continued to develop a line of products under the AquaBlok® brand. AquaBlok® is a bentonite-coated aggregate that, when hydrated, self-compacts and provides a low-permeability seal in an easy to handle and apply package. Through the use of various organoclays and proprietary formulations, AquaBlok® has developed a variety of products to address many environmental and geotechnical applications. Visit www.aquablok.com for more information.
Q. How has the natural gas industry impacted your company’s business? Has the industry allowed your company to grow and expand employment opportunities?
Don Zuch: The natural gas industry has provided HULL with the opportunity to expand our Oil and Gas service footprint as far as Texas and the Rocky Mountains while growing our core civil, geotechnical, and environmental practices locally. As a result, HULL has been able to provide many opportunities for our employees to gain valuable new experience and the chance to advance their careers pursuing both technical and management tracts.
Q. How has the Marcellus Shale Coalition added value to your business?
Don Zuch: HULL joined the Marcellus Shale Coalition in January of 2010 and we have remained as active associate members ever since. In the past nine-plus years, HULL personnel have participated in lead roles, supporting key work group initiatives as well as holding both Chair and Vice-Chair positions of multiple committee groups. Our subject matter experts have also presented at multiple Shale Insight conferences. It is through this participation, that HULL has realized value not only in the form on-going education, but also by increasing visibility and solidifying HULL’s reputation as an Oil and Gas business partner, and one of the region’s competent, go-to consultants.
Q. If you could explain one thing to external stakeholders about the opportunities that have been created for your company by the natural gas industry, what would it be?
Don Zuch: Our customers have utilized our services, providing our firm with growth opportunities and our employees with exciting career choices. Every day our professionals and staff work alongside our industry partners to aid in the responsible development of the unconventional resources of this region. We see a bright future for the tri-state region as these resources continue to be responsibly developed and infrastructure is upgraded and expanded to accommodate future growth demands.
To learn more about HULL, please visit HullInc.com.
Previous MSC Member Spotlight:
MSC Member Profile: Shale Development Propels Central Pennsylvania Engineering Firm into National Player