Friday, June 24, 2011

Technology Spotlight: Energy from Stormwater

Over the years regulations have targeted point sources of pollution and treatment has been focused on discharges from such sources. Almost 40 years since the Clean Water Act, we have started looking at watershed approach to deal with non-point sources of pollution.  EPA now recognizes that stormwater management is of prime importance and regulatory interest is being focused at treating stormwater. This will eventually lead to cleaner water bodies - streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Dealing with these non-point sources is a daunting task, not only because of the size and scope of the issues involved, but also due to the wide variation of regulatory and permitting structures that have developed all over the country since the 70s. It will be interesting to see how this works out in the coming decade and a regional approach with national oversight will be very welcome.

SmartSponge by AbTech Industries
As a part of Proteus Consulting's Technology Exchange, we would like to highlight SmartSponge by AbTech Industries. This 'sponge' has tremendous porosity and soaks up hydrocarbons while allowing the flow of water. What we find interesting is that the collected hydrocarbons can be harvested for energy in waste-to-energy facilities, cement kilns, asphalt plants, etc. Of course, the 'sponge' also works at decreasing the suspended solids by limited pore size, and possibly also coliform bacteria by impregnating the 'sponge' with antibacterial agents. We are a bit skeptic about the antibacterial 'sponge' because bacteria will soon develop resistance to the agent - it is after all the law of evolution! However, we are quite impressed by the ability of this 'sponge' to absorb hydrocarbons and possibility of using it as a fuel.

By Technology Exchange, Proteus Consulting brings forth new ideas and innovative products to our clients. These products have been researched and vetted for the water industry by us and have been recommended only after we have been convinced that they have a potential to help our clients achieve their goals to provide a clean sustainable world.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

PROTEUS - What's in the name?

A lot of people have asked me - Why did you name your company Proteus Consulting? What do you mean by Proteus?

In Greek Mythology, Proteus a primordial figure who represents water-god. He is often referred to as the "Old Man of the Sea" who never lies, who sounds the deep in all its depths. At Proteus Consulting, we deal with everything that has to do with water, hence the connection to the water-god.

The water-god Proteus can foretell the future for those who he loves and cares for. Similarly, here at Proteus Consulting, we are abreast and adept with emerging technologies and advanced systems thinking and can advice our clients on strategies to adapt to keep in pace with the rapidly changing world.

Being Protean implies being versatile, flexible, and adaptable. These are the underlying qualities of Proteus Consulting. We are extremely adept in understanding our clients needs, we focus on recognizing opportunities, and work to transform those opportunities into successful outcomes.

At Proteus Consulting, we are a passionate bunch - we are driven by creating fit-for-purpose solutions for our clients.Our success stems from our ability to quickly and effectively understand the unique physical, cultural, and economic opportunities of each assignment. We specialize in building creative solutions that honor each project's distinct features and are committed to integrating design, engineering, and community in a manner that conserves resources – human and material capital.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What will Proteus look like in few years?

It is May 2011, nine months since Proteus Consulting opened shop. It's still just me and a collection of very talented sub consultants working on projects. The journey thus far has been very rewarding with great projects and connections.

So what is the vision forward?
Proteus Consulting is poised to grow. And as we grow, we will seek new partners to join us. These partners will enjoy the energy of this young company and will want to grow with it. The template for Proteus in the coming years is as follows:

Culture is everything. Proteus will be an open organization with a penchant for new ideas. We stand for energy and vigor. Everyone on board will recognize that we are building something significant, an enterprise that will be valuable long-term and every partner will be a part of this future. Our goals will be aligned for creating a great company and with the eagerness to invest every effort to get there. No one will confused about the vision and where the company is headed. Every thought and concern will be heard, analysed for merit and appreciated. It will be fun to work at Proteus Consulting and whiners need not apply!

Client Obsessed
Proteus Consulting is and will always be manically focused on understanding who our client is, what the client wants/needs, and what the client will value as fit-for-purpose. This research and analysis starts well before we even put a project proposal to the client. We talk with our clients and know the people and the organization inside out - from the Board member / General Manager to the operator who greases the pumps. Every person in the client organization is valuable and their thoughts and concerns are valuable. Client feedback will be a key part of the process to produce deliverables. We will never be surprised by client issues because we will be proactive and process-oriented about understanding everything we can about our clients.

Being with Proteus Consulting will be psychologically stimulating and rewarding for partners. There will be no place for mediocrity and for people who live and work by the least common denominator - only the best and the brightest will be on our team. Our partners will feel exalted by the fact that they are surrounded by colleagues who are as good or, at times better than they are. Meetings will be short and to the point, everyone will be engaged and energized. Vigorous debates will be encouraged and the best idea will win. There is no "Easy Button" in Proteus Consulting.

Our office will be an open space, like a large loft apartment with no walls or private offices. One wall will be a giant white board. The other walls will be library of books, projects, papers, and references. All our work will be on cloud servers and we will have wireless access to the project sites.  Of course, there will be an enclosed area for meetings when a quiet space is required. But in general, we will all work together and across from each other. There will be sit-down tables, stand-up tables, and even a treadmill table. We will have 'play area' and there will be premium coffee served from state-of-art espresso machine. Bring your bikes to work, and dogs are very welcome!

Transparent communication will be the bottom line for our organization - open and free-flowing. Difficult issues are addressed upfront and directly. As it happens in every other company, our company will also go through ups and downs and every partner will be aware of the not-so-fun news. At any moment of time, the partners will be aware of the financials - it will be open book.

Thought Leadership and Knowledge Sharing
At Proteus sharing knowledge and caring for each other is a part of our DNA. We will be the ones who are adept with every innovation happening in our industry and around the world. Every Monday we will have a 30-minute "What's New" session where one of us will showcase a development from an industry completely unknown to us. We will bring lessons learned from not only our industry but from other professions so that our work processes and minds are sharp and pick up the latest innovation.

Cost Conscious
At Proteus Consulting, we will make every dollar count. Our offices will be sparse and only limited to utilitarian equipment and furniture. We are going to use as little paper as we can and be extremely efficient in our use of resources. Every dollar saved from our overhead will be a credit to our operations.

Proteus Consulting will never cut corners when it comes to the way we treat clients, handle partner issues, deliver projects, and do business.  There will be no compromise with integrity, under any circumstance.   

Our challenges: Yes, there will be plenty. Proteus Consulting works in an industry where new ideas and new ways of doing things is quite foreign. Our industry is wrought with 'tradition' and it will be difficult to create a path that is so 'new'. But then, that is why the industry needs a Proteus!

We only seek partners who will feel comfortable working in such a challenging environment. Partners who will treat Proteus not as a job, but as a mission - a mission to create something really worthy and bring about a change that is so needed in our industry. If this kind of environment matches your goals, please contact me.