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Management buyout a big growth move for environmental consulting business

Ontario East


In 2006, three employees of SGS Lakefield Research took a big leap of faith and bought out the environmental consulting arm of their company.

They started Cambium Environmental (cambium-env.com) with about a dozen people and began providing lab analysis and environmental consulting services to Eastern Ontario governments, corporations, and individuals.

“Since that time we’ve doubled in size and we’re still slated to grow,” says president John Desbiens, who co-founded Cambium with senior project managers David Bucholtz and Jim Bailey. Bucholtz focuses on waste management while Bailey is an environmental engineer.

Cambium has grown from the approximately 12 employees to 24 people and it recently moved into a new facility twice the size of the original.

“We had to move locations if we were to grow and we were packing people in too tightly,” says Desbiens.

Much of Cambium’s success comes from the vitality of its youthful workforce and the small-company feel that is fostered there, he says.

Indeed, Environmental Careers Organization Canada last year named Cambium as an employer of the year finalist among the country’s small- and medium-sized environmental enterprises.

The company employs staff ranging from engineers, hydrogeologists, and geographic information systems specialists to community development experts and technologists and technicians. Most have been recruited or educated locally at either Trent University or Fleming College in Peterborough.

Cambium helps organizations to meet regulatory standards and obtain permits, but it also provides many other environmental services in municipal environmental management, community development, and the aggregate sector.

Chantelle Held, rural development officer for the Greater Peterborough
Economic Development Corporation, says Cambium is one of the region’s most exciting success stories.

“It’s fantastic to see Cambium grow so steadily and to know that this company is creating so many sophisticated creative-economy jobs,” Held says.

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