The Greenland Group
According to predictions, almost 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in rapidly urbanizing areas by 2030. The speed of development and the volume of people and projects raise serious concerns in regards to environmental impact and potential of severe environmental damage in the urbanized areas.
Since 1994, the Greenland Group has grown into an award-winning, professional engineering and technology enterprise that works in the environmental, water resources and land development sectors, specializing on the areas of integrated infrastructure planning and design, watershed management, engineering information technology, with focus on Public–Private partnership projects.
The Greenland Group of companies (Greenland International – Consulting Engineers, Greenland Technologies Group, Urban Watershed Group and other professional affiliations) and the GREENLAND® brand have combined traditional engineering methods and emerging technologies with conservationist ethics, effectively serving developers, industries and all levels of government to discover sustainable engineering solutions.
In 2003, Mark Palmer, P. Eng., acquired the Greenland Group and he has been behind Greenland’s growth as an innovative, award-winning organization and an operation to envy. The company owes its success to its unique business model that combines traditional engineering methods with the best science and niche technologies.
The integration of technology development partnerships and Greenland’s engineering services has been instrumental in the company’s success, right along with Palmer’s philosophy of calculated risk, and treating business as a living entity — a entity that must be fed in order to thrive. “I have decided to take the company in the direction of the environmental solutions and software development, focusing on P3s (Public–Private partnerships). Also, as a group of 30 seasoned professionals located in the small town of Collingwood, we give clients the ‘small town’ feel when dealing with our clients and creating solutions, and it gives us the competitive advantage in terms of lower cost and utilizing new technologies,” says Palmer.
With 20 years in a sustainability-focused business, the Greenland Group has built up a solid industry lead, bringing construction and engineering companies up to speed in the areas of sustainable development and conservation. Greenland offers sustainable solutions and tools that help the land development industry build and create, while implementing the GREENLAND® brand towards minimal environmental impact of these projects. “We have urban land leaders approaching us because we have the experience with asset sustainability approaches and low impact development technologies, whether its green technologies, clean energy solutions, climate change impact services, or fuel storage management,” says Palmer.
Low Impact Development (LID) engineering techniques continue to emerge in the construction and engineering industries in the form of cost-effective urban land strategy applications used throughout the development — from the site plan or individual building envelope to large-scale communities. LID strategies integrate project area’s natural features with engineered, small-scale hydrologic controls, and mimicking pre-development hydrology, protecting the natural state of the area within and around the development.
The Greenland Group has also been a leader in the development of integrated storm water management and infrastructure design software for the Canadian consulting industry, as well as the use of remote sensing technologies for floodplain mapping and flood reduction projects in Canada.
The Greenland Group proprietary tools include integrated CAD-GIS modeling systems with climate change modeling tools. The Greenland Group has also been responsible for the design and construction management of many flooding control, master drainage plan, environmental assessment and subwatershed studies.
“We use our in-house and accepted tools to develop infrastructure master plans with a focus on the issues of water scarcity, food security and pollution. In regards to our software development practice, we are now moving to open-source versions of some software, so it can be used by the general public. We feel that developing open source software can also be utilized by our academic and research institutes partners too. We expect that open-source versions of our software will help us create new partnerships in North America and overseas with organizations that get approached by government agencies, watershed districts and so on to help them set up databases in terms of managing water resources, and “connecting with the private sector,” says Palmer. “In other words, working with strategic NGO or public sector organizations and providing scoped, yet free, services can position the Greenland Group into the matrix of public institutions that have access to other vital information of national or regional interest. Connecting projects with private developers and investor groups, will also create opportunities for the acquisition of new engineering projects, and expand the GREENLAND® brand around the globe.”
In Canada, this “Small Business with a Global Footprint” currently works with companies such as the Cortel Group, Walton Group, Toronto-based Geranium Corporation, City of Ottawa (as a peer reviewer), as well as other municipalities and levels of government. According to Palmer, the Walton Group, a major land owner in Canada and the U.S., seeks to invest in smaller communities and is now rebranding its business model with a core sustainability community focus.
But North America is not the only place where Greenland business makes serious headway. In 2012, the company met delegates from the Philippines and other Pacific-Rim nations’ officials at a Team Canada trade mission to Southeast Asia. Following this mission, the company hosted representatives from the Government of Ontario, the Federal government and the Republic of The Philippines. The company continues to work on taking its model onto the international stage. “We see the opportunities in the Pacific Rim to building collaborative partnerships. We also now have a representative in Manila who is representing our unique business model within that growth engineering region,” says Palmer.
Since 2008, the company has accelerated its P3 scope of engineering services, which has proven to be profitable for the Greenland Group. The company is also focused on steady organic growth and bringing into the equation the younger generation of the Greenland staff. “We have high requirements when acquiring new talent, but we are aware that we need to continue on the path of innovation, and the new generation brings onboard many exciting ideas,” says Palmer.
Two decades in the making, from Palmer’s words, it appears that the Greenland Group is on a verge of something big, domestically and internationally, as the company continues its work as a unique solutions provider in the engineering sector.