Director – Strategic Sourcing & Supply Chain
Before Dan Grosskopf CPSM, CPSD, DSSBB, became director of strategic sourcing and supply chain for Ameco, a construction site services company headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, he worked in the auto industry.
The mechanical engineer earned his degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2002 and went to work BorgWarner, a company that makes automatic transmissions and turbochargers.
“From a sustainability standpoint, I worked on projects — engine and powertrain systems for automobiles — with the focus of reducing emissions, increasing fuel economy and improving driver experience,” Grosskopf said.
His background in the auto industry working on reducing emissions prepared him for when he went to work for Ameco in 2021, where sustainability and reducing environmental impacts is a major focus.
In business since 1947, Ameco today is a site services company that offers a variety of solutions for planning and managing construction sites. Among the services are those designed to minimize a construction site’s environmental impacts.
Specifically, the company provides equipment, tools, scaffolding solutions, fueling services on a construction site, as well as ice, water distribution, dust control, and a number of and other tools and equipment that have elements of sustainability, he said.
Grosskopf explained that Ameco takes an approach that it calls the six Rs of sustainability: rethink, refuse, repair, reduce, reuse, and recycle to eliminate redundancies and duplications and protect the health and safety of workers and the environment.
“If you do them properly,” said Grosskopf, “and optimize the equipment you’re using to prevent emissions, be more productive and reduce the total number of labor hours on a site, you’re decreasing the impact on the environment.”
“When we talk about rethinking, we look at what a customer is asking for, and we ask if the product or the equipment they are asking for is really needed. Do we have another piece of equipment on-site that could do the same thing they’d like? Not only do they save from an environmental impact standpoint, but there are also cost benefits.”
The “refuse” aspect includes refusing solutions that could potentially harm the environment, Grosskopf said.
“Ameco doesn’t want to be in the business of dealing with hazardous harmful chemicals unless we have proper waste streams,” he said. “So, if we’re changing oils and filters and tires on the jobsite, we properly and responsibly recycle those materials.”
And rather than leaving equipment sitting idle on a jobsite, Ameco brings equipment, tools and materials to construction sites on a just-in-time basis to reduce the environmental footprint, Grosskopf said.
Another common issue: The typical construction site might have numerous subcontractors all bringing in their own equipment with their own fueling trucks, causing unnecessary traffic and an abundance of emissions created due to the duplication of efforts,
“Ameco manages that entire fleet of equipment, so you reduce the number of machines on-site. The machines on-site are maintained and comply with the latest emissions regulations.”
Ameco also offers internal tool repair and recycling services to ensure that tools are only disposed of once they reach their full, useful life.
Furthermore, the company has an environmentally responsible disposal program for tools.
While the pandemic slowed down supply chains and led to business disruptions for many companies around the globe over the past two years, Grosskopf says companies never slowed down in seeking sustainable solutions.
“During the pandemic we saw more companies place more of a focus on sustainability of their providers. For example, prior to the pandemic, when I look at what our fleet offerings were, the discussions just weren’t there. Now you’re starting to see not only the supply side commercialized products, but customers are starting to ask me what is your plan? What are your offerings?”
But the construction industry could go further, he said.
“As the industry migrates to battery electric vehicles and other hybrid offerings, the modern construction site really doesn’t have provisions for charging these vehicles. So, it’s great if we can go out and buy electric trucks, but while there might be a gas pump on the construction site, it isn’t likely to have a charging bank.”
“One of the things I think the industry needs to consider as we migrate towards more sustainable offerings, is getting an infrastructure set up early on sites so we can actually utilize some of this equipment and have the ability to recharge battery electric equipment, or even some of the battery hybrid electric vehicle equipment where it’ll run on a battery until the engine takes over.
But Grosskopf says the industry has a long way to go.
“Just looking at how the consumer market is trending, it’s still challenging to find charging solutions for passenger vehicles in the public domain,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll really see that within the next five years.”