Healthy Air Episode #16

Episode #16
Preventing Hazards in the Indoor Environment | Loren Witkin

In this episode, Loren Witkin talks about pandemic and post-pandemic IAQ issues. He discusses the tension among two big themes in the built environment, how they respond to wildfire-related challenges, and how to prevent indoor hazards.

Loren is the CEO of Citadel EHS and founded the company with the goal of creating an employee- and client-focused consulting firm that fused a thorough understanding of the built environment within the fields of environmental, health, and safety (EHS). As part of his vision to bring all employees into ownership roles, Loren drove the formation of the firm’s ESOP in 2003 while simultaneously overseeing all phases of corporate development, client management, and complex project management across multiple disciplines. A creative and focused leader, Loren has 30+ years of experience in the EHS industry, both in the public and private sectors, with numerous state, federal, and industry accreditations and certifications to his name. During his career, Loren has served as a panel member, speaker, and presenter on various EHS matters to universities, public agencies, cities, school districts, and industry conferences nationwide. He held tenure at UCLA as one of the first asbestos/lead program managers in California, where he developed policies relating to the identification and remediation of environmental contaminants for 17+ million square feet of property. He is also a founding corporate member of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, a member of the Los Angeles Downtown Breakfast Club, and of the Urban Land Institute. 

Keeping air safe has never been more important. Now that we are in the next normal, it is critical that the air we breathe in shared indoor spaces is healthy and safe for continued occupancy. Are we ready to face this challenge and mitigate airborne exposure risk indoors? Welcome to Healthy Air, a podcast that talks about the future of buildings and how to keep air safe and healthy. Keep up with the latest industry trends, latest technologies, and regulatory changes with your host, Erik Malmstrom, industry experts, and the SafeTraces team here on Healthy Air.

SHOW NOTES:

  • An overview of Loren’s background [1:10]
  • What motivated Loren to found Citadel [5:24]
  • Citadel EHS’s mission and focus [8:59]
  • Citadel EHS thinks of their competition as collaborators [10:16]
  • Pre-pandemic and post-pandemic IAQ issues [11:33[
  • Pandemic drew attention to air quality issues [13:41]
  • Critical collaboration between service lines [15:12]
  • Employee and tenant retention are top concerns [18:05]
  • Wildfire-related challenges and key questions [24:35]
  • Challenges and opportunities on the horizon [27:20]
  • Tension among themes in the built environment [33:04]
  • Loren’s predictions on building technology changes in the next ten years [35:36]
  • How Citadel EHS stays on top of the market [37:49]

RESOURCES:

QUOTES:

Citadel is an employee-owned and client-focused consulting firm that fuses a thorough understanding of the built environment within the fields of environmental, health, and safety.”

“Citadel is 100% employee-owned. We want to share what we make with those that make it, and that includes everyone. Our roles may be different, but they’re equally as important.”

“I think highly of our competition, and I use competition loosely because I think there are a lot of ways that we can collaborate, to extend our geography or skill base for example.”

“What changed with the pandemic is that the indoor environment became much more important. There were real health issues associated with the spread of diseases and pathogens.”

“Whether the hazard is biological, physical, or chemical, ventilation is crucial. And understanding your building’s systems is crucial for the prevention of these issues.”

“Focus on indoor air quality overlays all of our service lines, ensuring a complete, integrated set of services for our clients. Collaboration between various practice areas is key.”

“Employers are concerned about retaining and recruiting staff. They want to articulate what they’ve done to ensure safety in the work environment, but what are the best options?”

“Wildfire-related challenges are certainly impacting our clients. We can’t control the situation, but we can control how we prepare and respond with some key questions.”

“Two big themes within the built environment are 1. Sustainability and 2. Health and Safety. Where are these two trends aligned? And where is there tension? And what can be done?”

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