Marvin Webster, president and owner of Environmental Corporation of America, likes to say he is a technician. “I love the nitty-gritty detail of the science and of the regulations,” Webster said. “I knew I did not want to work on the government side as a regulator but rather on the development side.” After earning a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Policy, he went to work at ECA in 1993. One of his first projects was writing an environmental assessment for installing a tower in a wildlife preserve. Webster says he believes it is one of the first environmental assessments for a communication structure. In 1999, he purchased ECA from his boss. Webster says the Federal Communications Commission’s environmental rules have been in place for many years – the core of the rules were in place before 1990, and the base language of the regulations has still not changed today. “That most tower sites have no significant environmental impacts was true then and remains true today, but there was little done back then to document that fact,” Webster said.
Like many others in the industry, Webster has seen the continuing trend of people opposing towers. “They don’t like it, but they still like to use it,” he said. “It’s not always possible to have a counter-party accept a set of findings or conclusions, but it is possible in almost all instances to influence the perception at the margin.” Presenting and establishing a purpose and a need to opponents can be difficult. Unfortunately, neighborhood opponents often think the purpose is greed, Webster said. But he pointed out that today’s technology is not just about teenagers texting friends. “It has to do with public and personal safety,” he said. “It is now necessary.” Webster estimates that ECA to date has performed 35,000 projects at more than 12,000 telecommunications sites and facilities. What is next for Webster and ECA? “I’m still young and love the work we do,” he said. “I feel I have many valuable skills and so much experience to leverage for our customers. So for now, I just plan to keep doing what we do – solving problems and making the difficult possible.”