4 The record articles

Confidence, Consulting and Expensive Diplomas

Posted: February 23rd, 2017

Authors: All4 Staff 

In my opinion, the most important building block for the foundation of a successful career in any consulting field is confidence; Confidence in the advice and guidance that you’re giving to your clients.  But you can’t have confidence without knowledge; Knowledge that your guidance is steering your client down the right path.

When I started at ALL4 in February 2012, I knew next to nothing about foundational aspects of air quality, such as The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, fine particulate matter, or pitot tubes. Ok, that was a lie.  I knew nothing about these things.  I had an expensive piece of paper on my wall that said “Diploma,” but zero experience in the world of air quality consulting.  So, you can imagine my predicament: zero knowledge begets a lack of confidence.  A lack of confidence begets poor consulting.

Luckily for a neophyte like me, and I’m sure for my young colleagues as well, All4’s internal training came to our aid.

ALL4’s beginner level training, given to all technical staff hires, is known as Air Quality 101 (AQ101).  It consists of 12, approximately 1-hour sessions.  Some of the major topics include:

  • The History of the Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • Emissions Inventories
  • Federal New Source Review (NSR) overview
  • Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations
  • Non-Attainment NSR regulations
  • Operating Permits
  • State Implementation Plans
  • Continuous Monitoring Systems (CMS) and Stack Testing
  • Air Dispersion Model Basics
  • Air Quality Modeling Evaluations
  • Standards or Performance for New Stationary Sources (NSPS) regulations
  • National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations

This training was invaluable for its role in making me a better consultant by giving me the foundational knowledge necessary to guide my clients with confidence.  AQ101 not only gave me the tools necessary to follow the federal and state regulations, but also the reason ‘why’ and the history behind the decisions that I was making.  In session 1, I learned that George H. W. Bush signed the legislation that would become the CAA Amendments of 1990, and with it, the establishment of the Title V Operating Permit program and the expansion of the NESHAPs.  In session 4, I learned that fine particulate matter (PM) is made up of filterable PM (i.e., PM that can be captured on a paper filter during stack testing) and condensable PM (i.e., PM in the gaseous phase, which condenses to sub-micron particles after cooling). Finally, in session 7, I learned that a pitot tube is an instrument used in stack testing to measure air velocity within an exhaust stack.

Recently, ALL4 has received some feedback from our clients that they are in need of this type of institutional air quality training at their companies.  One major reason is that the institutional knowledge of those whose careers have paralleled the path of air regulations from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s will start to vanish as this group of air quality specialists retire from consulting positions, the industrial sector and the regulatory agencies.  Our clients are dealing with that loss today.

So, here are the questions that I have for you: Would you find value in this kind of training in your role?  Is this type of foundational-level air quality training missing at your company?  How could you do your job better if you received this type of training? And, if you’re responsible for managing a team of people, do you feel like your staff could benefit and perform better if they received foundational training?  If so, we’d love to hear about it.

Please reach out to ALL4’s RegTech Education Center leader Dan Holland at 610.933.5246 ext 115 with your respective contact info and he can provide you more information on how he can work with and train you.


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