Environmental energy company to expand in Austin and Houston

Aug 28, 2014
Austin Business Journal

One of Houston's fastest-growing energy companies is expanding in Austin


Spirit Environmental LLC started in 2005 as an environmental consulting firm to help energy companies meet state and federal regulations. With the small business doing well during the ongoing energy boom, it turned out that Spirit's founders just needed a little extra effort more than two years ago to rapidly grow the company and work with employee recruiters


"We decided we could do this forever but why not put the foot on the accelerator?" said Spirit co-founder Jess McAngus


Spirit, which ranks among the 2014 Houston Fast 100, had about eight employees near the end of 2011 and now has grown to almost 40 people and counting with a successful Denver office as well


Next week, Spirit will launch its new Austin office. Some new and potential employees want to live in Austin, McAngus said, and the new office puts Spirit near the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality


"We're still trying to expand in Houston too," McAngus said, noting that Spirit nearly tripled its Houston office space last year


Spirit could either expand in its existing space or open a new Houston-area office as soon as next year — possibly in Clear Lake — in order to accommodate more growth and put Spirit near its southeastern Houston refinery and chemical plant companies


Spirit is on track to hire 10 to 15 people a year and eventually build up to a team of 100 or so, he said


"We'd like to get up to that level because that would get us in a different league," he said


The problem is not finding new business, McAngus said. The issue is being able to hire enough quality engineers and project managers. Spirit is even looking outside of engineering at hiring people with atmospheric science and meteorology backgrounds, he said


"It's a lot more work to get a (environmental) permit today," McAngus said, noting that regulations are getting tougher. "I'm almost convinced that there's more work than there are people."



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