AKT Peerless Environmental Services is celebrating another major milestone with our 30th anniversary of doing business. Take a look at our 30 Year Video. Founded in 1989 originally as Peerless Environmental Services, the company started out as a one-person affair based in Saginaw, Michigan. Peerless’ founder, Brian Eggers, realized there was a need for environmental services within the growing petroleum industry, so he borrowed seed money from a family friend and completed an underground storage tank soil testing program, ultimately receiving a certification and a State of Michigan approval to conduct field investigations and remediation on leaking underground storage tanks.
“When I started the business in ‘89, I didn’t even have a computer,” said Brian Eggers. “I was working 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make ends meet. In fact, to save money, we built our first drill rig. We spent weeks welding and fabricating it so we would have our own “Eco Probe” soil boring machine. We were quite proud of that piece of equipment!”
With 17 years as a manager for a local petroleum jobber, and as a licensed mechanical contractor, Brian was managing the installation and removal of underground storage tank systems throughout Michigan. With ever growing environmental regulations bearing down on the industry, he was confident that he could compete in the emerging environmental engineering business and build a client-focused culture of service that many providers at the time seemed to miss.
Three years later in 1992, Tony Anthony and Anthony Kashat founded AKT Environmental Consultants in Farmington Hills, Michigan after the two developed a strong relationship while attending graduate school at Wayne State University and working at a national consulting firm.
Anthony “Tony” Kashat started his environmental career as an analytical laboratory chemist, then later transferred to the environmental consulting side of the business where he developed his environmental due diligence and compliance skills. In 1990, he was hired by National Bank of Detroit (NBD) to manage environmental affairs for the Trust Real Estate Department and to establish bank policies and risk management procedures. Here he developed a keen acumen for strategic business development. “I was ready when Tony Anthony wanted to start AKT Environmental,” said Tony Kashat. “We initially called ourselves Anthony-Kashat Environmental Consultants. I still have my first business card.”
At the same time, Tony Anthony was sought out by a boutique environmental remediation company where he honed his skills by investigating and mitigating contamination plumes for Fortune 500 companies across the United States. “I’ve always been fascinated with science,” says Tony Anthony. “And this was a field where I was able to combine science and engineering, plus gain the satisfaction of building specialized remediation systems!”
It was during those years, while starting families and working together, that Tony and Tony realized how well their respective skill sets and personalities complimented one another. “It was an exciting time to be in the environmental field,” says Tony Anthony. “And It didn’t take long for us to realize that we both shared a passion for business and entrepreneurship, and that together we could create and build an environmental services firm.”
According to Kashat, it was their “can do” and “failure is not an option” attitudes that made it relatively easy working 24/7 for the first 5 years of the business. “We shared a common vision driven by the needs of our clients and providing best-in-class services,” Kashat adds. “This helped drive success for our clients and for us too, and that’s how we grew.”
Working out of their homes and building remediation systems in a family barn, Tony Anthony recalls one example where they built remediation systems and loaded them into the back of their pickup truck. “We drove six hours through a blizzard to install those systems in Upstate New York,” shares Tony Anthony. “We did what was necessary to fulfill our commitment to our client.” If you watch the 30-year anniversary video, you will see some of the early remediation systems built by AKT, complete with the early versions of the AKT logo proudly displayed on their equipment.
Between 1992 and 2000, the Tony’s experienced robust growth with offices in Farmington Hills and Detroit… and well before it was “cool” to be in Detroit. Early clients included Guardian Industries, Ziebart International, Boston Market, Cooper Tire, Damone Andrew (now First Industrial), Laidlaw, REDICO, and several environmental attorneys.
As with AKT, Peerless also experienced strong growth in their first decade of business, and although Peerless Environmental Services and AKT Environmental Consulting competed for some business, their specialties and geographic focus greatly complemented one another. “I kept running into “The Tony’s”, who we affectionately refer to as TA and TK for obvious reasons,” shares Brian Eggers, “and the more I got to know these two and how they did business, the more it made sense that we should consolidate into one entity.” This recognition led to a merger of the two companies in the year 2000 to become AKT Peerless, where Brian, Tony and Tony continue to serve as Principals & Co-Founders of the company they created.
“Our goal has always been to deliver value to our clients, whether a private company or a government entity,” shares Tony Kashat. “We strive to build long-standing relationships built on the trust that comes from helping our clients be successful. In fact, many of the customers we serve today have been with us since the beginning, and that’s gratifying.”
Spanning the 30 years, the evolution of AKT Peerless has included key business acquisitions in 1999, 2009, 2010, 2013 & 2014, as well as many significant milestones, including being one of the first environmental firms to engage in the establishment of Brownfield Redevelopment programs in Michigan, a key area of specialty that continues today.
With acquisitions and an ongoing focus on quality came an expanded service portfolio with a greater depth of expertise. “The acquisitions expanded our geographic footprint and the new services that were complementary to our core environmental services,” says Tony Anthony.
Today, the company continues its long-standing strategic focus on delivering value and achieving customer success for its clients nationwide. “We’re proud of our roots and humble beginnings in Saginaw and Farmington Hills, Michigan,” says Brian Eggers, “but we’re equally excited to have witnessed the growth and expansion of AKT Peerless’ presence and reputation, not only across Michigan, but also into Illinois, Georgia, Ohio and California – it’s been a fulfilling experience for all three of us!”
Over the three decades, the company has expanded from the three founders to over 85 professionals in six states, giving the company a nationwide reach. With an enthusiastic company culture that not only stresses the importance of work-life balance, the company focuses on achieving solutions that make a real difference for our communities. We look out for the best interest of our communities and this cultural aspect has helped us attract some of the top professionals in our field. At AKT Peerless, we truly create a better environment for your business and your community.
Take a look at AKT Peerless’ 30th Anniversary video by clicking HERE.