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Entrepreneur Profile: Mike Dresen, hydrogeologist, CEO and president of Weiss Associates

  • March 29, 2012

By Aaron Tilley

What it (Weiss Associates) does: We provide our government and commercial clients with professional hydrogeologic and engineering services to assess and clean up contaminants in the environment, largely at superfund sites.

HQ: Emeryville.

2011 revenue: $8.3 million.

Employees: 54.

Founded: 1980.

Education: Bachelor’s in geology and Master’s in environmental geology from Cal State Hayward (now California State University, East Bay).

Age: 59.

Residence: Castro Valley.


Big picture

How’s business: Business for us is stable. There’s been a bit of contraction in our industry affected by the recession. We’re seeing more growth in private sector work.

Biggest challenge for your company: Finding new clients who want good value for work they need done, rather than just focusing on the lowest price. A lot of price pressure in our industry.

What will change at your company in the next year: In the upcoming year we want to add new service areas in storm water and storm water management.

Business moves

Biggest business strength: We’re a small company, but we have capabilities of larger companies. We can be more nimble than large companies and also have technical strengths of large companies.

Biggest business weakness: Because of contraction in the industry, it can sometimes be hard to find experienced, more serious, top-end staff.

Smartest move: We recently hired one of the best in business developers in environmental field in the Bay Area, Ellis Wallenberg.

Biggest worry: The economy is showing some signs of improvement, but I worry it’s going to be slow and contracted.

What do you wish you had known from Day 1: I think it would have been better knowing more about the business aspect of running a company. I’m a geologist by training.


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