25 Jan
Joe Tell Appointed to Scripps Institution of Oceanography Director’s Council

KTL Principal Joe Tell was recently appointed to the Director’s Council of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California (UC) San Diego. Scripps is one of the most important centers for global earth science research and education in the world.

Director’s Council members are leaders in business, government, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector. The Council meets formally twice per year to review the institution’s progress and to advise the Director in strategic planning for priorities, new directions, and high-level outreach.

Joseph Tell
KTL Principal Joe Tell

Joe brings over 25 years of experience working with industrial, government, and institutional clients in operational and business risk management, process improvement, information management systems, and compliance assurance to his Director’s Council position. His expertise is focused on creating strategies for developing and implementing risk-based management systems that sustain the environment and public health, emphasize strong leadership commitment, and ensure cross-functional stakeholder engagement. Joe is particularly interested in making connections between the private sector, government agencies, and the NGO community to promote collaborative solutions to global environmental and health issues.

Scripps was founded as the Marine Biological Association of San Diego in 1903. The Institution leads research in climate change impacts and adaptation, resilience to hazards, conservation and biodiversity, oceans and human health, national security, and innovative technology to observe the planet.

08 Dec
Meet Our New Employees
KTL News: New Food Safety Consultant

KTL is pleased to welcome the newest member of our food safety team!

Anna Sauls, Senior Consultant

Anna Sauls is a food safety and quality professional with more than ten years of experience. Prior to joining KTL, she served as an industry trainer for food, beverage, and natural products. Anna has in-depth knowledge of FDA food safety regulations and a strong ability to effectively communicate and train others on meeting food safety and quality requirements. Her areas of expertise include 21 CFR, food safety hazards, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), Preventive Controls for Human Foods, food defense, environmental monitoring, sanitation, auditing, and documentation. Anna is based in Candler, NC. Read her full bio… | 252.339.7583

26 Sep
CAPPA 2022
2022 CAPPA Conference: KTL Case Study on Managing EHS Compliance

The Central region of APPA (CAPPA) is back hosting the 2022 Annual Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska this October–and KTL is looking forward to being part of the technical agenda this year! With the constant state of change in Higher Education, every interaction with students, faculty, staff and our business partners, vendor, etc. is important to improvement and growth in facilities. This year’s conference is filled with business and educational sessions to help support facilities management professionals in educational institutions.

KTL will be joining Southeast Missouri State University’s Autumn Gentry to present the following case study:

Using Microsoft 365 and SharePoint® to Manage EHS Compliance: University Case Study
October 10, 2022 | 11:00-11:55 a.m.

This presentation will discuss how educational facilities can use Microsoft 365 and SharePoint as a tool to manage EHS compliance programs. We will provide an overview of applicable EHS regulations, discuss how 365/SharePoint can be used to address university-specific needs, and provide a demonstration of Southeast Missouri State University’s “live” EHS management system.

19 Sep
Meet Our New Employees
KTL Expands EHS Resources

KTL is pleased to welcome the newest member of our EHS team!

Coulter Wood, CEM, CPEA, Senior Consultant

Coulter Wood, CEM, CPEA, is an is an environmental compliance and energy management leader with over 20 years of industry and consulting experience in providing expert regulatory and technical guidance, conducting energy and environmental compliance audits, leading corporate sustainability efforts and environmental capital expenditure projects, and managing energy sourcing and procurement. Coulter has extensive knowledge of state and federal environmental regulations. He has completed inspections and reports for emissions stack testing and Title V permitting, air emissions inventories, hazardous waste generation, storm water sampling, SPCC Plans, and NPDES authorizations and permits. He has also developed environmental and energy management systems. Coulter is a Certified Environmental Manager (CEM) and Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA). Coulter is based in Des Moines, Iowa. Read his full bio… | 507.208.9126

29 Aug
MECC 2022
MECC 2022: KTL Presents on Compliance Management Systems

KTL is excited to be joining the 2022 Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference (MECC) as a featured presenter live and in-person in Kansas City, Missouri. MECC examines the new environmental reality under the Biden Administration. The conference takes a fresh, regional approach to the increasingly difficult task of environmental compliance, permitting, enforcement, and other critical environmental issues that impact Midwest facilities and institutions.

KTL’s presentions are part of the workshop’s technical agenda:

City of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Compliance Management System: A Demonstration
September 13, 2022 | 10:00-10:35 a.m.

See how the City of Lincoln, NE Transportation and Utilities Department is leveraging Microsoft 365® to build regulatory compliance management tools that help track permit requirements and other compliance obligations. Features include requirements database, workflows with email notifications, status tracking, document and records management, staff communication / collaboration tools, and management reporting.

EHS Information Management System using Microsoft 365 and SharePoint
September 13, 2022 | 3:40-4:15 p.m.

Effective information management is critical to complying with EHS regulations, but many organizations lack the resources to manage, maintain, and demonstrate compliance. This presentation will demonstrate how Microsoft 365® and SharePoint® can be used as tools to create organizational efficiency and meet regulatory compliance obligations. KTL and Southeast Missouri State University will share the university’s SharePoint site and demonstrate how they are using the system to effectively manage EHS programs, including chemical management, air quality, and refrigerant management. This session will walk through features of SharePoint, provide tips to keep tools remain simple yet effective, and highlight how SharePoint can be expanded into an effective technology platform to ensure ongoing compliance.

19 Jul
Staff Spotlight Stacey Pisani
Staff Spotlight on Stacey Pisani

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Marketing Director Stacey Pisani. Stacey has over 20 years of experience working as a communications professional exclusively in the areas of environmental, health & safety (EHS); food safety; and renewable energy. She has developed a comprehensive understanding of this subject matter that allows her to effectively add value to projects and turn technical information into meaningful content. She is based in our Madison, WI headquarters.

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I am originally from the Madison area and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a degree in communications and a minor in technical writing. While I do not have an environmental background, one of my first jobs after college was working for RMT, an environmental consulting firm. I found my niche and have remained in this industry for over 20 years.

I joined KTL in 2013 and currently serve as the company’s Marketing Director. My communications and marketing expertise spans all facets of internal and external marketing and communications, including executive communications, brand management, public relations, website design/management, digital marketing, social media, newsletter development, change communications, promotional campaigns, and copywriting/editing for various media. I also am heavily involved in developing proposals and working on a variety of training, reports, and deliverables for many of KTL’s clients.

What types of clients do you work with?

While a large portion of my time is spent working with KTL staff on marketing initiatives to grow KTL’s brand recognition and client base, I am fortunate to also work on projects for many of our clients in the areas of both EHS and food safety. This ranges from developing content for client publications, to writing procedures and policies, to creating training content, to reviewing various types of reports to ensure quality end products. I don’t interface with clients directly too often but enjoy those opportunities when I do!

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

I spend a good portion of my days writing, reviewing, and editing—all things I love to do. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to communicate most effectively some very technical and/or critical information. I am continually learning new things in my job, which is great after 20 years. And I get to work with most KTL staff on some level—I truly enjoy being able to interact with everyone in the office and in our remote locations.

What do you like to do in your free time?

My husband and I have two daughters who fill our calendar with lots of running around to gymnastics and dance. They keep us entertained! But when we aren’t in the car or at some sort of competition, I really enjoy working out, reading, theater, cooking/baking.

Read Stacey’s full bio.

13 Jun
Meet Our New Employees
KTL News: New EHS Resources

KTL is pleased to welcome the following new EHS resources to our team!

Christen Hoffman, Senior Consultant

Christen is an EHS professional with over ten years of industry experience providing EHS compliance management, leadership, and support for industry. She is particularly skilled in company culture, environmental risk management, streamlined compliance systems and associated training programs, annual reporting, root cause analysis, hazardous waste management, and air quality compliance. Christen also excels at using digital innovation (Microsoft 365 and SharePoint) to maximize the value efficiency of EHS programs. Christen is based in Ames, Iowa. Read her full bio… | 913.306.7023

Sam Lechnir, EIT, Consultant

Sam joins KTL with nearly five years of experience working in both the public and private sectors to provide environmental compliance and remediation services. In particular, he has strong experience using state and federal regulations to develop permit applications; employing investigative methods with various media; conducting data assessments/evaluations; and implementing remediation technologies. As a certified EIT, Sam has valuable knowledge of the process of engineering and uses this to optimize quality and efficiency on projects. He is based out of our Madison office. Read his full bio… | 608.588.5116

24 May
Food Safety Summit Booth 2022
Food Safety Summit Recap: Key Takeaways

The Food Safety Summit brings together the food safety community to learn more about today’s most crucial elements of food safety—from regulatory concerns and current industry trends to ongoing challenges and the latest technology and solutions.

This year’s Summit, held earlier in May, proved once again to be an engaging and informative meeting for all in attendance. Throughout the Summit, KTL’s food safety experts observed several common themes and challenges that the food industry is facing — challenges that your business may be encountering today.

We sat down with KTL’s attendees—Roberto Bellavia, Kasia Branny, Samantha Edwards, April Greene, and Joe Tell—to get their key takeaways from the Summit.

What topics were covered throughout the Summit?

The agenda for this year’s Summit was packed. Just some of the topics covered included cybersecurity, internal audits, food waste, food safety culture, foodborne illness, food safety management systems (FSMS), data-driven analytics, tech-enabled traceability, food recalls, microbial challenge studies, supply chain management, and sanitation.

Food safety culture headlined the agenda as the keynote topic this year, and it is clear this is an area garnering much more attention and visibility across the food industry. The keynote address provided the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) views on the importance of developing and nurturing food safety culture in the food industry, the industry perspective on implementing successful food safety culture strategies, and the importance of food safety culture through the eyes of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

KTL participated in a panel on virtual tools for food safety assessments. Panelists discussed how organizations are using remote technology to perform food safety assessments, food inspections, product and facility approvals, and similar tasks that are usually performed in person and onsite. The group discussed the practical, procedural, legal, and technology considerations any organization needs to develop efficient and effective remote audit protocols and maximize their potential use of remote tools.

In addition, KTL had a large turnout for our Solutions Stage presentation, Food Safety Management System Case Study: Using Microsoft 365® to Improve Compliance. KTL discussed how having a simple, centralized FSMS to manage, track, communicate, and report compliance program information can enable staff to complete required tasks, improve compliance performance, and support operational decision-making. The big secret: most companies already have the software they need in-house. An industry case study demonstrated a cost-effective approach for building an FSMS using the Microsoft 365 platform with SharePoint®.  

What are the biggest challenges companies in the food industry are currently facing?

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges we heard time and again is related to staffing, from turnover in the quality department to being understaffed in production. On a related note, many also noted challenges in finding qualified—and available—auditors. Also not surprising, budget constraints and shortages in the supply chain remain challenges to navigate. It is increasingly difficult to get raw materials for operations and finding truckers to get materials to/from facilities is hampering production.

There remains a lot of focus on the application of new FDA requirements—like Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) and Food Defense and Intentional Adulteration—and finding good systems to manage all the related documents. While this is not a new rule, supplier approval/verification programs, vulnerability assessments, and written food defense plans will remain a key focus as a surge in food demand and lack of supply has created an environment ripe for food fraud. It is likely that FDA intentional adulteration inspections could also ramp up.

Finally, many companies are experiencing other regulatory bodies (beyond FDA and USDA) taking much more interest in food companies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have started to realize that they have been somewhat lax on inspecting these facilities. 2021 brought a significant uptick in EPA multi-media inspections, enforcement actions, and large penalties for violations, particularly related to anhydrous ammonia storage, risk management, and chemical accident prevention planning. Anhydrous ammonia is widely used as refrigerant in food facilities, including meat, poultry, and fish processing facilities; dairy and ice cream plants; wineries and breweries; fruit juice, vegetable juice, and soft drink processing facilities; cold storage warehouses; other food processing facilities; and seafood processing facilities aboard ships. Not only are companies trying to make do with fewer staff, but responsibilities are growing to include these environmental, health, and safety (EHS) regulatory compliance concerns, as well.

Are there any *new* food safety trends you heard about that companies should have on their radar?

Food safety culture. Food safety culture and its introduction into various certification schemes and regulations is a hot trend that will only grow in importance. Food safety culture is a core element of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety. It is also a key component of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements Version 2020 and, subsequently, is being integrated as a requirement into many of the benchmarked food safety certification standards. Best-in-class food safety cultures have robust systems in place to ensure consistent commitment, communication, procedures, training, performance measurement, and trust.

Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is moving to the forefront for many. A new law was adopted that requires companies in listed industry sectors, including the food sector, to report to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 72 hours of a cyberattack and within 24 hours if they paid ransom. Implementing regulations will clarify which companies are specifically subject to this reporting. Interestingly, Microsoft SharePoint was mentioned during the Summit as one of the safest technologies for storing and managing information compared to other food safety software from a cybersecurity perspective.

Rapid laboratory testing. Another interesting and very current discussion was about the new micronutrient and chemical analyses that have been developed to quickly test baby formula to help combat the baby formula shortage. There is a lot of opportunity and more “affordable” technology available to set up internal rapid laboratory testing to conduct product and environmental testing.

Data analytics. There is also a big push for usable data. Companies are starting to realize they need to have data they can use in a meaningful way to improve their systems. A well-designed and well-executed food safety program—with data trend analysis—provides an important tool for ensuring food safety. The goal should be to effectively capture and analyze audit data and then use that information to improve food safety and quality, achieve certification requirements, and enhance overall business performance.

Sustainable food management. The regulatory community has identified a real need for addressing food waste and the lack of circularity in the food industry. Wasted food makes up the largest percentage—over 20%—of any one material sent to landfills and incinerators each year in the U.S. The EPA, USDA, and FDA have already joined forces to address the magnitude of wasted food impacts across the U.S. through the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion program. Efforts to promote sustainable food management have begun extending to the state level and will continue.

Supplier expectations. Finally, companies (and customers) are setting higher expectations for the supplier and vendor companies they work with. As a result, more companies are pursuing certifications in areas they may not have previously considered to meet these customer expectations or, sometimes, to work globally. This can include anything from getting certified to various ISO management system standards (e.g., quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001), cybersecurity (ISO 27001), etc.), or participating in sustainability and corporate social responsibility reporting (e.g., Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), etc.).

What should companies in the food industry be doing now to plan for the future?

The shortage of workers—and resources, in general—is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The days where it is typical to see someone at the same company for 25+ years are coming to a close! Managing the complexities of a FSMS and food safety program is challenging, even when fully staffed. Every regulatory agency and voluntary certification standard calls for companies to fulfill compliance requirements; supply chain and internal requirements create further complications and confusion.

One of the best things food companies can do to manage this challenge and plan for the future is to invest in going digital. Compliance efficiency and tracking tools are becoming essential to allow companies to do more with fewer resources. An integrated compliance management system brings various tools together to create one system that effectively manages compliance requirements, enables staff to carry out daily tasks and manage operations, and supports operational decision making by tracking and trending data that is collected daily by the team charged with implementation.

24 May
Staff Spotlight Joe Tell
Staff Spotlight on Joe Tell

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Principal and founding partner Joe Tell. In his professional career, Joe has amassed over 25 years of experience providing strategic management systems, subject matter expertise, and technology solutions to help diverse organizations solve their EHS and food safety compliance and sustainability challenges. Joe founded Tellevate LLC in 2011 and was instrumental in the merger of Tellevate LLC with Kestrel Management LLC to form KTL in 2019. He is based in Atlanta, GA.

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, I attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and graduated in 1997 with a B.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering. I began my career as Project Engineer at Law Engineering and Environmental Services (now part of AMEC) and had the opportunity to work on the National Park Service Cape Hatteras Lighthouse relocation and the Atlantic Station steel mill redevelopment site in downtown Atlanta. In 1999, I transitioned to a small consulting firm in the environmental services industry and served as a Partner in that company from 2002 until 2011.

In May 2011, I founded Tellevate LLC as a small business focused on providing sustainability, risk management, and EHS management consulting services for government and industry clients. At Tellevate, I focused on sustainability, EHS, and quality management systems based on the ISO family of standards and the integration of strong compliance programs. In November 2019, Tellevate joined forces with Kestrel Management to form KTL—the business we are today.

As Principal and Chair of the KTL Executive Committee, I now help manage KTL’s business and direct consulting services in sustainability, EHS, food safety, quality, and information management. I have been able to leverage my passion for sustainability to help KTL’s clients improve their environmental and social stewardship.

What types of clients do you work with?

I work closely with many industrial companies, government agencies, universities, and municipalities to support their operations across the U.S and abroad. Notable projects throughout my career have included environmental management system (EMS) design for the U.S. Air Force and Army National Guard; sustainability program development for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI); environmental management support for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Global Health; pesticide risk assessments for the U.S. Forest Service; and many engagements with a wide range of industrial companies to develop EHS, food safety, quality, and sustainability programs.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

I love working with our exceptional KTL staff and a wide variety of clients across many industries to develop risk-based programs that improve human health and protect the environment. No two days are ever the same! I also enjoy managing a successful, small business—striving to continuously improve our operations and make KTL a great place to work.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I was a musician in high school and college and still enjoy jamming with other local musicians around Atlanta when I get the chance. I live with my wife (also an Environmental Engineer) and two daughters in Decatur, a small city within the metro Atlanta area that has a great neighborhood feel. You might find us at a festival on the Decatur Square or out to dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Read Joe’s full bio.

25 Apr
Staff Spotlight on Lisa Langdon, PE

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Principal Lisa Langdon, P.E. Lisa provides project direction and strategic oversight to ensure the success of KTL’s projects and satisfaction of our clients. She has over 25 years of experience assisting clients with management system design and deployment, business process improvement, risk management, and compliance assurance. Lisa also manages KTL’s team of consultants and support staff. She is based out of our Madison, WI headquarters. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I have my degree in Civil Engineering with an environmental emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I began my career in California, primarily doing solid waste engineering work. During that time, I became a registered Professional Engineer.

With my Midwestern roots, we moved back to the Madison area, and I began working at what was then known as Kestrel Management Services (now KTL). I wanted to transition into helping companies manage their environmental risks—beyond just remediating their environmental compliance issues. This has been the focus of my career for the past 20 years at KTL. I work primarily on management system design and deployment, business process improvement, risk management, and compliance assurance. In particular, my areas of expertise include analyzing EHS and other business processes and identifying and implementing improvement opportunities to ensure compliance and enterprise risk reduction.

In 2014, I took partial ownership of KTL and am now currently a principal owner and member of KTL’s Executive Committee. In this role, I continue to provide executive-level project direction and oversight, manage client relationships to effectively meet needs, oversee internal processes and systems, and manage KTL’s technical operations and staff.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I have worked for a wide variety of companies ranging from a Class I railroad, to utilities and chemical companies, to municipal departments. While the majority of our projects involve solving issues and looking for opportunities to improve EHS and food safety compliance, we can help provide process improvement and risk reduction services to any type of organization. As a very recent example, we will use our systems analysis approach to work on a government-funded project in cooperation with pharmacy chains to develop strategies to improve access to medications for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). While the industry and compliance issues are different, KTL’s overall approach on this project remains the same.

As for the biggest issues I see right now, I think it is safe to say that many of our clients continue to struggle with finding and retaining quality staff. KTL continues to help many companies fill this hole by supporting their EHS or food safety departments to ensure ongoing compliance requirements are met. We also see many companies still working to manage the new “hybrid” work situations that have emerged from COVID. KTL’s work related to information management systems has grown as more and more companies need improved access to and control of information, regardless of where employees are working.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

In my role, I have the opportunity to collaborate with and oversee our team of experts as they work with our clients to solve some really difficult problems. For example, we have seen an uptick in the number of surprise EPA inspections and enforcement actions over the past several months. In addition to preparing our clients to be “inspection-ready” as part of normal operations, our team has been able to respond quickly to provide resources that support our clients during and after these inspections.

We also have many clients who are working hard to implement best-in-class practices. These projects allow us to be creative in identifying approaches that help these organizations improve their transparency; develop more effective metrics and dashboards; and better align, focus, and manage those initiatives that are core to sustainable business operations.

What do you like to do in your free time?

My husband and I are adjusting to being empty nesters with two daughters now in college and out of the house. We recently bought a canoe and are looking forward to Wisconsin weather warming up enough to use it. I also really enjoy traveling and am continually planning for my next trip.

Read Lisa’s full bio.