• Mark Wallace
    Environmental Data Resources, Inc.24.5
    Provider Profile posted March 10, 2010 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor, tagged 100-249 Employees, Commercial Real Estate, Environmental Compliance, Environmental Data, Environmental News, Environmental Training, Residential Services, • CA, • CT, • MA, • SC, • WV in Environmental Data Resources, Inc. > Profile public
    Provider Address:
    440 Wheelers Farms Road
    Milford, CT 06461
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    Year Provider Was Founded:
    United States
    Provider Write Up:
    As the innovator of the largest and most accurate database of environmental and historical land use information in the world, each of our offerings is based on information and expertise that simply does not exist anywhere else. EDR has become the leading provider of environmental risk information in the United States by focusing relentlessly on understanding and serving the unique needs of our customers in all the industries we serve. Our customers include environmental professionals, lenders, corporations, law firms, insurance companies, government agencies and real estate professionals.
    Provider Phone Number:
    Industry Awards, Honors, and Achievements:
    Forrester Groundswell Award - 2009 Environmental Business Journal Awards - Organizational Innovation 2008, 2009
  • Mark Wallace
    RTM Communciations, Inc.5.0
    Provider Profile posted March 25, 2010 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor, tagged 1-9 Employees, Brownfields, Commercial Real Estate, Environmental Compliance, Environmental Consulting, Property Condition Assessments, Remediation, Vapor Intrusion, • VA in RTM Communications > Profile public
    Provider Address:
    510 King Street
    Suite 410
    Alexandria, VA 22314
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    Year Provider Was Founded:
    United States
    Provider Write Up:
    RTM Communications, Inc., is a dynamic creator/producer of conferences focused on bringing together environmental risk management and sustainable development issues associated with business and real estate transactions. Since 1987, RTM Communications has been producing conferences that bring together the fields and disciplines of environmental management and finance with risk and insurance management. Within the scope of risk management we incorporate environmental and energy due diligence for contaminated site cleanups, redevelopments and the retrofitting of commercial and industrial buildings. Conferences were first conducted as part of Risk Management Technologies, Inc., the consulting entity, then in 1990, the conference and publishing business became its own entity, RTM Communications, Inc. (RTMC). Over the past 25 years, RTMC has been recognized for producing high end conferences, seminars, webinars, training, and publishing of books and journals/newsletters.
    Provider Phone Number:
  • Mark Wallace
    Types of Members of Social Networks95.0
    Entry posted October 5, 2009 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor in Blogs > Mark Wallace's - The UnCommon Denominator public

    For those of you who regularly participate on social networking sites, and those of you who have just started, you probably have noticed a number of different types of member personalities and patterns. In the social networking circles, you can search and find various explanations of the many types of participants as they really don't vary all that much across social communities and also real life. 

    The three types of members of social networks that we run into regularly include

    1. Active and Social Members - The definition of an active member is one that frequently, perhaps even as often as daily logs in, contributes to posts, offers suggestions to other members, perhaps posts a job from time to time. The content provided by active members is considered valuable - even if it is not always spot on right.
    2. Members who Loiter- Often called lurkers in the community space, lurkers read and consume information within the community, and do not generally contribute in the form of adding new content, such as commenting on blogs or discussions, starting posts, or adding opinions.
    3. Members who seem like Trouble Makers - Trouble makers are bound to show up from time to time in a thriving community. The pattern is always the same. Trouble makers generally sign up under some false member name that hides their true identity, they spend a week or so adding content that most community members feel is often disruptive and worthless, and their posts generally come off as somewhat angry, unprofessional, end sometimes insulting. And, if they do make a valid point, their reputation makes everyone doubt its validity.

    The members that often can have the most positive impact are the trouble makers - believe it or not.  Why?  Well it is simple.

    • They usually stir the pot which drives more participation
    • Most members tend to get upset with their comments - often times driving more of the members who loiter, to actually participate out of loyalty and pride for their community.
    • In the long run, the negative impacts of their actions are documented on the most powerful thing - the World Wide Web - driving traffic. And, controversy always gains attention which is often great for the community.

    When I talk about these types with members, employees, and partners, the question often comes up - "then, how do we know if an answer or content is correct or credible?"    I would encourage you to take the following into consideration when you are determining if there is any question about the credibility of the member and their contributions:

    1. What seems to be a "Fake" username and profile - When a member hides under a fake name and chooses not to share who they are publicly, and their comments seem to be unprofessional, insulting, or inappropriate, then you should be cautious about the believability and credibility of their content - no matter how experienced they claim to be.
    2. When a member uses the company name as the profile name - Many times a person will join as their company name and provide great contributions. However, other times, these members seem to be more guilty of adding recommendations with a bit more bias, selling their company vs. personal knowledge. Does not mean the information is not solid - you should just approach this with awareness.
    3. The time of the posts - It has been my experience that sometimes great comments come in during non-work hours. However, it is also my experience that some of the more inappropriate comments happen after hours. So, you might want to check out the time stamp, the day, and whether it is on a weekend/weekday.
    4. How have their posts been reviewed - If you see that a member's posts are generally given 1 star or 2 on a scale of 5, then others do not feel all that confident with either that persons' contributions or the accuracy of their answers.

    In the end, you should always use your best judgment when deciding about the credibility of a post.   Most credible social networks provide access to information about the contributor, so it is easy to check the above recommendations, but always use your best judgment like you would with anything else.

    Should any of you feel that there are folks who do not meet the standards of the community and violate the rules of engagement and terms of service, I would always encourage that you let the community administrator for the community and other community members know.

  • Mark Wallace
    When You Least Expect It...85.0
    Entry posted December 11, 2009 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor in Blogs > Mark Wallace's - The UnCommon Denominator public

    This past Sunday morning, I had to get up at 5:00 AM and drive in the snow to a seminar.    It was not your everyday business seminar which I attend frequently.  It was a USA Hockey Certification and Coaching Seminar.  As you might imagine, not many of us were thrilled to be there on a Sunday or frankly any other day. 

    About six hours later, when I left, I felt like I really got a lot out of it and that I could do a better job helping and guiding the kids.  In addition, I was pleasantly surprised about the business value that I got out of the session as I had the opportunity to think about the things we generally do not consider unless we have some dedicated time to focus.

    There were 7 points made about coaching beginners that I believe business professionals in commercial real estate, can use to help ourselves, our employees, and our companies.  Here they are:

    1)  You might be the first business person a new hire has ever worked with - remember that you have an important job to do. You just might be the leader that shapes their understanding of how business works (and they will be working way longer than they will be playing a sport).

    2)  When you stop learning new things-you stop leading

    3)  There are 8 principles of effective communication - always keep them in mind

      • Be Enthusiastic
      • Be Positive
      • Be demanding but considerate
      • Be consistent
      • Respect individual differences
      • Give equal time to all (without distraction)
      • Openly communicate
      • Be patient

    4)  Don't focus on coaching by telling them "what not to do to correct it, instead focus on "what you would like them to do" to get the right results. If you focus on the negative, then that is what the employee will think about (not screwing up) instead of the desired end result (finishing a project on time).

    5)  Avoid lengthy, complicated instructions - 3 things maximum at one time (for those of you who know me, you know this one is near and dear to me)

    6)  What you see is what you coached. Look in the mirror if you don't like the results

    7)  Fundamental abilities are the natural result of repetition.

    There are academic viewpoints that state that to truly become an expert in something; it requires 10,000 hours which in many cases translates to 3 hrs a day for nearly 10 years.   

    There are a lot of experts out there who have involved in CRE, Phase I's, and environmental due diligence that meet this criteria or come real close.  If you are in a leadership position, I would just like to pass along the reminder I just received.  Make sure that you share your knowledge and wisdom to ensure the next generation of professionals continues to move the market forward.    

    I suspect you might be pleasantly surprised at what you will learn from them, how appreciative they are for your time, and what you get out of it both personally and professionally.  

  • Mark Wallace
    Time To Admit It4.7
    Entry posted February 16, 2010 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor in Blogs > Mark Wallace's - The UnCommon Denominator public

    The past two months have given me a completely new perspective on the past and future.  I won't bore you with too many of the details.   Let's just say that I have been forced to reflect a bit more than I normally would. 

    In my role as VP of Social Media for commonground, I need to balance time between staying on top of what is cutting edge and mainstream best practices, without losing track of goals.  I enjoy spending time with environmental and property professionals, executives, coworkers, business partners, friends and family discussing the evolution of how we do both our professional and personal business.  

    Recently, I have spent a lot of time with a number of individuals in their late 70's and 80's, including family members, on the same topic.    It seems like their collective frustrations can be bucketed into three categories - technology, the younger generation, and finances/healthcare costs.    They ask questions such as:

    • Why is everything technology, technology, technology?
    • How come kids these days never put down their cell phones?
    • Why does the younger generation think they are so entitled?
    • How much did you pay for that?
    • Why would you buy a new one, your old one is not that old?
    • Why can't I talk with someone on the phone instead of one of those computer agents?

    Do some of these sound familiar?   Those of you who know me are well aware that I am never afraid to throw my $.02 into a conversation at the appropriate time.  This one was different.   I was the youngest person by a good 40 years and one that has spent a lot of time studying the evolution of the generations.    So, the conversation about the above went on for a good 10 minutes and I was quiet.  Then, I could not help myself anymore and just spoke my true feelings concerning the topic.

    The reason why everything is powered by technology, we all live on our cell phones, and money is often wasted on what might be deemed "unnecessary purchases"    

    You should have seen the faces as I began to explain why.... Let it be known that I did not win any popularity contests with my answers, but I believe them to be true.

    As a parent, you encouraged us to get the best possible education and manage our time so that we could find a good job.  You told us we had to learn about computers as "they are going to be the future".  You told us we had to, like it or not, in order to have the best chance at being successful.     You were the ones, our mentors, who encouraged innovation, effort, and teamwork.    You experimented with new things (insert things here) and organized Woodstock.  You invented game changing things like powered windows in cars vs. cranks, call waiting, handheld mobile devices, computers that could automate just about anything, and the world wide web.   You introduced us to TV, video games, and remote controls.  You taught us to use the microwave because it was faster.  You brought us to McDonald's because it was easier when things were hectic.  You taught us that if we truly believed in something to go after it and you would support us (even if we got in a bit of trouble). You also told us that in order to get rich, you needed to invent something.  Whether we want to admit it or not, our culture has collectively embraced the things you taught us.  And, what you taught us was right.  Technology has become a way to maximize business and personal efficiency - efficiency that is required in order to keep up.  And because we have to keep up, the younger generation may seem like it is not paying attention.  I would argue that more times than not, they are multi-tasking. 

    Then, I politely closed with this comment - before we spend too much being negative about how things are today and will be moving forward, I encourage you to look in the mirror because you are as much to blame as I am.  You may not agree with my opinion.  However, I just thought it was important to openly and respectfully share my feelings on the subject, which of course is another thing you taught us to do.

    Some of you may perhaps read Lauren Rosencranz's Blog titled Fresh in the Field.   If you don't, I would encourage you to check it out as she often addresses topics like this and the changing business landscape.

    Even though my blog post has nothing to do with Phase I ESA's, Contamination, or REC's, sometimes we need to think through why things are the way they are and accept responsibility for our actions both now and in the future.  Wouldn't you agree?

    Just something to think about...... the next time you look up from checking your blackberry, while at Starbucks -- to see if the line has moved yet.    

  • Mark Wallace
    I Can't Believe No One is Participating!45.0
    Entry posted September 25, 2009 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor in Blogs > Mark Wallace's - The UnCommon Denominator public

    One of the reasons why I am very passionate about social networking is that in the business world, it is still considered a new and emerging trend although it really has been around for many years.  With any "new" trend, there are so many challenging questions to answer and try to figure out that it never gets boring or dull to me.

    One topic in particular that is constantly scrutinized and debated is "participation". 

    For any of the social networking experts and newbie's, we often struggle with participation metrics.  What is good?  What is bad?   How come only a limited number of members seem to actually participate and so many seem to lurk?  Why is it that someone will email me a question and not actually post it within the community?   It becomes this heated debate with a lot of great viewpoints and questions about the viability of a network, what the resulting hesitancy means, and ultimately whether the  the members are receiving enough value.    

    Anyone who reads my blogs regularly, likely notices that often times I mention that I "recently had a conversation", or "was attending an event", or "was meeting with friends, coworkers, or relatives", and a topic of conversation intrigued me.    

    When you consider your family functions, your teams, your office - any situation where there is a group of people with a common bond having a conversation - whether it is a serious one or one at a bar over beers.  Did you ever notice that only a few folks talk 90% of the time and the vast majority listen?  Some members listen for a bit and walk away.  Some stay the whole time and do not say a word.  And some can stand around as part of the group the whole time and never say a word - ever.  The two or three folks who talk tend to control the conversation and command the attention.  

    What is my point? 

    We are all wound a bit differently.   My personality is such where I am a very transparent person who is very social and far from "shy".   I also like to both listen and participate.  You might be like me, but you also could be the type who would prefers to remain quiet.  It is just who we are.   Therefore, my advice is to consider these very basic fundamentals when thinking about quantifying the success of your social networking success.  Don't look at situations and think that everyone should be participating - realize that some people never will, but they will get significant value regardless of whether they ever say a word or not if the content of the discussion is intriguing and deemed valuable.  Therefore, focus on generating compelling content if you truly want to improve participation and not on overanalyzing participation patterns.

    Each year the same family members attend family functions, each week that team shows up for their weekly hockey game, and each day those coworkers come to work - even the ones who don't talk as much as I do.   

    There is no reason why you should expect the online channel to be any different....

  • Mark Wallace
    Environmental Risk Communications, Inc.5.0
    Provider Profile posted March 10, 2010 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor, tagged 1-9 Employees, Environmental Compliance, • CA in Environmental Risk Communications, Inc. > Profile public
    Provider Address:
    2121 Tunnel Road
    Oakland, CA 94611
    Google map
    Year Provider Was Founded:
    United States
    Provider Write Up:
    Founded in 1994, Environmental Risk Communications, Inc. (ERCI) is an industry-leading consultancy in the management and accounting for environmental liabilities as well as a developer of targeted desktop and web-based software solutions for the environmental industry. The firm specializes in the development of decision strategies for environmental remediation and restoration projects. Our goal is to help clients develop financially sound solutions and optimal management alternatives for both individual sites and portfolios with environmental liabilities. ERCI utilizes proprietary and client-customized Sarbanes-Oxley compliant software tools to provide environmental project managers with probabilistic cost estimating, reserve forecasting, decision analysis, project controls and related capabilities.
    Provider Phone Number:
    (415) 982-3100
  • Mark Wallace
    What Do You Look Like on Google?53.7
    Entry posted July 30, 2009 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor in Blogs > Mark Wallace's - The UnCommon Denominator public

    Have you ever decided just for kicks to search for yourself on Google to see what the results look like?  Try it.

    When I type in Mark Wallace - commonground, I see my blog on commonground, my Linkedin Profile, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites right at the top of the search results.  Try a few people you know too.  I looked up a few other members of commonground too - Mike Kulka, Alan Agadoni, and Larry Schnapf.  After you try this, what is the first thing you notice that we all have in common? 

    Perhaps you see that since each of us are members and bloggers on commonground, we benefit from great marketing exposure via Google.  Perhaps you quickly notice we are all members of LinkedIn.  Perhaps you see how all of our professional qualifications are easily found because each of us chooses to make that information public.  Perhaps it is all of the above. 

    From conversations with many environmental professional members of commonground, I realize many of you are trying to digest the value of social media outside of just being a member of commonground.  One very easy to see way is your personal profile when someone searches for you.  There are 14 Billion web searches done each month according to Comscore.  Your future customers, partners, and potential employers are very likely going to search for you to find out what your credentials are.   Therefore, it is important that when someone searches for you, they find the right you. 

    If you do not have a LinkedIn membership because you are skeptical, I encourage you to join the 43 million professionals who are members and who generally benefit from having their public LinkedIn profile come up in the top 5 results when someone searches for them.

    To maximize your results and LinkedIn effectiveness after you have signed up, I thought I would share some LinkedIn Tips from a recent article on CBS  by Elaine Pofeldt titled Facebook, Twitter, and More:  The New rules of Social Networking.  In particular, there is a section that addresses how to shape your personal brand on LinkedIn.  Here is a summary of her key points.

    1)  Seek out recommendations from past bosses, key clients, colleagues, and direct reports to create a 360 degree picture of your strengths

    2)  Instead of a generic job title at the top of your profile, use a short description of valuable credentials you can quantify

    3)  Fill out the interests section with pursuits, such as charitable projects, that reinforce your value to potential employers and clients

    4)  For consistency and branding, use a good head shot of yourself as your photo and try to keep the photo consistent with photos on other social networks

    5)  Opt for a free vanity address for your profile that uses your full name, such as (this is not always possible, and if it is not, use one that makes sense given how you are represented on other social networking sites).

    Again, see the above referenced article for more.  It might sound pretty basic, and is, but the benefits are many.

    I would also recommend you take your vanity address and drop in your autosignature.  Why?  It makes it easier for other folks to see your credentials, help you build your connections, and it is valuable in the event your email is forwarded to someone new.

    Good luck and congratulations on letting your credentials tell the story you want to tell when someone searches for you.

  • Mark Wallace
    Entry posted August 6, 2009 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor in Blogs > Mark Wallace's - The UnCommon Denominator public

    There is a Reason Why Innovation is a Popular Word in Business

    When we entered the "business world" out of college what seems like a long time ago, we all had a bit of a chip on our shoulder.   You all know what I mean.   Quickly, we realized we did not know as much as we thought we did and tried to determine who could help us develop the skills, knowledge, and expertise, to excel professionally.

    There are a couple of folks who I considered to be mentors over the years, but the one that I undoubtedly learned the most from is a gentleman many environmental professionals probably do not know.  His name is Barry Libert. For nearly four years, I spent a significant amount of time with him as part of the management team that built a social networking company called Shared Insights that focused on providing social networking strategy, technology, and services for large, medium, and small enterprises.

    He pushed me to think outside the box, to come up with answers to what seemed like impossible questions, and to challenge processes, procedures, and products to improve them as part of my responsibilities as a member of his leadership team.  While building this new business, our team was in tandem, running an established business that had been running for nearly 20 years.  Barry pushed all of his senior managers and staff to be innovative and try new things.  Our investors, and potential investors, did the same.

    During that time, and today, I started to develop a passionate dislike for the words "We've always done it that way".   Those are the 6 Most Expensive Words in Business  proclaimed Tim Berry, CEO of Palo Alto Software in his recent blog.   Amen, Tim!

    For those of us who want to think and feel strongly that the "We've always done it that way", I would like to ask you - do you truly believe that?

    15 or 20 years ago....

    Was technology available that could help you automate a lot of things you can today?

    Were new employees entering your company, department, and workforce that have been exposed to technology, and even mobile technology, from the time they were in diapers?

    Was your cell phone your black book?

    Did you send many emails and have meetings over the web? 

    Would anyone in the field have done an environmental site assessment and typed it up on their laptop or perhaps on a handheld device?  Or Would they have used a wireless internet card from onsite to add a report directly into a web application?

    Then why would stuff "we've always done that way" still be the right way?

    Jack Huntress' recent blog titled Learn from Netflix is really eye opening and has started a very relevant discussion.     They are not throwing out lessons learned in the past, but they are blending what has worked in the past, with what they believe will work in the future.

    I would recommend we all think about taking a few educated risks, trying a few new things, and find time to step outside your current comfort zone.    You may find it is extremely rewarding. 

    Although the basics of business have not changed, the methods and tools have.   Don't let "We've always done it that way" become the six most expensive words for your firm. 


  • Mark Wallace
    My How Things Have Changed!45.0
    Entry posted January 21, 2010 by Mark WallaceElite Contributor in Blogs > Mark Wallace's - The UnCommon Denominator public

    I was recently asked if I would be willing to speak at my old college Alma Mater, Bentley University, by a gentleman I got to know via Twitter who I found out is Bruce Weinberg, the Chair of the Bentley University Marketing Department.   The presentation was not about commercial real estate or environmental business best practices; it was about Social Media, Web 3.0, and building a personal brand.   Even though my schedule was and is completely overloaded, I decided to make time for this opportunity for a number of reasons, but one in particular that I am a big believer in - reverse mentoring.   I have included a link to an article titled Moving Forward with Reverse Mentoring that does a good job explaining how many companies and universities are using it.   To me, it is an extremely important as a business professional to keep up with and ahead of new trends.   

    When I walked in, the assignments were being passed out and they included setting up a LinkedIn profile as well as setting up a Twitter account to name a few.  As you might imagine, all of the students were using Facebook.  In fact, that was the way that just about everyone communicated with friends, fellow students, and family.    And for the majority of them, it is their method of communication - not email.   They were told their personal brand on the web was not a requirement to land their dream job, but it would be extremely helpful and could be the difference when going up against another candidate given the importance of social influence and networking in today's business world where everyone lives on the web.  The group was very engaged and excited to learn about how companies were effectively using social media and the web to move their business forward. 

    As I reflected after visiting the class, one thing became very clear.  Whereas we, as hiring agents, managers, and business owners can learn about the new talent we are considering as employees by using the web, they have access to pre-screen us in ways that we never had to deal with when we were their age.   We had to put together a resume with some references and went out on interviews.    In hindsight, we probably had it easy.

    However, students now have access to information - things that I think you would agree would have been of value if you ever had a job you regretted taking or didn't like the boss.  I know, that has probably never happened, right?    Any new hire can now look us up, check out our web profiles, social networks and affiliations, experiences, and interests prior to taking a job working for us.    They can also check our company's online reputation.   Have you thought about that as part of your hiring processes? 

    And, since students have lived in social networks for years by the time they graduate, I think it is a pretty safe assumption that they will be turned off working with peers, employers, and boss who do not participate or believe in them.  If we have no social presence and are perceived as old school, it will dramatically impact our ability to attract the next generation of talent, whether you are an environmental professional, lender, attorney - profession does not matter.

    We will serve as valuable mentors in the development of a young professional entering the workforce.  And, they will in turn, help mentor us.  Good business is a win-win.

    Business and hiring has evolved to the web in many ways.   Have you?