July 2023 – Meet Don Larson, Yellow Jacket Drilling Services LLC
What is your educational background? BS degree in Environmental Science. I attended both Montana State University and Western Washington University.
What drew you to work in the environmental sector? My family background is in farming. I always enjoyed working on the family farm as a youngster in North Dakota. Farmers are stewards of the land.
What’s one interesting fact about you that most people don’t know? I graduated valedictorian of my high school and Magna Cum Laude of my college class. I am also a published author of a WWII family history story.
How do you balance your career and family? I am a firm believer in taking time off time for vacations and Holidays – life is too short. I enjoy scuba diving, sturgeon fishing, wake surfing, and living on a floating home on the Columbia River.
What drew you to your company initially? The owner and management team have the same business philosophy and understanding/experience in environmental and geotechnical drilling services. We value lasting partnerships with our customers.
What are three words to describe your company? Dependable, innovative, and professional.
What is your favorite part about working for your company? Very rewarding to see the district grow and the team members I’ve hired progress in their professional careers. I have over 30 local employees now – all very dedicated. This is my fourth start-up venture and most successful.
What has been your favorite project at your company? Throughout my 33 years in business, I have worked on thousands of projects. Currently, we have five drilling rigs actively installing extraction wells and monitoring wells at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. This has been an ongoing project site for me personally since 2006 and continues to grow in value and size. It is the Superbowl of environment projects in the United States, and my team works there every year.
ON THE INDUSTRY
What has your involvement been with NEBC? I have been an active NEBC member since the mid-90s; former NEBC tradeshow committee member for the annual conference and have participated and exhibited at the annual Portland conference – Business & The Environment – for 26 years.
What is the best professional advice you’ve received? Listen to your customers and clients, be fair and reasonable in negotiations, and take full responsibility for your actions. Business is about long-term relationships and working with your friends. Don’t forget to enjoy the ride.
What advice do you have for prospective candidates who want to work at your company or in the industry? There couldn’t be a better time to join the environmental industry – I’ve never seen it this busy in my career – we are busy on every front and in every state we work. Specialize in PFAS and help develop a remedial cure.
What trends do you see as a part of the industry? Currently, the focus seems to be on EV technologies, but most folks don’t realize the environmental impact of additional mining of rare minerals throughout the US and the World. Not to mention the immense issue of recycling all those batteries in the near future. Also, water supply and water rights will continue to be a limiting factor on growth in the Western US – hopefully, the younger generation can help solve that problem too.