Year Founded: 2002
Business Type: Environmental Consulting Services
Location: Fredericksburg, VA (offices in Alexandria, VA and Oakland, CA)
Number of Employees: 75
"Keeping forward movement in a down economy is one way we are resilient. We also have continued our HUBzone program for low income and high unemployment areas, which adds a level of rigor on top of the usual running of a business. Finally, not backing down, but embracing environmental considerations every step of the way, even though environmental solutions are not always cheaper. We just keep going. Those are game changers. If we didn’t do those three things, we would be a completely different and far less environmentally and socially meaningful company."
- Rebecca R. Rubin, President
At Marstel-Day, green ethics carry the day.
Rebecca R. Rubin started the Fredericksburg-based environmental consulting firm nearly a decade ago. While working at a think-tank where she focused on land-management issues, she recognized a need to give a "green" option to the U.S. government as it pondered the future of huge swathes of land affected by base closings.
"Some of the last great tracts, other than private land, were rapidly being turned over for development," she said. "I wanted to change that."
At the end of its first four years, the firm helped preserve more than 300,000 acres of land. Today, despite a recession that froze hiring and other hurdles growing businesses face, Marstel-Day is nationally recognized.
Success, however, has not diluted the company's mission, according to Rubin. Marstel-Day thinks globally, but still does its part to act locally. The firm's employees plant trees and engage in other community-based environmental actions on Earth Day, and green activities continue on the other 364 days a year. The company participates in a carbon offset program, carries out its own recycling programs, and continuously greens its supply chain. At their headquarters in Downtown Fredericksburg, Marstel-Day has settled into an historic building, adding vitality to the district.
The location is in a federally-designated Historically Underutilized Business Zone or HUBZone, defined as an area of high unemployment and low income. "The program requires that we locate our principal office inside a HUBZone census tract, and that at least 35 percent of our employees must reside in qualifying HUBZone census tracts as well," Rubin said. "We've gone beyond that - we have two HUBZone office locations, including one in Fredericksburg, and 45 percent of our workforce resides inside qualifying HUBZone census areas - including the majority of the firm's business partners."
It's not been easy, Rubin said, but it's the right thing to do.
"It's significant from a community resilience standpoint that when our people go out into the economy and spend their paychecks, that most of that money is going to be spent locally, in areas that need it," she said.
While Marstel-Day has received numerous accolades nationally, the Resilience Awards brought them repeated media coverage for their work in their own back yard. It also had an additional benefit of enhancing ties between the firm and local officials, especially around such critical environmental issues that also have economic ramifications.
"The longer-term connections were almost more important than the first big â€˜splash' of winning the award...and I'm sure that's what was intended," Rubin said. "I think it's possible that the Resilience Awards will continue to help the area as a whole gain recognition, especially if we get other winners or finalists from Fredericksburg."