Sandler Training - February/March 2020

etc., from going out into the environment and the municipal systems. That takes constant oversight, including inspecting stormwater systems and keeping them clean,” Jim explains, adding, “There are a lot of things underground that are hidden from people’s view. There are underground vaults, filter systems, and those types of things that need to be inspected annually — at the very least — to make sure they’re doing their job.” Catchall prides itself on being a full-service solution for businesses and property managers faced with managing their own stormwater. When a client engages Jim and his team, they handle everything from inspections and cleanouts to paperwork and stay in constant touch with local municipalities on the clients’ behalf. It’s a complex undertaking because in Washington, stormwater is highly regulated. The largest regulatory umbrella is national, courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency, but under it are state and municipal rules. Catchall files reports up the chain, confirming its clients are in compliance and detailing inspections, findings, and any adjustments made. “Property managers and property owners who are forward-thinking certainly like that idea because they don’t like to have to react to letters they receive [asking them] to get something fixed within 30 days, which is typically the requirement,” Jim says. Beyond the paperwork, Catchall uses heavy equipment to get the jobs done. Vacuum excavators or “vactors” — trucks weighing upward of 80,000 pounds designed to suction liquid and sludge out of drains, then store and transport it to a safe drop-off site — are standard in the industry. But what Jim is most proud of is his company’s namesake invention: The Catch-All. “We invented and patented a product that you insert into a catch basin, and it’s like a false bottom to the catch basin,” Jim

explains. “It doesn’t filter anything, but it allows you to pull up the sediments out of the catch basin without having to use a vactor truck. The primary enemy of the environment is sediment that washes off parking lots, asphalt, and other surfaces. That includes brake dust, metals, and all those various elements.” If The Catch-All device didn’t exist, neither would Catchall Environmental. That’s because Jim’s background isn’t actually in stormwater — it’s in sales. Until his nephew-in-law (who happened to be a civil engineer) came to him with the idea for the Catch-All, Jim had made his living as a salesman and serial entrepreneur in the tech sector. His pivot from there to stormwater management is certainly a story worth telling.

came from a family of entrepreneurs and says watching his uncles and grandfathers run their own businesses convinced him to become a self-starter. “From a family perspective, I just observed it and I thought it would be fun. I just enjoyed my uncles and my grandfathers very much, and they enjoyed what they were doing so much, and I thought, ‘Boy, that beats warehouse work!’” Jim recalls. “... I always from the beginning wanted to have my own business, and I decided sales was something that would lead me there because I’d know how to effectively find and get customers, and that’s the first part of having a successful business.” In 1981, Jim started his sales journey selling calculators to bookkeepers and accounting firms. Next, he leveled up to copiers, microcomputers (the forerunner of today’s laptops), and finally self-calculating

The seeds of Catchall Environmental were planted back when Jim was a kid. He

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