Our History

Harrison Ranch
Harrison RanchEllenton, Florida

Richard A. Mortensen, PE (1956-2016), established the Tampa office of a large nationwide engineering company in 1984. He left that company to found Mortensen Engineering, Inc. (MEI) in 1988, a geotechnical engineering business serving primarily Central Florida. Beginning in 1984 and continuing throughout his professional career, Mr. Mortensen consulted in the environmental field. In fact, he performed Phase I environmental site assessments (Phase I ESA) before there were basic guidelines.

During the environmental industry’s early years and into the 1990s, Mr. Mortensen was active in assessing and testing properties contaminated with petroleum products and chlorinated solvents in Tampa and throughout Central Florida, as well as in Maryland and North Carolina.

In the 1990s, MEI, and for a time Mortensen Environmental Services, Inc., were involved in significant contamination projects and produced hundreds of Phase I and II environmental site assessments for numerous private clients and large banks such as SunTrust Bank and Bank of America (then NationsBank). The company’s largest projects involved wide-spread chlorinated solvent contamination at industrial sites in Lake Wales, North Carolina, Maryland and Tampa. Richard C. Reynolds, a SunTrust commercial and real estate lender and manager was hired in 1991 to oversee the environmental side of Mr. Mortensen’s growing business. In fact, Mr. Reynolds managed the company’s assessment and cleanup of chlorinated solvent contamination stretching for ½ mile within Beltsville Industrial Center, in Beltsville, Maryland.

In 1999, Land Assessment Services, Inc., based in Tampa, Florida, was formed to cater to large clients taking down significant tracts of land for development, and to specialize in large-scale Phase I environmental site assessments on commercial and industrial sites and follow-up Phase II environmental site testing. LAS has assessed thousands of acres of agricultural and ranching land since inception, and has been the principal environmental consultant on two wide-stretching urban renewal projects in the City of Tampa involving numerous city blocks. Research for these sites extended into the late 1800s. LAS also consulted on a project to determine the dredging history of Tampa’s Hillsborough River dating back to the late 1800s.

To date, LAS has completed Phase I/II environmental site assessments of golf course maintenance facilities and golf courses including Forest Hills, Countryside, Apollo Beach, Sugarmill Woods, Timber Oaks, Cheval, Sun City Center, Westchase, Tampa Palms, and the Eagles. Over the years, LAS has developed a process for evaluating and remediating arsenic and pesticide contamination at golf courses and agricultural sites. Our firm has assessed and/or remediated six cattle dip vats, completed numerous contamination assessment and cleanup projects for the Hillsborough County School District, conducted initial environmental and contamination assessments along a 7-mile stretch of the Pinellas Trail, and completed a Contamination Screening Evaluation Report of a 3-mile stretch of Bell Shoals Road in Bloomingdale near Tampa.

LAS continues to maintain a large and loyal client base of private parties, developers, attorneys, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and banks, including SunTrust Bank, BB&T, Regions Bank, Bank of Tampa, Wells Fargo Bank, and First Citrus Bank. In many cases, our work is part of a package that is guaranteed by the SBA.

Our Standards

Phase I environmental site assessments have evolved over time with the advent of the ASTM standards (ASTM Standard E 1527-13) and the EPA’s AAI rule, and LAS is trained and experienced in delivering an environmental site assessment product that conforms to the requirements of this rule. Moreover, the Mortensen companies have always produced a preliminary environmental site assessment product that has by far surpassed the standard of practice and local norms. In other words, this is our profession, and we conduct ourselves accordingly.

Thus, our clients have time and time again turned to us on the most complicated sites with the most at stake. They’ll send us anywhere in the continental United States to assess a property contemplated for purchase, as we are proficient in the use of nationally-available environmental site research data. Time and time again we hear, “You all are our guys.”

It is important to note that we have been involved with very few State-monitored projects that were not awarded a Site Rehabilitation Completion Order following our initial site assessment work. We do not attempt to “drag things out” to increase our fees. This is a guiding principal of ours: to not take advantage of our clients whose properties are subject to regulatory action, but to work as hard as we can to complete the state’s requirements, while all along serving as our client’s chief advocate and adviser.

A final “internal” standard of ours is to be able to sleep at night after the completion of our work. Which means to assess even what we’re not required to assess, to double-check, to go back to the site, to ask the same question two or three times to resolve contradictions or uncertainties.