Environmental Risk Management (ERMI) began as a home office start-up in 1999 and is now a leading environmental consulting firm in Florida. From its inception, ERMI has focused on two primary areas of service: petroleum assessment and remediation, and commercial real estate due diligence.
Opening the firm in 1999 was fortuitous. Florida had recently switched from state funding to insurance as the primary means for petroleum storage tank owners to meet their financial responsibility requirements. ERMI had numerous insurance clients that received claims for groundwater impacts for previously filed discharges. Forensic research was needed to determine if the discharges were pre-existing or the result of new releases, which led to ERMI’s pioneering work in this area. In 2006, ERMI was awarded one of two State of Florida Forensic contracts.
The Petroleum Cleanup Program grew from 2000 until 2009, when budget deficits slowed momentum. However, our role in industry leadership helped identify new markets on the horizon as legislation and policy changed. From 2012 to 2014, ERMI doubled in size by having a diversified service portfolio at a time when many environmental firms were struggling.
ERMI has worked throughout the years to ensure that groundwater-related projects remain a legislative priority, because of the urgency of Florida’s groundwater issues. Our president, Steve Hilfiker, was instrumental in assisting with the framework of the 2010 Low-Scored Site Initiative (LSSI) and also provided input on the 2012 and 2016 LSSI amendments. Steve met with government officials in 2014 and successfully advocated to raise the cap for remedial construction funding to a Category 5 level of $325,000,000 (the maximum allowed under Florida Statutes 287.057/287.017).
When the Petroleum Restoration Program was restructured in 2013, ERMI adapted and continued to grow throughout Florida, doubling in size again between 2014 and 2016 — and yet again between 2017 and 2019.
By the early 2020s, we had completed projects in 62 of 67 counties in Florida, and had expanded our service offerings to include areas such as indoor air quality and wetlands.
ERMI’s growth reached another milestone in 2022, when we became Environmental Risk Management, LLC (dba ERMI). At this juncture, founder Steve Hilfiker reengineered the company for long-term success and stability by adding long-time business advisor, Ed Finch, to the ownership team and through the promotion of senior staff, while shifting his own emphasis away from day-to-day operations to public policy initiatives and industry association involvement.
Today, we’re a multi-layered organization reaching our quarter-century anniversary with the very same environmental mission we had on day one — but with dramatically expanded resources and capabilities to achieve that mission.
Our history continues to be written through our ongoing commitment to helping Florida safely and responsibly accommodate the massive population growth now underway across the state.