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Weekend edition August 25, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Core values established more than two decades ago continue to drive Strata-G

The Knoxville-based company that focuses on complex energy and environmental challenges was recently recognized in the inaugural “Rocky Top Business Awards.”

A set of core values established more than two decades ago continues to drive decision-making at Strata-G, the Knoxville-based company that works with clients around the U.S. and beyond on complex energy and environmental challenges.

Founded in 2002 by Dan Hurst, the company has new day-to-day leadership after the Founder sold the company in 2020 to Elliott Barnett and John Patterson, two longtime Vice Presidents. The former serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), while the latter is President where he is focused on business development and growth.

How are things going nearly three years into the transition?

One could conclude very well, based on Strata-G’s ranking as #36 out of 40 businesses in the inaugural “Rocky Top Business Awards” that recognized the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s (UTK) fastest-growing, alumni-owned or alumni-led businesses. PYA, the power behind, helped create the program and also tabulated the results.

“In a lot of ways, we haven’t changed,” Barnett says. “We were founded on the principle of treating people as you would have them treat you. The essence of who we are has not changed, it’s only gotten stronger.”

That philosophy starts with Strata-G’s associates where the CEO focuses much of his attention. “The reason we are successful is because of the people,” Barnett emphasizes, adding, “Taking great care of our people is a top priority.”

Both executives talked about the core values that are embedded in the way that Strata-G approaches its engagements. They are integrity, service, and quality.

“Those core values and how we treat people guide every decision we make,” Barnett says. “We ask anyone under consideration for a job to tell us the meaning of those three words to them.”

Patterson notes that the company has employees in 21 states and Strata-G has performed work at almost every U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) site. There’s even work in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Strata-G’s leaders say about 85 percent of the business is in the DOE world, and they do not want to cut back. That said, they see opportunities to diversify the customer base beyond DOE.

“Take great care of your customers, and they don’t want to let you go,” Barnett says.

Today, Strata-G has four divisions, the newest being Nuclear and Quality which was added this year. The others are Environmental Compliance/Health and Safety, Infrastructure, and Business Services. The last category is focused on what it takes to run a project in the DOE world, Barnett explains.

The company’s strategic plan is simple and straightforward: hire great people, develop business, deliver excellence, and impact our community. Regarding the latter, Strata-G as a company and individual employees partner with and support organizations that provide food, shelter, environment, or educational services in support of the local community.

Barnett is an Oak Ridge native who worked at the Y-12 National Security Complex for 17 years before joining Strata-G in 2005. Patterson grew up in Philadelphia and worked for DOE and later Bechtel Jacobs before joining Strata-G in 2004.

Together with their colleagues, they are continuing to build on the great foundation that Strata-G founders Hurst and Darrell Daugherty laid more than two decades ago.

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