Certus Environmental Group (Certus)

Certus was established in 2011 and our foundation is backed by nearly 25 years of environmental consulting experience from our Sr. Project Manager, Brandon Gnass.

Brandon’s diverse experience as an environmental professional includes:

Environmental assessments, investigations, and remediation; wetland assessments; project permitting; release response management; expert witness testimony; and various other environmental investigation and compliance projects.

To date, he has performed investigative and remedial work in various states across the Midwest and in Florida, Kansas, and Louisiana. Examples of project responsibilities include:

  • Project management for investigation/remediation projects at residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial sites for an array of clients including private individuals, large corporations, attorneys, lending institutions, schools, and municipalities. Client needs have often required coordination and negotiation with regulators, and conducting multiple projects concurrently while meeting strict deadlines.
    • Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs)
    • Various Phase I ESAs to comply with All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI), Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), Small Business Administration (SBA), and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements
    • Vapor Intrusion (VI) assessments
    • Baseline Environmental Assessments (BEAs) and/or Section 7a Compliance Analysis (Due Care)
    • Part 201 investigations [bulk petroleum storage terminals, manufactured gas plant (MGP) sites, manufacturing facilities, chemical facilities, pipeline releases, dump sites].
    • Underground storage tank (UST) and leaking UST (LUST) [Part 211 and 213, respectively] removal/investigations/closure.
  • Negotiating regulatory requirements with municipal representatives and local/state/federal regulators; and obtaining permits for various construction, environmental, and ecological projects.
  • Coordinating and conducting field work including soil, groundwater, and vapor sampling in accordance with┬ástate and federal regulatory requirements and guidance documents. Also, participation/supervision during onsite activities including contractor oversight during soil boring completion, monitoring well installation, and remedial excavations.


  • B.S., Resource Development, Michigan State University, 1998


  • Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM)
  • 40-hour OSHA HAZWOPER training with 8-hour annual refresher courses
  • HAZWOPER Manager/Supervisor certification
  • ASTM Risk-Based Corrective-Action training
  • ASTM Phase I ESA and Vapor Intrusion trainings
  • Wetland delineation certification (Wetland Training Institute)
  • MDEQ-certified Industrial Storm Water Operator (Cert. No. I-13802)

Project Examples

The examples included highlight some of our Sr. Project Manager’s experiences with various projects types and responsibilities.

Federal-Funded Projects

Devised and managed site investigation activities for multiple projects funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program. Prepared work plans and quality assurance project plans (QAPPs) and obtained EPA approval; implemented the work plans; provided administrative project/budget updates; adhered to EPA and client scheduling deadlines; and achieved site objectives.

State-Funded Projects

Managed multiple Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) projects funded by the State of Michigan. Management efforts included project coordination and meetings with project managers, site assessment, drafting work plans, LUST removal and Part 213 reporting, providing CMI-required project updates to the former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), securing off-site work access, devising and conducting soil boring/monitoring well investigations including bedrock drilling, and conducting groundwater sampling/modeling.

Investigation/Remediation Project

Managed investigative/remedial activities at a bulk petroleum storage terminal for a former owner/operator to assist them in achieving a "No Further Action" (NFA) outcome for their historical releases. Challenges encountered included current owner/operator and third party petroleum pipeline easement holders operating similar to historic operations. Investigative/remedial activities were concluded and acknowledgement of completion was requested from state regulators.

Negotiations with Regulatory Agency Authorities

Managed release response projects for a large pipeline client. The client experienced a release at one of their petroleum bulk storage facilities, and encountered aggressive state and federal agency involvement. Effective communications and negotiations with the regulators streamlined their response management demands, and ultimately "NFA" was achieved for the client in a timely and cost effective manner with minimal disruption to site operations.

Emergency Release Response

Provided project management after firm was designated as the lead consultant during emergency response activities, directed under Unified Command (UC) lead by the EPA, for a major petroleum pipeline release in the Midwest that affected greater than 40 miles of creek and river resources. Responsibilities required organization, resource allocation, and quick decision-making in a fast-pace, chaotic environmental assuring staff safety; team coordination for staff, the client, other consultants, and regulators; and conducting research and generating documents to comply with UC demands.

Devising Sampling & Inspection Protocols

Assisted in the design and implementation of unique sampling and inspection protocols for petroleum pipeline maintenance dig sites that occurred across more than 200 miles of pipeline. The protocols were devised to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT), client-specified, and local and state regulatory requirements. The sampling and inspection protocols were ultimately implemented in different states along additional sections of the pipeline.