Tom Conrad

December 22, 2022

Tom Conrad SCS
I enjoyed all of my years knowing Tom, and have benefitted greatly from his wisdom, guidance, and inspiration. We will continue to carry forward his legacy and his dreams for this firm, to be the best at what we do, and to have a good time while we are doing it. Michelle Leonard, Senior Vice President


We are deeply saddened by the passing of our founder Tom Conrad, but we celebrate his spirit by continuing the culture he established at SCS Engineers. Tom was energetic, creative, hard-working, and fun-loving! His accomplishments in preventing and mitigating environmental damage are just one of the reasons we respect him so much.

Another reason is that Tom believed in providing opportunities for everyone. He founded and ran SCS based on giving individuals the tools they need to thrive while providing for their families, the environment, and their communities. These tools are trust, mentorship, and open dialog. By building these philosophies into our culture, Tom sparked multiple innovations and environmental solutions by some of the finest people you’ll ever want to meet.

These SCSers continue our culture of caring and listening. Anyone at SCS can contribute their ideas for improving a process or technology. Our executives promote forums to keep the conversations and idea exchanges going and open to all. And just as Tom would insist, innovations are proven before they are implemented.

We’re proud of all SCSers, especially our young professionals, who consistently bring in fresh ideas and perspectives by asking “why and how” questions. Designing sustainable environmental solutions requires a deep understanding of systems, processes, and industry knowledge. Asking the right questions and seeking answers indicates a curious mind; Tom called these people “thinkers,” one of the best compliments we could get. Asking these questions indicates a self-actualized mind. And answering the questions takes a team. At SCS, we encourage both.

SCS’s mentorship and young professionals programs are thriving. They were established more formally in the last decade but have always been a part of SCS. President and CEO Jim Walsh called Tom “The best mentor anyone could ever have,” going on to say that Tom “taught me a lot, but more, he let me figure things out on my own… I’ve often said that my best four years of education were not high school or college; it was learning from Tom Conrad.”

SCS’s culture survives because of trust. So as Tom did, we continue to place trust and confidence in SCS’s employee-owners. Tom understood long ago that trust creates a culture of teamwork and respect, enabling effective problem-solving. In fact, Tom was so proud and confident in the firm’s environmental accomplishments in 1987 that he modified the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan to expand ownership of SCS to all employees. Today SCS remains 100% employee-owned and is a driving force for SCSers to deliver high-quality and ethical solutions to our clients.

Tom’s other major and no less important philosophy was to “have fun!” We take the time to engage and laugh with our colleagues, clients, and associates.

Our nationwide offices are busy year-round helping their communities, especially during the holidays. A special thanks to our young professionals, who think BIG, for organizing our annual Feed America campaign, always with a healthy, fun competition between our offices!

You can learn more about how SCS continues in Tom Conrad’s spirit today by watching this short video made by SCSers coast to coast.


All of us at SCS send you, our community, clients, and friends
best wishes for a happy holiday season!





Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

December 8, 2022

SCS Engineers
SCS Founder, Executive Vice President, and Director Emeritus Tom Conrad


SCS Founder, Executive Vice President, and Director Emeritus Tom Conrad passed away on December 7, 2022. His enduring legacy is SCS Engineers, an environmental consulting and contracting firm formed by Tom, Bob Stearns, and Curt Schmidt on April 1, 1970, in Long Beach, California. This was eight months before the US Environmental Protection Agency was formed – Tom, Bob, and Curt recognized that responsible waste management was increasingly important and necessary to protect the environment and human health.

Over the ensuing years, Tom helped EPA develop solid and hazardous waste regulations that provided appropriate and protective environmental controls that were also practical. Tom’s work led to important federal landfill rules such as EPA’s Open Dump Inventory and Classification Criteria of 1978, which eventually led to the RCRA Subtitle D rules of 1991 – still in effect today. Other examples include guidance documents for land disposal of hazardous wastes in the 1980s and research in support of EPA’s Underground Storage Tank regulations in 1988.

Tom was involved in numerous important projects throughout his career, including developing the filling and phased closure plans for Fresh Kills Landfill in New York City, the world’s largest landfill at the time. The work included wetlands protection and shoreline improvements. Today, SCS is involved in redeveloping the closed landfill – brownfield into a premier park and recreational facility.

He pioneered landfill gas to energy (LFGE) generation, expanding it significantly as an industry. Today, SCS remains a national leader in biogas and renewable energy.

Tom was considered an “engineer’s engineer.” He employed rigorous analysis and evaluation of potential solutions, utilizing a solid, methodical engineering approach to his work and all of his projects, which remains part of SCS’s culture.

Tom felt that one of his greatest achievements was hiring and mentoring many good people, including SCS’s current leadership team, President Jim Walsh, and Senior Vice Presidents Mike McLaughlin and Bob Gardner, in whose capable hands Tom watched the company grow its environmental services and thrive. He was proud of SCS’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan, enabling SCS to share annual profits with every employee, giving everyone an ownership stake in the company.

Tom retired from SCS exactly 46 years after founding SCS. He stayed as Director Emeritus and continued providing counsel at company Board meetings. In November 2021, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) awarded Tom their highest honor, The Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his pioneering work and leadership in the solid waste industry.

Everyone who knew Tom Conrad over the years respected him for his integrity, hard work, and dedication to his family, friends, employees, and community. We at SCS still base our firm on the principles and values Tom used when founding the firm. As an early adopter of sustainability, we thank him for leading the way in designing environmentally sound solutions for business and society. There is more work to do, but the world is a much cleaner, safer place now than in 1970 when Tom started SCS.






Posted by Diane Samuels at 5:52 pm

August 13, 2021

Leading environmental engineers, consultants, and contracting firm in the U.S.
Tom Conrad, Bob Stearns, and Curt Schmidt were the founders of SCS Engineers in 1970.


The International Awards Committee and Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Board of Directors unanimously voted to honor Tom Conrad, the “C” in SCS, with the Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award at WASTECON 2021 in November. The Lawrence award is the highest accolade SWANA bestows on a member of the waste management industry, reserved for those making meaningful and lasting contributions.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for the Robert L. Lawrence Award. I thank you and am especially thankful for what SWANA and SCS are today,” stated Tom Conrad.

SWANA recognizes Conrad for over 60 years of significant influence on the waste management and environmental services industry. Conrad, a Founder, Executive Vice President, and Director Emeritus of SCS Engineers, dedicated his career to advancing solid waste management, most notably through the founding of SCS Engineers (Stearns, Conrad, and Schmidt Consulting Engineers) more than 51 years ago.

Tom Conrad worked on a wide range of environmental engineering projects touching almost every aspect of solid waste management throughout his career.  As an environmental engineering firm and consultant to the newly created US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the founders recognized that responsible solid waste management was increasingly important for protecting the environment and the health and safety of the general public.

Leading SCS, he helped the EPA develop the first federal regulations for sanitary landfills, managing and capturing landfill gas, waste sorting protocols, sludge management, and land remediation.

Environmental services, including wastewater management, were always a significant part of SCS services and the waste industry. When new regulatory policies began expanding in the ’80s, SCS’s techniques, technology, and expertise helped a broad range of industries comply with environmental needs and continues today with the firm’s greenhouse gas, landfill technology, renewable energy, remediation, and sustainable materials management programs.

Conrad is also known for hiring and mentoring today’s SCS leaders, many of whom are SWANA leaders, by creating and fostering SCS’s culture encouraging employee participation in industry associations, community, and SCS’s mentorship and leadership programs.


Leading environmental engineers, consultants, and contracting firm in the U.S.
SCS’s current executive leadership and SWANA members, Bob Gardner (Solid Waste), Jim Walsh (CEO), with Tom Conrad, and Mike McLaughlin (Environmental Services).


Before his retirement in 2016, Conrad held professional engineering licenses in 24 states. He was a member of SWANA, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Waste and Recycling Association, and the Society of American Military Engineers.

He maintains his “work hard – play hard” lifestyle. He is active at SCS, participating in Board of Director meetings and speaking at the Young Professionals Group events and celebrations. While no longer mountain climbing and biking cross-country, he has a vigorous walking, swimming, and biking schedule.


robert l lawrence
An icon at SCS Engineers and at home, Tom is not slowing down – he has more playtime now!


Congratulations, Tom!








Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am