Summer’s coming to a close, which signifies the end of the holiday season. It’s time to get back to work or school, maybe even both, for some. We figured this is as good a time as any to share the inspirational conversation we had with Scott Freiburger, CEO and Founder of our newest EP Employer – AET Group.
Like many of the success stories we hear, this one begins with a passionate young man, a problem and no solution in sight. At a young age, Scott’s family was in the construction business where his father and grandfather both worked. He spent a lot of his time on site watching how the work was done and even helping out. While he enjoyed the time spent working on the projects and hanging out with the crew there was a nagging feeling he couldn’t avoid.
“I spent a lot of my youth on Construction sites and during that time I began to realize the amount of waste that was being generated and destined for either incineration or landfill and it made me sick. I figured, ‘there has to be a better way that will help protect the environment and reduce the overhead cost for these builders.’”
That was the beginning of AET as we know it.
AET Group was founded in 1998, pioneering and focusing on developing waste management solutions in an industry that seemed to be clueless about the concept. The aim was to find the most efficient and cost-effective ways to reduce waste and help companies meet government reporting requirements in private industries and their municipalities.
Since then, AET has undergone a number of mergers and acquisitions. What started out as a one-person operation working out of a basement in Ontario, has expanded to include two partners and over 35 employees working across Canada, the US, Europe and South America in 12 core practice areas across the field.
Although there have been many changes over the last 20 years, some things have remained the same – the motivation behind the work they do.
“We dedicate ourselves to acting with integrity at all times. We always do what’s right even when doing the right thing is not easy and we’re committed to the highest standards of business principles and professionalism.”
With Integrity being the first of the 5 cornerstones at AET, the organization is dedicated to leading the industry towards a more sustainable path through actions, not just words. This mentality trickles down into the organization’s hiring process.
Speaking with Scott, it’s apparent that he and his team are passionate about the environment beyond the work that they do. AET goes beyond the bottom line, they don’t simply do the work, they live it.
Being a notable member of the EP Community with ECO Canada for approximately 20 years, Scott is a firm believer that in order to be a leader in the environmental space, the people who work within your organization have to be leaders as well. He sees becoming an EP Employer as a step in the right direction of empowering environmental professionals at AET to be leaders in their individual spaces.
Where so many businesses focus on rewarding technical skills, keeping a tight leash on the bottom line, the management team at AET has embraced a reward model that favours human skills. They value attitude, passion and integrity above technical competency and result because, as Scott explains,
“[You] can teach technical skills, but [you] can’t teach them to have integrity or a positive attitude. Those are the things that matter, and at the end of the day those are the people who excel and drive the success of the business.”
Well, we can say they’re doing something right. In the last few months, AET has received countless acknowledgements for its leadership, some of which include becoming a certified Ontario Living Wage Employer, ranking as one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers, being recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, and much more.
For a company that’s always seemed to be a step ahead in the corporate sustainability movement, from the 1% for the Trees initiative launched in 2013 to tackle deforestation to the annual Employer Education Scholarship awarded to employees who are interested in advancing their careers, we were curious to hear what benefit EP Employer had to offer AET.
Here’s what Scott had to say about it:
“We’re dedicated to helping our employees progress and achieve the success they want. I think that’s important in a team. There are many benefits within an organization that go above and beyond a salary, that help the people within your organization. We have goals, but so do they and we try to make sure they are aligned, and we help them achieve them. EP Employer helps us do that.”
There you have it, from AET’s very own Scott Freiburger. There’s a lot more we could share, but stay tuned. There might be a part two on the way. For now, join us in welcoming our newest EP Employers – AET Group.
If you’re interested in how you can set your organization apart from your competitors, gain some credibility to help your recruiting process and keep your staff happy increasing employee retention, check out our EP Employer page or contact us to speak to someone about getting your application process started.