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Meet Joyce Kristiansson of Kristiansson EHS Solutions in West Houston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joyce Kristiansson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Joyce. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Born in the Midwest, I was raised on a farm and spent my childhood outdoors and in nature as much as I could. I have a deep love of science and didn’t really see a lot of options for me in the small town where I graduated from a class of about 50 or so students. So I left the farm to pursue college, receiving a BA in biology in 1984, and then took a job in Chicago for an environmental services contractor.

In 1988, I moved with that job to Houston and ultimately ended up working as an environmental scientist for two different energy companies. I met my husband, Lars (he is from Denmark) in Houston and we married in 1995 and were lucky to have two awesome kids, Nic (now 23) and Kait (now 20).

When I left the safety of the corporate world and a six-figure income to start an environmental consulting company in 2002, the kids were just five and two years old. Eighteen years later, they are grown and the company provides consulting services to companies around the world. I completed my Master’s in environmental management in 2015 after starting it twenty years ago, and everything was sailing along beautifully. My consulting practice grew to a team of six and it was exciting to provide opportunities for other professional women with small children to have the same work-life balance I had grown to love.

Has it been a smooth road?
Did I say it was sailing along beautifully? The perfect storm hit in 2017 – the energy market went bust, our clients began going out of business, my husband had a series of medical issues, we were putting a kid through college … and I found out I had a tumor in my breast. I underwent surgery, chemo and radiation. Sometimes I think losing my hair was the most difficult part.

After the last radiation treatment, we took a short break and headed to Denmark to visit family. We came home to Hurricane Harvey! We were stuck for three days as our little neighborhood became an island, but thankfully, we did not flood and suffered no major losses.

I remained in what I thought was a chemo fog until I finally asked for help from my oncologist in early 2019. It turned out that I had sleep apnea and needed an APAP – I call it my sleep machine and life saver.

Having regained my energy (and hair), and having a new appreciation for how hard it can be to create sustainable habits when life is challenging you, I wrote about my journey in a book, “The Last Straw, Change Your Life and the Planet – for Good.” Think of it as a sustainability self-help book. Until you take care of yourself, you can’t really take care of the environment. The easiest way to find the book is through my website, www.thelaststrawbook.com.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
At Kristiansson EHS Solutions (www.kristianssonllc.com), we love helping companies improve their environmental performance while improving their bottom line. We have the most amazing team of professionals: highly credentialed, highly experienced with lots of energy, smarts and a can-do attitude. We’ve been told we have the same caliber of professionals as the big box environmental firms but are much more agile and a much better value. Whether it’s major energy operators in the Gulf of Mexico or small mom-and-pop companies, our niche is fast turnaround problem-solving. We create systems that our customers can maintain themselves, helping them sustain the return on their investment in our services.

Our special niche is helping our clients move quickly through red tape and past bureaucratic challenges. A great example of this is a project we did for a healthcare company anticipating acquisition by a major player. Their senior leadership team needed compliance assurance for sixteen companies outside the US – in Europe, Asia and South Africa. We were brought in after two other major consulting companies were unable to come to agreement on the contracting terms and conditions, resulting in major delays. We quickly built a very focused team that had worked together before and had in-country expertise. Despite our delayed start – and no extension of the deadline – the project was completed on time and provided the data needed to support the sale. The client was extremely pleased with the results, and the senior leadership team had the assurances they needed to go forward with the acquisition.

What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
We are working our way through the challenges the pandemic has brought to our business and family, just like everyone else. At the same time, along with my husband, I hope to fulfill a dream to create a non-profit where we can provide nature education on acreage we have along the Brazos River. It won’t be an easy task; wild hogs and huisache have taken over from when the land was cleared for pasture and then abandoned. In addition to restoring the native environment, we hope to take school kids to the natural beach where they can learn about things like weathering, erosion, how a river cuts and deposits and why it’s so important to maintain natural floodplains and wetlands.

There’s never been a greater need for our kids to connect with the natural environmental and to learn science in a hands-on setting. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can about creating a 501(c)(3) organization and working with educators to create opportunities that align with their curriculum while getting kids excited about science. My reward would be finding them loving science and nature as much as I do, and seeing where that takes them. If you see nature, really see it, you’ll grow to love it. If you love it, you’ll want to protect it. If you want to protect it, you’ll be willing to make small changes in your life to do so. Those small changes can add up and can lead to much bigger changes. The next generation is our hope, so it’s an investment in our collective future.

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Joyce Kristiansson

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