SunWest Engineering Constructors

SunWest’s Pamela Lawrence Protects Tank Owners in Highly Regulated Environment

Pamela Lawrence wears many hats in her position of founder and president of SunWest Engineering Constructors, Inc. Perhaps the one she wears most often is that of “mediator.” Pamela negotiates solutions for some of the most highly regulated structures in the U.S. – fuel tanks. Her success is due to her exhaustive understanding of the perplexing regulatory world, and this understanding garners a wide respect in the regulatory field.

“Californians are fortunate to live in a state that makes the safety of its citizens and its natural resources a priority, but it is also one of the most heavily regulated. Our clients, who represent manufacturing, public utility, aviation, healthcare, rail industries and more, are conscientious corporate citizens. But keeping up with the variety of regulations from federal agencies, the 35 state agencies that enforce Clean Air laws, nine water boards, 58 counties, 83 CUPA agencies and other local agencies that control fuel tanks can be overwhelming when they must remain focused on their core operations,” explains Lawrence.

Lawrence’s expertise in the complexities of the regulatory environment has been 25 years in the making. In 1989, she co-founded MJK Construction, Inc., a premier provider of environmental construction work serving California and Nevada. Leveraging the experience she gained at MJK, Lawrence founded SunWest in 1994. Growing demand from clients with on-site petroleum tanks led Lawrence to change SunWest’s emphasis to petroleum tank site maintenance and compliance. Today, the company serves eight states in the Western U.S. and is among the 100 largest women-owned Los Angeles County-based businesses*. Lawrence and her staff are recognized for their ability to understand the effect of regulations from their clients’ point of view and have a great success rate bringing tank owners into compliance quickly and efficiently.

It is this reputation that brings a sigh of relief to tank owners facing hefty penalties, and confidence to existing clients that such situations are not on their horizons. It also gives regulators the confidence that problems will be addressed properly and quickly. When businesses that have been cited for violations enter regulatory hearings with SunWest as their liaison, regulators often perceive this as evidence of good-faith efforts toward compliance, making it more likely that fines will be lowered or dismissed. For example, air-related violations for one new client resulted in a $210,000 fine, which SunWest helped negotiate down to $11,000.

“We’re here to protect responsible tank owners by helping them stay in compliance, resolve issues quickly, and avoid unnecessary regulatory actions caused by a failure to fully understand or comply with the regulations,” says Lawrence. “We have attracted highly experienced professionals who share our integrity-over-profit philosophy and who can get to the core of complex, critical situations.”


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