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Intriguing Women-Led Businesses: Normandeau Associates
 
Published Wednesday, December 13, 2017
by ROBERT COOK

For the past six years, Business NH Magazine has spotlighted women-led businesses in NH to demonstrate their economic influence. The inaugural list had 50 companies with at least $1 million in revenue. This year the list includes 85 businesses. Together, these companies generated $4.9 billion in revenue in 2016 and employ more than 4,000 people in NH.

We are also profiling five intriguing leaders from this year’s list, who are chosen either for their companies’ fast growth, the influence they wield or their significant achievements. Here is one of the profiles:

 

Normandeau Associates Inc.

Pam Hall, CEO and chairman of the Bedford-based scientific and environmental consulting firm Normandeau Associates, remembers a time when she was the only female company president in a corporate world dominated by male counterparts.

Like so many other challenges related to her business, Hall embraced that role, saying, “I was sort of a trailblazer in the early 80s.” But what Hall considers her greatest achievement has nothing to do with gender. She’s most proud of turning the company into an employee-owned firm. To accomplish that, she and 23 managers mounted a successful effort to buy back the company from the Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Electron (now Thermo Fisher Scientific), a publicly traded company, in 2000.

Hall says she engages people in a discussion before making a final decision, and she attributes Normandeau’s stability and growth to that engagement and giving employees a real stake in the company and their future.

“It was definitely a game changer,” Hall says of becoming employee owned. Since becoming employee owned in 2000, Normandeau’s revenue has increased by $17 million. The firm has 250 employees, including 80 in Bedford, and the rest in nine offices across the country.

“One of the reasons that I feel so strongly about broad employee ownership for our firm is that in professional services firms, employees are the assets, unlike manufacturing or products companies where there are many physical assets,” Hall says.

Hall also attributes the company’s growth to an uptick in nationwide demand for consulting services that help developers identify the best way to handle projects without causing adverse environmental effects. “For example, there is an issue with bats in wind turbines,” Hall says. “We have technology with monitors that will send information back to us based on bat vocalizations or bat calls that tell us which bat species is in the area.

Then, you can determine if the ones that are there are among the endangered species or not. We developed a technology with a trade association that will shut down the turbines if bats are detected in the vicinity of the turbines.”

Looking ahead, she foresees company expansion into the Midwest and the Southeast.


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