Back in 2002, the now-classic book, The Restoration Economy, predicted the rise of a vast array of businesses related to restoring the various aspects of our natural and built environments. In January of 2020 the new book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, documented how urban and rural places are harnessing that restoration economy to revitalize themselves.
Most recently, the popular business magazine Inc. has named Ecotone, a Maryland-based ecological restoration firm, as one its fastest-growing private companies in America for the fourth consecutive year. Inc. once again named Ecotone to the “Inc. 5000” list, which includes firms like Microsoft, Vizio, and Zappos.
Maryland was also the birthplace of one of the earliest and most successful ecological restoration companies, Biohabitats, as documented in several of Storm Cunningham‘s writings and public presentations, such as this 2010 TEDx talk in Washington, DC.
A key to Ecotone’s success has been its ability to identify local restoration projects, such as streams and wetlands in need of repair, and partner with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to offset some of the costs, allowing local municipalities to improve their natural environments without going beyond their budget.
“It’s a win-win—the local town or city can provide its residents a healthier, safer environment, while we do the legwork to find the funding. It’s our contribution to beautifying our local communities, improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, and encouraging a natural restoration,” said Ecotone’s owner Scott McGill. “Our philosophy is to allow nature to restore nature. We set the table and let nature take it from there.”
While being recognized for growing its business is welcomed, McGill stressed that his company’s focus is beyond the bottom line.
“We didn’t set out with the intention to grow earnings or improve our profit margin. Our goal was to help our clients and partners solve important ecological and water quality problems. Making the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row was simply a result of our company’s mission to find and execute innovative, cost effective, and nature based solutions for our customers and the environment. Open sourcing our approach with the ecological restoration community at large is how we are scaling our outcomes to other regions of North America and the world. Our Bhag is to change the way world thinks about and executes on ecological restoration challenges,” McGill added.
Founded in 1998, Ecotone is a Harford County, Maryland-based ecological restoration company that designs and builds sustainable ecosystems to reduce erosion of stream banks, manage stormwater, conserve and restore wetlands, and restore forests. The company provides full-delivery ecosystem restoration, mitigation, design, construction, and consulting solutions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
“We have built a team that is passionate about ecological restoration, and our associates are willing to jump in to assist their colleagues in order to get the job done right. When hiring, we look for associates who are curious, have integrity and a strong work ethic, and believe in our company core values. Collaboration, a thirst for knowledge and understanding, and going the extra mile for one another and our clients are a few of Ecotone’s core values that have driven our growth over the last several years. Ecotone has shown that profits and growth don’t need to come at the expense of employee wellness and happiness,” stated McGill. “We believe life balance is critical to ensuring our staff is engaged, productive, and passionate about solving the environmental problems we face as a community.”
Ecotone officially became a B Corp in 2018, a certification for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
Photo (courtesy of Ecotone) shows Ecotone owner, Scott McGill with his wingman, Goose.