Navigating Troubled Waters Via Experience and Innovation

Foresea Consulting
Written by Claire Suttles

Foresea Consulting is a new management and crisis advisory firm for the maritime and environmental service communities. Opened just three months ago, the Long Island based business is an exciting new addition to the industry, contributing top-notch expertise as well as a bold new business model.
Foresea’s services revolve around three key areas: Strategic Planning, Regulatory Compliance, and Emergency Response.

Strategic Planning services include operational, financial, legal, and risk management, with a focus on solving problems. The team develops a clear and efficient crisis response plan for a client, coordinating every detail and service provider that would come into play if a crisis occurs. From media communications, trajectory modeling, and financial auditing to Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), claims handling, legal representation, and insurance related services – Foresea organizes it all. The team also advises on day-to-day operations, driving businesses forward by keeping costs down for maximum financial performance.

Foresea’s compliance advice goes the extra step, creating value beyond required regulatory compliance. By delivering both turnkey solutions and customized project advice, the team is able to tailor compliance advice to a client’s specific needs and abilities. “Our goal is to be your trusted advisor in providing a single resource for resolution of challenges,” the company website explains.

Maritime and environmental businesses face inherent risks; sometimes, despite the best planning, accidents still happen – and Foresea Consulting is always ready to assist on the scene. During a crisis situation, the team walks clients through the myriad of services required, ensuring that the emergency response is efficient and effective. The team provides immediate support and unbiased advice that can easily be put into practice, guiding clients on prioritization and resource allocation, and ensuring that the problem at hand does not escalate further. The team handles all facets of the emergency including communication, dealing with regulators and legal representatives and coordinating the efforts of onsite responders. This support and advice is available throughout the crisis and will continue even after the emergency is over.

Foresea’s team of industry insiders has the longtime experience and insight to handle the most challenging emergency situation. They have managed or supported the response to hundreds of natural disasters and emergencies, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The team maintains their edge through ongoing participation with federal, state and local government forums, exercises and training sessions. This ongoing participation also keeps communication open between Foresea and regulatory agencies, ensuring that important relationships are maintained. Relationships are critical to Foresea, both with industry insiders and with clients. “We recognize that an important reason for our successful reputation is our network of relationships – the business associates, regulators, and clients we know and are able to access,” the company website points out.

The launch
President & CEO Steven Candito was well prepared to launch a management and crisis advisory firm to the maritime and environmental sectors. “I have been working in the maritime and environmental sectors for my entire career,” he explains. “That leads to what I am doing today.” After graduating from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1980, Mr. Candito worked as an officer aboard Exxon USA’s domestic tanker fleet. He also attended Hofstra University School of Law during that period, focusing on maritime and environmental legal issues. Upon graduation, Mr. Candito began working for the New York City law firm Haight Gardner Poor & Havens, becoming a legal expert in maritime and environmental cases. “I gravitated to the environmental cases that had a relationship to the maritime industry,” he remembers. By the end of his eight-year stint at the firm, Mr. Candito had become a specialist in oil spills.

When the cleanup company National Response Corporation (NRC) was launched in the early 1990s, Mr. Candito accepted an executive position there, taking advantage of a burgeoning new industry. “There was a new federal law after the Exxon Valdese oil spill that changed the way ship owners had to approach oil spills,” Mr. Candito explains. “Number one, they had to have a response plan in place that was filed with the Coast Guard, so the Coast Guard knew they were properly prepared. Part of that plan required them to sign a contract with a company like NRC to make sure that they had all of the resources available to respond to a spill without any delays. A whole industry of oil spill removal organizations and spill managers built up because of that new law.”

The new industry also grew to include a barrage of experts who needed to be on the scene of any oil spill, from wildlife specialists and PR managers to specialized insurance representatives and salvage companies. Juggling all of these experts could be a complicated – and exasperating – experience. “The ship owners would have all these different consultants involved and they were trying to figure out how to coordinate all of them and they are having a hard time doing it.” The situation would get even stickier when these experts disagreed about the best course of action during a cleanup. “Sometimes these consultants would be at odds with each other. That was the problem that the ship owners were having.”

Mr. Candito knew there had to be a better way. “I met with many of them and explained, ‘I can help you better coordinate all this activity. I have had very specific experience with NRC, and during those 22 years of experience, I have dealt with all these consultants. I know all the people. I know all the good ones; I know all the bad ones. I know how to get them to work together, and I have both the legal and operational background to provide invaluable advice.” The feedback to Mr. Candito’s proposal was extremely positive. “The ship owners were very receptive to it,” he remembers. After growing NRC from a startup to a leading global emergency response and environmental services firm, Mr. Candito was ready to move on to the next challenge. Armed with a winning idea, and the support of his future clients, the entrepreneur struck out on his own, launching Foresea Consulting. The company just opened its doors for business in September of this year.

A unique solution
Mr. Candito didn’t want Foresea Consulting to follow the traditional business model. Instead, he wanted to revolutionize the industry. During his years as an insider, Mr. Candito recognized that the interests of the ship owners were not always aligned with the interests of the spill management companies and other consultants, who billed by the hour. “Thankfully oil spills doesn’t happen that frequently. So when an oil spill occurred, to some extent, these service providers had an incentive to make sure that the spill went on for a while, that it got a little more complicated, because then they would be needed longer. The longer that spill went on the more they got paid.”

To avoid this potential conflict of interest, Foresea Consulting charges an annual fee upfront, rather than billing by the hour during an emergency. “My service is almost like an insurance product,” Mr. Candito explains. Multiple clients pay the fee upfront, pooling the risk, and when one of them needs assistance there is no additional fee. “My client is not getting charged any more at the time of an event. So my interest is perfectly aligned with their interest; we need to get this cleaned up as quickly as possible, and as cost effectively as possible.”

The key to making this innovation work is to have a large enough pool of clients. “The concept does not work if I have just one or two clients; I plan to have dozens of clients so the costs are spread out over a larger group. When one of the individuals from that group needs more attention, those internal costs are defrayed by the other clients. That is unique. No one else, as far as I know, is doing that in the business.”

Equipped with a unique business model and highly trained industry experts, Foresea Consulting has certainly started out on the right path. The company’s reliable, comprehensive advisory service is sure to draw in dozens of clients – creating a new way to approach maritime and environmental response management in the process.



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