When Shannon Riley established One Stop Environmental in 1999 she had a newborn baby at home, and she figured being her own boss would give her plenty of time to be a good mom.

Even while putting the kids first, Riley got busy building up a high-growth environmental concern. She started off doing emergency response cleanup, and expanded over time to embrace such services as consulting, environmental program management and waste management abatement.

“You can’t grow a business just waiting on someone to have a terrible accident,” said Riley, 39, a native of Birmingham.

To keep up the momentum, Riley has often relied on the skills of able partners. Take for instance, her present contract at Fort Rucker, a U.S. Army base in Dothan, Ala. She shares the load with a chemical manufacturer that provides expertise.

“They have the full knowledge of the chemicals. They can get the right prices and they have the computer software to track it all,” said Riley, who holds a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama.

In the Fort Rucker arrangement, Riley provides the labor needed to execute the job.

“It’s about finding the right teaming partners… companies that have the right experience.”

A woman in a predominantly male industry, Riley shared mixed thoughts about the role on gender in business.

“Every person, regardless of their gender or their ethnicity, has to prove themselves,” she said. “But maybe I have a little more proving to do.”

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