North County News: Lawyer turns entrepreneur
October 20, 2005
Lawyer turns entrepreneur
CARLSBAD ---- After more than 15 years as a successful Los Angeles lawyer working on high-profile cases and representing clients such as the speaker of the California Assembly and the H.J. Heinz Co., Larry Goldenhersh decided he was ready for a change.
"I really felt that, while it was a very high honor to protect the companies that were inspired by the visions of others, I wanted to focus my energy on creating something myself," he said.
Today, Goldenhersh, 50, is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Enviance, an Internet-based system for the collection, distribution, analysis and reporting of environmental, health and safety data based in Carlsbad. Goldenhersh said that founding the company in 1999 was "the best decision I ever made."
"There is nothing like breathing life into your own vision," he said. "It's up there with having children and deep powder skiing."
Growing up in St. Louis, Goldenhersh was sure he would follow in his father's footsteps and become a lawyer. After earning a bachelor's degree from Duke University, he graduated from law school at the University of Virginia and moved to Denver to begin a yearlong clerkship with Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who later presided over the trials of Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
"He struck me as a person of the highest moral and ethical standards," Goldenhersh said. "He taught me the art of working very hard and very efficiently."
An avid skier, he went skiing about 35 times during his year in Denver.
After his clerkship, Goldenhersh was recruited by Los Angeles firm Irell & Manella.
"It seemed like a wonderful place for a young lawyer to start," he said. "I handled a lot of very substantial disputes for multimillion-dollar, multinational companies."
Goldenhersh's experience at the firm gave him the vision for Enviance.
"In my practice as a lawyer, I had many occasions to deal with big corporations confronting the realities of (environmental) regulation burdens," he said. "I knew that the compliance space had hugely expansive problems that needed to be solved."
Still, the decision to start his own business was not an easy one for Goldenhersh.
"I think one of the biggest challenges was deciding to leave the very lucrative and safe confines of my practice and go into the chilly waters of entrepreneurship, where anything can happen," he said.
So far, the gamble has paid off: More than 750 facilities use Enviance's subscription service, which automates the practice of compliance while significantly reducing cost and increasing efficiency. Enviance's customers include Fortune 1,000 companies such as DuPont, which uses Enviance to develop its Toxic Release Inventory reports, and American Electric Power, which uses Enviance to manage the reporting on its greenhouse gases.Ý
"I never doubted for a moment that if we executed well, we'd change the game," he said. "We have really made a difference using the Internet that will reflect itself for years to come in more efficient business and a healthier planet." Ý
Aside from founding a successful business and helping safeguard the environment, Goldenhersh said his greatest accomplishments are his marriage (he and his wife have been married for 21 years) and his three children.
"I'm most proud of my relationship with my family," he said. "I'm very lucky. I get up and I can't wait to go to work every day, and I can't wait to get home every night."
Although Goldenhersh makes time to regularly practice kung fu with his 16-year-old son, his busy work schedule leaves him with little time for skiing. Not that he minds.
"This is not a business," he said. "This is my life."
Contact freelance writer Alexandra DeLuca at Alexandra.L.DeLuca@gmail.com.
Tips from the top
Larry Goldenhersh, founder, president and chief executive officer of Enviance, offers these keys to career success:
-- Have confidence in your vision.
-- Have eternal optimism and absolute confidence.
-- Take baby steps toward achieving your vision.
-- Have patience and linear execution.
-- Always hire people who are smarter than yourself.
-- Maintain your creative spark and intellectual curiosity, and hone your skill set.