Area(s) of expertise:
Favorite Thing about Being an Environmental Remediation Practitioner:
It encompasses a broad number of challenges and allows me to try lots of different things, from working on a pipeline spill to a retail establishment or factory. It also gives me a lot of flexibility and the opportunity to work with and put together interesting teams.
What insights do you have on the future of your practice area?
PFAS is emerging and is a huge concern. It hasn’t touched my world yet, but it’s coming, and I think all of us in this space need to prepare for it. I think it's going to affect all of us in either a technical or a personal way.
What is the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
I was able to be part of a big project that came out of left field, and that was being part of a team helping a technology retail client. It was interesting because I was working in a retail environment, doing training on the store's emergency response procedures and active threat, both of which weren't in my wheelhouse. I typically work on remediation projects, compliance, and managing teams, so this was a whole new experience for me, which made it really cool.
Being a part of a nationwide group of practitioners was great, and the best part was going to all of these stores, working day-to-day and giving training to groups of 50 people, most of whom where under 30. It was inspiring—they were all so engaged and interested in the training. The only time someone wasn’t paying attention, their manager leaned over and let them know to stay engaged—and it turned out he was taking notes!. The myths and preconceived notions about younger people were definitely proved wrong—they really wanted to help, and it made me think that the world is going to be okay. These young people, who are ready to embark on their careers, motivated me with their excitement about workplace safety and their level of engagement.
What are some of your favorite tools/resources for professional development in this practice area?
The internet has changed everything—I wouldn’t know anything about PFAS if the internet wasn’t there. In the past, you had to learn everything from journals and magazines, and the internet has definitely opened up the door for me.
What is a key ingredient for success as an environmetal remediation practitioner?
To be able to build a team and understand your limitations. To really be successful, you have to know how to find the rockstars, give them the right context, and let them do what you can’t do.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
One of the more gratifying things I had happen—besides my enlightenment about the millennial generation—actually happened because of technical report reviewing. There is nothing more gratifying than when I review a report and make lots of edits, then go over it with the author and explain the reasoning behind my changes, and when they turn in their next draft, it’s perfect. It’s how teachers probably feel when teaching actually works. It’s nice to know they listened, cared, and wanted to do a good job, and it makes me feel like taking the time to review was worth it. I think everyone wants to do a good job and we need to remember that.
What was your first job?
I was a busgirl at a restaurant in the little town that I grew up in. It set the stage for me turning into a foodie, though! I was the busgirl that aspired to get a waitress position to finally get some good tips, and now, I love to cook.
If you had one month off, where would you go or what would you do?
I’m lucky that I have the opportunity to go almost anywhere. So, what I would really want to do, if I had the time, is volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). It isn’t like big brother big sister—as a CASA, you are an advocate in the court system for foster kids. You work with their teachers, social workers, and other caregivers to make sure they aren’t getting the short end of the stick in court, and the overall goal is to get them back with their families, if possible. It’s what I want to do when I retire, but if I had a month off, I’d do it then!
What historical or fictional character would you most like to work with?
I wouldn’t mind seeing how I would work with Don Draper.
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