SCS Engineers’ Gomathy Radhakrishna Iyer explains, “The structure of PFAs is a carbon and fluorine bond, and that bond is considered one of the strongest in nature. For industry, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), a volatile derivative of methane, ethane, and propane, creates problems globally after they’ve been released. Chlorofluorocarbons are strong greenhouse gases and are also responsible for the destruction of stratospheric ozone.
The most publicized of these compounds are those used as coolants in refrigeration and air conditioners, as propellants in spray cans and similar products, and as solvents for industrial purposes. Chlorofluorocarbons are far less abundant than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Still, they are 10,000 times more potent as a greenhouse gas and can remain in the atmosphere for more than 45 to 100 years. Reference
Iyer continues, “PFAS has the same kind of carbon-fluorine bond as CFC but linked to several C-F bonds like a chain making them even more inert and hard to degrade. Breaking this bond is what makes finding effective leachate treatments challenging, but certainly possible.”
It takes a savvy engineer to design safe and effective systems. We’re very proud of our Young Professionals like Gomathy – they’re smart and continue learning with the guidance of our VEPs – very experienced professionals.
Open positions at SCS Engineers for YPs and VEPs
Like many Young Professionals, Steve is more than a Professional Engineer. To his clients, he’s a manager often exceeding their expectations; to others a mentor and to his community a man involved.
As a Senior Project Manager at SCS, Steve is responsible for overseeing solid waste and environmental services projects from SCS’s Oklahoma City and Wichita offices. He has a broad range of expertise, including solid and hazardous waste regulations, landfill design, and regulatory compliance. Steve supports his clients providing landfill and solid waste solutions that include compliance audits, stormwater modeling and design, remedial action plans, remedial systems designs, site investigations, health and safety assessments, waterway crossing assessments, and construction.
Living and working in the Heartland, his efforts take him to sites including solid waste facilities, active and closed landfill sites, oil well fields, fuel storage facilities, vehicle maintenance facilities, truck stops, industrial sites, and agricultural sites. Chemical contamination encountered in both soil and groundwater media is of growing concern across the nation. Steve mitigates and helps prevent contamination from petroleum, dioxin, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents. Some of these sites have complex management systems that protect the air, water, and soil from harm. Operating these systems in harmony is expensive, requiring experience and understanding of each of the components plus regional knowledge.
Sangeeta Bhattacharjee, E.I.T., an SCS Engineers Associate Professional, submitted Steve’s name as a Waste360 candidate, unknown to him. So being among the honorees came as quite a surprise. Sangeeta told us, “I wanted to let everyone know about his work and take inspiration from him.” She went on to say:
If anyone is looking for a professional who has experience, knowledge, expertise in landfills but who is still so humble, honest, and always there to learn more, it is Steve in my eyes. Anyone who meets Steve will be assured that he will get the work done. That much confidence and expertise with so much coolness is a rare combination. I, and most of my colleagues, depend on his personal qualities every day; I am sure others will be happy to know him.
Steve, a graduate of Kansas State University, is licensed in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Kansas and Oklahoma Societies of Professional Engineers, where he served in several chair positions as well as Chapter President; and the Solid Waste Association of North America where he recently served in the Sunflower Chapter as a Director.
Thanks to Sangeeta, Steve and all the Waste360 40-Under-40 Award Winners for their commitment to solving solid waste industry challenges and facing these challenges positively − you make a difference.
SCS Staff Professional, Spencer Nichols, supports clients as a Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Specialist. He earned his BA in Political Science/International Relations & Environmental Studies with a Minor in Public Policy at Tulane University. Spencer is passionate about sustainability; in high school, he volunteered at a non-profit organization working closely with community members to create organic farms on school campuses. These farm projects provide healthy food to local food banks while at the same time educating students about the environmental and social benefits of organic agriculture. Spencer also led a service trip to Latin America to help agrarian communities restore their environment after regional industrial agriculture had caused widespread degradation. Spencer became Chapter President of the non-profit Global Student Embassy (GSE) and led a group of students in fundraising and environmental efforts. During his year-long tenure, he worked on environmental and community-based initiatives in California and Nicaragua, culminating in a fully-funded scholarship program for Nicaraguan students to visit GSE Chapters in the United States.
In 2017, Spencer met SCS Senior Project Manager, Tracie Bills, through his network, and learned about the SMM work she performs for SCS clients. They stayed in touch and would occasionally meet to discuss opportunities and the evolving environmental field. When the role for a SMM Specialist opened up at SCS, Spencer landed the job! SCS Engineers was a perfect fit for his interests, education, and entrepreneurial spirit. Five months in, Spencer still loves the work. In particular, he says he appreciates working in the environmental industry and enjoys learning something new every day.
Spencer works for numerous clients and finds the variety of his work rewarding because the focus is on recycling and organics management challenges. He is gaining experience in waste management sustainability and zero waste practices, as well as managing records, producing project updates, and conducting recycling characterization studies. For one of his clients, Spencer is working to identify recycling markets for wood so the materials can be repurposed instead of buried in landfills.
Spencer also conducts outreach, customer assistance, and technical assistance for another client in Contra Costa County, California. He supports their environmental and regulatory initiatives by “educating their clients on materials management best practices to ensure improved outcomes and an excellent customer service experience for everyone involved.” His mission is to help reduce business waste while improving diversion of materials away from landfills.
To be responsive in his role and for his customers, he works in a fast-paced environment. This challenge helps him grow professionally every day. Spencer’s passion for helping businesses reduce waste in a practical manner helps him work toward his ultimate goal to impact his community in a positive way.
Spencer is contemplating enrolling in graduate school to earn a Sustainability MBA; he also wants to continue his work as an environmental consultant in the Non-Profit Sector in his free time. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and photography – all in keeping with his passion for protecting our environment for future generations.
Well done, Spencer!
Find your career at SCS Engineers – We’re always looking for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, who find working for their clients, community, and the environment a rewarding journey!
SCS Young Professional, Hydrogeologist Nicole Kron, recently finished her second session of Skype a Scientist, a program in which she Skypes with classrooms and talks to kids about her work as a professional geologist and her journey to become a scientist. The Skype a Scientist program connects students and teachers with people in scientific jobs to help attract kids to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pursuits.
Skype a Scientist matches scientists with classrooms around the world; teachers are able to choose the type of scientist that will match their classroom’s interests. Participating scientists, like Nicole, then skype with the students for 30 to 60 minute Q&A sessions that can cover any topic – from their particular expertise to what it’s like to work as a scientist to their favorite pastimes. The program helps students get to know a “real scientist” and about their career in a STEM arena.
Nicole has completed two sessions so far – one in May and one in June, and she has agreed to stay involved with the program going forward. “It’s so much fun!” she says.
Some of the questions Nicole has answered include:
During these sessions, Nicole talked about geology, work-life balance, self-confidence, and her hobbies. The ninth grade class was particularly interested in her new venture to make French macarons as well as her love of dancing.
Nicole says she really enjoys participating in Skype a Scientist because, “It gives
me the opportunity to show students that scientists and engineers are well-rounded
people with many interests.”
An SCS Marketing Manager, Sarah Hoke, added: “I love to see our folks making an impact in the community.”
It’s never too soon to start recruiting the scientists of the future!
Nicole and Sarah both work at SCS Engineers in the Madison, Wisconsin office. SCS Engineers provides career opportunities across the nation to talented individuals who bring value to their clients and in their communities.