Anna Cerf conducted research at the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, had an internship at the Environmental Defense Fund, and worked for SCS Engineers. Now she’s off to Germany.
Cerf graduated from UVA in 2020 with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in urban and environmental planning. The course work for her program will cover three fundamental disciplines: sanitary engineering, groundwater remediation, and hydraulic engineering.
She is a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, using an award to fund her two-year master’s program in water resource engineering and management at the University of Stuttgart. “With the support of ISWA professors and access to University of Stuttgart’s premier research facilities, I will research the transport and treatment of emerging contaminants for my master’s thesis.”
Cerf feels having a master’s in water resource engineering and management will further her career at the intersection of environmental issues and public health. “The University of Stuttgart has top-of-the-line water research facilities,” Cerf said. “It is also home to the Institute of Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality, and Solid Waste Management.
“By the end of the program, I will be able to anticipate, understand and evaluate water management-related issues,” Cerf said. “As climate change exacerbates existing water scarcity issues and environmental degradation damages water quality, these skills become increasingly important.”
What is your title and responsibilities at SCS Engineers?
My title at SCS Engineers is “Project Professional.” In the Southeast region, we have something called “Assistant Project Managers,” which is not an official title. However, as the name suggests, the position entails helping the project manager run the project. My responsibilities include:
What attracted you to join SCS?
While completing my Master of Environmental Engineering, most of my classes were either water or wastewater-related. I had heard of SCS Engineers; from what I had heard and seen, it was focused heavily on landfill engineering. As a millennial, I did not have a positive outlook on landfills; I was interested in the environmental remediation of properties. Luckily, I was in a restaurant and ran into Eddy Smith, Senior Vice President of Client Success. We went over my career goals and the projects at SCS. I applied for a job, and the rest is history!
What attracted me initially to SCS was working in Environmental Services. I have been with SCS for over three years now and have expanded into sustainable materials management (SMM), which is interesting and good for communities and the environment. I’m also eager to build a more comprehensive knowledge of using what was once waste to renewable energy sources and clean-burning fuel. Solid waste management and landfills are fascinating, more than I ever imagined. SMM, renewable energy, remediation, and landfill operations are interconnected and essential for keeping people and communities safe and thriving.
What is your favorite part of working at SCS?
The people at SCS! We hire humble, hungry, and smart people. The knowledge pool is incredible, and everyone is always willing to help, no matter what part of the country you’re working. People are just a phone call away.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement or contribution to date?
I am working on a 500-acre landfill redevelopment project divided into four quadrants. Our client completed construction on one quadrant with nine buildings. We’ve received closure for eight of the nine buildings and anticipate closure for the remaining building soon. I take pride in supporting them to accomplish the closure and earn the environmental approvals safer and faster because of my combined team’s expertise and experience.
What is challenging for you as a YP?
Learning to manage my time was the greatest challenge. Regularly, I would stay late to work on projects and completing my tasks. It wasn’t a sustainable balance in my life. I said yes to everything assigned instead of letting the project manager know that my plate was full. Now, by planning my day better, prioritizing, and giving project managers realistic deadlines. I found the balance that works, and I am more productive.
What has helped with your success?
The support of management and our team at SCS has made me successful. If I have an issue with a project or unsure of the direction I need to take, I know I can rely on my team to help. There have been times when colleagues have dropped what they are doing to help me finish a project on time and within budget.
Do you have a favorite aspect of SCS’s Young Professionals Program, and describe your role as Chair?
My favorite aspect of the YP program is the mentorship program that the committee relaunched in 2020. It is such an incredible opportunity as a YP to be guided by an experienced professional. They have stood where we are today, and getting to learn from their experience is invaluable; our YPs take advantage of it.
I enjoy my role as the Chair of the YP program; I spend my energies organizing by:
What are your favorite hobbies outside of SCS?
I am a bit of a nerd, so my friends and I play Dungeons and Dragons every week. I also like DIY projects with arts and crafts – I made wall décor out of cardboard when I moved into my house!
What advice do you have for others getting into STEM fields?
When I was younger, I was advised not to go into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields by my career advisors and teachers because they did not think I would be successful. In fact, because of their advice, I tried out classes in the non-STEM field like history, commerce, geography, and I did not enjoy them. I was still intrigued by the STEM field, so I listened to my gut and look where I am today! STEM is not biased. My advice would be not to let anyone tell you that STEM is not for you. If you want to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, just do it!
Lindsey is an employee-owner at SCS Engineers on the solid waste management team performing Construction Quality Assurance – CQA and reporting for field projects, as well as OM&M on landfills and assisting with landfill reporting and compliance.
Lindsey earned her BS in Soil and Waste Resources—Waste Management from the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point in the Summer of 2018. She currently serves on the SWANA Badger Chapter Board and is co-YP Liaison, plus participates in SCS’s Young Professionals program.
Lindsey recently published an article Finding Solutions for an Open Dumpsite: Solid Waste in The Gambia in the April edition of the Badger Chapter YP Newsletter.
The Gambia, is a tiny sliver of a country in West Africa, has a population of just under 2.5 million. About a fourth of the country’s population is under the jurisdiction of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) – the most densely populated area of The Gambia. The people and leadership of the Kanifing municipality are united in their desire to have positive changes in solid waste management in the community and at the Bakoteh dumpsite. Ideally, solving the problem will implement a means of positive change for many aspects of the KMC citizens’ lives.
Outside of work, Lindsey is a self-described “bird nerd” who has two parrots: A Green Cheek Conure (7 years old) and a Yellow-Naped Amazon (34 years old). She often volunteers at Feathered Friends Sanctuary and Rescue where they provide care for around 65 surrendered parrots.
Voting for the Old Dominion Chapter’s 2020-2021 Board of Directors ended December 13, 2019. After tallying the votes, the following professionals were elected as new Directors, including:
Ryan Duckett is a Project Professional working out of SCS’s Midlothian, Virginia office. He is responsible for Sustainable Materials Management, or SMM, solid waste facilities and municipal planning solutions. Ryan also supports environmental engineering projects related to permitting, compliance, regulatory reporting, landfill gas modeling, construction quality assurance (CQA), and pollutant emission inventories at solid waste management facilities. Ryan is an active member of the SCS Engineers Young Professional Program that connects our young professionals with others providing community support, altruistic efforts, mentoring, networking, and social activities.
Virginia’s Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) organization works to advance environmentally and economically sound municipal solid waste management in Virginia. The “Old Dominion” Chapter as it is known consists of over 300 professionals actively working in the solid waste field throughout the Commonwealth. The membership represents the largest cross-section of solid waste managers, operators, and consultants in Virginia.
The Chapter seeks to foster networking and cooperation among solid waste professionals, including regulators and provides educational opportunities to enhance members’ expertise in the solid waste management field. Members carry out a variety of activities and programs to establish innovative research programs in the publics’ interest, scholarships and technical assistance. Learn more about membership on their website – http://www.swanava.org/.
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!
Som Kundral is a Project Manager with the Miami office. He is currently managing a 500-acre C&D landfill redevelopment project involving multiple engineering disciplines. Som serves clients in the region by providing design and construction oversight of groundwater remediation and landfill gas management systems. He says redevelopment on old landfills pose interesting environmental challenges and can be complex given the heavy involvement of regulatory agencies.
Som was born in 1983 in India, raised in Karnataka, a state in southwest India on the coast of the Arabian Sea. He has two younger brothers, both of whom work in Information Technology. His parents are retired and live in India. He grew up in a typical middle-class family with an emphasis on tradition and culture, where one is taught to respect and obey elders and to protect the young.
As a child, he was curious about how things work and admits to destroying numerous gadgets attempting to reveal their secrets – so engineering was a natural career choice. His father is a Civil Engineer who influenced Som to get a Civil Engineering degree instead of a Computer Science degree. Som has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and came to Miami in August 2010, to earn a Masters of Environmental Engineering. While at school, he says he fell in love with the place, the people, and the culture.
Som’s wife, also an engineer, moved from Houston after their wedding in 2012. They enjoy gardening, greenery, and farms. He also collects watches and gadgets. While enamored with motorcycles, once belonging to a biking group as an undergrad, he no longer bikes out of respect for his wife and says he misses it.
Som aspires to become a leader in the industry and wants to grow with SCS Engineers. Som’s mentor is SCS Vice President and Southeast Region Office Director Bob Speed, who states,
I’ve worked with Som for several years. Som accepts tasks regardless of the difficulty and completes each promptly. Our projects usually have numerous stakeholders; Som keeps them informed, so good communications play an important role in keeping our work on-task. I would describe Som as ‘humble, hungry and smart; he truly is an ideal team player for our clients and SCS.
Som is an enthusiastic member of the SCS team. We appreciate his contributions supporting clientele, enhancing our technical reputation, and contributing to our company culture of industry involvement.
What makes Sol shine so brightly?
For Solavann Sim it’s his positive qualities as an individual and his ability to work effectively using a multidisciplinary approach with his clients. Our industry’s strongest and most respected leaders are those who are considered collaborative, not fixated on making all decisions themselves or working in a silo. On the contrary, innovation happens at the crossroads of different disciplines and that is where Sol shines brightest.
Sol’s landfill gas design-build and operations experience, along with his knowledge of hydrogen sulfide treatment programs, help prevent and mitigate potential problems quickly. His comprehensive technical and field competence, along with his clients, and his team comprised of staff in several disciplines approach solutions in various ways; each having unique perspectives but a common goal. Working collaboratively with clients the team solves complex challenges facing landfill owners and operators. Innovative solutions are often found where perspectives, ideas, and fields of expertise meet.
See SCS’s 40+ years of innovative thinking at SCS Firsts an interactive list of client solutions, underneath News, Events, and Blogs.
“Dave Hostetter sets the example of how an honorable, dynamic, and experienced engineer acts at SCS,” said Paul Mandeville, Senior Vice President and Director of SCS’s offices on the east coast. “Dave serves as a model of what young professionals and students should strive to become in their professional careers; we are very proud of him.”
Dave Hostetter, a recent graduate of the SAME DC Post’s 2015 Leadership Lab was honored to receive the Society of American Military Engineers Honorable Mention for Outstanding Contributions by Young Civilian Member. Dave is a registered professional engineer, a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) through the U.S. Green Building Council, and a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) at SCS Engineers.
Throughout his career he has focused on three things: using his engineering skills to make a difference in the world, serving his clients wholeheartedly, and mentoring others. These guiding principles have led him through many fields of engineering from HVAC and plumbing engineering to energy engineering to landfill gas engineering to controls system engineering.
From 2012 to 2013 Dave was the site project manager for a large retro-commissioning project of two hospitals in the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 3. More than 1,500,000 square feet of building space were retro-commissioned. Throughout this project, he worked diligently to identify hundreds of issues with the building HVAC systems and create recommendations for each one. His recommendations were projected to save the VA approximately $200,000 / year and have an average payback period of approximately 0.2 years.
In 2016 Dave engineered and installed a unique environmental monitoring system for a client at a port in New Jersey. The client had an air monitoring program which required them to monitor the air quality at six different points around the port on a daily basis. Their original process was time-consuming and was, therefore expensive. Dave engineered and installed a system of wireless sensors which communicate air monitoring data back to an online database. This online database allows the client to view current and historical data, it automatically generates a daily summary report, and it sends out alarms when one of the measured parameters exceeds its alarm setpoint. This new system has reduced the client’s expenditure on labor, saved costs and resources, and increased their ability to understand and respond to the results from their environmental monitoring system.
Dave mentors other young professionals at SCS by involving them in real life hands-on engineering projects. These projects include some sort of equipment installation or troubleshooting work which allows the young engineers to actually see how things are installed, ask good questions on how things work, get face-to-face time with a senior level engineer, and learn valuable lessons on risk and safety management in specific situations.
Dave’s expertise was developed as the result of SCS professionals taking the time to mentor him in the same manner, and his goal is to pass the learning technique and knowledge on to others.
Dave lives the SCS Engineers mission statement to:
Clients trust him for his honest and comprehensive approach to their challenges. Dave takes ownership of his work and puts in the time and effort to deliver excellent results and maintain a great relationship with his clients.