With a degree in Oceanography, combined with Economics it was an easy reach to start work in the petroleum industry. Working both onshore and offshore on environmental regulatory compliance was an excellent training ground for the EHS compliance work I do today. Spill prevention, control & cleanup, plus the proper management of a myriad of other petroleum production related chemicals became common assignments. This was a terrific background for a career in environmental consulting and hazmat management with clients in several industries.
Like many of us, I fell into the hazardous materials management field by both desire and accident. In the 1970s, I was working at a international chemical company as a chemical reactor operator and found myself in the position of "waste coordinator" by default (i.e., no one else wanted to do it!) I had learned early on that the proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials was critical to the safety of my fellow employees and our environment. Most people were NOT doing this!
In 1990, I retired from Active Military Service and was employed as a HAZMAT Responder at the Marion County Health Department, Indianapolis, IN. Later, that year I was employed as an Industrial Hygienist by the US Army at the USA Environmental Hygiene Agency, Edgewood, MD and at Kirk USA Health Clinic, APG, MD and at Baltimore District USA Corps of Engineers. Because of my time and experience as a HAZMAT Responder I was often called upon to respond to HAZMAT Incidents.
I got into the EHS field both from my childhood in the liberal bastion of Northern California and few life forming experiences early in my career. I was present for some significant life changing events particularly when 2 very close friends died in a confined space that I was in with them not very far away to seeing the dead fish in several ports of call around the world. I really did not set out in this direction, it was more of a draw.
I am most proud when I can effect change that does not kill a company but improves worker safety or the overall environmental impacts.
I am almost an accidental ESOH professional. My undergraduate degree is in Chemistry, and I really enjoyed my classes in instrumental analysis. With that in mind, I was considering continuing on to graduate work in Chemistry, but that changed soon before graduation.