- As an environmental engineer, you develop physical, chemical, and biological processes to solve environmental problems.
- You may provide safe/clean drinking water, clean up sites contaminated by hazardous materials, clean up and prevent air pollution, treat wastewater, and manage solid wastes.
- Environmental engineers are needed now more than ever to find solutions to the environmental problems that have become more noticeable in recent years.
Carol Andrews, P.E.
Environmental Project Manager,
St. Louis County Public Works
Meet an Environmental Engineer
What do you want people to know about working for a local agency?
Working for a local transportation agency is very rewarding and never dull. I enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with the County Engineer and their staff, each of who has their own area of expertise such as traffic design and safety, road maintenance, etc., to identify ways to reduce environmental impacts and improved transportation system sustainability. Transportation systems are in a period of change which creates interesting challenges as bridges and roads are built or re-built in a way that offers more multi-modal options in addition to a continued need to provide ever-safer infrastructure for motorized vehicles.
What attracted you to work for your current employer?
After working 15 years as a consulting engineer (which I also really enjoyed), I decided I wanted to work for just one company or entity, to be part of a team working together to get meet one big goal. I was excited to find a position working with a local government agency where I could use a surprising variety of my past work and life experience and interests, from stream restoration, stormwater management, invasive plant control and native plant restoration, and state rule-writing to design of better bike facilities.
Briefly describe your career path?
College internship: construction inspector. Post-college engineering work: landfill permitting with the MPCA, environmental engineer working for the National Science Foundation contractor running research stations in Antarctica (favorite job with many similarities to current position with regard to need to work with wide variety of people working in many ways toward same overall goal); back to MPCA for 5 years of air quality permitting and work on legislation and a voluntary mercury reduction initiative; 1 year break from engineering working for native plant restoration company; 15 years with consulting engineer, last 6 years with St Louis County Public Works.
When you reflect on your younger self, can you identify any hobbies, interests, or characteristics that led you to your current position/career?
Easy! I love being outside, biking, camping, canoeing lakes and especially streams, learning technical things, making a good spreadsheet and working with other people. I highly value and enjoy working cooperatively with others.