For Ben Christensen, Project Manager/Professional Engineer with AECOM, a premier global infrastructure and environmental services firm, pursuing a career which involved working outside and “getting my hands dirty” was a primary motivator. So when URS (later acquired by AECOM) approached him in 2006 about a position as a field engineer after earning his BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Christensen was immediately interested. He shares, “I started my career at URS in the field and have completed multiple soil and groundwater investigations. I’ve also implemented groundwater and soil remediation by in-situ chemical and bio-remediation injections, groundwater pump and treat systems, soil-vapor extraction (SVE) systems, bioventing, and excavation.” Suffice it to say, since starting with URS and through his years of experience at AECOM, Christensen has indeed succeeded in connecting with the environment on a “firsthand” basis. Currently the Office Quality Manager and tasked with managing the AECOM quality program for the Omaha office, Christensen’s primary responsibility is to complete internal quality audits to help project managers implement AECOM’s Quality Assurance/Quality Control program, and prepare for external quality audits. He has also been involved with numerous projects with the Department of Defense (DoD), specifically the Air Force. He continues, “One of the more interesting positions I held in 2008 and 2009 was as the on-site field manager at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB). That position included operating a multi-site groundwater pump and treat system that recovered a total of approximately 46 thousand gallons of free product and treated over 225 million gallons of groundwater during operation thru 2009. I was also the on-site field manager during the decommissioning of the groundwater pump and treat system in 2011.” In his current role, he manages firm-fixed price projects at Nellis AFB, Offutt AFB, and Scott AFB, that include about 30 sites. “I love dealing with the different challenges each site brings,” he says. “Working thru hard-to-solve issues with the client, stakeholders, and subcontractors can be very rewarding.” In addition to his BS in Civil Engineering, he is also a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in multiple states.
When it comes to working with REGENESIS®, Christensen appreciates the company’s level of technical expertise and its array of products and solutions. He continues, “I enjoy working with REGENESIS because they are technical experts in in-situ solutions and offer a variety of technologies that fit our unique requirements. They consistently demonstrate they have the knowledge and experience to help design and implement the most effective remedial actions for each site.” He continues, “Just recently, REGENESIS helped us reduce BTEX concentrations to non-detect levels at a site located on Scott AFB, using a combination of RegenOx® and ORC® (first injection event) and PetroFix™ (second injection event). PetroFix in particular has shown an impressive ability to reduce low-level BTEX contamination to non-detect levels.”
To prepare for project work, Christensen immerses himself in all aspects and details relating to each project. He shares, “There is always some level of research needed to be completed to develop a strategy for a site. No two sites are the same and I am always looking for the most cost-effective way to reach the performance objective of a given site. This includes reviewing site conditions, the effectiveness of specific products under these site conditions, and discussions with other technical experts.” He adds, “In addition, I’m always striving to learn by attending webinars and conferences since there is a requirement for continued education to stay current with my PE license.” When asked what he enjoys most about his work, he feels the most rewarding aspect is working with clients, regulators, subcontractors, and internal staff to develop and implement a successful project. And the most challenging aspect? “Keeping projects on schedule and on budget when unexpected challenges arise, such as states shutting down due to a world coronavirus pandemic.”
Residing in Omaha, NE, where he lives with his wife and two sons, Christensen works from AECOM’s Omaha office. Outside of work, he enjoys a variety of activities with his family, including riding bikes, and practicing soccer and basketball. His own interests include cooking, fishing, and golf. He shares, “There is something about cooking a meal that a 7- and 4-year old actually enjoy eating that is rewarding- it can be hit or miss! For fishing, I have been to Canada several times for walleye and northern pike.” He also finds time to volunteer for BRUSH UP NEBRASKA Paint-A-Thon, a community-based volunteer program that paints homes of qualified low-income elderly and low-income permanently disabled homeowners in the Omaha Metropolitan Area. “My dad organizes a team of people each year to paint a house in the Omaha area and I have been a part of that team for many years. In addition, the AECOM Omaha office organizes cleanup events through Keep Omaha Beautiful, and I have been involved with those efforts.”
When asked about industry trends and what he sees the future holds for environmental remediation, Christensen feels emerging contaminants are becoming increasingly important. He shares, “Environmental remediation seems to be trending towards emerging contaminants like PFOA/PFAS. While the industry adjusts to come up with innovative technologies to treat these emerging contaminants, I do not see older technologies that have been successful going away.” He also looks to the future as he strives to achieve his professional goals, which include successfully managing projects and continuing to work on improving his technical knowledge and management skills. And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “It’s my feeling that for someone to be successful in this industry the keys are a willingness to work hard, finding a mentor that is willing to sit down and discuss a career path, and to not be afraid to ask questions.”
REGENESIS is proud to have Ben Christensen, Project Manager/Professional Engineer with AECOM, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his exceptional experience and dedication in providing successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.