Erin Huntley WSPFor Erin Huntley, Senior Technical Manager/Technical Principal at WSP, a leading engineering and professional services firm and valued REGENESIS client, combining her experience in field geology with an interest in project management allows her to enjoy a diverse, satisfying role in her efforts to help sustain our environment.  With a background that includes geochemistry, environmental health & safety, and other areas of earth science, Ms. Huntley is able to identify and assist other team members in bringing projects to successful closure. “I started out as a field geologist and gained experience in hydrogeology, geology, and geochemistry,” shares Huntley.  “I worked my way up through various positions while at WSP.  Having had that experience really helped as a project manager because I can understand what can and will go wrong in the field, and how to adapt and recover.” In her current role with WSP, where she has worked since 2000, Huntley is fortunate to be involved in several aspects of environmental remediation. She continues, “I definitely wear a couple of hats – general project management, due diligence, and health & safety, but I really like working as the geological lead on a project and pulling all the historical and regional information together to develop an effective, comprehensive sampling plan that can translate into a realistic CSM.”

A Career in Remediation

To prepare for a career in remediation, Huntley earned her B.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, and shortly thereafter an M.S. in Geosciences from Pennsylvania State University.  Choosing a career path that would eventually lead her to WSP began with her early field work. Huntley continues, “My experience sloshing around salt marshes and collecting samples was better suited to environmental consulting, and I was quite interested in how the biome affects the geochemistry and vice versa. I found I much preferred the tangible experience of being in the field over sitting behind a computer constructing a model.” To stay abreast of the latest trends and technology in her industry, Huntley attends the Battelle Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated & Recalcitrant Compounds every two years. She adds, “The scope at this conference is very broad, but you can really drill down into a topic and learn about cutting edge technologies.” In addition, she attends various webinars on a regular basis. Her ongoing experience, successes, and continued training serve to help her and WSP reach their goal of providing their clients with innovative and effective solutions to address their most difficult business and technical challenges. She continues, “We are part of a global 43,000 plus multidisciplinary corporation, yet, we are able to still provide our clients with a strong local presence and need to continue to do so.  Additionally, we now have the ability to draw upon world-renowned experts to provide relevant specialty services. We want to ensure we maintain this level of service and expertise in the future.”

Working with REGENESIS to Achieve Destructive Treatment of Chlorinated Solvents

When it comes to partnering with REGENESIS, Huntley says she began working with the company in 2008, using Hydrogen Release Compound (HRC®) in upstate New York at an abandoned site. She shares, “Needless to say there were some challenges, but we also enjoyed great success. More recently, we’ve been using a combined remedy approach that incorporates HRC®,  Bio-Dechlor Inoculum® Plus and PlumeStop® to stimulate sorption and destructive treatment of chlorinated solvents. We’ve seen a  reduction in tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene concentrations and are approaching remedial objectives.”

Huntley and her 13-year-old daughter live in Pittsburgh, where she works out of WSP’s office. In her spare time she enjoys music, (“My daughter is finally old enough so I can drag her along with me to shows.”), and anything outdoors, especially water-related activities. She is also quick to point out that she and her daughter took up alpine skiing last year and are relieved there have been no major injuries yet!  Her volunteer activities include spearheading an office food drive for a local pantry, and she recently participated in a fundraiser and walk for Autism Connection. When asked what the most rewarding aspect of her job is, she says it’s the teamwork aspect. “I like working as a part of a project team and listening and learning from all the other perspectives and experience.” And the most challenging part of her work? “All the bureaucratic stuff, I have little patience for forms.” Throughout her career, Huntley has seen the remediation industry evolve, and feels it is trending in the right direction. She shares, “Although it would be great to find that “silver bullet”, a one size fits all solution, at least now we have a couple of decades of research behind us.  We are smarter as an industry, and we can collect the right data, target the sources, and today have more effective technologies to implement which actually close out sites.”

Appreciating How Things Should Be

Being a woman in a field that is dominated by men does not faze Huntley, who feels her field of study needs more women. She continues, “One of the reasons I decided to work for WSP (then ESC) was because there were women on the technical staff and my interview questions were about what I knew and my experience, not if I could carry a toolbox. We really need to have more women in leadership roles where we can influence policy, mentor, and ultimately change the culture.” When it comes to encouraging others to join her field of study, she says it’s important to get outside. “Get out of your house and experience the woods, mountains, and beaches,” says Huntley.  “You need to have an appreciation for how things can and should be if you want to make a difference.”

REGENESIS is proud to have Erin Huntley, Senior Technical Manager/Technical Principal at WSP, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates her dedication and diverse contributions in making a difference in successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.