For Jeffrey Holden, Senior Engineer at GEI Consultants, Inc., a leading environmental services firm and valued REGENESIS client, a career in environmental engineering came about after initially having interest in a career in the aerospace industry. However, he soon left the solar system behind for planet earth. “I had originally intended to pursue a career in aerospace engineering,” shares Holden, “But I was rather disappointed by my college internship experiences in that field. At about the same time, I also became passionate about the outdoors, and wanted to do something to help preserve and restore impacted land.” Holden’s efforts in helping to preserve our planet’s environment began upon graduation from Clarkson University, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in both Mechanical/Aeronautical and Civil/Environmental Engineering. He worked for nearly 25 years at a leading global design, engineering and management consulting company, ultimately managing roles as a Senior Engineer, Vice President, and Principal in Charge. He shifted gears to join GEI in December of 2016 and immediately found himself immersed in new and refreshing multi-disciplinary roles. He shares, “I manage a variety of projects, provide regulatory and technical guidance for projects, and support marketing and proposal opportunities. I’m also the coordinator of GEI’s PFAS Team, which is aimed at developing, coordinating, and leveraging GEI’s experience and expertise related to emerging contaminants like PFAS compounds.”
A Constantly Changing Environmental Remediation Industry
At GEI, Holden appreciates the impressive wealth of knowledge, expertise, and steady growth the company has forged since it was first founded in 1970. Headquartered in Massachusetts, GEI was ranked #92 on the 2018 ENR Top 500 Design Firms list, and has climbed 30 positions just since 2013. In addition, the company is also ranked #66 on the list of Top Pure Designers in the United States, and has 38 office locations throughout the country. Adds Holden, “I really enjoy expanding GEI’s scope of services and mentoring junior staff. And as a P.E. and a Massachusetts Licensed Site Professional (LSP), I also have technical and regulatory compliance responsibilities. However, what I enjoy most about my position is the complex and highly diverse types of sites and projects that I’ve been fortunate to work on. I’m also lucky to have worked with some excellent clients, coworkers, and collaborators.” When asked about the future goals of GEI, Holden points to a desire to foster even greater levels of client trust, ingenuity, and collaboration. He shares, “GEI’s goals are to be a preferred provider and trusted advisor to our clients; to be known for creative yet practical solutions to challenging issues; to be recognized for outstanding expertise in our service areas; and to be an employer of choice for the best people in our industry. And we want to do all this while retaining the collaborative and entrepreneurial atmosphere of a small firm.” Not surprisingly, as a result of the company’s culture and objectives, Holden is pleased with the direction GEI is taking in accomplishing its objectives. When asked about the most demanding aspect of his work, he points to the constant changes taking place within environmental remediation. He continues, “It can be difficult at times keeping abreast of new technologies and finding ways to be increasingly efficient in a mature and competitive marketplace.”
Preventing PFAS Migration at a Superfund Site
When describing his relationship with REGENESIS, Holden’s enthusiasm is quickly evident in the wake of GEI’s current project and initial use of PlumeStop®. He continues, “Thus far, PlumeStop® and AquaZVI™ are the two products I’ve personally worked with. Right now, we are in the midst of a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of PlumeStop® at preventing downgradient migration of PFAS in groundwater at a Superfund site. Although I am aware that PlumeStop® has been used on hundreds of sites globally to address other contaminants, I understand this to be the first such application in treating PFOS and PFOA in the U.S. and I am eager to assess its effectiveness. I have found the REGENESIS team to be forward-thinking, innovative, collaborative, and competent, which makes them enjoyable to work with.” Suffice to say, these attributes help illuminate some of the changes Holden has observed within the environmental remediation industry itself. These include changes in corporate attitudes toward environmental regulations and increased burdens on environmental agencies with shrinking budgets. He continues, “The amount of science supporting the industry has increased significantly, and I think we’re on the verge of seeing shifts in the types of contaminants we focus on within our industry.”
Residing in Ithaca, NY, Holden and his fiancé, Lisa, are each parents to two college-aged children, and are looking forward to continuing to integrate their lives and families. In his spare time, he enjoys watching soccer, a sport he has played, coached, and been a fan of throughout most of his life. He also enjoys gardening and cooking, and is especially proud of his baked Steelhead Trout and a homemade jalapeno tomato sauce dishes. “A neighbor dropped off a bunch of fresh garden vegetables once, and I had to come up with a creative way to use them. I ended up adding sausage and hot peppers to create something truly memorable.” In addition, he supports his local Ducks Unlimited chapter by volunteering at select events and activities. He also finds time to study and learn about current trends and developments within his industry by attending conferences and webinars whenever possible, especially within the areas of PFAS. He shares, “REGENESIS offers free webinars that I take advantage of whenever my schedule allows, and continuing education is required for my New York PE and my Massachusetts and Connecticut licensed professional certifications.”
When asked about what he feels the future holds for environmental remediation, he expects societal pressures will drive regulators and industry to consider a substantially expanding list of chemicals that have come to be present in the environment, with many representing a potential threat to human health or the environment. He concludes, “I think this will extend beyond “classic” contaminants, such as PCBs, to include things like caffeine and chemicals/pharmaceuticals we currently use on a routine basis, without much consideration of their ultimate fate. I also expect cleanup goals will continue to get more and more stringent as the public becomes less tolerant of any level of contamination in air, water, and soil.”
REGENESIS is proud to have Jeffrey Holden, Senior Engineer at GEI Consultants, Inc., as a valued client in environmental remediation, and appreciates his wealth of experience and ongoing efforts in providing successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.