When Lori Riker, Senior Project Manager at Benchmark/Turnkey, selected her major in college, she knew she wanted to focus on an area that would capitalize on her talent for answering tough questions and contribute to improving the environment. Throughout her university studies, she also developed a drive and curiosity that would help shape her career. Her degree in Civil Engineering, from the University of Waterloo, with a Water Resources major, proved to be a catalyst and led her to a graduate degree that, at the time, was aimed at a new field that was just beginning to attract interest. She also chose to research and write her thesis on a new soil remediation technique that she found intriguing. By the time Lori completed her Master’s in Environmental Engineering at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, her leadership abilities and commitment to the environmental industry were readily apparent, and have continued to play a key role throughout her career. This is especially true in her work at Benchmark/Turnkey, a professional environmental engineering firm and valued client of REGENESIS.
Currently living in North Boston, NY, Lori started out at Benchmark/Turnkey as a Project Engineer, and was promoted several times to her current position as Senior Project Manager. When it comes to partnering with another company that enjoys a similar track record of success in bioremediation, Lori appreciates the strong relationship that Benchmark/Turnkey shares with REGENESIS. “Whenever I work with REGENESIS, I am confident they can meet my timeframe at all phases – brainstorming, planning, proposals, and product delivery,” shares Lori. “We always receive a follow up call to find out how the project went and whether it met our remedial goals. I can always count on their expertise, creativity, reliability, and immediate response.”
Although she has been working in the environmental industry for many years, Lori realizes it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and developments, and stay as current as possible. She continues, “As a professional engineer in the State of New York, I am required to complete 36 hours of professional development hours throughout my 3-year registration period. I obtain these through webinars, seminars, and occasional on-line courses.” In addition, Lori donates her time as a volunteer, helping at both sons’ schools with field trips and fundraising. “I have two wonderful sons who are kind, smart, creative, and thoughtful young men. I’m excited to see how they will use their talents to contribute to the world.”
When asked what she likes most about her work, she points to the exceptional teamwork and the diverse range of projects. Shares Lori, “The best parts of my job are the people I work with and the project diversity. The most rewarding aspects are seeing a project through from start to finish, transforming a Brownfield property into a useable piece of land, and assisting my clients with their regulatory compliance so they can focus on their business.” The demands of her job also present themselves, and often include the need to change from one project to another, quickly. “The most demanding part of my job is switching gears in the middle of a task to something more pressing, which seems to occur about 10 times a day!”
Formed in 1998, Benchmark/Turnkey is comprised of a staff of professional engineers, scientists, and geologists with a combined experience of over 200 years in the areas of environmental compliance, permitting, design, and remediation. TurnKey Environmental Restoration serves as the firm’s construction and operations arm. With its past success in environmental engineering secure, Benchmark/Turnkey continues to forge ahead and look to the future. “Our goals are diversification, innovation, and continued exemplary client service,” Lori says. “We will continue to pursue design/bid projects and, where the opportunity allows, become equity partners on the redevelopment side. We are also focusing on slow growth, potentially further east of Buffalo and into the Pennsylvania and Ohio areas, and are always pursuing talented environmental and civil engineers to help us achieve those goals.” In terms of how she sees the industry in general, Lori feels in situ remediation will continue to have a major impact. She adds, “Over the 20 years I’ve worked in this field I have seen an incredible shift from dig and haul to in situ remediation. This shift occurred in technical staff, clients, and regulators. It used to be a heavy lift to convince people that in situ remediation, including bioremediation, was effective under many scenarios. Now, in situ remediation is often the first choice.”
As one who has worked in the field of environmental remediation for many years, Lori has always had a great appreciation for our planet and its environment, and she is quick to encourage young people who have an interest in the environment to explore remediation as well. She concludes, “I would encourage high school students to interview and shadow professionals in their field of interest prior to applying to specific college programs. Understanding the current and potential future demand is essential to selecting a career in environmental engineering.”
REGENESIS is pleased to have Lori Riker, Senior Project Manager at Benchmark/Turnkey, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates her role and expertise in successful project outcomes.