While growing up in a small village in China in the early ‘80s, Wenqian Dou, PhD and Assoc. Engineer with PES Environmental, Inc., a multi-disciplinary environmental engineering and consulting firm and division of NV5, became keenly aware of the impact manufacturing had on the environment. During this period, her native China was in the midst of developing a robust manufacturing industry, and the resulting impact to the natural environment posed a real concern. She begins, “In those early days, I heard people including my parents, talking about how these changes were necessary sacrifices for China’s economic growth and for better living conditions. However, I always wondered why the environment had to be sacrificed for economic growth.” Suffice to say, her observations and genuine concern would later spur her on to pursue an environmental career in order to gain a better understanding of how manufacturing and environmental preservation could co-exist. She muses, “When my children were younger, they used to tell their friends their mom was a ‘doctor for the earth’, and I’m very proud of that because I believe it to be true.”
Dr. Dou joined PES Environmental just over 2.5 years ago, after serving as a Project Manager and Project Engineer for several years at other environmental remediation services firms. In her current role with PES Environmental, Dou designs, implements, operates, and monitors various remedies to address contaminants in indoor air, soil vapor, soil, and groundwater. She continues, “I manage a diverse range of projects, maintain client relations, negotiate scopes of work with regulatory agencies, and provide technical support for various projects throughout California. In addition, I provide litigation support to clients as a testifying expert witness.” To prepare for a career in environmental remediation, Dou earned her BS and MS in Environmental Engineering at Nanjing Agricultural University, China. In 2007 she completed her PhD in Civil/Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY. A California registered Professional Engineer, she strives to stay current on emerging trends by attending various webinars and conferences for innovative technologies, industry updates, and policy updates. She also admires PES’ long-term goal of providing professional consulting services to clients that result in the protection of ‘people, property and the environment.’ She adds, “We are fortunate in that we have problem-solving teams of highly experienced engineers, geologists, hydrogeologists, geochemists, and risk assessors who define environmental challenges and develop/implement technically sound solutions that reduce risk, while achieving client objectives.”
Dou enjoys working with REGENESIS®, in part because she appreciates their commitment to client service, especially in challenging situations. One recent example involved a redevelopment project in the San Francisco Bay Area. She shares, “We chose to partner with REGENESIS knowing they could help us meet an ambitious and aggressive schedule for redeveloping the site. They worked very effectively with us to achieve the regulatory project objectives within the development schedule.” She also appreciates REGENESIS’ product knowledge and accessibility. “They have a very supportive and knowledgeable technical design team, and they are always prepared to help with general and site-specific issues. REGENESIS takes ownership of their products and are always just an email or a phone call away to answer any questions I have.” When it comes to specific REGENESIS products, PlumeStop®, 3-D® Microemulsion, S-MicroZVI™ and BDI® PLUS have been used with success. She adds, “The most important thing is their products work and have helped achieve our project goals in a sustainable way at multiple sites I have worked on.” When asked what she enjoys most about her job, Dou points to how gratifying her work can be. She continues, “My job can be very satisfying. I always love to see one of my remediation sites being cleaned up and restored. After site remediation, we can hand it back to the client for them to develop into buildings, parks, wetlands etc. for the community.” And the most challenging aspect of her work? “Meeting regulatory cleanup goals when clients have aggressive time schedules and very high expectations of site cleanup outcomes. Clients like real estate developers set aggressive goals, since time is money when it involves redevelopment products. To meet the demands, we are constantly searching for effective and innovative technologies for site remediation to stay on top of the available and proven technology updates. These challenges only make our work more meaningful and rewarding when we complete projects on time and under budget.”
Residing in San Rafael, CA with her two children, Dou enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, especially hiking the network of trails that offer stunning views along the Pacific Ocean. She also enjoys reading and playing board games, an activity her children have learned to also enjoy. She adds, “We play family board games on almost all weekends, and our current favorite is Catan. I also enjoy cooking, which I consider as my way of relaxing and meditating.” In addition, she finds time to volunteer at her kid’s school, and last year during the pandemic helped raise over $20,000 to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in Marin and Sonoma counties when they experienced a PPE shortage. When asked what she sees the future holds for environmental remediation, she emphasizes the importance of ensuring that products and treatments are appropriate solutions. She continues, “When choosing a technology for site remediation the first thing we should ask ourselves is ‘Am I creating other potential environmental problems by solving this one?’ The goal should always be to search for sustainable remediation technologies, be proactive, and educate clients on the long-term benefits of applying environmentally sustainable solutions.” And how would Dou encourage others to join her field of study? She suggests, “An environmental engineering consulting job can be very rewarding and satisfying. I would encourage people to consider a career in environmental remediation if they like to provide solutions to real-world problems, and care about the natural world we live in.”
REGENESIS is proud to have Wenqian Dou, Ph.D. and Assoc. Engineer with PES Environmental, Inc., an NV5 Company, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates her expertise and vast experience in providing successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.