For more than 20 years, Susie has worked hard to find practical solutions to resolve her clients’ environmental issues. She has led remedial investigations, risk assessments, and regulatory support efforts for dredging operations, and has designed innovative sampling programs that have provided a sound basis for regulatory decision. Of course, no one would describe Susie as being all work and no play. She’s a lot of fun to be around, and recently, she sat down and told us a bit more about herself.
Are you originally from this area? If not, where did you grow up, and when did you move to Washington?
I grew up in a little town called Waccabuc, New York, about 60 miles north of New York City. I moved to Washington in 1996 to work for EVS Consulting.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you have a favorite superhero?
I remember when my 5th grade science teacher taught a unit on oceanography. I thought it was the coolest thing ever: using all kinds of exotic-looking instruments to study something as enormous and mysterious as the ocean. My family and I went to Jones Beach on Long Island every summer and despite the horrifying sunburn I always managed to acquire, I loved swimming in the waves, poking jelly fish, and collecting piles of shells to bring home. That early exposure to the wonder of the ocean probably helped to determine my future career.
Why did you decide to go into environmental science?
I majored in chemistry not only because I really enjoyed the subject, but also because I hoped it would lead to an interesting profession. When I started to think about what career I wanted to pursue, I considered all of my options and I realized that it was important to me that I leave the world a better place than I found it. When I combined that outlook with my affinity for science generally and chemistry specifically, I wound up studying Environmental Science.
When it’s sunny, where is the weekend likely to find you? How about when it’s raining?
My family and I enjoy getting outside whenever the weather cooperates. Sunny weather is usually cause for playing tennis, hiking in the Cascades, or working in the garden. When it rains I like to knit; these days I make a lot of stuffed animals, especially when my coworkers are expecting babies. And reading has always been one of my favorite rainy day activities, my all-time favorite books being The Hobbit and anything by Jane Austen.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
I’m one of those people who will happily eat breakfast any time of day, and for me, breakfast doesn’t get any better than scrambled eggs and toast.
Where is the coolest location you’ve traveled to for work?
Although I’ve done some traveling for Windward, I have to say that the coolest location I’ve been to was actually before I even completed my schooling. Between college and graduate school, I took a year and taught math and science at a school in western Kenya. It was an amazing and very broadening experience; one of the things I remember most fondly is how interested my students were in where I came from: Waccabuc, a place with snow and frozen lakes, was very exotic and strange to kids who lived a mile from the equator. They were extremely interested in airplanes, which they glimpsed occasionally; for most of them, I was the first person they had met who had actually flown on one. Unfortunately, I don’t think my weak explanations of aviation principles were very satisfying.
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