July, 2019 – Currently serving on the board of directors, Heidi has been involved with NEBC since she moved to Portland in 2005. “I was networking like crazy with my contacts to find a job before I arrived in Portland, and I was hearing about NEBC. Ten days after we moved here, I was at the fall rooftop mixer meeting people. About six months later, I attended my first chapter committee meeting, and I’ve been deeply engaged with NEBC since that time,” said Heidi.
Embracing Diverse Perspectives
Her journey to becoming a hydrogeologist started with a career in human resources and office administration that led to a 10-year sojourn in the Midwest to get her geology education. That was an important step in developing her approach to project management. Heidi said, “I spent many years working alongside hard-working dedicated folks who approached life (and politics) very differently. In the end, having a variety of opinions makes for a stronger team and successful projects.”
Keeping the Pacific Northwest a Place to Thrive
As a Washington native and UW graduate, she has a passion for ensuring the Pacific Northwest remains a wonderful place in which to live and thrive. Her career allows her to fulfill that passion by returning industrial brownfield sites to beneficial use, helping clients clean up all types of properties, and working on much-needed infrastructure projects. According to Heidi, this diversity in projects and clients keeps things interesting!
The Move to EES
Being successful in business is about relationships and making connections. After spending 13 years at one company, Heidi crossed paths with an industry colleague, Paul Ecker, last November, and moved to his firm in May. At EES Environmental Consulting, Inc., she is engaging with current projects, supporting Paul with business management, and working to grow the business. This is her fourth company since entering the environmental consulting business in 2000. Three of them have been northwest-founded firms, and she enjoys being able to tout the local roots. “What I really like about smaller firms, and EES specifically, is how nimble we can be in responding to our clients’ needs. Many of our clients are northwest-based as well and being able to have face-time with clients on a regular basis builds stronger relationships,” Heidi said.
What is a favorite part of working in your chosen field? I enjoy our industry because most of the people I have worked with really like what they do, and they prioritize integrity and humor, which are key traits when juggling project demands.
What advice do you have for prospective candidates who want to work at your company or in the industry? Preparation is key! Before you go into an interview, make sure you know what you want to ask. Try to think of a couple of questions that are specific to what you know about that company or person. This demonstrates interest and the ability to think beyond what the internet is suggesting you ask. The most rewarding interview I had recently was with someone who acknowledged upfront that it was his very first interview; his enthusiasm and interest made it a pleasure to be talking with him.
What advice to you have for early-career professionals? Get engaged in one of the many industry professional organizations. Show up at networking events, even if you don’t know anyone. Speak up for new opportunities at work. Don’t wait around to be invited to any of this.
What’s your favorite place to visit in the Northwest? I grew up on Puget Sound and having the blend of mountains and sea is what makes me happy. So anywhere I can see both is my favorite place.