Tennessee is a great place to pursue a STEM career. But don’t just take our word for it. To inspire the state’s next generation of technological leaders to pursue STEM careers, the TSIN is collecting profiles of people already working in STEM in Tennessee.
- Location: Knoxville
- Job title, Company: Senior Project Manager, Strata-G, LLC
- In 25 words or fewer, what do you do? I work on a variety of renewable energy and alternative fuel projects. I also support the daily operations of an organization that provides all of the basic utilities to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- The best thing about your job: I’ve always enjoyed the relationships developed with the people I work with. I get the blessing of working with some very intelligent and motivated professionals and entrepreneurs. I’m also fortunate to get to work on significant projects that have the potential to change our energy future, like supporting Tennessee’s largest solar farm project, developing ways to power vehicles with natural gas, and industrial heating from trees and other sources of biomass.
- Tools you work with to do your job: My job primarily involves coordinating activities and working through the technical barriers encountered when needing to get a project completed or improving an operational facility. The most useful tools in my “tool box” include people skills, fundamental mechanical aptitude (my engineering degree has provided the foundation here), and strong communications skills.
- Path you took to get this job: I graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Engineering from the Engineering Science & Mechanics Department. I spent 17 years at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and held a number of positions from Environmental Engineer, Department Manager in the Waste Operations Division, to dismantling nuclear weapons as a Process Engineer. I joined Strata-G in 2005 to pursue a variety of other interests in energy production and transportation fuels.
- Favorite subjects in school: My favorite subject at UT was Wastewater Treatment Plant Design. We got to actually design and draw up a wastewater treatment plant. A close second would have to be Dr. Etnier’s Ichthyology class. I love fish and I’m pretty sure I was the only engineer to ever take his class.
- Subjects and skills from school that you use in your job now: I use the fundamentals of chemistry, electrical circuits, trigonometry, hydraulics, and thermodynamics pretty regularly.
- Advice for students who want to do what you do: Most of the opportunities I have had to advance my career have come because I have tried to embrace every work assignment with my full energy and ability, and treat my co-workers and superiors in the same way that I want to be treated. This has led to the development of a number of significant professional and personal relationships that have then led to more fulfilling professional opportunities. In my opinion, personal initiative and being able to get along with the folks you work with are the two single most important characteristics for a student or employee.