Employee Profiles - Environmental Engineer
Mike, Environmental Engineer
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Division of Environmental Quality
Southeast Regional Office, Water Protection Program
Working Title: Environmental Engineer
Mike is an Environmental Engineer II with the Wastewater Engineering Unit in the Water Protection Program located in the department’s Southeast Regional Office in Poplar Bluff, Mo. He began his career with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as an Environmental Engineer I and was later reclassified to an Environmental Engineer II. Mike has worked for the department for 25 years.
Mike’s primary job duties include:
- Reviewing engineering reports, plans and specifications for water pollution control facilities prior to construction inspections
- Performing compliance inspections of regulated water pollution control facilities and preparing detailed reports based on findings
- Providing technical assistance regarding engineering and permitting requirements and answering related questions for the general public, water pollution control facility officials and operators, state and federal officials and department staff
- Processing applications and issuing permits after conducting technical reviews
- Reviewing permit applications for proper completion, fee issues and applicability
- Assisting with emergencies (such as sanitary sewer overflows, fish kills or natural disasters)
- Staying current on regulatory changes and procedure manuals
- Reviewing proposed regulations as requested and providing assistance to program staff
Mike obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering before completing the EIT (Engineer in Training) exam. Shortly after passing the EIT exam, Mike came to work for the Division of Environmental Quality as an Environmental Engineer. He has remained with the Water Protection Program throughout the entirety of his employment with the department.
Mike has learned a great deal over the past 20-plus years he’s served as an Environmental Engineer. The most important skill he’s honed over time is his ability to communicate effectively with the public, the regulated community and his coworkers. Without this crucial skill, Mike might not have been able to do his job as effectively or efficiently.
Mike likes helping the public find solutions to problems. He takes solace in knowing the work he does aids in the preservation and enhancement of our environment for future generations. Every day is different and things can change in a moment’s time, but Mike welcomes the variety.
Mike’s job isn’t always enjoyable, however. He is sometimes bothered by unclear implementation strategies that can be a problem when regulatory changes occur. He acknowledges this is a part of the job that must be handled professionally so as to assure all regulations are followed appropriately.
What advice does Mike have for an aspiring Environmental Engineer?
“As a student, I focused on the technical aspects of engineering to be the best engineer I could be. I have learned over the years [in order] to be a great engineer, communication is key. The best solution to a problem will go nowhere if you can’t explain the issue and solution to the audience you’re working with. Engineering is 25 percent technical and 75 percent communication. Having the technical knowledge to solve problems is important; however, communication is the key to success.”
To learn more about the Environmental Engineer classification, visit oa.mo.gov/personnel/classification-specifications/4622.
Check out the Human Resources webpage for more information on employment with the department.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity employer.