Katie Waskom is a Program Manager at Encamp, and is one of the top proponents of our mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. Given the growing relationship between environmental compliance and sustainability, we got her thoughts on the current state of sustainability, and how digital transformation fits into the sustainability equation with advancements in environmental compliance management and reporting.

Here’s what Katie had to share (responses have been edited for clarity and length).

Putting Environmental Compliance and Sustainability in Perspective 

Where did your interest in environmental compliance and sustainability start? 

I first took an interest in sustainability in college when I was part of an on-campus initiative and recycling program. Then when I studied abroad in Germany, my course work was in sustainability. Germany is extremely forward thinking in those terms, and they actually embed sustainability in their laws and environmental regulations. That’s where I learned what being sustainable really looks like — how it affects some 4,500 German companies and plays out in day to day life, how easy it is to transition, and especially how environmental compliance and sustainability work together.  

After college, I took what I learned in Germany to my first job, which was at Cummins, Inc. Cummins is a global manufacturer of power systems for industries including trucking, agriculture, mining, rail, shipping, and others, and they have an extensive ESG | Sustainability Reporting program. They had some lofty goals for sustainability while I was there, and a lot of pieces to still put in place. So it was a very good experience. But Encamp is where the environmental compliance aspect has come into a much clearer focus.

How would you define sustainability and its current state? 

Sustainability applies to a lot of different things. Right now, the sustainability movement is based largely on the three pillars of environmental, social, and economic concerns. For businesses in particular, an effective sustainability program considers how such an initiative gets paid for and its economic benefit, plus the initiative’s social reach and who will benefit. Businesses also want to show they’re good stewards of the environment. This is where environmental compliance and sustainability are becoming more aligned. 

As an investment decision-making criteria, sustainability reporting is becoming more and more critical… It allows people to determine a company’s stance on social issues and protecting the environment. 

Yet as ESG has taken center stage, sustainability has increasingly involved environmental and social governance as a financial component, especially for investing. This is why sustainability reporting is so critical now, since it allows people to determine a company’s stance on social issues and protecting the environment as investment decision-making criteria. 

Writer’s note: As the Corporate Governance Institute says, Environmental, Social, Governance criteria are “a set of standards for how a company operates regarding the planet and its people.” (See our related Encamp blog on ESG.)

How does digital transformation contribute to a company’s sustainability cause?

Technology contributes to the mix of environmental compliance and sustainability in multiple ways. For a company’s sustainability program, knowing where data originates and where it resides is integral to pursuing sustainability goals. Encamp’s unified data system, in particular, enables companies to centralize compliance data and validate its sources and quality. Data also becomes more visible for compliance reporting, which lets compliance teams and other organizational stakeholders track and QC/QA data in a more thorough manner to ensure its accuracy.

forest filled with trees at sunriseAlso on behalf of our customers, we partner with a non-profit called One Tree Planted to plant a tree somewhere in the world for every Tier II report a customer files using Encamp. The effort ties directly to carbon offsetting. Since 2018 when Encamp started working with One Tree Planted, we’ve had more than 18,000 new trees planted!

Another positive contribution for sustainability is that advancements in digital technology make data management and reporting more efficient with a digital transformation approach. Along with digitizing their compliance records, EHS teams can turn report compilation tasks into standardized, sustainable processes through automation. In addition to centralizing compliance data, for instance, the Encamp solution also automates final report submissions to all applicable regulatory agencies at the federal, state and local level. Depending on the number of facilities they have to file compliance reports for, our customers routinely save hundreds of hours every year just in the reporting process. 

How can businesses drive sustainability efforts by way of compliance?

Back to sustainability’s environmental aspect, companies can reduce their carbon footprint significantly just by adopting sustainable business processes. This is why environmental compliance technologies like Encamp continue to build more automation into the process for compliance data and reporting management, which continually improves productivity by maximizing technology resources as well as human resources.

For social responsibility, environmental compliance enables companies to report hazardous chemicals they manufacture, use or store on-site to regulatory agencies. With consistent monitoring, environmental compliance and sustainability goals alike are easily tracked and achieved. Here again, utilizing a unified data system provides comprehensive monitoring capabilities to know the status of a facility’s chemical list and inventories at all times and stay in continuous compliance.

When a company’s compliance program becomes sustainable this way, it benefits nearby communities and society as a whole — which can enhance a company’s environmental responsibility as well as its brand, customer base, and even decision-making and profitability. This is what we mean at Encamp when we say what’s good for business can be good for the environment.

Lastly for the economic part of sustainability, non-compliance with environmental regulations can be costly in more ways than one. For the most severe or repeated violations, financial penalties and legal fees can easily reach six figures, or sometimes in the millions. But unsustainable practices for compliance and reporting management can be also expensive because they’re largely inefficient and often fail to put the right resources to use. Sustainable business practices for environmental compliance can help companies and their EHS operations pinpoint areas of improvement and reduce such inefficiency, including costs.

What is your outlook for sustainability in the next few years? 

I think sustainability is definitely a topic people are becoming more aware of. And whether as consumers or B2B decision-makers, they’ll want to do business with companies that are like minded. This is a really powerful dynamic, and will continue to make environmental compliance and sustainability a package deal for businesses and consumers alike who want to protect the environment and take a sustainable approach to doing it.

I also see the economic aspect of sustainability being an even greater consideration for investors than ESG has already made it. If a business wants to attract investors, expand operations, or even position itself for acquisition, its sustainability efforts will have to be of top level importance in the eyes of potential investors as well as customers. In that sense, a company’s sustainability efforts are visible. They’re tangible. And especially with a well-managed sustainability program, businesses can make a positive impact with it. 

Organizationally, larger enterprises will continue to make the most impact with sustainability programs. Primarily, they have bigger carbon footprints that benefit from sustainable practices. But larger brand-name companies also tend to have boards of directors who are very forward thinking toward environmental and social causes. They’re environmentally and socially responsible, naturally, but they also understand how their businesses are perceived by the public. And they certainly have the financial and economic clout to promote sustainability. 

These enterprises will increasingly set the tone for companies of all sizes to implement sustainability initiatives going forward. Environmental compliance and sustainability will also continue to become a common cause for businesses in general.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

Environmental compliance done right

Welcome to Encamp’s “Day in the Life ” blog series, where we interview one of our Happy Encampers and give you a sneak peek into their life, career, and passion for environmental compliance. 

This week, we’re introducing you to Jackie Velazquez, P.E. our Director of Environmental Compliance. Jackie’s devotion to protecting the environment and her deep understanding of industry challenges is the perfect addition to Encamp’s mission of creating a world where good for business can also equal good for the environment.  

Hi, Jackie! What does a typical day look like for you?

At Encamp, the Compliance team provides two main functions: first, building and maintaining datasets that allow our technology to reference the most up-to-date environmental regulations, and second, providing compliance support to our Customer Success team as they onboard and assist clients with preparing and filing reports. Most of my daily tasks are focused around these two items, whether I’m reviewing regulations to ensure our software logic reflects an accurate interpretation of a rule, or responding to a site-specific customer request. In the background, there’s compliance continuous improvement — always looking for ways to reduce risk for the company and our customers.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience in Environmental Compliance prior to Encamp?

My career started in environmental consulting, getting field experience before transitioning to a focus on construction permitting and ongoing environmental compliance. After moving to Ford Motor Company in Detroit to provide compliance and sustainability support for new product manufacturing, I spent six years with Marathon Petroleum. I was stationed in several states for Marathon, managing all environmental compliance programs for terminal facilities, supervising the terminals compliance group, and eventually working in corporate regulatory advocacy and managing air programs at their Detroit Refinery.

What sparked your passion for the environment?

I grew up in northern Wisconsin near the shore of Lake Michigan, and I’ve always felt a strong connection to the Great Lakes. My career has allowed me opportunities to assist at chemical releases, remediation sites, and industrial facilities across the country, so I understand the challenges that industry faces in protecting our land and water.

Jackie Velazquez“When environmental compliance is done right, what’s good for the natural environment is good for business.”

 

What do you enjoy most about working at Encamp?

I love the scope of the problems that we’re helping our customers solve. The question isn’t “How can I get this customer through this particular report?”, it’s “How can we make this process easier and more accurate for everyone?”

The depth of experience on the Customer Success and Compliance team is incredible — we have expertise in every state and a broad range of industries, which makes big picture problem solving possible.

What’s the most innovative advancement you’re seeing in how EHS managers are using technology today?

As process control and monitoring instrumentation becomes more affordable and advanced, operations and EHS managers have more visibility into facility performance than ever before. More data for process monitoring means more data to verify compliance in real-time and to prevent deviations before they occur. Furthermore, as data interfaces and dashboards are easier to create and maintain, EHS managers and professionals can monitor trends, optimize for sustainability metrics, and track compliance quickly and easily.

What excites you the most about the future of Environmental Compliance?

Absolutely, the role of technology. While creating and storing data should be done thoughtfully, it creates new opportunities for tracking leading indicators and preventing deviations in ways that were never possible before. Not coincidentally, at the same time, environmental compliance and sustainability metrics are gaining more visibility in company boardrooms and stockholder meetings. The work we’re doing at Encamp fits perfectly into this trend — when the compliance data that companies are able to provide to company leadership and outside regulators continues to become more accurate, everyone is able to do their jobs better as a result.

If you could give one piece of advice for anyone considering entering the field of Environmental Compliance, what would it be? 

There’s room for everyone in the environmental compliance field, and it’s incredibly broad. If you love being outdoors, there are opportunities in site remediation and emergency response. If you love working with people, being an onsite EHS professional allows you to provide training and come up with creative ways to communicate complex rules to others. There are also incredibly technical areas, like air dispersion modeling and Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), where people with math and computing skills shine. By working in various roles and industries, you’ll develop a variety of skills and be exposed to different program areas — there’s room for specialists, but there are also plenty of opportunities to develop your compliance skillset more broadly.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

All the ways Encamp is here to help

To get started on your path of Guided Environmental Compliance, talk with one of our Encamp Specialists at (463) 900-5580.

Welcome to Encamp’s “Day in the Life ” blog series, where we interview one of our Happy Encampers and give you a sneak peek into their life, career, and passion for environmental compliance. 

This week, we’re introducing you to Megan Walters, CHMM, our VP of Compliance and Customer Success. Megan’s 10 years of experience in Environmental Science and her dedication for customer success is the epitome of our core value of being customer-obsessed.

Hi, Megan! What does a typical day look like for you?

At Encamp, no day is ever the same, which is one of the things I love about it. It’s a variety of things depending on the time of year (aka reporting season vs. non-reporting season). I could be assisting sales in quoting professional services, reviewing product design updates or questions, providing regulatory expertise to a customer or an Encamper, or assisting with a customer project or call. I may also be interviewing for roles on my team or others. And in between meetings and interviews, I’ll work on long-term, strategic planning with the Encamp leadership team. 

In a few sentences, can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience as an Environmental Scientist prior to Encamp?

I graduated from Purdue with a degree in Natural Resources & Environmental Science. I specialized in Historic Preservation and thought I would go into helping communities reuse old buildings but keep their historic charm and footprint. Realizing I needed a higher degree to move into historic preservation, I decided to go into the workforce and see what I could do with my current degree. Out of school, my first job was with Heritage Environmental as a customer service representative who helped customers dispose of their hazardous waste. From there, I went to their sister company, Micronutrients, as an Environmental Manager. I learned a lot from that position and company, and I can absolutely empathize with our customer base because of it. From there, I went into consulting where I led a team of five people who supported a major Class I railroad with their waste program. 

What’s your favorite personal customer-obsessed story?

There are so many to choose from, but I assisted one of our smaller customers last year with regulator correspondence regarding Tier II reporting. He was newer in his position and wasn’t sure how to complete the questionnaire from the state. I walked him through it, provided the data, and explained why they requested it.

Megan Walters“It brings me a lot of joy to help customers understand some of these really complex regulations and ensure they know how to keep their facility or company in compliance with those regulations and Tier II reporting.”

What do you enjoy most about working at Encamp?

The people, for sure. We have so much talent at Encamp. Working with bright, energetic people is so refreshing and it really pushes me to bring my best self to work each day. 

What’s the most innovative thing you’re seeing in how EHS managers are using technology today?

Other than Encamp? 😉 I think the new wave of smart wearables is really interesting. I’ve worked in dangerous environments where a leak of sulfur dioxide or anhydrous ammonia could lead to very serious problems. When facility personnel wear these new devices, they can be alerted to dangerous situations sooner so they can evacuate or mitigate the situation without people getting hurt. 

What excites you the most about the future of Environmental Compliance software?

I think I’m most excited about the opportunities that environmental compliance software can bring to this space when I think about the future of environmental compliance. Streamlined processes, digitization, and real-time, validated data means safer workplaces, less pollution, and improved sustainability practices. 

If you could give one piece of advice for women and men who are currently considering entering the field of Environmental Science, what would it be? 

Dive in, whether you’re someone who is analytical and wants to spend their time in the lab, or if you’d rather get your hands dirty and go into the field, there’s a place for you in the environmental science space. Explore the different areas to find what you’re passionate about, because there are endless possibilities when it comes to this space. And because it’s “newer,” there are so many opportunities to carve your own way. I never would have thought I would be leading a team at a company that marries environmental compliance and technology! 

We’re all about the journey, as well as the destination

The Encamp solution was created by environmental professionals for environmental professionals — those who have walked in your shoes and understand the complexities you encounter in environmental compliance. What makes Megan and the whole Compliance and Customer Success team so effective and successful in their roles are not just their rich background in environmental science, but more importantly, their empathy to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and provide support and solutions to help them reach their goals.  

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

The Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) industry is dotted by opportunities of all kinds, especially in areas like EHS compliance, and women should explore these potential EHS careers.

Encamp develops environmental compliance software, for instance, and nearly half of our staff are female. Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also employ thousands of female EHS professionals.

For Black History Month, in fact, Encamp celebrated Lisa Perez Jackson as the first Black administrator of the EPA. She led the EPA from 2009-2013 and is now Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

Opening EHS Career Doors

With EHS compliance as the commonality, many companies in manufacturing, agriculture and farming, healthcare, engineering, and other industries likewise provide rewarding EHS careers. These companies maintain their own dedicated EHS teams, employing environmental scientists, regulatory specialists and other EHS professionals.

Such teams are responsible for things like EHS operations and planning, hazardous materials management, EHS regulations, environmental and general EHS compliance, and annual compliance-based Tier II reporting. EHS management consulting is additionally a multi-billion-dollar a year industry.

“If you’ve ever wanted to get into the EHS and environmental compliance field, women are going to be more and more needed. We’re a hot commodity right now, which is only going to intensify as we move forward.”   – Julie Mouton

Right now on the EHS careers front in the U.S., however, men outnumber women by 4 to 1 — at least according to the 2021 EHS Salary Survey by Safety + Health magazine. Of 399 survey respondents, just 25% were women, which was actually up 6% from the survey’s 2020 results. The EHS Salary Survey offers one of the most comprehensive reflections of the EHS industry each year. Results of the latest survey were published in the magazine’s November 2021 issue.

Long-term EHS careers for women, signaling a trend?

Of the percentage of women tracked in the 2021 survey, 23% reported they are EHS specialists, directors, managers, department heads, and even chief executives. The average industry tenure for women in the survey is 13 years. Those two statistics remained the same as the 2020 survey’s results. However, along with more women entering the EHS field from 2020 to 2021, the numbers tell us women overall are continuing to make inroads in EHS circles.

By comparison, 28% of men who answered the survey were in management roles. Their average tenure in the EHS sector is 15 years.

Given the percentages of women who hold EHS leadership positions and their length of industry tenure, it’s somewhat surprising more women haven’t enjoyed EHS careers — although, again, that appears to be changing. Many of the women in EHS we’ve spoken with have said they’ve noticed more females entering the field… and succeeding.

“I think the EHS space has been improving for women,” said Julie Mouton, a sustainability and environmental consultant with the Antea Group. “Since I’ve been with Antea, we’ve grown to the point that 50% of our staff is female or identifies as female. I think that speaks strongly to the trend that more women are getting into this field and being given opportunities to pursue long-term EHS careers.”

For more than 16 years, Julie has specialized in water stewardship, corporate ESG strategy, operational risk assessment, environmental liability management, and environmental compliance. You can hear more of her insights in the video she did for Encamp’s Women in EHS series. Watch the full interview here.

Women of EHS

Encamp launched Women of EHS in 2020 to give women throughout our industry a forum to tell their stories. In individual video interviews, women who’ve joined the initiative discuss their EHS careers, how they got where they are, and environmental and societal issues they’re passionate about. And as we say on our Women of EHS web page, their stories are candid, compelling, illuminating — inspirational.

Another aim of our initiative is to encourage more women to look seriously at EHS careers, no matter where they are on their path of career and personal growth.

Of the women who’ve joined our Women of EHS effort thus far, they talk about how and why they got into this field — and why other women should, too. They discuss some of the hurdles they’ve faced in their positions and how they overcame them. And they offer their thoughts on how the industry can improve for women who choose EHS as their profession.

Setting an example

Encamp gives businesses a modern, first of its kind software platform to tackle EHS regulations more accurately and simplify environmental compliance reporting. Our technology has already disrupted the EHS industry and continues to transform how environmental compliance works. It has also made Encamp the largest third-party filer of EPCRA Tier II compliance reports in the country.

Beyond technology, though, we have to thank the women who occupy some of Encamp’s most strategic roles for our success. Our VP of compliance and customer success, director of customer success, and most of our senior environmental scientists have all helped make Encamp what it is.

A passion for the environment

Not surprisingly, these women all share a passion for the environment. It’s why they got into the EHS industry in the first place. That was especially the case for Sarah Gundrum, who holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and is now working on a Masters’ in Environmental Geology. She’s currently a quality assurance compliance specialist at Belmark, which manufactures sustainable packaging products for various industries.

“I believe we need more advocates for the environment.” Sarah said in explaining what drew her to an EHS career path. “We need more people who understand the actual science of what’s going on with climate change, and I’m just trying to make any contribution I can.”

Megan Walters is Encamp’s VP of compliance and customer success and has taken a similar path. She started by getting her B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from Purdue University — although an EHS career wasn’t her initial choice.

“I was in the pre-med track (at Purdue), majoring in Biology,” Megan said. “But I realized environmental science was more interesting and that it aligned with my passion for the environment.”

The change in course was a good decision. Along with her VP role at Encamp, Megan’s career has included successful stints as a senior environmental scientist and an environmental manager.

EHS careers… starting points

What best describes how you entered the EHS field? It’s one of the questions from Safety + Health magazine’s 2021 EHS Salary Survey, and the responses tell us people get into EHS via different avenues. (A couple caveats: This part of the survey does not distinguish between female and male respondents. It also encompasses the health and safety aspects of the EHS equation, not just environmental. Still, it’s a good snapshot.)

In general, nearly a third of the survey’s respondents said they entered EHS after they got their degree in the field. Other respondents said their employer had asked them to “handle EHS matters,” or that they “volunteered” to do so. Other respondents said they simply applied for an open EHS position in their company even though they had little or no experience.

There also was this. “A friend or colleague worked in EHS and encouraged me to pursue this field.” In our own Women of EHS orbit, we’re hoping to see more women become such ambassadors.

Join us

Encamp is always looking for the best and brightest women to join our company. Keep an eye on our Careers page for positions we have open. We’re growing!

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

For as long as Encamp helps businesses manage environmental, health, and safety (EHS) regulations and environmental compliance reporting, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be central to what we do. Therefore in honoring Black History Month, it’s only appropriate that we recognize Lisa Perez Jackson, the first Black administrator in the EPA’s history.

The Environmental Protection Agency was created in December 1970. Jackson led the agency from 2009 to 2013.

Well-rounded and knowledgeable

According to her profile on the EPA’s online archives, Lisa Perez Jackson was born in 1962 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but was raised as a “proud resident” of New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Tulane University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Jackson also holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. In 2012, she received an honorary doctorate degree from Tulane and was also later awarded an honorary law degree from Pace Law School.

Storied career in the environmental sector

Soon after joining the EPA as a staff-level engineer in 1987, Jackson moved to the EPA’s regional office in New York City, where she spent the majority of her 16-year EPA career. In 2002, she joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as the assistant commissioner of Compliance and Enforcement and assistant commissioner for Land Use Management. New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine appointed Jackson the state’s commissioner of Environmental Protection in 2006. She also briefly served as Corzine’s chief of staff in late 2008.

In December 2008, president-elect Barack Obama nominated Jackson to serve as administrator of the EPA. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 23, 2009 and took office that same day.

Significant accomplishments at the EPA

During her 4-year tenure as EPA administrator, Jackson focused on seven priorities for the agency’s future. Those priorities included addressing climate change; improving air quality; cleaning up communities; protecting America’s waters; assuring the safety of chemicals; expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; and building stronger state and tribal partnerships.

Now several years later, Jackson’s emphasis on chemical safety, cleaner communities, and state and tribal partnerships while she led the EPA continues to impact the EHS compliance and reporting efforts of businesses throughout the U.S.

In December 2009, Jackson announced an endangerment finding on greenhouse gases, setting the stage for more aggressive EPA action on climate change. Under her leadership, the agency issued clean air standards designed to reduce emissions from large facilities without burdening small businesses, amending the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to set stricter smog pollution limits as part of the EPA’s clean air initiatives.

Jackson similarly outlined the principles to modernize the country’s then 30-year-old chemical management laws, many of which were updated and remain in effect for EHS compliance reporting today. Also under Jackson, the EPA introduced its clean cars program in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and the auto industry to make American vehicles more fuel-efficient.

Jackson additionally authorized the recognition of carbon dioxide as a public health threat, granting the EPA authority to set new regulations regarding CO2 emissions.

In response to the economic downturn in 2009, Jackson led the EPA’s efforts to invest in job-creating environmental protection projects across the country. The investments led to cleaner communities that were in the race to attract jobs at the time, while also encouraging the development and use of innovative environmental technologies.

As the first Black person to serve as EPA administrator, Jackson further made it a priority to expand outreach to communities that were historically under-represented in environmental action. The EPA stepped up protection for vulnerable groups including children, the elderly, and low-income communities that were particularly susceptible to environmental and health threats.

Highly recognized

While she was the EPA’s administrator, Jackson was named one of Newsweek’s “Most Important People in 2010,” and was featured on Time magazine’s 2010 and 2011 lists of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She also was listed in Essence magazine’s “40 Women Who Have Influenced the World,” and profiled in Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine for her work to protect the nation’s air, water and land from pollution that threatens human health.

In December 2012, Jackson announced she would step down as EPA administrator, ultimately leaving the agency in February 2013.

Today, Jackson is Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. In that role, she oversees Apple’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment by addressing climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency, using greener materials and inventing new ways to conserve precious resources. She is also responsible for Apple’s education policy programs, its product accessibility work, and its worldwide government affairs function.

She additionally serves on the boards of Tulane University, SF Film, Conservation International, and Emily’s List.

For Black History Month and beyond, Lisa Perez Jackson remains one of the most influential Black leaders in the environmental sector.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

For this installment of Encamp’s Women of EHS video series, we spent some time with Jennifer Collins of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to get her thoughts about working in the EHS industry. And as far as EHS careers go, hers has been a distinguished one.

Since 2016, Jennifer has served as Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance Manager for IDEM. Before that, she was Supervisor of IDEM’s Air Compliance Branch; Branch Chief, Pollution Prevention and Recycling at IDEM; and Administrator of the Bureau of Environmental Services for the City of Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement. She is a graduate of Indiana University, where she earned her B.S. in Public Affairs with a focus in Environmental Science.

You’ve spent more than 20 years in the EHS realm. Any pointers for other women? “One thing women should do is own their own skills,” Jennifer told us, “and make yourself invaluable to the people around you.”

Experience speaks volumes. Watch Jennifer’s Women of EHS video to hear what else her experience has to say.

Join us!

If you’d like to be part of our Women of EHS initiative, or even to nominate someone you know, see our Women of EHS page.

And if you’d like to work at an exciting company like Encamp, see our Culture & Careers page for open positions. We’re growing!

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

‍Here’s yet another interview in Encamp’s Women of EHS video series, this time with Sarah of Gundrum of Belmark.

Sarah started her career in EHS in 2017 as an Assurance Technician and Assurance Intern for Belmark, where she’s now a full-time Quality Assurance Compliance Specialist. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science (and Spanish) from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and is currently working on a Masters’ degree in Environmental Geology from the University of Kansas.

Words of wisdom for other women just starting in the EHS field? “Be confident in yourself and your work,” Sarah said in our chat. “Eventually all your hard work is going to pay off.”

Watch Sarah’s entire interview to hear how she started in EHS, and where she ultimately wants to go.

Join us!

If you’d like to be part of our Women of EHS initiative, or even to nominate someone you know, see our Women of EHS page.

And if you’d like to work at an exciting company like Encamp, see our Culture & Careers page for open positions. We’re growing!

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

‍Julie Mouton is a dedicated environmental engineer and sustainability practitioner with more than 15 years of experience. So when she agreed to join Encamp’s Women of EHS initiative and discuss her career in an interview, we didn’t hesitate.

More on Julie’s EHS career and its aspects: At Antea Group, she currently supports clients in the food & beverage, technology, oil & gas, retail, and mining industries. She specializes in water stewardship, corporate ESG strategy, operational risk assessment, environmental liability management, and environmental compliance. And outside of work, she enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, water and snow skiing.

But that’s not to say her career hasn’t come without hurdles.

How have you gotten to where you want to be on your EHS career path? “I listened to my inner voice and intuition, and just kept going on the path I knew was right for me.”

Julie has more to say about her rise in the EHS ranks. Watch her video to hear how she’s done it.

Join us!

If you’d like to be part of our Women of EHS initiative, or even to nominate someone you know, see our Women of EHS page.

And if you’d like to work at an exciting company like Encamp, see our Culture & Careers page for open positions. We’re growing!

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

It’s strange to think of the cannabis industry in the U.S. as a thriving commercial market. It’s even stranger to think that the industry falls under environmental regulations and EHS compliance. Yet it does. Led by the likes of Colorado and California, 19 states and the District of Columbia thus far have legalized marijuana for recreational use and 37 now permit it for medicinal use. Which makes it not as strange to mention cannabis, the environment, regulatory requirements and EHS compliance in the same sentence.

And from an environmental perspective, the industry’s emergence is spurring some important questions. Some examples:

What are the environmental impacts of growing marijuana? Are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions influencing ozone formation? And especially regarding cannabis and the environment in the eyes of regulators, how is the industry being regulated for EHS compliance at state and local levels?

Pioneering a Sustainability and EHS Compliance Blueprint

As an Environmental Protection Specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Kaitlin Urso has been a pioneer in developing a sustainability blueprint for the cannabis industry. A sustainability bridge builder between cannabis and the environment, if you will. She was even featured in a 2020 Forbes article on the topic, and we consider her an honorary member of Encamp’s Women of EHS forum.

Environmental impacts, social impacts, new regulatory efforts

In joining us for this Campfire Session video, Kaitlin offered some unique perspectives on the cannabis industry’s environmental and social impacts in Colorado, as well as the new regulatory and EHS compliance efforts she’s been spearheading for the State.

Following are a few excerpts from our Campfire discussion with her (edited for conciseness)…

“Despite people’s opinions on marijuana or cannabis or hemp, it’s a large industry sector here in Colorado. We have more marijuana businesses than we do 7-Elevens, McDonald’s and Starbucks combined.”  – Kaitlin Urso

How are you helping the cannabis industry in Colorado reduce its environmental footprint?

Part of my role at the CDPHE is to be a free environmental consultant for all small businesses in Colorado. I just happen to specialize in helping cannabis operations, as well as craft breweries, reduce their environmental impact. So I help both industries understand what those impacts are and what best management practices they can employ to reduce them. I also provide EHS compliance coaching. (As a sustainability bridge builder between cannabis and the environment, she’s the industry’s best friend, at least in Colorado…)

What are the major environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation in processing?

It depends on if you’re an indoor or outdoor grower. In Colorado, marijuana is grown primarily indoors, so the major environmental impact is energy use for artificial lights and HVAC systems. The second largest impact of indoor cultivations is the sheer amount of plant waste. In an outdoor setting, the impacts shift more to land impacts for soil and water. Where is your water coming from and are you disturbing the ecology of the area by diverting that water to your cultivation? Also with runoff of that water, are pesticides in it? Increased nutrients?

In the relationship between cannabis and the environment, these are the kinds of things people don’t always think of at first.

For air quality, you’ve been studying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and emissions extensively. Talk about the study you’ve been working on.

Two questions we’re trying to answer with this research are: How many pounds of VOCs are there per pound of marijuana, and then what’s the resulting influence on ozone formation? When it comes to VOCs, odor does not always equate to concentration. In marijuana, there’s a really high odor, but a very low level of VOC concentration if you actually get to it at the concentration level. Because it’s such a low concentration, it has very little impact on ozone formation in our urban environment. So we’re not necessarily worried about the VOC concentrations that influence ozone. We’re more concerned about odor ordinances and treating that nuisance odor.

What are the next regulatory and EHS compliance steps for the cannabis industry in Colorado?

Marijuana is already highly regulated in Colorado. But I’m really proud of our marijuana enforcement division and that in 2020 we had a sustainability rule-making hearing where we looked at our rules. We said, okay, now that we’re a mature market and we have a lot of lessons learned, how can we keep our top priorities of safety and security and add in a layer of environmental sustainability? How can we become more environmentally efficient with maintaining our top regulatory priorities? Our 50-50 waste mixing rule was ideal for that. (The rule requires marijuana plant waste leaving a facility to be mixed 50-50 with non-marijuana organic waste to reduce the cannabis waste footprint.)

With new rules taking effect in January 2021, we allowed for more exemptions from the existing 50-50 waste mixing rule to bring the landfill footprint down and give cannabis marijuana operators a more viable alternative. So we’re addressing plant waste, and then also (marijuana) packaging waste. Our packaging footprint is driven by child resistant packaging standards, including multiple layers of packaging to keep the marijuana product safe from youth.

We’ll be doing stakeholder outreach to educate the cannabis companies on rules changes, help them with implementation, and even EHS compliance coaching. “Now that we have these new regulations, how do I participate in them?”

I’m excited that Colorado is not being stagnant in its leadership of the cannabis industry. The industry is continuing to evolve, and we’re constantly looking at our market and saying, what can we do better not only for the environment but for our citizens, for our community, and for the cannabis businesses themselves. You know, anything we can do to support this industry.

Thanks to Kaitlin for explaining the environmental side of the cannabis industry. Watch this Campfire Sessions episode to hear her full interview.

Check out our previous Campfire Sessions episodes, too.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

In 2020, Encamp launched an initiative we call Women of EHS, and I’m honored to say I was one of its original contributors. Ongoing, the initiative’s aim is to highlight women in our industry who’ve accomplished amazing things in their EHS careers — and who continue to do so.

As we say on our Women of EHS web page: “Women from all corners or our industry have great stories to tell. Candid, compelling, illuminating – inspirational. This is their forum to tell them.” That’s why we’re constantly introducing our initiative to other women in the EHS sector, and welcome them to join us and even nominate other women.

Are we “trailblazers” on the EHS careers path? Perhaps, although most women in this industry don’t view themselves that way. For other women like me, we simply believe in protecting the environment, and that what we’re doing is important.

That’s why I made environmental science my career and ultimately came to Encamp. It’s also why I appreciate the Women of EHS “voice” we’ve created.

When it comes to EHS careers for women, Encamp has put women in some of our company’s most strategic roles. VP of compliance and customer success. Director of customer success. Senior environmental scientists. In the small yet growing organization that Encamp is, we might not be trailblazers, but we’re certainly cornerstones.

And within the EHS industry, we’re not the only ones. More and more, women are choosing EHS careers and reaching new heights in our industry. And for our Women of EHS effort, several have already shared their stories. Here’s mine.

My own Women of EHS story

How did you get into the environmental space? A passion / fell into it?

Like many people who’ve pursued EHS careers, I’ve always had a passion for the environment and a love of animals. I began my journey in college at Texas A&M (whoop!) wanting to become a veterinarian, but after two years, I realized that career path wasn’t my true calling. I shifted my focus to studying Environmental Science and haven’t looked back since. I knew immediately I had found my niche. I started my career at an environmental consulting company shortly after graduating.

Did you have any mentors along the way? Anyone you looked up to? Other women in your field or at the company you work for?

I’ve had the honor of working with some incredible, smart, inspiring women over the years, and now I get to work with quite a few of them at Encamp!

As for finding the right mentor, I agree with this approach and have followed it myself.

  • Know what you want to accomplish professionally
    Work SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound — to create effective goals. Increasingly, women are assuming greater roles in their EHS careers. Why not be next?
  • Make the ask
    Be clear about your goals, why you think this person is the right mentor for you, and what you expect from them. Many high level EHS professionals are extremely willing mentors.
  • Be a good mentee
    Set an agenda, meet regularly, and be open to constructive as well as positive feedback.‍

Source: npr.com, The Right Mentor Can Change Your Career

If you have one trait that makes you excel in your position, what is it?

I’ve found that being a good multitasker and being careful with details has helped me the most. In EHS, it’s a battle to stay on top of everything, with the constantly changing daily scope of tasks. So being able to switch gears on a dime and re-focus my attention has been very helpful for me.

Any challenges you’ve faced? How did you overcome them … or are they still a challenge?

I’ve faced many challenges throughout my career; starting in this industry as a young woman proved to be very difficult. My opinions and thoughts were often overlooked and undervalued. But by working hard, learning to speak up and educating myself on the regulations, I found my own sense of value and self-worth, which inspired me to be an advocate not for only women in EHS but for everyone who deserves to be heard.

Remember, women have a voice, too

Organizations led by male-dominated management teams often lack the fresh perspective needed to tackle certain projects. (This definitely applies in EHS circles.) A mix of different genders and backgrounds leads to greater diversity and overall “better decision-making.” Most companies further admit that women offer more “creativity, innovation, and openness.” So, yes, make your voice heard.

Source: Inc. Magazine, The Hidden Advantage of Women in Leadership‍

What are your thoughts on the future of EHS? Technology or tools … challenges?

The future of EHS is technology and that’s why I’m so excited to be a part of Encamp. I’ve seen so many people in EHS struggle with tracking and organizing information on spreadsheets or using archaic programs that aren’t efficient and prove to be a struggle for team collaboration. Being at Encamp I can see how technology will be an extremely powerful tool to help EHS managers be more efficient and break away from a lot of the struggles they face today.

How can the EHS space improve for women?

We need more women and diversity in the industry and in executive roles. Women need to feel like they can speak up and should be a part of decision making. We have to give women a seat at the table and space to thrive and excel in this industry.

Women boost business outcomes

In a 2019 International Labor Organization survey, nearly 60% of businesses said involving women in decision making “improves business outcomes,” including profit gains of 5% to 20% when more women are in management positions. EHS isn’t necessarily about profits, but making better decisions could sure help avoid a lot of fines for non-compliance violations.

Source: ilo.org, Women in Business and Management: The Business Case for Change

If you could give another woman advice on how to get where you are today, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and your opinions. Set boundaries and learn to say no if you have too much on your plate, your time is valuable. Work hard, learn the regulations and know your value.

If you could give your “past self” advice, what would it be?

Stick up for yourself and speak up. Trust your intuition.

Join us!

We’d love to share your Women in EHS story.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

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