There’s something about the process of renovation that excites me. There’s a satisfaction in seeing the renewal of materials as they reach the end of their current life cycle, the spaces altered to meet a new beneficial need.
The cycle of worldwide energy production includes the retirement of old projects to facilitate the onset of new ones, so if we want to continue producing and serving global energy needs, that part of the cycle has to be fulfilled.
ExxonMobil has many operating facilities across the United States. My job is to determine how to remediate and repurpose some of the ones that are no longer in use into beneficial properties for communities. The “before and after” of these projects is like night and day!
Remediating surplus properties into new, usable sites doesn’t happen overnight though. First we ensure that the properties are environmentally fit for public use. So, for any of our conversions, we set out to answer the following questions: What can work in this space, given its prior life as an operating facility? What does it take to break the facility down? What do we ultimately have to do to make this feasible?
Managing surplus property transitions usually entails meeting with local communities, which is another important part of the job that I really enjoy. It requires being open-minded and patient, really listening and understanding when local leaders of communities voice their input and feedback.
And it’s an amazing opportunity! I don’t know anyone else who’s had the opportunity to turn a service station into a Humane Society facility. That’s the project that’s had the biggest impact on me. The site of a former service station in Washington, DC being remediated by ExxonMobil was recently acquired by the Washington Humane Society (WHS). I understand the land will be used as a rescue location, an educational hospital, a museum, a training facility and an overall headquarters for WHS in the U.S. I’m an adopted-dog owner, so it was close to home for that reason, but the conversion also made a big contribution to the local community.
In college I studied civil engineering. My older sister Carrie was the one who inspired me to follow the engineering route. She’s a structural engineer at a consulting company and works on the analysis, design and testing of blast-resistant structures. It’s hard not to be fascinated by that!
Her example encouraged me to pursue a career where I have the opportunity to positively impact the community, which is what I get to do when I start moving a property toward its next use. I get excited because I’m confident that my team and I have done the legwork to make it a community and environmental success.
I look at it as my opportunity to ensure that ExxonMobil gives back to the communities we work in, which is a great responsibility and an awesome challenge.