This month we introduce you to Doug Fleming, Director of Environment, Health and Safety, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the members who helps make our network so unique.
1. Why did you join NAEM?
There are a couple of different reasons. I've been in this field for a long time and I've worked with a number of EHS trade organizations. On the environmental side, NAEM stands head and shoulders above the rest, based on the quality of the information they bring forward through their programs and the quality and experience of the members - who are among the best in their field.
2. What do you like about your job?
Too many to list here! But perhaps the most important aspect is the opportunity to help develop and implement programs that have such a large impact on our organization and on society as a whole. If we didn't do what we do, the world and the workplace would be a different place.
3. What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
The challenges here are similar to those I have encountered in industry and for other organizations. Here in the National Lab system, however, I see an even greater focus on thorough implementation of our environmental programs, and we tend to have more resources to accomplish those goals. In industry, you're often faced with the requirement to make a business case to do what you need to do. In the lab environment, on the other hand, there seems to be an even greater drive to do things to better protect the environment and to do cutting edge work.
4. What motivates you at work?
I truly enjoy working with people whose mission is deeper than the bottom line. I'd like to make a difference in the world and working at LBNL I have a real opportunity to support development of innovations that will change how we all live. This is clearly demonstrated by the many scientific achievements that have already been accomplished at the lab. For instance, 16 of the elements you see today on the periodic table were discovered in the Berkeley lab. Recently, our researchers collaborated with UC Berkeley to discover an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate hydrogen gas from water.
5. What are the three words your spouse/colleagues/best friends would use to describe you?
Driven. Focused. Positive.
6. What aspect to the natural world/environment impresses you the most? Why?
The things that I keep getting struck by are the systems in plants, animals and ecology and how amazingly complicated yet successful they are, and what we can learn from them. Take plants and photosynthesis for example. Seemingly simple organisms -- plants -- will be key to our learning how to derive sustainable energy sources from the sun. And that amazes me.
7. What are the topics you're most looking forward to discussing at NAEM events?
One of the things I'd like to see us talk about is sustainability beyond greenwashing. What should we really be doing and why should we really be doing it? What are some of the drivers we can use to influence sustainability initiatives beyond the bottom line?