NAEM Past President Michael McGuire will retire from Deere & Co. this month after a 38-year career with the company. In this special Member Spotlight, we asked him to reflect on a lifetime of service to corporate environmental stewardship and the legacy he hopes to leave behind.
What do you consider to be your greatest career accomplishments?
Implementation of formal compliance programs, especially the audit program, and the development and implementation of the company’s environmental management system.
How has corporate environmental management changed or progressed over the course of your career?
I started out filling out air and water permit applications. Now all of that is done at the unit level. When I started, there were four or five full time environmental professionals in the company. Now there are more than 75. All of the work in the early years was focused on U.S. and Canadian factories. Now we work with factories in 15 countries all over the world.
What was your favorite part about being an EHS leader?
Seeing the environmental achievements that our professionals are making in our factories.
What are you going to miss the most about your job?
Working with environmental professionals in India, China, and South America to help build programs and become leaders in those countries.
What parts of EHS will it be easy to retire?
Budgets, reading the Federal Register, meetings.
What is your favorite NAEM memory?
The Forum in Orlando which was my last as President.
What legacy would you like to leave behind?
A strong environmental team, dedicated to excellence that believes in John Deere’s core values – Integrity, Commitment, Quality and Innovation.
What career advice would you give the 25-year-old Mike McGuire (you)?
Maintain a good work/life balance; develop personal relationships (becoming more difficult with telework, email, texting); be adventurous, look for challenging opportunities; get some experience in operations, if possible, to learn the business and how to deal with people on a day- to-day basis.
What are the environmental challenges you’d most like to see companies solve in the next decade?
Get the focus back on real environmental challenges and building sustainability into product programs.
What aspect of the natural world impresses you the most?
The resiliency of the natural world