This month we introduce you to Brian Holmes, Director, Environmental Management System, Santee Cooper, one of the members who helps make our network so unique.
Why did you join NAEM?
NAEM is full of experts in Environmental Management Systems and Environmental Management Information Systems, so it fits perfectly with my job description.
What are currently working on?
My day job is coordinating our EMS and EMIS. Until now our system has been primarily focused on risk reduction and compliance, but we're now working to also drive improvement through more environmental metrics and goals. We're also ramping up some additional environmental awareness programs. Some of the best ideas we're implementing are based on information from recent NAEM conferences so thanks to all the presenters!
What do you like about your job?
We've expanded our EMS across the company over the last few years so I get to work with so many great people. To be able to help them with environmental awareness, compliance, and improvement is very rewarding.
Has your environmental program received any awards or recognition? If so, what?
South Carolina DHEC, our state regulatory agency, awarded Santee Cooper the Outstanding Business or Industry Recycling Award in 2011 and 2013. The South Carolina Solar Council just named us their Solar Utility of the Year, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service gave us the Regional Director's Honor Award for our conservation efforts at the Santee National Wildlife Refuge.
What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
Maintaining good relationships and trust with our employees could be very challenging since my job involves reporting environmental incidents to management and performing compliance audits. But I've been very fortunate that our employees have viewed our EMS as a positive program once they've been involved with it for a little while.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Developing our EMS from its infancy into a very thorough and effective program that has made a real difference in Santee Cooper's environmental performance. As part of that, we managed to expand our EMS across the company while simultaneously implementing a large-scale EMIS project.
What advice would you have for someone entering the field today?
Consulting is a good place to start. You'll get to work on many different projects and quickly figure out your talents and interests, plus it will help you develop good habits since it's typically a “sink or swim” environment. With that being said, I'm very happy I was able to move over to industry after a few years in consulting.
What are the three words your spouse/colleagues/best friends would use to describe you?
Some of the nicer ones would say I'm team-oriented, level-headed, and thorough.