This month we introduce you to Larry Deeney, Senior Technical Leader – Global Environment; General Mills Inc., one of the members who helps make our network so unique.
Why did you join NAEM?
It was 15+ years ago and I was still relatively new to the Corporate EHS world when I saw a flyer for the NAEM Forum. I attended and liked the fact that it was filled with people dealing with similar challenges as me. I joined as an individual member and continued to participate in NAEM events for several years until I convinced our company to sign up as a corporate member.
What are you currently working on?
Various matters that impact environmental risk for the corporation. This includes acquisitions, divestitures, remediation projects, and other significant liability issues.
What do you like about your job?
The environment has seen an increasing role in the business strategy of corporations throughout the world. It's exciting being involved in discussions that not only can help the company succeed but can also make the world a better place.
Has your environmental program received any awards or recognition? If so, what?
Our manufacturing plants have received numerous environmental awards for environmental innovation, pollution prevention, and community outreach.
What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
We are fairly resource constrained and it's a constant challenge keeping all of the “balls up in the air”. I'm also involved in some vapor intrusion issues, which is an area that is still under development from a public policy, science, technology, risk communication, and regulatory perspective. It appears to be where groundwater contamination was 30+ years ago.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
There are several ‘proud moments' over the course of my career at General Mills: Implementing an environmental management system, achieving a 95% reduction in NOVs, developing an environmental scorecard that was integrated into our manufacturing plants scorecard, designing our corporation's long range sustainability goals.
What advice would you have for someone entering the field today?
Learn to communicate effectively, both written and verbally. This is a technical field and you will often be communicating with nontechnical people. If you can succinctly present the main points and next steps in an easily understandable format, you will succeed. Also, seek out a mentor who has life experiences to share and can help guide you through the real world of EHS management.
What are the three words your spouse/colleagues/best friends would use to describe you?
How about Funny, Friendly, and… some other cool word that begins with 'F'.
What aspect to the natural world/environment impresses you the most? Why?
Our world's ability to be resilient and recover despite the constant barrage by mankind. I've witnessed the transformation of many of our lakes from polluted cesspools to clear, refreshing, and fishable waters. The earth's ozone layer is recovering. Once we discover our errors and make changes, the earth feels it and gets better.
What do you like to do during your free time?
When I do get free time, I enjoy socializing with others, traveling, and outdoor activities like running, biking, hiking, golfing, etc. I've been to several National Parks, which hits my sweet spot of personal fulfillment.