This month we introduce you to Dale A. Rice, Applications Engineer at VSP Technologies, one of the members who helps make our network so unique.
Why did you join NAEM?
I attended a number of NAEM Forums in the past, when I was still working on the consulting side. With my role now as an environmental engineer for a light manufacturing company, I am interested in connecting with others who are addressing similar challenges with integrating sustainable practices in a small company.
What are you currently working on?
Our company manufactures and distributes all kinds of fluid sealing equipment such as gaskets for the chemical, power, transportation, and other industries. I have spent the last several months developing a scientifically based model that helps predict the fugitive emissions performance of our own (and other) gaskets that are commonly used in industry. I am hoping that those companies we supply to will use this information to reduce their air emissions.
What do you like about your job?
My role calls for a combination of technical experience and creativity. What makes this even more special is that I work within a fantastic group of 20 engineers from various disciplines who are really gifted in the fluid sealing field.
What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
How do we as a small company, with a relatively small environmental footprint and staff, get our arms around being sustainable in a meaningful way?
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
My career has covered a number of areas in the environmental field – pollution prevention, wastewater engineering, hazardous waste site assessment, remediation, training development, and now air emissions. It was a privilege to work in several foreign countries for U.S. companies as well as for federal agencies such as USAID and the Trade and Development Agency. I especially enjoyed the opportunities to develop environmental training programs in developing countries which allowed me to pass on skills to the nationals in those countries.
What advice would you have for someone entering the field today?
Develop core skills and expertise in one or two areas (be really good at them!) but learn and appreciate what you can outside of these, not only in technical areas but also in the sociological, geopolitical, and other arenas.
What aspect to the natural world/environment impresses you the most? Why?
I am in constant awe of the incredible complexity and vast number of species of living creatures. This is especially true whenever I take a glimpse underwater.