Susan Avritt, PE, PG, Project Manager, talks about her shift from environmental consulting to TRS, and why it’s
rewarding to work with thermal technology.
Position: Project Manager
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
TRS Employee-Owner Month and Year Started: February 2020
Specialties: Geology, hydrogeology, engineering
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and Master’s Degree in Hydrogeology from Clemson University
Susan Avritt: I spent 18 years in consulting, and then came to the technology implementation side. As a
consultant, I worked on the same project. After 16 years, we finally implemented ERH (electrical resistance
heating) using TRS. I was ready for a change from consulting. TRS needed another project manager, so I was like, “Okay, I could do that.”
I like thermal remediation because you can really clean up a site. Some other remediation technologies take years and years. Thermal is not the appropriate technology for every site, but at the right site it can really get you to the end point, and that’s satisfying. Eliminating a client’s risk and giving them back a clean site is rewarding.
TRS Group: How did you end up at TRS?
Susan: Mark Kluger (Vice President of Sales & Marketing) called and said TRS had a project manager opening and asked if I was interested. I’ve known Mark since the beginning of my consulting days. We’ve just kind of kept in touch and we’d see each other at conferences. We had a pretty good rapport, and so I guess he thought of me when this position came open.
I started at TRS in 2020, right before COVID – like literally right before COVID. I flew to the TRS warehouse in Indianapolis in late February 2020 for an onboarding week. I met with Greg Knight (former H&S Manager and
current PerfluorAd Operations Manager) and everybody at the TRS warehouse and then the world shut down. Luckily, TRS is a virtual company. Working remotely was a bit of a change, but I really like working at home.
TRS: What single thing have you been most proud of during your time at TRS?
Susan: Doing three projects in Europe during COVID was a pretty big deal – just working through all of these complexities. Helping the company understand how we can work in Europe has been fun. It has been
challenging, but fun.
TRS: Where were these projects located?
Susan: Germany, France and Scotland.
We had a lot of help from our regional partners. You go into these things wondering how in the heck they’re going to work, but we just made it happen. TRS does the design and engineering and our partners do the logistics and hands-on work. The Colas Environnement guys said TRS is the brains and they’re the hands. They’re also the client interface, which helps overcome language barriers.
We have three current projects in Europe – in France, Italy and Belgium.
TRS: What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
Susan: As we discussed earlier, helping clients clean up their sites and getting them to a point where they are almost ready to reuse is satisfying.
Our technologies can clean contaminants in a very short period. That’s pretty amazing that we can get in and get out in a year. Environmental work is typically so slow, so it’s remarkable that we can get in and get out that quick.
Coming from consulting, I know how long it can take using other strategies and technologies.
TRS: What attracted you to the environmental remediation field?
Susan: I grew up as a nature geek. I love water, everything water. In college, civil engineering made sense. I made a trip out to Colorado and lived in Vail one summer. While there, I was like, “Wow, geology.” I was going to change my major to geology, but I was too far along. Then I found the niche of hydrogeology.
I was a young environmental activist. My passion just kind of evolved like that. Hydrogeology is what I really enjoy doing. It’s science and engineering and nature.