Careers in environmental services offer excellent pay, opportunities for professional growth, and a $10B industry that continues to grow—attributes anyone would want in a job. So why are there so few women working in this field?
Perhaps because of the physically demanding nature of certain roles, environmental services has been seen as a mostly male industry for a long time. That’s now changing, and our new quarterly series, Women in Environmental Services, highlights some of the women who are carving out space for themselves and others.
Meet Crystal Buchanan
Crystal Buchanan is a project manager at Cascade, where she handles procurement, scheduling, invoicing, safety audits, and other important tasks to coordinate project components. She’s been with the company since 2005, and worked in logistics and supply chain for E&I before taking on her current role. In this blog post, she shares her background, what she enjoys about her role, and advice for women considering a career in environmental services.
What career did you plan to pursue when you began college/training?
As a child, I wanted to be a teacher, but I went into Business Administration after getting interested in finance and management in high school.
What was your first job out of college?
I worked in the mail room at Nashua Photo.
How did you end up in your current role?
I was working for Workforce WV as the lead project manager on a grant-funded contract through the federal government, and when that ended, I applied for a position at Prosonic. I accepted a job with them in logistics and learned about sonic tooling and rigs.
Prosonic was purchased by Boart Longyear, and I was transitioned into the management team for the supply chain for Environmental & Infrastructure (E & I) department. During this time, I was approached by the operations manager of the Marietta branch to see if I would be interested in a project manager position with them. I accepted the position and have been with them as Boart Longyear and then later as Cascade.
What is your favorite part of this job? How about the environmental services industry?
My favorite part is that every job and job location are different, so it is not monotonous. I feel what we do in this industry is important, and that we play a role in helping the environment.
What degrees/training/certifications were required for your career path?
When I joined Prosonic, I had to attend the Sonic Drilling School, which was a program required for all drillers and managers to complete (we received college credits for it through West Virginia University). Because drilling knowledge and/or a college degree was required, I learned how to drill on both a truck rig and a mini sonic rig.
I also had to have computer competency, and communication and organizational skills.
What traits and/or habits have helped make you successful?
The biggest trait for me is not to be afraid to ask questions and to learn all you can.
Were you provided with advice or mentorship along the way? If so, can you share it or elaborate how it helped?
I had our current operations manager and our senior mechanic as mentors. They both taught me and are still teaching me today. Anytime I have a question I can go to either one for help.
What would you tell other women considering a career in environmental services?
I say go for it! There are many opportunities for women in this field, and they could result in a rewarding career.
What resources would you recommend to them?
I would check out Cascade’s website and search online to gather information about different career opportunities, what the job requirements are for different positions, and the kind of problems you’d be involved with solving. If you’re more of a visual learner, YouTube has videos that can help you understand many of the different drilling and remediation technologies. The best source, though, would be speaking directly with someone who is currently in the industry.
If you’re a woman interested in an environmental services career, check out our Careers hub to learn more or to check out current job openings.
You can also email Jessica Alexander, our Director of Talent Acquisition and Chair of the Diverse Workforce Initiative, for insight or next steps.