For Patrick Lowery, Sr. Environmental Manager with SUMMIT Engineering, Laboratory & Testing, Inc., a multi-disciplinary environmental consulting firm and valued Land Science® client, a career in environmental mitigation was sparked by an interest in geology, a field his grandfather worked in. Lowery initially planned to follow his grandfather’s path and become a geologist, but then realized his true passion involved assisting in the cleanup of our planet. He shares, “My grandfather was a geologist for Shell Oil in the Permian Basin, near Midland Texas. Throughout college my focus was to work in the petroleum industry. I took a year off from school after earning my Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Alabama and was going to attend Colorado State University for my Masters in Geophysics, however, while working with a consulting geologist that year I found I enjoyed the environmental field.” The following year, Lowery relocated to South Carolina, where he continued to explore and gain experience in environmental mitigation. He continues, “I obtained my Professional Geologist License in 2006-2007, and really enjoyed the evolution of the environmental industry, and the challenges each project presented.” One aspect of his environmental work he appreciates in particular is the collaboration. He shares, “In the environmental consulting industry, you are part of a team working towards a common goal, from property development to cleanup. Working through all of the logistics and problem solving to achieve a common goal is rewarding and provides excellent opportunities for professional growth.”
Throughout his nearly eight years at SUMMIT, Lowery’s role has focused primarily on due diligence investigation. He explains, “When a due diligence investigation identifies a need for further investigation, mitigation and regulatory involvement (UST, Brownfields) I am generally looped into the project. I am able to communicate with clients on the risks associated with a property, the contamination or the regulatory routes, and help develop a plan for successfully guiding the client through the project. I then execute the plan and utilize my technical background to provide innovative solutions to complicated issues.” Prior to joining SUMMIT Lowery worked for another environmental engineering firm, first as an Environmental Operations Manager and then as its Chief Technical Officer. When asked what he sees the future holds for environmental mitigation, he feels there is greater interest in treating sites due to the advancements in solutions and awareness. He shares, “When I started in the environmental industry, clients were hardly aware of environmental concerns as they related to property purchases and development. Throughout the years however, clients have become more aware and educated on environmental issues. I expect to see more complicated, environmentally impaired development in the future. Technologies, such as those offered by Land Science, coupled with knowledgeable clients, are making these types of projects more commonplace.”
When it comes to working with Land Science, Lowery points to several advantages in the areas of testing, support, and durability. He explains, “I appreciate that Land Science completes rigorous testing on their products to ensure the barrier products are protective for the constituents mitigated. I also like what I see in durability. The sub-slab components and vapor barrier products are very durable and withstand most construction traffic following installation, a common failure point in most systems. And Land Science fully supports and backs their vapor barrier products. It’s great to be able to speak with a Land Science technical representative when needed, and any installation issues are handled directly and quickly.” With regard to specific products, Nitra-Seal® and Terra-Vent® have both been used with success recently on a just completed, large multi-family apartment complex development in North Carolina. He shares, “VOCs and methane were the constituents mitigated. The use of TerraVent and Nitra-Seal was very successful for the sub-slab vapor mitigation systems. Using a continual monitoring system, the sub-slabs have shown uniform communication and extended areas of influence since installation.”
When asked what he likes most about his work, Lowery is quick to share how much he likes a challenge and seeing a project through to completion. “I enjoy that each project brings new challenges. This includes digging into a project and helping clients navigate and institute plans that are successful. It’s especially rewarding to complete a complicated project. Seeing the development or successful mitigation through to the end is very satisfying.” And the most demanding aspect of his work? “Managing time expectations, because difficult and complicated projects take time and in most cases, require regulatory involvement. This is another reason Land Science products are a good tool, because they generally install quickly with limited development downtime.”
Married and the father of a 3-year old daughter, Lowery and his family live in Columbia, SC, where in his free time he enjoys playing golf and being a hands-on dad to their energetic daughter. “Not much time for any other hobbies at this point,” he says. “Although we do volunteer work for the Special Olympics of South Carolina, where my wife serves as Director of Communication.” When asked how he has seen the industry change over the years, he feels clients and lending institutions are more educated on environmental issues, and that many challenging projects can now be mitigated through the use of various tools, such as vapor barriers and regulatory programs. And how would he encourage others to join in his field of study? He concludes, “At SUMMIT we have provided summer internships in the environmental department for college and even high school aged students. I encourage students who have an interest in the environmental field to reach out to local engineering firms and inquire about internships or shadow programs. Since Environmental Consulting can span from wetlands to advanced mitigations, there is a broad industry to explore.”
Land Science is proud to have Patrick Lowery, Senior Environmental Manager with SUMMIT Engineering, Laboratory & Testing, Inc., as a valued client and partner, and appreciates his specialized background and commitment in providing successful vapor intrusion mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.