When you ask Yen-Vy Van, Senior Hydrogeologist at Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc. (MFA), about her day-to-day responsibilities, it’s hard to believe that one person could do so much. That’s because her role at Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc., a leading environmental engineering and planning firm in the Pacific Northwest and valued REGENESIS® client, stretches beyond just investigating and remediating impacted sites. From preparing technical documents and reports, to project and client management, to proposal development and other key duties, Van’s involvement seems to touch on nearly every aspect of what MFA does for their clients. Shares Van, “I also manage aspects of client marketing, mentor junior staff members, and conduct field work.” With so many responsibilities, choosing what she enjoys most can be difficult, but a few come readily to mind. Continues Van, “I especially enjoy the technical aspects of my work, such as applying forensic analysis and groundwater modeling of contaminants during remedial investigations to complete a more thorough investigation and understanding of the transport and fate of contaminants impacting the subsurface. I also enjoy the collaborative work we do at MFA – working with and learning from other professionals such as planners, civil engineers, and remediation engineers amongst other specialized professionals.”
Choosing Environmental Remediation
Choosing a career in environmental remediation came somewhat naturally to Van, since her interest in groundwater resources began early on with her university studies. “Environmental engineering was a natural segue for me. As a geologist/hydrogeologist, my interests revolved around groundwater resources. The area of environmental remediation of the subsurface is complex and fascinating, and provides the opportunity to rigorously evaluate and investigate the subsurface regime including soils, groundwater, free product, and vapor. Plus, I love scientific investigations, research, technologies, and engineering.”
Van’s university studies include a B.S. from California State University of Long Beach, and a M.S. from California State University of Los Angeles. To stay abreast of the rapid changes in her industry, she enjoys the opportunities to continue technical education in the environmental investigation and remediation fields. These include governmental organizations ranging from the EPA’s CLU-IN and USGS, to professional organizations and remediation experts that include REGENESIS, and others which offer webinars and courses/trainings throughout the year. She goes on to say, “I try to fit them in as often as possible. I believe in staying engaged to continually improve my technical understanding and capabilities.” Living just south of Tacoma, WA, Van works out of MFA’s Seattle office, and travels on an as-needed basis. She also works with the company’s Bellingham, Vancouver, and Portland offices on occasion.
Working with REGENESIS to Ensure Client Success
When asked what she enjoys most about working with REGENESIS, Van points to the high level of technical knowledge she sees from the REGENESIS staff. Says Van, “The REGENESIS technical team is terrific for many reasons. This includes their expertise, versatility, and proven successes. REGENESIS’ technical sales managers understand not only the technical aspects of environmental remediation, but that the various applications have consequential effects on businesses. I also like that REGENESIS factors in the property usage during their remediation design.” In addition, Van appreciates their multifaceted approach. She continues, “The versatility and remedial solutions REGENESIS offers makes them a recognized expert. Also, their tiered approach to targeting the biological and chemical reactions of contaminants and requirements for microbes to aggressively breakdown contaminants has proven to be quite successful.” When it comes to specific REGENESIS products, Van points to a couple in particular. “We’ve had the most success with ORC Advanced® and 3-D Microemulsion®. We’ve been able to obtain the much coveted No Further Action determination from the Washington Department of Ecology for sites where we have applied these amendments. Clients appreciate the minimized disruptions to their properties’ usages. With respect to vapor intrusion issues, we’ve had successes with the installation of Land Science®’s Retro-Coat Vapor Intrusion Barrier System. The mitigation and improvements in indoor air quality that results after the installation of these sealants have enabled our clients to proceed with property transactions. Without these successful mitigation measures, our clients would not have been able to proceed with future transactions on these properties.”
Married for 23 years, Van and her husband have two daughters. “One is a junior at Washington State University and the other is a sophomore in high school. They keep us sane and comically insane at times!” In her free time, she enjoys playing racquetball and competing in regional and local tournaments, and she and the family enjoy backpacking and whitewater rafting. Gardening while listening to baseball games on the radio is another hobby. In her spare time she volunteers at the county’s local library and hopes to get involved in Habitat for Humanity and working with a children organization in the future.
Asked how she would encourage others to join the field of environmental sciences, she concludes by relating how much she enjoyed presenting to her daughter’s elementary and junior high schools. “I’ve presented an hour-long compressed introduction to geology, environmental science, environmental engineering and how these fields apply to our daily lives as well as the exciting projects we engage in” says Van. “The students are usually interested, engaged, and curious. I believe engaging students at these levels is a good start to have them consider the sciences, the environment, engineering, and technologies as potential fields to explore for personal and professional interests.”
REGENESIS is proud to have Yen-Vy Van, Senior Hydrogeologist at Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc., as a valued client, and appreciates her expertise in hydrogeology and environmental engineering, and its impact in providing successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.