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Staff Spotlight on Becky Wehrman-Andersen

24 Sep

Kestrel Tellevate News

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Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with Senior Consultant Becky Wehrman-Andersen. Becky is an EHS compliance leader with nearly 30 years of practical experience. You can find her working in Des Moines, Iowa.

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I am fortunate to have had a unique and wide variety of science positions that eventually led me to my position at KTL. My areas of expertise include hazardous waste management, risk minimization, emergency response, and EHS compliance strategies for difficult processes.

I started as a bench chemist with DuPont in a GMO lab where I began learning hazardous waste regulations by default. I spent a few years at Iowa DNR (IDNR) building a household hazardous waste program and then was with Metro Waste Authority (MWA) in Iowa for ten years learning more about EPA regulations, hazardous waste management, and all things trash (EPA, OSHA and DOT). During my time at IDNR, I began developing strong expertise in emergency response and hazardous waste site cleanups. I led a state-wide school lab chemical cleanup program with more than 20 community partners, assisted in cleanup from natural disasters, and worked closely with emergency responders throughout the state. 

I also served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT for a few years and developed an extensive training program focused on hazardous materials chemistry. In 2008, I started a small business consulting to industry in hazardous materials, which became my full-time gig in 2010. Through that adventure, I was able to further refine my training skills in EPA, DOT, and OSHA regulations and assisted a number of large businesses in all things “crazy trash” management and risk minimization strategies. In 2019, I had an opportunity to join KTL and brought my customers with me. It has been a great career with enormous variety, and I’m excited to see what the next few years bring. 

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

The majority of my clients are industrial facilities with large quantities of chemicals; however, I also have clients that are schools, universities, or small startup lab facilities. The biggest challenge I see in industry right now is the continued push to do more with less. I see industries in great fiscal position that are rapidly expanding their operations and processes but have been hesitant to invest in additional personnel to build robust EHS compliance programs. It is not unusual for me to visit a plant where there are 250 employees and one person managing all EHS programs for the plant. It is challenging for those individuals to achieve success, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help them prioritize, implement programs, and have a substantial impact on the overall safety and environmental compliance at their facilities.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

I love the people that I work with. My team at KTL is incredible, and after working for so many years as a sole proprietor, I love having the support and coordinated efforts that result from such amazing co-workers. I also thoroughly enjoy my clients. The company representatives have a deep commitment to their work and ensuring that their companies are operating in compliance and, even more importantly, that their co-workers are protected. 

I also have to say that I love the problem solving that comes with unusual hazardous waste situations. I know it sounds crazy, but I love those phone calls that start with, “You won’t believe this one, Becky, but we found this….” 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have great adult kids that I enjoy spending time with, a wonderful patient husband, and three dogs. Spending time with them is my favorite activity in the world. I enjoy gardening, being outside, and have recently taken up sewing! I never considered myself a “seamstress,” but have gotten fairly adept at making a great quality mask to protect my friends and families. I think I’ve made about 175 for various friends, families, and co-workers and will be finishing up another 30 or so in the next week as “backups” for local school kids who may need them. I think I may even try quilting after this! Learning new things is one of my favorite ways to spend time.

Read Becky’s full bio.

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