Environmental Engineer

Zach Rogers is an environmental engineer for Energy Fuel Resources. Here, he is taking soil samples near a mine site.

Zach Rogers, Environmental Engineer
@ Energy Fuel Resources Inc. – Lakewood, CO

What did you get your degree in?
Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry at the University of Michigan

Why Environmental Engineering?
I started in Environmental Engineering by accident.  I had received training in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) while in high school.  A company called the high school looking for some part-time help with CAD.  I got that job, which turned out to be for an environmental consulting firm.  During the summers I worked full-time and picked up some duties as a field technician collecting environmental samples.  Eventually I was worked more and more into the environmental engineering position as I progressed through high school and college.  By the time I graduated college I had about 8 years of part-time/full-time experience in environmental engineering.  I decided to stick with environment engineering because I enjoyed the mix of office and field work and the variety of areas that I was able to work in.

What are your job responsibilities?
Environmental permitting and compliance.  For the most part I assist with the environmental permitting side of things and manage our environmental compliance program.  This can be challenging as there are hundreds of compliance items for each mine and mill.

List one example of a specific job responsibility:
Environmental compliance consists of tracking all the permit and approval requirements for various aspects of each of the mines and mill and ensuring that they are followed through on.  There are several permits and approvals required for each mine and mill.  The Whirlwind Mine, for example, currently has 16 permit and approvals.  Each permit or approval can have dozens or even hundreds of terms and conditions that must be complied with.

Zach Rogers is an environmental engineer for Energy Fuel Resources. Here, he is taking soil samples near a mine site.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
I like the variety of areas that I cover.  They include sampling of several media (such as groundwater, surface water, soil, and air), writing reports and plans, and working with CAD and GIS.  This keeps me busy and always learning more.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping up with all of the things that are going on at once.  I have to be a real multi-tasker as projects tend to be long-term and there are several of them going on at any one time.

What’s your advice to young people entering the industry?
Work hard, be diligent and don’t panic.  If you keep a list of items to be completed and prioritize them regularly, it can simplify your ability to keep up with the sometimes hectic pace.

What the best part about working in the mining industry?
Getting out in the field.  Many of the areas that are rich in minerals are also very scenic.