Roux Remediation Project: Former Petroleum Refinery and Active Distribution Terminal

In celebrating Roux Associates’ 35th anniversary, we would like to highlight a major project for one of our largest petroleum company clients. Our work for this major oil company began in 1989 at a small corner gas station in the Bronx. Since then, we have been involved in a number of additional projects for the same client, with many of our employees having worked on at least one of these projects. Throughout the years we have continued to gain additional responsibilities working for this client, including the remediation of a former petroleum refinery and active distribution terminal (Remediation Project) in Brooklyn, New York.

The Remediation Project is one of Roux’s largest undertakings. The Site itself is 174 acres and is located within a part of Brooklyn that has a rich industrial history dating back to the mid-1800s. The area was home to a vast number of industrial operations over the years—it housed sugar refineries, fertilizer factories, tanneries, oil refineries and terminals, manufactured gas facilities, and more.

Our client began remediation activities in 1979 and hired Roux to assist them in 1990. Drew Baris, currently a Roux Vice President and Principal Hydrogeologist, was Roux’s original Project Manager when our work began at the Site. Drew explained, “It has been an honor for Roux to work on the Remediation Project. Throughout this time, our client has been steadfast in their objectives: including completing remediation in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment, being respectful of our neighbors in the community, performing our work safely, and complying with all applicable regulatory requirements.” From Drew’s perspective, a major reason for our success on the project has been that Roux employees share these same objectives.

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To date, Roux has designed, installed, upgraded, and maintained remediation systems that have recovered more than 8.5 million gallons of petroleum product from beneath the Site. Perhaps equally impressive as the systems themselves is the diligent work Roux employees put into the Site on a daily basis. As explained by Tom Grindlinger, Roux’s Systems Operation Manager, “The most important and impressive thing to me about the Project is the people who make it go every day.” A Site veteran himself, Tom has worked with these systems for thirteen years. When hired, he was one of three employees working full time on the Project. He has since watched the Site grow to employ more than thirty geologists, technicians, and engineers.

Tom’s primary job function is to supervise and coordinate with a team of nine environmental technicians for the daily operation and maintenance of each remediation system. The specifics of this include a constant focus on safety, making system adjustments to optimize product recovery, and performing maintenance to keep systems running. There is at least a 90% runtime on all of our Site’s remediation systems, meaning they are running more than 90% of the year: well above the industry standard. To achieve this, all critical system components have built-in backups, so the system can remain running when one of the components is shut down for routine maintenance. Tom and his team also oversee critical equipment checks, making sure the systems are operating safely and in compliance with applicable standards.

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Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) system, performing at 98% runtime

After comprehensive testing, we determined the fastest, most effective way to remove petroleum product from the groundwater beneath the Site was the use of a two-pump system. The dual-pump recovery approach works by operating a groundwater pump to depress the water-table around a recovery well, which causes the product to flow towards the well, and a second pump recovers the overlying product as it enters the well. Twenty-four dual-pump recovery wells exist at the Site, requiring ongoing maintenance and adjustments by many technicians and engineers.

The water from the recovery wells gets treated at one of two groundwater treatment systems. At each treatment system, the groundwater is treated with aeration and sand filters to remove metals, and air strippers to remove volatiles from the water, making it safe to discharge back into the nearby creek. This water is sampled to make sure it is compliant with all of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) standards.

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One of the groundwater treatment systems

Tim Unalp, who joined Tom as one of Roux’s earliest technicians at the Site, has spent eleven years with our firm. He identified the biggest on-site challenge was managing the transition from a handful of staff members to more than thirty. It was difficult to prioritize all of the different jobs that needed to be done, a challenge that Roux was able to overcome with organized training and scheduling.

Tim is a Senior Environmental Technician who believes that what sets this Site apart from others is its unique location. “You’re removed from the community at most other remediation sites,” explained Tim. “But in Brooklyn, you’re in the heart of people’s neighborhoods. You become entwined in their backgrounds.” Demonstrating our respect for the community while performing our work is paramount. Tim’s perspective and understanding, which are shared by other Roux employees on-site, are integral parts of our remedial success. Our employees also assist our client in public outreach events—providing tours through the Remediation Project Site for regulators, residents, students (including West Point cadets), elected officials, and environmental groups, in order to keep the public well-informed about site activities.

A large portion of Tim’s job is to oversee the soil vapor extraction (SVE) system, which utilizes twenty-three SVE recovery wells to remove contaminated soil vapor from the subsurface. The extracted soil vapor is conveyed to the treatment system, where petroleum vapors are destroyed using a high temperature thermal oxidizer; this is similar to the catalytic converter that treats emissions from your car. The use of SVE has also been added to some of the dual-pump recovery wells within the past year after extensive pilot testing—an accomplishment both Tom and Tim are proud of. “This job is unique and challenging,” said Tom. “There’s no monotony and no textbook. There are many different types of remediation and we have the freedom to try out new things when new equipment and technologies become available.”

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A closer look at the SVE system

Safety plays a large role in job operations for technicians, but this role extends to every single member of our Project staff. “Tailgate” safety meetings take place each morning before any work is started, acting as an opportunity for field staff, subcontractors, and oversight involved in a project to address their concerns and go over proper safety protocols. Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn by all staff and subcontractors in the appropriate zones—a rule that even extends to visitors. Our client has developed an industry-leading safety approach that Roux not only participates in, but embraces as the most important aspect of our work. Tim, who has worked on a number of sites, disclosed that these safety protocols were so deeply ingrained in his routine that he followed them during all of his future projects, even if the protocols at other sites were not as stringent.

One of Roux’s Project Engineers, Ian Holst, shared that the Site safety procedures have made him much more cognizant of hazards on-site and in working with other clients. “The core message of identifying and mitigating hazards before starting a task spreads to all your other work, and even your personal life,” he explained. Ian reinforces this safety culture by making sure the staff he oversees takes part in safe performance self-assessments (SPSAs) and properly identifies hazards. He is also part of a biannual scorecard review that evaluates safety performance across all of Roux’s projects. Though he has only been on-site for about six years, hired at Roux right out of college, Ian has worked on each of the Site’s remediation systems. He is involved with site investigation, product recovery optimization, and system endpoint modeling.

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Employees are reminded to perform safe performance self-assessments, or SPSAs

Another one of Roux’s long-term Project employees, Yury Sonkin, expressed a deep appreciation for the Site’s safety culture. “I have learned outstanding safety procedures,” said Yury, a Senior Engineer at Roux who has spent twelve years working on the Remediation Project. “The safety culture is specifically designed to proactively address circumstances that can lead to any type of loss. Working closely with the engineering and operations project team helped me to develop my own personal safety awareness, and I am absolutely positive that this will be carried forward to all of my future activities.”

As a Senior Engineer working out of Roux’s Islandia, New York office, Yury prepared the mechanical designs for many of the systems that are now running on the Project Site. He designs using AutoCAD drafting, having prepared 3D models and site plan drawings for multiple remediation projects. He saw these designs through to construction and completion, working alongside third-party firms to coordinate submittals, approvals, and deliveries, while providing support to Roux’s junior engineers.

Yury shared that he is most impressed with the size and complexity of the multiple treatment systems—many of which were brought to life with his designs—including multiple recovery wells, our SVE treatment system, and two groundwater treatment system upgrades. Yury has enjoyed witnessing his 3D designs on paper become a reality, including the construction of a two-story 8,000 ft2  building that houses the SVE system and doubles as an office. Over the course of his long career at the Brooklyn Site, Yury has completed his design work alongside what he calls a “consistently great team,” who directly contribute to the success of the overall Project.

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The two-story 8,000 ft 2 building Yury Sonkin helped to design,
which holds the SVE system and multiple offices

Christopher Proce, who joined Roux over fourteen years ago and is now a Principal Hydrogeologist, has dedicated the majority of his career to the Remediation Project. “I’ve been lucky enough to grow my career at the Site, starting with overseeing assessment drilling activities and pulling recovery well pumps for maintenance,” said Chris. “I’ve been able to be involved in every aspect of the project, including system operation and maintenance, regulatory negotiations, real estate transactions, and long-term strategic planning. While the project is demanding and challenging, it is also the most rewarding project that I’ve ever worked on because of what we accomplish through teamwork between Roux employees and the client we work for.”

In addition, the Project’s Lead Engineer, Justin Kennedy, has been an integral part of the design, construction, and operations work on-site throughout his nineteen years at Roux. “From my first day at Roux, I have watched this project grow from just a handful of engineers working part-time to run the early recovery systems, to a large and complex remediation project,” said Justin. The size of the project and its many technical challenges have provided numerous opportunities for Justin to broaden his experience through the years, and to design systems at a scale that he would not have imagined when he first started at Roux. To Justin, it’s most gratifying to see the years of hard work by the team come to fruition; the many years of site investigation driving the design and construction of numerous remediation facilities and site remedies, followed by the successful operation of our systems. “The effectiveness of the facilities and systems that we have built and operate throughout the Site are a testament to the dedication and innovativeness of the entire project team, and I am proud to have been part of making that a reality,” he concluded.

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The Remediation Project has been one of Roux’s most extensive and significant environmental efforts. The operation and maintenance of our systems are among Roux’s top priorities, along with the health and safety of our staff. Our client has set high expectations for our remediation system runtimes and safe work practices, and we work hard to apply these elevated standards to all of Roux’s projects. From three employees to thirty, and interim measures to fully operational systems, Roux will continue to build upon our staff and technology, with the goal to see the Site through to full remediation and closure.

Career Fairs – What Exactly Do They Want?

By Melissa Nau

Even though Starbucks started pushing pumpkin spice on you the second it turned September, the summer is now actually over. Hopefully I’ve given you enough time to trudge back to your alma matter, get reacquainted with your college buddies, complain about assignments, and get right back into career mode. Since I know you already have a perfect resume, for those of you going back to the old academic grind it’s time to talk about one of your school’s best resources and your mom’s favorite thing to remind you about: The Career Fair.

While I always thought a career fair was a bunch of business students in suits mulling around like zombies, there’s actually more to it than that. Chances are, your college will have a career fair just for you—whether it’s environmental science, engineering, or even sustainability, your major has a market, and that market is made up of companies with job openings. They even differentiate between internship fairs and full time recruiting fairs, so you’ll be able to choose what you want right away depending on how many years (or months) of school you have left. It’s best to look up your school’s available career fairs at the beginning of the year, that way you can narrow down your options based on your class times, or even discuss options with your professors to avoid potential conflicts.

Overall, you should think of your interactions at career fairs as mini interviews. You wouldn’t show up to a first interview knowing absolutely nothing about the company you’re interacting with—preparation is key. You should be prepared to share your knowledge of the company whose booth you are standing in front of, and equally prepared to absorb the knowledge you’re missing. Your school will provide a list of companies who will be attending the career fair ahead of time, so get to Googling the ones that catch your eye.

Below I’ve made a list of short tips for proper career fair etiquette, followed by a list of career fairs Roux will be attending at the end of this year and early 2017. To see what positions we have open currently, check out our Careers Page.

Quick Career Fair Tips

  • Bring many copies of your resume and know what is on it! Make sure you have something to say about every bullet point so you’re not caught off guard.
  • With that being said, try to find a balance between being over-rehearsed and under-prepared when it comes to talking about yourself and your achievements.
  • Try to introduce yourself and give a quick overview of what the recruiter is about to see on your resume, rather than just shoving the piece of paper in their face.
  • Pretend you’re playing tennis: as mentioned, this shouldn’t be all about you. Let the recruiter give their overview as well. Give them time to ask you questions, and they will do the same for you.
  • Be confident, not cocky.
  • Be yourself. Yes this is corny, but recruiters do not want to hire a robot. Career fairs are a good test of your human interaction skills, which a lot of us need to work on. We want smart, well-spoken college graduates to join our team, but we also want people who are friendly, personable, and able to carry a casual conversation. While the atmosphere of a career fair tends to be noisy and chaotic, you’ll be able to make a lasting impression by speaking clearly and making eye-contact. Balance comes into play here as well—you don’t have to yell, but if you’re mumbling and can’t be heard, you’ll likely be forgotten.
  • Frame your interaction based on what you can offer the firm, not the other way around.
  • Dress to impress, obviously.
  • When researching a company, look at their office locations. Whether or not you’re honestly willing to relocate is important to a company; it’s almost always mentioned on a job application. Knowing the office locations will not only let recruiters know that you’ve read up on the company, but you can mention a specific office if it’s within range of where you want to live. For example, if you’re interested in Roux’s New Jersey office specifically, you could mention that to our recruiters and we could help you learn more about that particular office.
  • In addition to preparedness, punctuality is key! An inside source told me they were most impressed by the first person who came to Roux’s booth at a recent fair, and least impressed by the last person. If you have the power to make it on time, definitely go for it. You’re showing our firm that you’re super interested and ready to go. If you show up at 3:50 pm when the fair ends at 4, we’re going to assume we’re your last resort.

Upcoming Roux Recruiting Events

Tufts University Fall Career Fair
September 30 @ 11:30 am – 2:30 pm

Manhattan College 2016 STEM Career Fair
October 4 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

University of New Hampshire 2016 Fall Career & Internship Fair
October 5 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Columbia University Engineering Career Fair
October 14 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

UMass Lowell Fall Career Fair
October 26 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

All Ivy Environmental & Sustainable Development Career Fair
March 3, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

One more tip: Save this page under your favorites and check back in the future!
We’re always adding more career fairs to the list.

Resume Writing, Part 2: Actually Writing/What to Include

By Melissa Nau

Good day again, fellow graduates. Congratulations, because the worst is over. If you’ve made it this far, you already know the basics of setting up your resume and maybe even picked out a nice template. Now I’ll be going through all the parts of a resume and basically write yours for you. Aren’t you glad I’m around?

Resume Writing, Part 2: Actually Writing/What to Include

Let me preface this by highlighting the importance of font. Script and bubble letters are not appropriate for your resume, even if you work with children. Your size range should be 10-12 with fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Veranda, or Calibri if you’re feeling exotic. Your exact size depends on your font. If you have to squint, try again. An employer may be going through your resume with a fine tooth comb; they do not want to hold a magnifying glass in their other hand.

Next off, we have your header. See the picture below for the absolute basic essentials: Name, Phone number, Email, and Address. However, as discussed previously, you may be putting your resume on sites like CareerBuilder in order to be reached by potential recruiters, so you do not necessarily want to include your full address. Mine only has City, State. You may feel uneasy about having your phone number plastered on the Internet as well, but if this is the fastest and easiest way for someone to contact you, it should appear on your resume. Personally, I have not received any “scam” phone calls from having my resume on job sites. Above all, you must list at least one contact method so employers can reach you. I’d recommend listing everything below:

header

Additionally, you may want to incorporate a link to your LinkedIn profile in your header. LinkedIn should be an extended version of your resume. Employers will likely look you up on LinkedIn anyway, so they will appreciate if you save them some time. You can write something like “View my LinkedIn profile” and highlight “LinkedIn,” on Word, right click to Hyperlink, and add the link directly to your page. When you PDF your resume, employers will be able to click through to the link directly. You can find this link if you view your profile page, directly under “View profile as.”

Linkedin

Once your header is done, you can start thinking about/formatting your actual sections—which remember, you’re fitting to one page. These should act as the core foundation of your resume, so I’ll dedicate some time to explaining each of them:

  • Objective
  • Education
  • Experience

And, depending on the space you have/what is most relevant to the position you want, a couple extras, including:

  • Skills
  • Awards
  • Relevant Coursework
  • Publications
  • Extracurricular/Volunteer Work/Leadership Experience
  • Interests

Objective

While an objective is not 100% necessary in the same way that your Education and Experience are, it’s certainly a nice touch and should only be about a sentence or two. An objective should be exactly what it sounds like: your objective. What do you want to get out of this job? Why do you want it? What are some key words you can add in to really get across your interest/make you stand out from other candidates? Let’s look at some real resume examples below:

obj1

Here is an example of an objective, but not a particularly good one. Primarily, I’d advise against the red text and the small font size. Content wise, it’s extremely vague and does not identify the field the person is interested in. Improving one’s self and gaining life experiences are okay personal goals, but not necessarily career oriented. If you write an objective, be specific, and don’t be afraid to state exactly what you want:

obj2

The above objective is a lot more specific and more likely to capture an employer’s attention. Not only does this person want to be challenged, but they have “passion” for a specific field (environmental geology) and they are targeting a particular job market (environmental companies). Perhaps the best part of this objective is the fact that the person mentioned they’d “add value” to their potential employer. If your objectives/goals are not all about you, employers can already tell that you’re a team player.

To further specify and tailor your objective to the job you’re looking to apply to, feel free to alter your statement depending on the application. If the company’s job listing is emphasizing safety, for example, you could rewrite the above objective as such: “To obtain a challenging role in an environmental company to further pursue my passion in environmental geology and use my geological knowledge to add value to my employer, while implementing my safety training to benefit overall company operations.”

At Roux Associates our Recruiting Director reads every resume carefully, but it’s important to realize that not all companies do this. The rumors are true: most companies do use software that scans your resume for a predetermined set of words and phrases. Luckily, those words are exactly what they ask of you in their “qualifications” section—it’s your job to match your lingo to theirs, as long as you’re not lying about your qualifications.

Education

Just like your parents told you, Education comes first (only second to your Objective, if you have one). Many of the jobs you’re applying for likely require the degree you’ve just earned. This resume features degrees/programs in bold; you can bold your schools instead, but do not bold both. I prefer making the degree bold since it’s almost always the first thing your employer looks for. They will then look for name recognition (to see if they’ve heard of your schools and companies you’ve worked for) -> recognition of job titles -> the dates (how long you’ve spent at each school/job) -> and finally, the overall way your resume is written/presented. Remember, a computer can pull out key words from your resume, but it cannot interpret your character.

resumeed

With this formatting, employers can quickly glance back and forth and take note of dates right away—make sure the date is not jumbled within the rest of your content. You can pick out awards and recognitions associated with your schooling, or you can move these into an “awards” section if you have more than one/have the room to do so. Please note that “magna cum laude” takes the place of a numerical GPA; do not list both. Remember, the goal of your resume is to fit as much as you can while staying relevant to the job you want, which should include cutting out any and all redundancies. Overall, your education needs to include: your date/expected date of graduation, your degree, the school itself, and your concentrations.

Experience

Listing your relevant work experience is one of the most important parts of your resume. Your most recent degrees are likely closely related to what you want in a career, so it’s best to list them from most to least recent. Job experiences may be different, though. You’re right out of college and you have to survive—you likely have/had a recent job that isn’t directly related to your degree. Because of this, you should opt to list the jobs or internships you’ve had that are related to your job field first, even if they’re not the most recent. You should also retain the same formatting as before—bold the job itself like you did with your degrees, and list the corresponding dates on the right:

experience1

Above is a good example of formatting a relevant internship. While listing the hours is uncommon, it indicates an impressive timeframe, breaking down to 8-hour days three days a week for the whole semester. The description is a thorough list without having to be written in full sentences, verbs are in the present tense, and there is no mention of pronouns (i.e. I did this, I did that). While there are four description lines here and you may not have room for that, the first bullet could suffice on its own. This person is likely looking for a job that requires these skills: copyediting, proofreading, fact checking—and all are included on the resume as potential “key words” for a resume screening.

exp3

The second example above falls a bit short. While the job itself is from a more recognizable agency, the candidate left out the location of the internship, a specific time frame, the formal job title (I’m sure it wasn’t just “Intern”), and ends their description with “etc.” If you went out of the way to make your margins that wide, you should take the time to fill out each line with as much content as you can fit. This graduate could have said a lot more of this interesting internship; the use of “etc.” is lazy.

Since I can’t possibly say it enough: relevance is key. What this same person did achieve was listing their most relevant experience first, despite the fact that their Research Fellow position took place after being a Teaching Assistant:

experience2

The last Supervisor position is clearly the least relevant to attaining an environmental job; when you run out of room to list relevant experiences, this should be the first to go. Again, this is how your whole resume should be situated: in order of most relevant to least relevant content. It makes it a lot easier for others to read and for you to edit.

Everything Else

Since I can feel your attention span wearing thin, I’ll give you a nice chart to look at. Below are some examples of things I often see on resumes, many of which I wish I didn’t:

“Should I include this in my resume???!”

ResumeChart

To be frank, if you’re a recent college graduate everyone knows you know Microsoft Word, nobody cares about your frat if you did not hold a leadership position within it, and everything in yellow is only appropriate if you have a large excess of free space. Volunteering can be included, especially if it’s somewhat related to your field (i.e. beach cleanups if you’re an aspiring marine biologist), but working in a soup kitchen really does not speak to your academic/work achievements. Same goes for your job at that hole-in-the-wall ice cream place and your two summers as a camp counselor. The things in yellow, if included, should be immediately booted off of your resume once you’ve landed your next job.

I really hope this two-part resume guide helped to relieve you of your tireless social media duties. As a final word of advice: try writing your resume from the perspective of the responsible adult that you keep doing everything in your power to stop becoming. If Responsible Future You no longer thinks it’s cool that you won Best Teeth in high school, you should probably leave that one out.

Resume Writing, Part 1: Quick Tips & Prewriting Guidelines

By Melissa Nau

If you’re finally tired of sipping cold drinks in the sun and/or binge watching Netflix without leaving your house for weeks, you may want to check your bank account, panic, and keep looking for a job. As long as you’re ready, I’m here to help.

Last time, we discussed preliminary steps for job searching—including updating LinkedIn, creating accounts on CareerBuilder and/or Monster, and briefly mentioned updating your resume. Since your resume is your real first impression with any employer and sometimes even potential networking contacts, I’ve decided to backtrack and spend some time going over what goes into a good resume.

 Resume Writing, Part 1: Quick Tips & Prewriting Guidelines*

While we all like to be sure of ourselves and confidence is key in interviews, you might have to accept the fact that your resume isn’t perfect. Luckily, there are a few tips to keep in mind that you can use to revamp your resume in seconds:

1. Please PDF. I wasn’t kidding when I said you can revamp in seconds. You most likely created your resume in a Word document, which is to be expected, but it’s best to save it as a PDF. Why? It looks cleaner, is usually the preferred format while applying online, and it will not automatically underline “misspelled” words aka the names of your schools and former jobs. This should also apply to cover letters. To do this, click on File while in Word and then Save as Adobe PDF. If you have an older version of Word or do not have Adobe this feature may not be built in—you can use a friend’s computer/the library/your work computer (on your break time of course), or update your software. After this quick step you’ll have two different versions of your resume (doc/docx and pdf), so if a job application requires a specific file, you’ll already have it covered.

2. Get Gmail. Though this isn’t mandatory, getting a Gmail account is a helpful tool. If your current email address is less than professional and/or from the ancient era of Hotmail, try creating a Gmail account as yourname@gmail.com. If your name is taken, try adding one extra character. You want this email address to be as simple as possible; check your creativity at the door. You would expect this to be common sense, but you’d be surprised. The reason why this step is helpful is because not only are you “branding” your name to your resume, but your ultimate goal is to look professional. Though it is a tiny part of your overall resume, your email address says a lot about you—if yours contains a strange nickname or an inappropriate string of letters or numbers, it could be an instant turnoff, no matter how qualified you may be. Also, keep in mind that some college email accounts will shut down in your post-colligate years. My college account is still active, but mine was also a series of nonsensical letters and numbers which looks like spam at first glance. By creating a Gmail address with your name in it, you’re further clarifying to employers, recruiters, and the Internet in general that you are an actual person who needs a job, not the emperor of an elaborate pyramid scheme. You’ll also be free to check this separate job email without getting distracted by SALES!!!!! and your abysmal bank statements.

resume1
Actual emails from my seldom used AOL email account

3. One and Done. This may or may not take you more than a few seconds, but it’s probably the most important rule of thumb: Make your resume one page. Just one. Seriously. This should be your cardinal rule for multiple reasons, including the obvious one: employers don’t want to read a novel, they want to fill a position. Other reasons include file size, visual appeal, and because I told you to. But above all else, in writing anything ever, economizing is just as important as the story you’re telling. Economizing in this sense refers to your ability to pick and choose what is important to tell other people about yourself. If you can choose and prioritize your top attributes and have the good sense to cut out your not-so-relevant experiences, you can prioritize the tasks your future boss asks of you. Kindly understand that nobody cares you were a lifeguard if you’re applying for a job as an accountant. If your resume remains an endless litany of jumbled facts, you won’t exactly come across as someone who has “excellent organizational skills.”

While keeping this in mind you can now ask yourself: Well, what should I put on my resume?
The answer should always be: Only what you can fit while keeping your experiences relevant to the job you’re after.

Now that you know the quick tips and basic commandments of resume writing, you may want to start a new resume from scratch. Before you even start Googling templates, Word is your best resource. You can go to File > New > and search “Resume” under Office.com Templates where you’ll find a wide array of free options.

resumetemplates

The highlighted “entry-level” template on is what you’re looking for. Some are fancier than others. To be safe, I’d go with strictly black text/white background, unless you’re a designer, artist, etc., where your profession is dependent on your sense of style and color. If you’re going for a job where you’re being judged by your resume and not a portfolio, the words will matter more than the template.

These designs are great, but you’ll likely want to tweak them. Your name should not be size 72 and bolded no matter how much free space you have (see “Resume (Essential design)” above). And conversely, if you’re trying to fit a lot of content on one page, you should definitely widen the margins on the top of your sheet to give yourself more room.

margins

I know this was a lot to throw at you, so feel free to go back to watching season 14 episode 22 of whatever tantalizing series you’ve stumbled upon this summer. Next week when you need a break from your rough life, I’ll disclose what to actually write on your resume, how to choose the most relevant information, and dissect some real resumes to provide reliable examples and save you from clichés.

*Will be followed by Resume Writing, Part 2: Actually Writing/What to Include

Traveling Through Time: Roux Associates Celebrates its 35th Anniversary

In celebrating our anniversary, Roux Associates would like to take this opportunity to thank our many clients for trusting us to work on their projects, both large and small, since our company was founded in 1981. We would also like to thank our staff of dedicated professionals who do the great work that keep our clients coming back. We’ve asked the founder of the company, Paul Roux, to look back: to share how Roux Associates came to be and describe a few of the key projects that have impacted our firm’s growth over the past 35 years.

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In 1981, Roux Associates was founded by Paul Roux as a groundwater contamination investigation practice. Paul’s goal was to build a small consulting firm where the staff was smart, hardworking, talented, and nice: the kind of people it would be a pleasure to work with every day. The timing turned out to be perfect. New regulations created an immediate need for experienced groundwater contamination consultants, and there were not enough around to meet the demand. Using Paul’s past contacts and a minimum of marketing and sales calls, Roux was able to land some major corporate clients and work on challenging projects. These fresh work opportunities attracted some of the talented people Roux was looking for, and the firm began to take off. As it grew, Roux evolved from a small, purely groundwater investigation firm, into a much larger environmental consulting and management company. We now provide a broad range of science and engineering services, along with litigation support, insurance claims assistance, and more.

Roux Associates
Left: Paul Roux at the Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn, Massachusetts, 1982
Right: The Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn, Massachusetts, 2014 

In the early 1970s there were only limited environmental regulations in the United States. In the decade to follow, very strong regulations were implemented in what seemed to be the blink of an eye, which Paul Roux could best describe as “chaos.” The Federal Superfund Law of 1980 stated that responsible parties involved with owning a property were accountable for cleaning up hazardous waste, pollutants, and contaminants found on site. Corporations were suddenly liable for handling hazardous materials, and often blamed by the government for millions of dollars’ worth of contamination, which opened doors to many site remediation, litigation, and insurance issues. Additional Federal and State laws reinforced the Superfund Law and tacked on more regulations.

The first list of Superfund sites, in order of highest to lowest contamination according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was released by the EPA the same year Roux was founded. The Industri-Plex Site in Woburn, Massachusetts was number five on the list out of 114 sites, and was considered the most significant contamination location in New England. Because of Paul’s existing professional relationship with the company that would take primary responsibility for handling the Site, Roux Associates was hired to begin the remediation process. This was our firm’s first major project and the first step in our long journey. This was also the beginning of Superfund, meaning that the remedial investigation and feasibility study processes that were later developed and now used by the EPA, did not yet exist.

Roux worked with the EPA, the MassDEQE (the predecessor to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection or MassDEP), and the client to develop methods and procedures to investigate the environmental conditions at this 245-acre Site. After years of investigation, remediation, and redevelopment, the spot that was once deemed the fifth most hazardous waste site in the nation by the EPA was transformed into a thriving center for transportation, retail, offices, and hotels. Today, the Site continues to flourish, and Roux is still involved with monitoring its environmental conditions.

Agricultural Chemicals

In the early 1980s, the EPA was considering requiring warning labels on pesticides and herbicides that were being detected in groundwater and surface water around the country. The two main questions that agricultural chemical manufacturers had at the time were:

1)  Are the detections the result of leaching and runoff of chemicals after proper application, or the
result of some other cause (such as spills, leaks, or improper application)?

2)  If any detections were the result of proper application, were these detections the result of
particularly sensitive hydrogeologic settings or other unusual conditions?

Roux, which at the time had only six or seven employees, was retained by an agricultural chemical manufacturer to find the answers to these questions. The projects involved monitoring well installation and groundwater sampling at dozens of sites, and monitoring water quality from 25 rivers in numerous environmental settings across the country. Several different types of study protocols were developed by Roux, which were accepted and adopted by the EPA to provide data for labeling purposes. Roux testified before the EPA’s Science Advisory Panel, as well as several state environmental regulatory panels. The data and conclusions developed by Roux were used by the manufacturers and the EPA to develop application directions and warnings. Roux grew substantially larger during this period, in part to handle the agricultural chemical work.

Petroleum

By the late 1980s, Roux was retained by a major petroleum company to oversee environmental remediation conducted at 80 service stations from the mid-Atlantic to New England. Roux took over and led the remediation at a number of these sites, as well as sites in California. After gaining valuable knowledge and performing quality work, our company has since been chosen to investigate and remediate over a dozen prominent refinery and terminal locations throughout the Northeast. One of such projects, located in New York, involves the largest underground release of petroleum in the United States. Our company has been managing the remediation and regulatory compliance activities at this Site for the past 25 years, including:

  • Directing the work of as many as 40 subcontractor personnel on a daily basis;
  • Creating three-dimensional modeling of multiple phase subsurface flow;
  • Providing engineering design and construction of automated product recovery along with air and water treatment systems;
  • Installation of a vapor recovery and treatment system;
  • Operating and maintaining all remediation and monitoring systems; and
  • Completing all regulatory reporting.

Much of the work, including installation of sewers and other underground piping systems, was particularly difficult since it took place in a densely populated urban area. To date, over 8.5 million gallons of product have been recovered, and operations are still ongoing. Our extensive work on petroleum projects has played a momentous role in our growth, both in number of employees and in the breadth of our capabilities.

Brownfields

As we moved into the 1990s, the experience gained working on Superfund sites and other big environmental remediation projects was applied to the remediation of large scale, complex Brownfield sites. By the end of the decade, Brownfields work had become a key part of our business and a major driver of our firm’s growth. To date, Roux has remediated over 100 Brownfield sites across the country. One example is the Pacific Park development, including the Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets and NY Islanders) in downtown Brooklyn, New York. The Barclays Site contained an active 100-year-old train yard prior to redevelopment. Roux conducted a waste characterization of over half a million yards of soil that needed to be excavated to build the arena.

Since the Barclays Center is located in a congested city, there was no space to stockpile excavated soil. In addition, the handling and destination of the soil depended on its degree of contamination, so the waste needed to be characterized prior to digging it up. To solve these issues, Roux planned and executed a three-dimensional in-situ soil sampling project for the entire Site, including the active train yard. The excavation work was then managed so that all removed soil could immediately be loaded on the correct truck and sent to its rightful disposal facility. This allowed the work to be completed on schedule, and with minimum soil disposal cost.

Litigation

Delving further into the 90s, we began to gain momentum in the challenging practice area of litigation support. Roux experts perform in-depth analyses of intricate environmental problems, preparing detailed expert reports, opinions, and testimonies in deposition and at trial. Over the years, our associates have provided expert testimony on hundreds of environmental disputes, including many high profile cases. In the Tronox v. Anadarko Matter case, for example, Roux evaluated the cost to remediate 373 major sites formerly owned or operated by the Kerr-McGee Corporation. Dr. Neil Ram of Roux Associates defended these evaluations at trial. The court’s Judge Allan L. Gropper stated in his ruling, “It is significant that Ram’s analysis is the only comprehensive valuation in the vast record of this case of Tronox’s environmental liabilities.” Thanks to Roux’s evaluations, expert testmiony, and Judge Gropper’s ruling, our client was awarded $5.1 billion for cleanup costs. In addition to cost allocation, our experts specialize in contaminant fate and transport, forensic evaluation, and standard of care, among a number of other technical areas.

ENS

Roux has developed and continues to create and employ a number of “Green” technologies from the late 1990s into today, which we have termed Engineered Natural Systems, or ENS. One type of ENS is the Constructed Treatment Wetland, or CTW, which can be used to treat a wide range of contaminants in wastewaters. In 1996, Roux received a patent for an innovative CTW design that greatly increases efficiency and reduces the land area needed for its installation. An example of this type of CTW was designed by Roux for a massive manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia. The system has been installed and is currently treating two million gallons per day of industrial process and sanitary wastewater. Treated water is 100% recycled for use within the industrial facility. We have installed a number of CTWs and other “Green” systems across the country and beyond, and we believe that these technologies will be a vital part of future growth for our company.

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The project examples described above represent just a few important milestones in our history. Roux, which has grown steadily and organically over the years, currently has approximately 300 employees in offices from New York to Los Angeles. We could have grown faster if we had wanted to, but in the words of our CEO, Doug Swanson, “Our goal is not to be the biggest, but to be the best.”

We seek to hire the best people we can find, provide them with support, training, and motivation, and hold on to them for the long term. More than half of our principals (engineers and scientists) have been with us for more than 15 years, and nearly half of those for over 25 years. Our professionals are smart, hardworking, talented, and yes, nice—just as Paul Roux envisioned 35 years ago. Roux Associates has gained size, credibility, and capability, but has not lost the sense of community that makes it such a great place to work. Paul Roux attributes his success to delegating responsibility to others and not being afraid to “pass the torch,” while striving to produce a likable work environment. He stressed the importance of having fun, enjoying yourself and the work you do—“so many people have the opposite,” he reminded us.

For the future, Roux plans to remain an independent, employee-owned firm, continuing to do what it has done since day one. We look forward to meeting new clients, hiring new team members, growing our practice areas, and employing the same ingenuity and work ethic that has helped us expand an idea into a gratifying work environment and a successful environmental firm.

CSR Spotlight: Guatemala Mission Trip

When Roux Associates started encouraging employees to take part in charitable activities, it quickly evolved from a suggestion to a passion. Through our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program, we have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of volunteer work in just a few short years. In supporting a wide range of charities, including group and individual efforts, Roux most recently supported Larry McTiernan, a Principal Hydrogeologist in our Massachusetts office, who traveled to Guatemala for five days to help orphans and struggling families in and around the nation’s capital, Guatemala City.

On April 23, 2016, Larry set out to Guatemala for the second year in a row with his church, Granite United Church. The church itself was embarking on its fifth trip in the past four years; they’ve also done mission trips to Mexico, Trinidad, and the Bahamans. For each trip, the church has partnered with a group called Manna Worldwide, a Christian non-profit organization striving to “rescue children from the grip of poverty.” Larry made the journey with 25 other church volunteers, taking part in what he called a mix of “faith-based, spiritual and physical missionary work.”

A portion of the church’s time was dedicated to helping out Manna’s orphanage in Guatemala City, which Larry’s church helped build during trips in 2013 and 2014. The facility currently houses 21 children, yet only two are actually eligible for adoption. Larry explained that many of the children in the orphanage had been abused and taken away from their parents by the government, yet they cannot be adopted unless their parents give permission. For that reason, most of the kids are in a sort of family limbo: they have no home, but cannot look forward to adoption. Their ages range from a newborn baby who was recently found abandoned, to about 14 years old. The volunteers spent hours with the kids, running around outside and playing indoor games like Uno.

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Larry and his group stayed in a dorm in Guatemala City at night. By day, they worked directly with a missionary couple who live about 20 minutes away from the orphanage in a town called San Lucas. The missionary couple—one of whom is Mexican, the other from Wisconsin—happen to be builders as well. Over the years, they’ve played an integral role in the group’s other projects: building a feeding center, houses, and wooden beds.

The feeding center and home building were last year’s projects during Larry’s first trip to Guatemala. This took place in a much more rural, largely Mayan part of Guatemala called San Rafael el Arado, or El Arado for short. The volunteers mixed concrete by hand in order to lay the foundation for these buildings, often carrying large bags of cement and cinder blocks up and down steep hills. Two years ago, the family pictured below lived in a house made mostly of sugar cane stalks. They are now pictured in a home the church built. According to Larry, “That tiny woman carried three cinder blocks at a time…with one on her head.”

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The structure that Larry helped to build last year is now a functional feeding facility, community center, and church. He returned there this year to help serve food to the locals. Five times a week the feeding center provides children with what is likely their only substantial meal of the day, typically comprised of rice, beans, meat, and vitamins. About 100 kids are fed each day, many of whom walk over five miles to get there. At home, children in El Arado usually have nothing to eat but corn, which they grind by hand to make corn flour tortillas. “That’s really all they have to eat,” said Larry, “which isn’t the most nutritious.”

Beforeafter

In addition to providing kids with food, Manna also offers vital medical care to El Arado’s children and adults through a clinic. Thanks to generous donations from the United States, the clinic is now fully staffed three days a week. The majority of the medical efforts are dedicated to pregnant women who arrive at the clinic, who are given neonatal vitamins to help healthy child development and prevent birth defects. The center also provides basic first aid; one of Larry’s fellow volunteers was a trained nurse who cleaned a deep wound on a little boy’s foot. Most of the Guatemalan children do not own shoes. Each of the volunteers brought along a large crate as their second luggage, filled with shoes and toys to give out to the children at feeding centers in two villages—Roux helped to fund this last year. Larry recounted, “Both years I went, United Airlines was kind enough to waive our fees for the second bag. Probably saved us about $1,000, money which we could use on other things down there.”

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Larry’s group also helped out by providing lice and foot-worm treatments. Feet were washed and cleaned deeply, and hair was deloused and combed out. Little girls were ecstatic to get ribbons in their hair. Every child was thrilled to get their hands on some toys—favorites included nail polish and soccer balls.

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This year, Larry spent most of his time constructing beds for families in El Arado and impoverished areas of San Lucas. Their homes generally contain a dilapidated bed for parents to sleep on, while children sleep in swinging hammocks, or on the floor. Commonly, beds are their only existing furniture. Larry and his church built beds for families by hand. The long process involved cutting, sanding, staining, and sealing all of the wood; assembling the various pieces of wood into a simple frame; buying mattresses, sheets, and pillows; and finally carrying the beds (often up steep mountains) into their new homes. Lumber is extremely expensive in Guatemala, resulting in a total cost of $150 per bed. Thanks to Roux’s donation along with outside contributions, Larry’s church was able to build 15 beds this year. “The money went a long way,” he reported.

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Last year’s experience for Larry was very different than his trip this past April. He certainly experienced culture shock the first time around. He traveled in three-van convoys on roads with heavy traffic and no speed limits, met people who had to walk hours for food or water, and walked through villages that were littered with stray animals and garbage, stricken with poverty. He found it difficult to pray with the people he met, knowing that at the end of the week he would end up back in America while they continued to struggle.

This year, it became easier to focus on the positive. Larry’s favorite part of the trip was “seeing the kids and the simple joy on their faces.” The convoys drove through two villages to get to El Arado, where families stood in their doorways with blank stares—but as soon as Larry waved to them, the kids’ faces would light up instantly as they waved back with excitement.

One of his favorite stories started with traveling to a home where the only bed had a huge hole in it and had completely collapsed. After her new bed was built, a mother of multiple children was “gushing with thanks.” She then started opening up to some of the Spanish-speaking volunteers about her home life. Her husband had abandoned their family. One of the American volunteers shared that she was going through a similar situation back home. The emotional exchange led the two women to cry, and before long every woman in the room was crying. Even though he doesn’t speak language himself, Larry was touched by the universal experience the women shared, despite coming from two completely different worlds.

Granite United Church’s next adventure will bring them to a cancer hospital in Honduras later this year. Larry plans on traveling back to Guatemala next year to build more beds, or take part in whatever activity the church has planned. His son, who takes Spanish in high school, may accompany him and help to close the language barrier. Roux Associates thanks Larry for the time and effort he has dedicated to this wonderful cause. We look forward to hearing next year’s stories.

Guatemala
Larry McTiernan, standing third from the left, and his fellow church volunteers