Name: Pete Schwalbach
Office: St Paul
Practice Area: OPA
Area of expertise: Environmental Regulatory Compliance
About Me in 140 Characters
Happily married, father of three, environmental regulatory consultant!
Favorite Thing about Being an OPA Practitioner
The wide diversity of very interesting industries that I get a chance learn about as I conduct my work ranging from steel mills to beer breweries to jet engine manufacturers and food manufacturing plants making tortillas for McDonald’s breakfast burritos, plus paper mills, glass bottle manufacturers, and all the way to health care facilities. Basically, my job looks a lot like the Science Channel’s “How It’s Made”.
What is the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
In doing some air permitting work for BNSF railroad at their iron ore taconite transportation facility in Superior, Wisconsin, I got a chance to meet the operator who loaded the Edmund Fitzgerald before her fateful last voyage on lake Superior.
What are some of your favorite tools/resources for professional development in this practice area?
Meeting and working with colleagues who have more knowledge in a particular regulatory area.
What is a key ingredient for success as an OPA practitioner?
Continuously reminding yourself that if you do your job well, you can really make a difference in the world.
What area of the practice are you most interested in? Why?
Air emissions management. My first job out of college was working for a stack testing company, so I’ve always had an interest along with fond memories of working 400-feet up a stack conducting EPA air emission test methods.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The people I get to work with.
If someone at a party asks what you do, how to you respond?
Environmental Regulatory Consultant…Huh?...I’m saving the whales….Oh, okay!
What surprises people about your job?
The ironic fact that I work so closely with industry yet my choice of daily planner sitting in my briefcase right now is a Sierra Club engagement calendar.
What do you consider your biggest professional achievement so far?
Building lasting relationships with clients who keep asking Antea Group to do more work for them. I have one client that we have been doing an annual air emission inventory for since 1994.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Astronaut, but for someone who still is pretty susceptible to motion sickness, I would have brought a whole new meaning to the training simulator they use at NASA known as the “vomit comet”.
What was your first job?
Grass cutting. Still love it to this day. To quote Forest Gump, 'And 'cause I was a gazillionaire, and I liked doin' it so much, I cut that grass for free.'
What TV show character do you identify most with?
Ted from How I Met your Mother.
If you had one month off, where would you go or what would you do?
Follow the Tour De France
Is there something unique that people might not know about you?
What you see is what you get. I am however legally blind in one eye. My right, your left.
What is on the top of your bucket list?
Tour the World War II Normandy beachheads.
What is your most treasured possession?
Hands down….Wife and Kids…not that they are my possessions, but gifts on loan to me.
What historical or fictional character would you most like to work with?
Lewis and Clark (sorry that’s two). Both my work and vacation travels have taken me to all parts of their route and it never ceases to amaze me as I imagine what they were thinking as they crested each hill and rise and mountain along their 3,700 mile journey.