Trinity Consultants

Staff spotlight: atmospheric scientist tackles complex air quality issues


Courtesy of Courtesy of Trinity Consultants

George Schewe, a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and Qualified Environmental Professional, joined Trinity’s Covington, Kentucky office in 2008. A veteran of EPA with nearly three decades of consulting experience, George is well-versGeorge Schewe_photoed in air quality regulatory requirements and a master in complex air dispersion modeling analyses. Here is George’s take on his role and current environmental issues.
Q.George, how would you describe your role at Trinity?
A. That’s an interesting question. Trinity is certainly well known for its air modeling prowess and I have worked for a number of years performing similarly challenging modeling work. My internal role here at Trinity is one of providing senior experience and mentoring due to the sheer number and variety of modeling scenarios in which I been involved over the years from my EPA experience to consulting. I like to share that experience however possible through instruction, project participation, project management, leadership roles in outside organizations, and through company pow-wows that focus on everything from the most sophisticated, new modeling techniques to the everyday task of interpreting the results. Externally, I continue to be focused on applying strategic modeling and regulatory analyses to assist clients in meeting their air quality challenges.
Q.What are the most pressing environmental challenges your clients seem to be facing in 2009?
A. In 2009, clients are facing a number of environmental challenges. First and foremost will be maintaining continued compliance while trimming environmental budgets and staff. Most companies want to maintain operations to the extent possible in spite of the economic downturn. Once the economy begins to recover, companies want to have their staff and resources intact, and their operations poised to respond. Another important challenge for companies in this new era is to have a plan for sustainability and low impact while leaning to green in terms of resource use, emissions, and overall impact on the environment. Energy and resource conservation were not high priorities until the last decade when we realized this approach saves money, saves resources, and makes sense. It’s exciting to be working with clients on meeting these challenges.

Q. How are you supporting clients in addressing these issues?
A. One way we are trying to address client needs in this challenging economic environment is to provide alternatives for consideration in terms of facility actions, plans, and subsequent subjectivity to applicable regulations. Initial screening modeling that identifies relative impacts of various control strategies, facility layouts, operational changes, time-of-day operations, etc. can go a long way to reducing emissions, reducing impacts, minimizing modeling costs, and revealing culpable sources where emphasis can then be placed. I believe we can offer a quality product for a reduced cost to the client by using a strategic approach that includes initial discussions and meetings with the client and with regulatory agencies when possible to clarify how the modeling should proceed. This is consistent with our client service model always but is particularly important in today’s environment.

Q. How do you anticipate the environmental field (issues) changing over the next decade?
A. I expect more regulations on everything but still a big emphasis on the big sources such as power plants. Who would have thought 20 years ago that lawn mowers, chain saws, and barbecue grills would be regulated, not to mention wood burning stoves? As we enter a new era in energy production—more wind turbines, solar, nuclear, and the swing toward sustainability and environmentally safe technologies, I anticipate more integration of industry and green technologies. Ultimately, I hope successful integration will lead to a cleaner environment supported by more sustainable technologies that are cost-effective for industry.

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