April 2022: Lynn McGuire

Lynn, how long have you been with Geosyntec and what does your company do?
I have been with Geosyntec for 2.5 years. I have been a consultant for over 35 years focusing on air quality and climate change and more recently carbon management and energy transition projects for energy companies and other businesses. Geosyntec is a consulting and engineering firm of over 1,700 experts and project support personnel that that work with private and public sector clients on innovative solutions for the environment, natural resources and civil infrastructure. It’s a perfect place for me to have come to address energy transition needs of the clients that I work with.

Geosyntec has played a significant role in the sustainability conversation among the nation’s energy companies. Why is that important to your company?
Our company has always been counted on to help clients reinvent, innovate and take action on solutions to meet evolving needs of society. The sustainability conversation has positioned an urgent challenge to businesses and organizations to do just that, particularly the nation’s energy companies. It has been important to Geosyntec to rise to that need and provide the benefit of our deep technical understanding of environmental, resources and infrastructure to strategic conversations about taking all that in a sustainable direction. We provide a lot of education, data analysis and risk analysis to help inform decisions and new directions, and help our clients execute on their vision.

When we think about sustainability, it is not only a conversation about the protection of our environment, it is necessarily also an initiative about our people. Can you please elaborate on that from your perspective.
What a great and insightful question…Because I work so much with energy and energy companies, I am always aware of the connection of sustainability to people – people have a very basic need for energy, and with that there is an immediate tie to equity, affordability and all that goes along with providing that – and doing so in a clean and sustainable manner. Because this is such a time of change, it is a remarkable time to give heavy consideration to the outcomes for people to make sure we improve in ways that are just and fair, reliable and affordable.

Your value statement includes a core value of “lifelong learning.” This is a unique statement. Talk to us about the importance of that to what you and your company do and how it may help you with retaining team members.
The biggest emerging challenges create business for us – we consult and engineer a variety of solutions constantly on new and emerging topics. Though we employ many very well-educated and experienced people, they are constantly finding themselves confronted by a problem or situation they have never encountered. In order to provide help, we find we are always stretching in our field and discipline to address the next challenge. I tell my team and recruits that they had better be people that are comfortable diving in to something they have never done before, to do the research and learning it takes to guide someone else based on our findings. Since our work is strategic and often urgent – there is satisfaction and reward in having provided what is needed for progress. I guess I’m an example of someone who got ‘hooked’ for an entire career on that variety, the lifelong learning and reward that consulting offers and never looked back.

At Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum, we look to our guests to share their personal experiences as inform, inspire, and motivate. In keeping with our mission, tell us what degree you earned and how you began your career with Geosyntec?
First of all, as a kid, I have always solved puzzles. So it’s no surprise that my tendencies in math and science led me to a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemical engineering. Since that academic training was very ‘process’ oriented, I decided to apply it to the emerging environmental field – and found air quality engineering a good way to apply the chemical (pollutant) and process knowledge. I like to lead and grow teams, so I became a practice leader in air quality and climate change. I came to Geosyntec because it is a vibrant, practice-centered business where I could expand my practice in carbon management (helping those getting after the energy transition) and inspire the next gen to come to learn and continue to help businesses and organizations attain their carbon management goals – even after I eventually retire!

What advice would you give the 2nd year college student looking to follow your career path?
Really pay attention to what interests you and what you’re good at. And try things. Internships are a great way to try out and learn what really interests you and what doesn’t. I encouraged my son (graduating college student in computer science) to get internships. Not only did he learn that he is great at customer service through his IT job, he’s now doing data analytics on electric vehicle growth projections for the State Energy Commission – and loving it. He may just end up in the energy industry….

Our theme for this year’s forum is #ReEnergized. Does that have special meaning to you?
Well, what comes to mind is emerging from our sequestered lives – re-energized about the future beyond the pandemic (hopefully), and how that future is changing in so many ways at once. It’s almost like having taken a nap and waking up to a possible new reality, with our batteries recharged and ready (re-energized), but finding our realities are not quite caught up to our dreams. Maybe that time has allowed us all to do that dreaming, re-imagining, and reflection toward a sustainable future (Point B) and reality check on where we are (Point A) that will drive us forward?

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