Interview With the Expert: Director of Environmental Services
Amy Seim has been with D3G since 2001. She is responsible for managing her team of environmental project managers, overseeing day-to-day operations for the department, and finding opportunities to improve efficiencies in D3G processes.
Q: You've worked in several different roles at D3G. What has that experience been like throughout the years?
A: D3G hired me in 2001 in what we currently call our Environmental Technical role. The number of employees was in the teens, and we were still known as Dominion Environmental Group. It has been pretty amazing to watch the company grow in size over the years, expanding our services to meet the needs of the industry and tackling the ever-present challenges along the way.
As far as my personal experience goes, I have held several positions throughout my tenure with D3G as the company has grown and the need for support staff has increased. As I mentioned, I started my career as an Environmental Technician. I then moved into the Environmental Review Manager role, working with our Client Services team on backend report revisions from clients and HUD and uploading Environmental Reviews to HUD's HEROS platform. From there, I transitioned into an Environmental Review Manager role, supporting our production teams by reviewing reports, providing technical guidance, and preparing draft reports. Earlier this year, I moved to our Housing Preservation Services (HPS) department as the Environmental Team Manager, supporting nationwide affordable housing initiatives. Most recently, I stepped into the Director role, where I keep the department's day-to-day operations, create efficiencies in our processes, and am responsible for staff development and management, among other things.
With each new position comes new challenges and opportunities for professional and personal growth. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given and even more thankful for the support and encouragement I have received along the way.
Q: You've shared a little bit about your personal experience at D3G. Could you also share a few thoughts on how you've seen the company grow and what we can accomplish now versus when you first joined the company?
A: When I started with D3G, we completed Phase I ESAs, PCNAs, and architectural and cost reviews. Since then, we have grown our services to include our energy and sustainability team, we opened our satellite office in Denver to serve our West Coast clients better, and we created a separate Housing Preservation Services division to support the affordable housing market through Section 18 demolition/disposition, RAD conversions, tax credit applications, and other funding opportunities. We truly are a full-service shop for our clients now. Our foresight, flexibility, and willingness to evolve have made us the industry leader that we are.
On the environmental side, regulations have changed significantly over the past 20+ years and are now, by far, the most stringent that they have ever been. D3G has always been at the forefront of these changes, dissecting and digesting new guidance as it is released so that we can help our clients understand and resolve compliance issues.
Regulation has become more burdensome, and the complexity of the projects we work on has increased over the years. In response, we have curated an extensive bullpen of subject matter experts (SMEs) who are incredibly well-versed in common environmental issues such as hazmat, NEPA-related concerns (SHPO, endangered species, etc.), and Phase II investigations. The combined knowledge and resources we have available in-house, both for our internal staff and our clients, is the most robust that it has ever been.
Q: During your time on the HPS team, you were exposed to the business's affordable housing side. Can you explain what's involved on the HPS side that drives environmental work needs?
A: There is definitely an added layer of complexity in the HPS world. The federal, state, and/or local funding sources that the PHAs are seeking to drive the environmental requirements for each project. Historically, public housing has been built in our country's least-desirable and most-polluted areas, resulting in residents' exposure to unhealthy living conditions. So, whether we are completing a Phase I ESA or evaluating NEPA compliance as part of a Part 50 or Part 58 Environmental Review,
Our ultimate goal is to provide safe and affordable housing – and, more importantly, a home – for residents in these communities.
Q: Can you discuss your expanding team and your expectations for your new role?
A: To meet the needs of the Environmental Services department, as well as to continue to provide the best possible service and guidance to our clients, Keith Bayer moved to a more client-facing role as the Vice President of Environmental Services, and I stepped into his former role as the Managing Director of Environmental Services. In this position, I oversee the planning, staffing, activities, and operations of the department, as well as support the NEPA and Hazmat staff and the Team Leaders and Team Managers.
I have some pretty big shoes to fill, but I am excited that the dust is finally settling, and I can start working more closely with the management team to create efficiencies in our processes. I also look forward to focusing on staff development and strategic growth within the department.
I am always up for a challenge, and I couldn't ask for a better team of people to work with.
Q: What do you like about working here?
A: D3G has been more than just a job or career for me – it's been a home. The passion and enthusiasm you feel here, day in and day out, just aren't something you find in most workplaces. Of course, there are difficult and stressful days with complex problems to work through, but we all work together towards a common goal. The work we do is truly rewarding!
Aside from the amazing culture we have created at D3G, I love my coworkers; they are the best part of my time here. We truly are a family, and I have made some wonderful friendships through the years. There is constant support and understanding, lots of laughs, and maybe a few tears, too. We always have each other's backs, are each other's biggest cheerleaders, and only want the best for each other. I wouldn't trade it (or them) for anything.