MOAB, Utah – Though Alex McCarty has worked at EM’s Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project only a short time, he is already making significant progress in his career.
Hired in April 2018 as an environmental technician — an employee of S&K Logistics Services under EM's technical assistance contract — McCarty has since taken the position of environmental analyst.
As part of his work in environmental sustainability, McCarty recently attended a local government meeting to learn more about the City of Moab’s new single-stream recycling program. McCarty's objectives include staying current on community initiatives and attending community events.
McCarty was introduced to the UMTRA Project while attending Western Colorado University. A professor referenced the project as a real-life example of waste relocation. After graduating from the university with a degree in natural resource management and environmental biology and ecology, McCarty explored the project’s vacancy for an environmental technician.
“You don’t see the progress with some environmental jobs, but here you do,” McCarty said. “We are actively moving radioactive waste away from the Colorado River.”
Soon after starting work at the UMTRA Project, McCarty became heavily involved in groundwater sampling events where dozens of samples are gathered, preserved, and put through quality assurance and quality control. In addition, he has helped operate groundwater extraction and injection wells and prepare reports.
In his new role, McCarty works to maintain the project’s compliance with environmental management standards and advance sustainability goals. He also focuses on the riparian habitat of the Colorado River.
“Improving the wildlife habitat and making the water better for downstream users is important,” McCarty said. “I’m glad I can bring my skills to the table.”
UMTRA Project Federal Cleanup Director Russell McCallister says harnessing young talent is a way to ensure EM’s mission moves forward.
“Recruiting early career professionals can be a challenge but it’s one that needs our attention. Our hope is that bringing a younger demographic into the fold will not only cultivate energy and new ideas but it will help ease transitions as older generations leave the workforce,” McCallister said. “We can capitalize on learning from each other now and make sure to preserve critical institutional wisdom for EM’s continued success.”
McCarty enjoys living in southeastern Utah. He spends weekends snowboarding at one of the many area mountains in Utah and neighboring Colorado. As snow season winds down, he looks forward to mountain biking, camping, and fishing.
Editor's note: In an occasional series, EM Update profiles early career professionals across the EM complex.