Terri Bowers, Gradient
Gradient is an environmental risk science consulting firm with specialties in toxicology, epidemiology, risk assessment, product safety, contaminant fate and transport, and environmental chemistry. The firm uses strong science and communication skills to help clients resolve problems related to chemicals in the environment, in the workplace, and in consumer products.
Gradient largely hires MS and PhD people, but sometimes will hire at the Bachelors level. Hiring is broadly distributed across the physical and biological sciences, as well as from environmental and chemical engineering fields. Writ large, Gradient does data interpretation, and in many ways the job is the same at all degree levels, it's just a matter of experience and level of responsibility assigned/taken for a project/analysis/report.
Desirable Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Geoscience knowledge and skills
Geoscience knowledge is useful to interpret field investigation results as well as for modeling how chemicals will move through various natural and man-made systems. At present, there is a particular need for people with expertise in hydrogeology. Strong quantitative skills in math and/or statistics are also very important.
We are a small company and do not spend much time helping employees develop skills. We mostly expect employees to come with skills and then learn by experience working with us. We do offer tuition reimbursement under some circumstances for additional coursework at local universities.
Other skills and abilities
Attributes contributing to success include:
- Strong oral/written communication skills
- Comfort and facility using computers
- Self-starting mentality
- Attention to detail
- Efficient multi-tasking
- Ability to make decisions in the face of less-than-perfect information
What do you see as future trends in your workforce?
Oil and gas development, and the environmental issues associated with it, will be a big driver of future work.
What can higher education do to prepare students for these future trends?
Help students develop problem solving and critical thinking skills.