Christine Carlson to Lead SEH’s Environmental Practice in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia

August 17, 2021

This July, Principal and Senior Project Scientist Christine Carlson was named leader of SEH’s environmental practice in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia.

The growth of our environmental group in recent years is largely attributed to Christine’s dedication and leadership. She is a visionary – always working on creative solutions to the challenges our clients face as well as ensuring we have the right tools and resources to implement those solutions. She is uniquely qualified to lead the growth of the environmental services we provide and expand our client base.

As a proven technical expert in geology, Christine has grown her career at SEH for 16 years. She continually takes on new responsibilities, focuses on the development of her team and challenges the status quo to advance SEH’s service offerings. As a testament to her contributions, Christine was named an SEH principal in 2020. 

Christine takes the reigns from Al Sunderman, who is retiring from his post after having led SEH’s environmental services in these states for 20 years and serving SEH clients for nearly 30 years. The leadership of Al and Christine in recent years has contributed to the growth of the group to more than 20 engineers and scientists. Until recently, environmental services had been part of the natural resources team as one practice. However, given the growth of the team, the increase in clients and projects, and the widened area of expertise, the environmental practice now stands on its own.

Get to Know Christine

What are you looking forward to most about your new role?

I’m looking forward to leading the continued growth of our environmental practice. Here at SEH, we are in a unique time of disruption in how we work, how we serve our clients and how we function as a team. Change and ambiguity can be stressful, but they also provide an exciting opportunity to mold our future.

We have great momentum going, and I’m looking forward to harnessing the momentum to propel us into the future. I am humbled to lead a great team of people and excited about where we will take things next.

How does your background in environmental geology position you for this role?

What I love about being a professional geologist is using my academic background to solve real-world problems for our clients. In school, I was always drawn to opportunities to better understand the natural world. And I’ve always appreciated the field of geology’s breadth of scale, which ranges from chemistry to landforms.

Early in my career at SEH, I was involved in a variety of projects including site redevelopment, solid waste, water supply, compliance and transportation/transit. I also had the opportunity to work closely with our environmental team members in Wisconsin. I appreciate having had this diversity early in my career – with it, I can better support our project managers and technical leads across the services we offer.

What message would you like to send SEH clients?

We have fantastic clients with exciting projects! We take pride in the long-term relationships we have with our clients and partnerships we have developed. We enjoy working closely with our clients to navigate the ever-changing regulatory framework as well as advances in how we fund, design and build projects.

Describe some of the bigger projects you have led.

Our environmental practice is currently providing oversight of contaminated and regulated materials on two of the largest infrastructure projects in Minnesota: the Southwest Light Rail Transit (Hennepin County) and the I-35, I-535, Hwy. 53 Twin Ports Interchange Project (City of Duluth).

I take pride in our team’s ability to navigate complex projects with many stakeholders and regulations. These skills translate to small projects as well!

What advice would you give to a young professional just beginning in the field?

Say yes! Be curious and vulnerable. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow. Lean into your unique talents, and don’t expect success to look the same for you as it did for your predecessors.

I am so lucky to have amazing mentors in my career – people who respect an open dialogue and diverse ideas and have challenged me in new ways. We learn so much from each other’s experiences and perspectives.

What do you do for fun?

I love being outside and gardening – it is very meditative for me. And one of my favorite pastimes is visiting family in Alaska.   

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