Employee-Owner Spotlight: Senior Scientist Julie Linn Boosts SEH’s Environmental Capabilities in Rocky Mountain Region

May 11, 2021


Julie Linn


Senior Scientist II


Environmental Services, Natural Resources Services

Located in Durango, Colorado, Julie Linn joined SEH in March 2021 and brings 28+ years of unique experience – advancing our team's dedicated environmental work across the U.S. and further empowering our clients’ efforts in this field.

Julie is a Registered Professional Geologist in Arizona and Professional Geologist in Wyoming. She joins SEH as senior scientist from HRL Compliance Solutions, where she served as senior project manager. She has held similar roles over the past couple decades, including technical group manager, principal hydrogeologist, senior geologist and environmental compliance manager.

What precisely does Julie’s senior scientist role with SEH involve? What are the most pressing challenges she sees clients facing across the Rocky Mountain Region, and why is it important our clients have local resources available to overcome? We recently sat down with Julie (connect with her on LinkedIn) to learn more about her role, career trajectory and answers to the questions above.

Can you share a bit about your background and experience? What drives you?
In the 1980s, I became aware of just how much contamination was impacting our environment. I studied Geology at Northern Illinois University as, back then, there was no “environmental science” pathway in college. My ultimate goal then was and remains to leave our world a little cleaner than when I got here.

I have worked on a huge variety of sites, from decades-long cleanups on industrial superfund sites to small, isolated environmental cleanups. I thoroughly enjoy seeing formerly impacted sites being redeveloped to beneficial reuse, especially if that reuse benefits the community.

I am also driven to keep clean things clean, before there is a chance for the environment to be impacted, such as proper material storage and disposal as well as wetlands – which do a wonderful job of cleaning our water and providing habitat for unique plants and animals.

What does the role of a senior scientist entail? Why is it so important for our clients have this resource?
Senior scientists have the capability to span many skills and sectors, from understanding how to perform basic sampling and why certain tasks must be done in a specific way, to helping clients consider past, present and future implications of their decisions.

The big picture down to the smallest details of a project are important to understand thoroughly. The skill of a senior scientist is not only that we understand this, but we must also be able to convey such critical information to our clients in a way that makes sense to them and strategically supports their projects.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing our client partners in Colorado and greater Rocky Mountain Region?
Water. From a natural resource perspective, water is a critical issue. Climate change has major implications on restricting the amount of water we have. For example, there is significantly less water falling from the sky than in decades past; increased development and dry soils causes dust to coat mountain snowpacks which results in increased solar warming of the darker snow; and rapid spring warm-up causes runoff to occur earlier in the season and doesn’t allow as much to infiltrate, meaning vegetation suffers and wildlife struggles.

Add to that scenario areas where groundwater is unhealthy to drink, either naturally or due to human-caused contamination. We as a species cannot survive without clean water.

Related Content: Steps You Can Take to Identify, Limit and Prevent Inflow (Stormwater) and Infiltration (Groundwater)

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What brings you joy?
I enjoy most outdoor activities, especially hiking and boating. Sharing these and all outdoor activities with my dog and friends is icing on the cake.

Professional bio:
Julie is a senior project scientist with more than 20 years of environmental project management experience. She has completed soil and groundwater characterization and remediation of sites impacted by chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, and saline soils. She has conducted hundreds of Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) for single and multiple-parcel projects ranging from less than an acre to hundreds of acres; including a large interstate realignment through an industrial part of Denver.

Julie's experience has spanned a wide variety of regulatory programs, including the Colorado and Arizona Voluntary Cleanup Programs, CERCLA, RCRA, NMOCD and COGCC. She finds great satisfaction in turning impacted properties back into beneficial use for the communities she serves. 

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