Senior Environmental Specialist at Targa Resources corporate office in Houston, Texas
Ms. Higginbotham is responsible for oversight of remediation and spill response projects at Targa gas plants, compressor stations, pipelines and terminals across the U.S.
What are you passionate about?
From a technical standpoint, I am passionate about utilizing in-situ remediation techniques to solve environmental problems. Much of what currently I do involves soils impacted by hydrocarbon spills, such as crude oil or condensate, and bioremediation is used as a waste minimization mechanism. Too often our landfills accept hydrocarbon-impacted soils that might otherwise have been candidates for bioremediation to reduce concentrations of concern.
Once soils are placed in landfills, valuable airspace is used up, and a natural resource is removed from productivity. Many of the projects I work on utilize natural or augmented bioremediation to treat soils and meet regulatory limits.
I am also passionate about mentoring and advising young professionals entering or looking to enter the environmental industry, which is why I am on the BESC Board. I love to be able to share my experiences when it helps others with their decision making and planning.
Describe your educational history:
I earned a B.S. in Geology from Texas A&M University in May 2001. I worked as a consultant for 15 years at various environmental engineering firms before beginning to pursue my M.S. in Environmental Engineering and Science through Johns Hopkins University.
What advise would you give to the current Aggies interested in entering environmental industry?
My best advice is to secure an internship if you can. A consulting company will give you a lot of exposure to different clientele, and you may be able to obtain valuable field experience and training. You may be able to determine if consulting, industry or a regulatory environment is a good fit for you. Networking is so important. Try to get involved with local environmental engineering groups and make contacts. The environmental industry is relatively small, and you will run into the same people throughout your career.
If you were entering the environmental industry today, what area would you pursue? Why?
As a geoscientist in the environmental industry, it is important to understand some basics of contaminant fate and transport, the different types/classes of chemical contaminants and how they migrate. Risk assessment as well as public health/toxicology are great areas to consider.