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Interview with Chemical Engineer Eric Stevenson of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Eric Stevenson is a chemical engineer who works with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. He helps figure out air quality issues such as how to reduce greenhouse gases. To find out more about his work, we interviewed him.




1. How did you first become interested in being a chemical engineer in the environmental field?

 I was always interested in the environment, even as a child.  As I progressed through school, I had an aptitude for math and chemistry, so chemical engineering seemed the logic choice.

2. What air quality issues are you currently working on? 

Right now, we are working on a rule to reduce risk from air pollutants at facilities throughout the Bay Area to the lowest levels achievable.  In addition, we are also working on a way to regulate and reduce greenhouse gases, first from refineries and then from other high GHG emitting facilities. 

3. How do you think the new presidential administration will impact your organization?
 Luckily, while we interact with EPA on a large number of issues, we do not receive much funding from them and we also have stricter regulations than them.  While I anticipate that the next four years will be difficult, the fact that we're in California should help us weather the potential issues with EPA.

4. What does a typical work day look like for you? Also, what is the best and worst part of your job? 
I go to a lot of meetings and work with my staff to get them what they need to get their jobs done.  I do my best to anticipate issues and problems and plan for successful outcomes.  The people I work with are the best part of the job, as they are dedicated public servants, doing their best to protect the health of Bay Area residents.  The worst part of the job is difficult to define, but it's hard trying to anticipate all of the issues that might come up, and that can make the job more difficult.


5. What advice do you have to people that want to be a chemical engineer in the environmental field? 

 Learn to work with data and listen to what the data are telling you.  Develop your ability for critical thought.

Want to hear more about Eric Stevenson and his job? Come join us on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at Terra Linda High School from 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM in Room 207!
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