Meet Alan Hughes, RG, LG, PG, Principal Geologist
I grew up in Vancouver and Ridgefield, Washington. After college I moved back to Ridgefield, and I have lived there since. I love the community and all the activities offered in the downtown area, plus many of my family and friends are in the area.
What do you do at MFA?
I evaluate all sorts of sites with environmental issues and determine how to get them back in use and protective of us and the environment. Currently, I am the MFA program manager responsible for the work we do to support the Coeur d’Alene Trust in characterizing and cleaning up historical mine and mill sites and impacted floodplains and rivers in the Bunker Hill Superfund Site in northern Idaho.
What’s rewarding about your job?
Taking an unknown, a problem, a worry, and finding an efficient solution for clients and communities; seeing an unused property that may be a blight on a community put back in use or a waterfront that has been off-limits become vibrant.
Why is what you do important?
Obviously, it is important to find ways to protect us and the environment from exposure to chemicals. But it is also important to clients to get problems behind them so they can move forward with their business without having unrelated environmental issues hanging over them.
What’s your favorite restaurant/place to go in your area?
This is a tough question; there are so many amazing places to eat, and I enjoy the variety available in Clark County. If I had only one choice, Thai Orchid would be the place.
What skills do you bring to your work?
I enjoy developing the strategy to meet the end goal of the project, to characterize and cleanup sites efficiently and effectively to the degree that aligns with the expected reuse of the property. We are not just cleaning up properties, but we are also tying that effort to future use. Keeping the end in mind as you move through a project allows for good decisions that lead to great outcomes.
What do you like to do off the clock?
I love the outdoors. The Pacific Northwest offers so many beautiful places to explore. l also just recently began keeping bees and I am surprised how much I enjoy it. And also how much work goes into keeping them happy.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a work colleague?
In my career, I have been very fortunate to have worked with many amazing people who have provided me with wonderful advice. The best and most memorable was from Tom Foster, who always ended every meeting with “Just be careful out there.” Safety is so important in all that we do.
If you were not a principal geologist, what would you be?
I can see myself teaching science. I have always enjoyed science, so if it wasn’t teaching it would be something in the field of science.
What’s on your bucket list?
International travel. So many places to go. The top of my list are Peru, Scotland, Thailand, and a safari trip in Africa.
What was your favorite childhood movie/TV show?
Growing up, my favorite TV show was Looney Tunes. Every Saturday morning, I would wait for it to come on.
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