Meet Haley McDaniel, Staff Environmental Scientist

Author: Kathy J. Lombardi, PE Published: May 13, 2019 Haley McDaniel, Staff Environmental Scientist

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m from Osburn, ID, which is part of a larger community known as the Silver Valley, and I’m thankful to still live there today. My husband and I now own a home in the same neighborhood we both grew up in and live there with our 13-month-old son.

What do you do at MFA?

I work on the Bunker Hill Superfund Site in my hometown as an environmental scientist, spending my time conducting environmental investigations, interpreting the data, and preparing reports on the investigations I’ve completed.

What’s rewarding about your job?

It’s immensely rewarding to work in my chosen field on projects that, I feel, help improve the health of my hometown community. I have a great sense of duty and pride in helping my community be a better place.

Why is what you do important?

What I do is very important because I’m helping characterize areas of the Superfund site before cleanup actions begin in those areas. The more informed and accurate my reports are, the more informed the cleanup action will be.

What skills do you bring to your work?

I am a generally relaxed person and I think my demeanor allows me to work well with all kinds of people from all walks of life. I enjoy getting to know someone as a person and I think this helps make me an approachable individual whom others feel comfortable asking questions of and exchanging ideas with. I do my best to implement this perspective on all of my projects, and one of the many projects I’ve addressed with this attitude is the Ninemile RODA Sites project for the Coeur d’Alene Trust.

This project, which I managed in 2018, entailed working with many different coworkers, agencies, and subcontractors to complete comprehensive characterization of five separate historical mine sites in the East Fork Ninemile and Ninemile basins outside Wallace, ID. At the end of the day, none of us is as smart as all of us, and providing a space where everyone feels comfortable contributing has helped the NM RODA Sites project—and all my other projects—succeed.

My drive to ensure that my projects are successful is both professional and personal. I experience a sense of fulfillment from managing projects where I can use my local knowledge and technical skills while working together with others for the good of a project and my community. To have a career that engages and excites me while I get to complete work that will result in positive impacts for my community that will extend beyond my lifetime is more than I could ask for.

What do you like to do off the clock?

Off the clock I enjoy being outdoors with my family and sharing my love of hiking, horseback riding, and snowboarding.

If you were not an environmental scientist, what would you be?

Honestly, of all things I’d probably be a florist. I love working with flowers and creating something beautiful that brings other people joy.

What’s on your bucket list?

I like the idea of traveling the globe, completing the Pacific Crest Trail, or maybe getting back into rodeo, but at the end of the day those things feel like a distraction to what I’d truly want. More than anything I simply want to enjoy the people in my life by spending more time with my family and friends.