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National STEM Day Employee Spotlight

Posted: 11/8/22

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When waste comes into our facility, it needs to be analyzed at the front end to ensure that the contents of a container match up with the label, it needs to be QA/QC’d throughout the treatment process, and then any byproducts generated or sent for disposal need to be analyzed as well to ensure everything is safe and up to standards. When we collect waste from a customer site, we have to safely identify and pack smaller containers for treatment and disposal. This is all accomplished by our incredible lab technicians, chemists, and analysts. For National STEM Day, we interviewed two of these team members, Kevin Smith working in our Indianapolis facility and Sara Lockard from our Benton facility. Check out their full interviews below:

Kevin Smith 
Senior Lab Technician

Please tell us a bit about your career at Heritage – how long you have been here, what your current job title is, what your first position here was, etc.

I’ve been with Heritage since May 1990. My first position was with EMS labs, which later became Heritage Commercial Laboratories, in the general chemistry department where I served as a sample prep employee for the analysts who tested cyanide and phenol samples. I transferred from there to the QAQC department in the Indianapolis treatment center in February 1991 where I’ve been since. My current title is Senior Lab Technician.

What do you enjoy most about your job and the people you work with?

What I like most about working in QAQC department is that the job routine is challenging. In a given shift I may be asked to sample a bulk load of hazardous waste, which requires wearing personal protective equipment, and later I might find myself analyzing an effluent sample on one of several lab instruments. The job requires me to be capable of performing a variety of duties, which is what I like the most. I like the people I work with because they come from diverse backgrounds have diverse personalities; however, due to the challenges we face on the job we mesh well as a team.

Do you think Heritage is a good workplace for people looking to work in Environmental Sciences or STEM fields in general?

I think Heritage, and more specifically the QAQC department I work in, offers people seeking employment in these fields great opportunity. Rather than being relegated to performing the same task day in and day out, each day offers a variety of different experiences with new challenges to overcome. This variety helps prepare you for whatever comes next in your career. One of Heritage’s core values is the “Freedom to Learn and Grow,” which allows for different opportunities for growth, and no two career paths are the same.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career in your field?

Be open-minded, prepared to ask questions, and learn from your mistakes. This will make you a more valuable employee wherever career path leads you in this field


Sara Lockard
Senior Analyst

Please tell us a bit about your career at Heritage – how long you have been here, what your current job title is, what your first position here was, etc.

I have been with Heritage for almost five years. I started as a Lab Tech I and I’ve worked my way up to Senior Analyst.

What do you enjoy most about your job and the people you work with?

Until recently I’ve worked on a crew with four other techs, we’ve always worked well together. If I had to choose what I like most about the people I work with, it would be the team work. We help each other to get the job done, there is always someone there to jump in and help get the work finished. We are part of each others lives and we spend a lot of time together, so it’s nice to know we can depend on each other. I enjoy my work, I have learned a lot in the short time I’ve been here. It’s nice to work in a place where you feel like they want you to succeed.

Do you think Heritage is a good workplace for people looking to work in Environmental Sciences or STEM fields in general?

I think Heritage is a good place to work if you’re interested in Environmental Sciences or STEM, there is a lot of opportunity to learn here. We have people that have been with the company for their entire career and they have so much knowledge that, in my experience, they are very willing to share. You have opportunity here to work your way up in the company, with encouragement and support to do so.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career in your field?

You can’t go wrong in choosing this career path, there are so many opportunities in the field. We need people who care about the environment and want to make a difference in the world. So if that’s you, then you are in the right place.

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