“Tree” and Alpine Remediation have been an RPI Group Approved Installer for more than fifteen years. In that time, they have repeatedly demonstrated the highest level of customer care and dedication to remediation success. While being woman-owned can open some doors, having Alpine Remediation walk through those doors is a very good thing. Tree was recently interviewed – I think you will be interested in what she had to say.
Theresa Sorrells, better known as Tree from Alpine Remediation, is a problem solver. She solves problems for her clients just like many business owners do, but the difference is her clients bring her across the country, to the top of mountains, and into the desert to solve remediation problems at sites where they’re not sure what is below the surface. Though women are fairly common in the remediation business, they are just the opposite on the drilling side of it—though, that’s nothing new for Tree as she was also one of the few women in science programs at her college. With a Bachelors in Chemistry and a Masters in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, Tree is used to being a minority in her fields, though she doesn’t believe it makes a difference for her. We sat down with Tree to talk remediation, drill rigs, and her commitment to making Alpine Remediation feel like a family.
Why is it rare to find a woman-owned remediation company?
Women are fairly common in the remediation business, but not on the drilling side of the business. I was one of the few women in science degrees when I was in college and I started with a drilling/mobile lab company. I have a BS in Chemistry & an MS in Environmental Science & Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.
What are the unique challenges and opportunities for a woman-owned remediation company?
I don’t really think that being a woman makes it harder or easier for me. The most important thing is to evolve with the business, whether that means buying a different type of equipment or figuring out how to do injections in an area where injections were not previously a possibility.
How did you know you wanted to get into remediation?
It was a natural progression from previous jobs. My first job out of college was working in a mobile laboratory and I really enjoyed being on site and learning that the different site activities and conditions could change where the contamination went. After running a large stationary laboratory for a few years, I really wanted to get back to doing fieldwork. Alpine bought their first drill rig in 2001 and we started doing injections in 2002. Once we started doing injections I decided to go to graduate school so I would have a better background in the different types of remediation available. I enjoy that every site is different and has its own set of challenges.
Tell us about one of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on.
There have been so many interesting projects, it’s hard to name just one. Our first bedrock site was on the top of a mountain pass and we thought we were going to be able to get to depth using our standard equipment. When that didn’t work, we had to figure out how to incorporate auger rigs into our work plan. Since that site, we’ve had the opportunity to work on more sites that are beyond the capabilities of direct-push rigs.
What is your vision for the future of Alpine Remediation?
To continue providing excellent service to our clients & building an excellent team. We have very little employee turnover and most of our employees have been here almost 10 years. This brings a large knowledge base to the site and allows us to use our past experiences to make the process better.