Meet Julie Tapp: Environmental Sustainability

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Julie Tapp, Pyrotek's USA Quality and Safety Environmental Engineer

How did you start at Pyrotek?

I think I was technically hired as an employee around May of 2016, but I’d been working for Pyrotek as a contractor since 2014 to help permit the Aurora (Ohio, USA) facility as it was being built. Officially, I developed and now coordinate Pyrotek’s environmental management system across US sites, guiding regulatory interpretation, implementation, and promoting a sustainable culture.

What do your days look like?

I’m not sure there’s such a thing as an average workday in this position. I always strive to give people context for 
things I’m asking of them, so there’s a lot of reading and research. Sometimes I’m coordinating vendors or gathering data, others I’m reading new regulations or writing policies. Or designing training programs. Or negotiating permits. Or running site audits. No two days are the same.

What was career background before joining Pyrotek?

Before working for Pyrotek, I worked for Pyrotek. (I came back on a contract at one point before the contract that turned into employment.) And before that I worked for Metaullics, which was bought out by Pyrotek. It’s kind of a theme.

That said, I’ve worked a few other places, most notably with nuclear hazardous waste for the U.S. Energy Corp. and in the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency storm water division. Knowledge of the regulations is obviously important, but intangible skills from those positions—things like empathizing with regulators and understanding the pressures and constraints they’re operating under—are some of my most useful tools.

You visit many of Pyrotek’s facilities in the USA. What has inspired you from what you’ve seen from the managers of these facilities as they work to ensure sustainability in their operations?

Over the past few years, I’ve been continually inspired by the support I receive when I visit each site. Plant managers are going out of their way to listen and engage, to participate in audits and trainings, and to ask questions. I’m seeing more and more people addressing their challenges sustainably and proactively considering long-term effects of their decisions. Each has different challenges. Reusing byproducts. Solvent recycling. Water reclamation. Hazardous waste reduction or elimination. Nothing makes me happier than showing up on a manufacturing site and seeing a new initiative in action.

Is being a “green” company and operating sustainably part of Pyrotek’s culture?

Sustainability is one of Pyrotek’s core values. We’re committed to ethical corporate citizenship to protect people, the environment, the communities where we operate, and the customers we serve.

From equipment rebuilding to metal filtration, multiple Pyrotek product lines offer our customers solutions to encourage sustainable pro-ecological economic development. It’s not just what we do. It’s who we are. 

What would Pyrotek’s customers want to know about how we operate sustainably in our manufacturing operations? How does what we do benefit them?

People who are detail-oriented are detail-oriented. We don’t just examine our process stacks; we also look at the 20-gallon parts washer fluid. We don’t just test our effluent stream; we also evaluate what type of cleaner we put in the floor sweeper. When it comes to sustainability, the devil is always in the details, so each US site has a designated environmental representative who I spend time coordinating with to ensure we’re finding and addressing those details.

How does that translate to our customer? That same level of precision is the goal for every part we design, manufacture, and ship.

There is always room to improve and be more sustainable. Are you able to explain some of the new efforts and strategies Pyrotek is undertaking to be more sustainable?

I’ve incorporated sustainability into ongoing evaluations to ensure US sites are assessing those aforementioned details. Those can include (but are not limited to) utility and carbon information, raw material usage efficiencies, sustainable resource use, environmental impacts from Pyrotek product uses, and waste reduction initiatives.

What are some of your long-term goals at Pyrotek? How will you work with plant managers and others to reach those goals?

We live with the consequences of our actions. My long-term goals include continuing to improve our internal sustainability, proactively adapting to an ever-changing regulatory landscape, and partnering with our customers to build compliance solutions that help them address their environmental concerns. I work to help our sites continue to be good neighbors and protect their communities.

Posted in Profile.

Tags: People, Sustainability, USA.