No matter where you find yourself in life, attaining greater sustainability is always within reach and worth pursuing to ensure we live in a healthy and vigorous world. To me, this means using the tools I have, skills I’ve learned, and the network I’ve built to make a meaningful contribution towards sustainability. Parsons has played a key role as an extension of a series of foundational life experiences in motivating and encouraging me to pursue sustainability as a core value in my projects and daily practice. 

My own journey began as a Venetian blown glass artist, traveling the world to learn new techniques and showcase my work. However, I eventually realized that I craved stability and a deeper connection to community. This led me to State College, Pennsylvania, where I was exposed to a vibrant community of artists, scientists, and engineers. Through collaborations with these innovators, I helped design and build strawbale buildings on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. This experience inspired me pursue a Master of Landscape Architecture from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. With this education and my previous experiences in art and building design, I have been able to integrate economic, environmental, and community sustainability into my personal and professional development. By building innovative paths towards a sustainable future with community at its core, I am committed to making a positive impact on both people and the environment.  

In my day-to-day work, I apply this unique background and experience to contribute to the culture of sustainability at Parsons and to add value for our clients. As a member of Parsons’ Energy and Environment group in Syracuse, New York, I am dedicated to creating infrastructure that has a positive impact on communities. For more than a decade, I have worked alongside an exceptional team of environmental engineers, scientists, and contractors to remediate Onondaga Lake. This project has not only restored the lake’s natural habitat but also provided recreational access to a culturally significant resource in the heart of Central New York. By bringing together stakeholders and building consensus, we transformed both natural and human communities while addressing contamination and dissolving the boundary between an industrial past and a technological future. Our efforts have not only improved the environment but also helped revitalize an economically struggling city with a rich history. 

After the completion of the Onondaga Lake Cleanup, our team took on a major role with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). We developed a program to address legacy groundwater contamination, abandoned gas and oil well impacts, and various environmental liabilities throughout the state. Throughout this process, we have prioritized well-being by rebuilding healthy ecosystems, addressing environmental concerns, and listening to the needs of various communities. Our team is also spearheading the Green Sustainable Remediation program for the state of New York to reduce waste, energy, and GHG when investigating, designing, and implementing environmental cleanups, environmental liabilities and superfund sites. Part of this work involves leveraging existing evaluation tools and sometimes creating new ones to build practical procedures and enable project managers to determine the best solutions to the challenge of integrating sustainability into construction and remediation. 

Beyond this, I am a regular co-leader for sessions in Parsons’ Sustainability Mentorship group, where we enhance awareness through presenting professional skills, personal interests, and the state of sustainability across the industry by education, team building, and internal education with colleagues. It is via this group that I became aware of and am now supporting the implementation of a Clean Fuel Standard for one of our long-standing clients, Seattle City Light (a public utility in the state of Washington) to promote the transition to a clean energy future through enhanced transportation electrification and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  

Each of us brings something unique to the Mentorship Group which helps tie personal experiences together with work projects which in turn encourages others to share their backgrounds and interests. This amplifies our capacity to design infrastructure that meets customers’ needs while connecting human and natural communities. No matter where you are geographically or metaphorically, a path towards sustainability is always possible with dedication and hard work.

About The Author

Jeremy Neumann is a principal scientist at Parsons in Syracuse, NY, specializing in green and sustainable remediation practices to promote environmental sustainability. With over 15 years of experience in the field, he is dedicated to finding innovative solutions for complex environmental challenges. 

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