Q. What did you like about chemistry in high school?
A. I think I was a sophomore in high school when I took general chemistry and really loved it. I don’t know if it was just balancing equations or what it was, but I liked chemistry. I liked doing the experiments.
Q. How did you become interested in the intersection between science and policy?
A. I wanted to help people. Back then, people were talking about environmental racism, the relationship between toxic chemicals in the air and water near manufacturing areas, and how they related to cancer clusters. I was looking at chemistry to determine if there were better ways of manufacturing that would reduce the need for these chemicals and reduce the amount of pollution from these processes.
Q. After you got your engineering master’s degree, what did you do?
A. I went to work in corporate America as an air-quality engineer. I was trying to make sure that the company I worked for was being a good neighbor. I helped come up with programs to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Q. How did you make the transition from corporate employee to the co-founder of your own business?
A. When Veronica and I started our company, it was 2009 at the height of the recession. So, I think a bit of youth and naivety was tied into the decision. But we just wanted to offer something a little different to the marketplace, and we believed that we could do it.
Q. What need did you identify that your company could fill?
A. We started our company to do public outreach for environmental and transportation-related projects. That is low-hanging fruit on most projects. For us, the differentiator would be that we are not a public relations or marketing firm. We know the technical side, and we know how to communicate it.
Q. What advice would you give to high school chemistry students?
A. Whether you want to be a public speaker, an entertainer, or in a scientific field, think about how chemistry fits in. For me, I wanted to pursue environmental and social justice, so I figured out how chemistry fit into that.