Where are they now? Geology major goes on to worldly career

Alumnus David Terry '88 has found his niche in the environment as vice president of Geotechnical Engineers, Inc., a prominent environmental consulting firm that works with clients across the United States.

A former geology major, Terry devoted most of his attention to his studies during college.

"I was really focused on the geology thing," he said. "The program and the quality of the staff were great." Terry cited retired faculty members Phil Boger and Richard Hatheway as memorable professors.

After Geneseo, Terry moved on to graduate study in geology at Kansas State University, where he focused on geochemistry.

"With that as a background, I realized environmental geology was what I wanted to do," he said. For students pursuing work in geological studies, Terry suggested obtaining a master's degree, and going to school in different parts of the country in order to gain more experience with different types of land.

After completing his master's, Terry worked as an environmental consultant before heading GEI. According to Terry, the work of an environmental consultant is varied, but focuses mainly on investigational and remedial work on electric and gas sectors of land. For example, Terry said, consultants can work with abandoned manufactured gas plants to check for residual tars that could affect the surrounding area.

Since Terry is now the vice president, owner and member of the board of directors for GEI, his position entails building and running the business. As a company, GEI deals with water resources, ecological, geotechnical and environmental issues that may arise for clients.

Terry also noted that GEI works with "green" redevelopment programs and has several staff members with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

"In that area, we look at the life cycle of developments," said Terry.

Terry said that one of the company's prominent jobs involved the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington, D.C., where GEI and other partners worked on the foundation and design of the structure. Consultants had to take note of the constitution of the earth to avoid buildings collapsing or major shifts in the ground.

"It's a tricky geotechnical job, because you can't shift the Capitol," he said.