Alums Fighting the Oil Spill – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Alums Fighting the Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, a BP oil rig experienced malfunctions and flooded the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of oil. Since the incident, there has been an incredible effort on the part of many Americans to recover the wildlife, extract oil from the ocean and shores, and propose solutions to end the leakage. Over the summer, three Hobart and William Smith Colleges graduates joined together to help the recovery efforts.

Barry Legg ’89, who graduated with a B.S. in biology and now works as a corporate accounts manager for Heritage Environmental Services, was one of the first people to respond to the incident in the Gulf. BP is one of the largest accounts of Heritage Environmental Services, which has been operating 22 staging facilities in Louisiana for oil clean up.

Because of the scale of the disaster and the limits on manpower, many Heritage employees began reaching out to friends and family for aid. Legg’s wife, Tracy, agreed to run the largest staging facility, in Venice, La., and is still running it today. Legg also reached out to Professor of Economics and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program Tom Drennen and Professor of Biology Thomas Glover and asked if any recent grads would “like a good paying job and a once in a life time experience.”

Of all the recent graduates who responded, two stood out in their interviews and were hired onto the Heritage team: Charlotte Scott ’10, who graduated with a B.A. in environmental science, and Julia Umiker ’10, who graduated with a B.S. in biology and environmental science.

Scott and Umiker were assigned to Port Fourchon, La., which has become one of the two main hubs of activity for the response along with Venice. The two were assigned to be on site and learn the business, as well as manage a lot of the office computer work.

“To their credit, they are still there on the job enjoying the challenges in Port Fourchon, La.  This was and is a huge paradigm shift for recent HWS alums and they are adjusting well,” says Legg.

In the photo above, Charlotte Scott ’10, Barry Legg ’89 and Julia Umiker ’10 are pictured in Fourchon, La. Behind them is a 200-foot skimmer used in cleanup operations.