Michael Bloom, PE, ENV SP, BCEE, CFM is the Sustainability Practice Manager at R. G. Miller Engineers, Inc., in Houston, Texas. He is responsible for wetlands, natural resources work, nature-based stormwater management, and surface water quality management projects. He has 28 years of experience in environmental consulting.
ISI staff had the chance to connect with Michael, and he provided the following insights from his career:
What drew you to your field of work?
I have always had a keen interest in “making a difference” while applying science and engineering knowledge and skills. I’d read articles in the late 1980s about Superfund clean-ups and a company called Roy F. Weston, Inc. doing projects like that. This piqued my interest, and I got to work for Roy F. Weston, Inc. back in the early 1990s.
What has been your biggest career challenge?
One one project I needed to deliver a complex information technology (IT) solution to a state agency on time, on budget, and while meeting client expectations about how the system would function. A working IT solution was ultimately delivered, but the client was dissatisfied, the budget was overrun, and the technology team was exhausted. I learned that information technology projects are extremely challenging to deliver and that every consultant sometimes has a project that fails to make a profit.
What has been your proudest career moment?
I organized and conducted a pre-conference workshop at a national conference on watershed management. It was particularly rewarding to have the workshop sell out and generate lots of positive feedback from attendees.
Why did you decide to pursue an Envision credential?
I saw that it was backed by ACEC, APWA, and ASCE – all large, well established organizations. I thought that adoption would take off and I felt that I needed to get credentialed or I would be left behind.
How are you using Envision?
I have been advocating for its use in the Houston region since 2010. I helped secure resolutions of support for its use by Houston Wilderness, the North Houston Association, and the West Houston Association. As an ISI trainer, I’m now among those training private sector practitioners as well as people who work for the Harris County Engineering Department, after the department announced they would be moving forward with its use on projects. As an ISI trained Verifier, I’ve reviewed two large projects that have completed the entire process.
Could you share some highlights from an Envision project?
I helped teach a class in Advanced Sustainable Design at Rice University. We had the class use Envision to evaluate the sustainability of three different storm surge protection options for the Houston metropolitan area. The total Envision credit score was determined for all three options. Through this evaluation, the students discovered that the net embodied carbon of all three barrier systems were not insignificant. Student groups used the entire Envision credit system to evaluate the three barrier options and present their findings in a report and in a presentation.
What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?
I enjoy science fiction, helping my wife in the garden, the ancient eastern board game of “GO.”
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a sucker for almost any type of cat or dog. We currently have 3 cats and 1 dog at home. I drive my wife to a particular garden-supply place in town — that usually has rescue kittens and puppies for adoption – just so I can pet them.