Mike Bair graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He was first introduced to Envirologic the summer after he graduated, when he took a hydrogeology field course at Western Michigan University. Envirologic's Vice President, David Stegink, has been the instructor for the course's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) module for the past 24 years. By chance, Envirologic had a job opening around the same time Mike was taking the course; he was an ideal candidate for the position, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
As a Project Geologist at Envirologic, Mike does a lot more than just look at rocks. In fact, when describing his job to friends and family, many are surprised he spends so much of his time conducting vapor sampling (indoor/ambient air sampling, sub-slab sampling, and soil gas sampling). "They all know I went into Geology, but when I tell them that I test the air below buildings, there's a disconnect. They want to know how that is even related," he says. According to Mike, understanding a site's geology is actually extremely important when testing and treating locations with vapor intrusion concerns. This is because volatilized contaminants beneath buildings migrate differently depending on the soil type, porosity, permeability, and compactness.
Splitting his time between working in the field and office, Mike also conducts pressure field extension testing; soil, groundwater, and pore water sampling; soil boring installation; remedial and hydrogeological investigations; report writing; and GIS map creation and data presentation.
Mike's most memorable project working at Envirologic thus far has been the GIS-centric project he recently completed for the former Amoco Terminal in Muskegon, Michigan. It was the most extensive, large-scale GIS project Envirologic has conducted to date. Environmental investigations had previously been completed at the Amoco property, and the City of Muskegon was looking to evaluate the existing data to identify potential re-use options and redevelopment potential; the city also needed a better way to view and interpret the data. Using GIS and the existing site data, Mike built several digital 3D models that mapped the horizontal and vertical extent of the light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) plume beneath the ground surface, along with other site features (e.g., groundwater, surface elevation, contaminant exceedances, etc.). Using the models, Envirologic was able to graphically display the vertical extent of contamination, how "big" the contamination was in volume, and how close the contamination was to groundwater, the surface, and specific property landmarks. Further, the 3D models allowed the City of Muskegon to better identify potential redevelopment areas and suitable greenspace areas, as well as areas with existing environmental impacts from historic operations at the facility.
Outside of work, Mike is an avid comic book buff and cinephile. Every Wednesday, when new comics come in, Mike makes a trip to the local comic book store to pick up a new selection. He's currently reading several running titles, but his favorites among them are Superman and Action Comics. During the 2018 Fall season, Mike and his fiance, Megan, went to the Founders Film Series at Celebration! Cinemas every Wednesday evening. Even regularly seeing new flicks and old classics, his all-time favorite movies continue to be the complete Star Wars saga.
When he's not reading or watching movies, Mike enjoys snowboarding with Megan and his friends. His preferred place to snowboard is Mt. Bohemia, an extreme skiing resort in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that offers black diamond, double black diamond, and triple black diamond runs. (Yikes!) His bucket list consists of snowboarding out west in even more challenging terrain, vacationing in Alaska and Ireland to experience classic movie set locations and gorgeous scenery, and even skydiving.
Mike is a relatively new member of the Envirologic team, joining our staff in 2017. He brings with him a fun, caring personality and is always ready to implement new strategies and technologies. Thank you, Mike, for your diligence and can-do attitude; you truly have been a wonderful addition to the Envirologic team. We look forward to watching you continue to grow in your role.
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envirologic • project geologist • mike bair