The workplace is often a balancing act between adhering to regulations and enhancing the bottom line. It’s the job of David Truax, CPESC, CPSWQ—a consultant/instructor at HB Next Corporation in Atlanta, GA—to help clients achieve that. The company provides services to construction companies, public and private utilities, and other industries through its five business units: safety, environmental, training, software, and utility. Business unit goals are met through comprehensive consulting, onsite safety and environmental inspections, in-person and online training, and cloud-based software solutions. HB Next provides industry-specific software solutions through Sequence to ensure that clients have control of field-level data designed to eliminate human error, increase accountability, improve compliance, foster safety, and increase the bottom line. The company operates on the concept of BSQS&P: budget, schedule, quality, safety, and people.
What He Does Day to Day
Truax’s daily activities consist of a range of erosion control, stormwater, and environmental tasks, including the preparation of stormwater pollution prevention plans and erosion and sediment control plans. He also prepares and files National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) construction permits, teaches Georgia NPDES construction certification classes, performs stormwater and erosion control inspections, and functions as the subject matter expert in those areas for clients and other inspectors and instructors on staff at HB Next.
What Led Him to This Line of Work
Truax says he got into this line of work “by chance” in 2000 when Georgia first implemented its NPDES construction permit. “I was working for a different consulting firm at the time. They needed someone to perform erosion control inspections for clients, and I was chosen,” he says. Truax had an A.S. degree in engineering science from Broome Community College, a B.S. in chemical engineering from Syracuse University, and a B.S. in information technology from DeVry University, so “some of the environmental and civil engineering aspects of the job were new to me, as well as the new NPDES permit; therefore, there was a lot of learning on the job,” he says. Within a few years, he obtained his Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control and Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality certifications. Truax worked for a consulting firm doing mostly NPDES construction inspections and permit preparation and submittal until he was laid off during the economic downturn. He went on to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s environmental compliance bureau to be part of a department tasked with helping keep the DOT in compliance not only with the state NPDES permit, but also with the US Army Corps of Engineers 404 permits, Georgia NPDES MS4 permits, and regulations pertaining to endangered species and migratory birds and to solid waste. “That position greatly expanded my environmental knowledge and experience, which in turn led me to my current position at HB Next,” he adds.
What He Likes Best About His Work
Chief among the many aspects of his job that he enjoys is his ability to “pass my knowledge and experience on to clients and fellow employees,” notes Truax. “My diverse background and extensive knowledge and experience is a great asset for them. I also enjoy the fact that this position allows me to work for clients in other states, such as South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida. It also involves a lot of research, which is something I enjoy. I also enjoy teaching the certification classes—those are the best forum to pass on my knowledge and experience.”
His Greatest Challenge
That which he enjoys can sometimes be his greatest challenge, notes Truax. “For years, I just focused on erosion control and stormwater in Georgia,” he says. “My current position requires me to learn and know other states’ requirements and permits, including South and North Carolina and Florida. HB Next also is expanding to adjacent states—including Tennessee and Alabama—which will require additional on-the-job learning.” He adds, “State permits change from time to time, and it is my job to stay on top of the new permit requirements to pass on to our clients and inspectors.” The teaching part of his job also was a bit of a challenge, notes Truax, adding “It took me a little while to get used to and comfortable with speaking in front of groups.”