Michele Cooney joined the Penn E&R team in April 2018. She is a licensed Professional Geologist, Graduate Safety Practitioner, and serves as an Assistant Project Manager with the Pittsburgh Environmental Group. Michele’s areas of expertise include oversight of oil and gas remediation projects, environmental site assessments, remediation and reporting, and clean fill sampling and reporting. Prior to joining Penn E&R, Michele spent three years as a researcher for the Pennsylvania Geological Survey’s Utica and Marcellus consortiums and two years with AECOM as a Project Geologist.
1. What is your role at Penn E&R?
I currently serve as an Assistant Project Manager with the Environmental Group in the Pittsburgh Office. I manage our oil and gas remediation projects, clean fill sampling projects, and assist with environmental site assessments and coal mine permitting. I am also trying to increase Penn E&R’s visibility by networking with women’s groups in the area and meeting more professionals in the energy sector.
2. What is a typical day at Penn E&R like for you?
My schedule at Penn E&R is always changing! When I’m not in the office working on Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Act 2 reporting, I’m probably on a drilling pad or pipeline overseeing the cleanup of a brine or fuel spill. Throw in a few tugboat rides to a barge for clean fill sampling projects or driving around southwestern Pennsylvania for mine inventory sampling and my schedule can look very different one week to the next. My phone is on 24/7 in the event of accidental spills that need immediate oversight, and some late nights and weekends you can find me on a gas well pad overseeing remedial excavation activities, if it is deemed necessary.
3. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I grew up in the North Hills and now live in Irwin, Pennsylvania.
4. What college did you attend?
I received my bachelor’s degree in geology from Allegheny College and my master’s degree in safety science from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
5. What is one goal you’d like to accomplish in your lifetime?
I love challenging myself physically through races and competitions of all kinds. Two huge goals of mine are to qualify for the Boston Marathon and one day complete an Ironman triathlon.
6. What is your proudest achievement?
Becoming a Professional Geologist. I received my Geologist in Training certification the year after I graduated college, and I’ve worked diligently since then to make sure I had the amount of experience needed to apply to sit for the PG exam. I enrolled in a review course to help me prepare, and I spent the evenings and weekends before the exam going through as much material as I could. It was extremely nerve-wracking. Finding out that I had passed and being able to finally call myself a Professional Geologist was an absolutely amazing moment in my career.
7. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
I love running and participating in races, going to the gym and playing softball through the Pittsburgh Sports League. I enjoy traveling as much as I can, cooking and working in my vegetable garden. I also have three cats that “need” constant attention and are always up for sitting with me and reading a good book or listening to one of my favorite podcasts.
8. Which is/are your favorite sport team(s)?
The Pittsburgh Penguins. I always look forward to hockey season and try to attend as many games as possible.
9. What is your favorite part about working at Penn E&R?
I love the projects that I get to manage. Our staff is one-of-a-kind, and I truly enjoy coming to work every day. I feel extremely valued at Penn E&R, and the opportunities I’ve received here have helped me to grow and learn immensely as a professional. I love this fast-paced industry and the variety of jobs I get to be involved with at Penn E&R.