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Q&A Jun 21, 2022

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Be Open to Change: A Q&A with Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard

Find out how Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard’s work has helped to make South Carolina safer.

Q&A with Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard Jacobs Senior Director

For International Women in Engineering Day 2022 we’re excited to bring you a series of interviews with some incredible #OurJacobs women from around the world. In this article meet Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard and learn how she got to where she is today, why she was attracted to a career in STEAM and what she thinks is the best part of working at Jacobs.

Let's talk with Jhivaun:

Tell us what you’re working on these days.

Until recently I’ve been working on a project where I served as the vice president over waste retrieval and tank closure projects. We successfully closed several underground radioactive waste storage tanks and retrieving tens of millions of gallons of radioactive and hazardous tank waste. The retrieved tank waste was then successfully transformed into vitrified glass and Saltstone for long term storage.

What led you to this point on your career path?

I’ve been fortunate to work with open minded and progressive managers that afforded me the opportunity to work on cutting edge nuclear operation, construction, remediation and commercial power projects within the U.S. and internationally. Each of the assignments I’ve accepted resulted in additional opportunities.

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEAM?

When I graduated from high school, I was on the track to go to law school. I'd taken science and math courses throughout high school and done well, so while I was attending the University of California (UC) Davis, I signed up for geological engineering and civil engineering courses to round out my pre-law schedule. I found the engineering courses more interesting, and I did well in those courses, which gave me the opportunity to take advanced level engineering courses in my junior year. This led to an internship with a uranium tailings company and an internship to develop a temporal model for light rail project in my senior year. Upon graduating I was accepted to law school but a headhunter contacted me and asked if I would be interested in working in the field of nuclear or geothermal. That's how I entered a career in STEAM.

Tell us about a memorable project you’ve worked on that has helped build a brighter future.

On my most recent project I directed the devolvement and implementation of innovative engineering techniques that have resulted in shorter remediation times, bringing a reduction in cost to retrieve and close the remaining tanks located at the project site, and benefitting the local and surrounding communities. The role also afforded me the opportunity to put in place development opportunities for staff members and brought about the promotion of personnel into positions they wouldn’t have been considered for due to their educational background or previous assignments.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?

Never assume people know or understand what you know or understand.

“Not everything is a crisis and people can change their opinion about you in a blink if you impact their agenda. However, if you’re always giving your best effort and working on improving your abilities in support of meeting your goals and dreams, that will speak volumes! ”

Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard

Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard

Jacobs Senior Director

Most interesting career moment?

Serving as the company’s site selection manager for the first-of-a-kind nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates was very interesting career moment.

What does the future of engineering look like to you?

The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled companies to rethink how we execute engineering. We’re now working smarter, not harder ⁠— Artificial Intelligence (AI) is enhancing real-time collaborations across the globe ⁠— which is resulting in an acceleration of inventiveness and a boarding of engineering applications.

If you could tell your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be?

Don’t sweat the small stuff, and be open to change! Also, don’t get hung up on what others say (good or bad) about you. Not everything is a crisis and people can change their opinion about you in a blink if you impact their agenda. However, if you’re always giving your best effort and working on improving your abilities in support of meeting your goals and dreams, that will speak volumes!

People would be surprised to know that I…

I love to trap shoot, I was a fashion runway model while in college and I’m a graduate of Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. 

About the interviewee

Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard

Jhivaun Freeman-Pollard is a Senior Director for Jacobs and is based out of Richland, Washington. Jhivaun has over 30 years of progressive experience in managing engineering, nuclear operations, project management, dismantling & decommissioning (D&D) and construction at-risk projects, as well as waste retrieval & tank closure, and environmental (RCRA and CERCLA) remediation efforts at nuclear sites and facilities in the U.S. and internationally. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations Operations and Resource Management from the University of California, Davis, and a Master of Engineering degree (MEng) in Construction Engineering from the University of Alabama – Birmingham. In addition, she’s a certified project management professional (PMP) and she is a USGBC credentialed LEED AP BD+C.

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