With a passion for biology and scientific research, Jan Walstrom found herself, at the age of 25, pursuing a very different career trajectory than expected when she was appointed the State’s project manager for the design and construction of surface water and groundwater remedial actions implemented at Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma.
The site encompassed much of the lead and zinc mining district in the U.S. where the extracted ore was processed to make bullets during both World Wars, leaving behind 30 million tons of mining waste, known locally as “chat”.
“At the time, I had no idea how to read a set of plans or specifications, but I was managing construction contractors and learning my way through it every single day,” reminisces Jan.
With our future in the balance, the time is now to engage our best and brightest environmental professionals. Addressing the past, we need to continue to remediate environmental damage. And looking to the coming decades, the planning, commitments, and sustainability steps we take today are critical to leading the world to a more climate-resilient existence for the generations to come
years of experience in key management, operations, delivery and corporate roles
miles swam each week all before 6 a.m. local time
Her mentors, the engineering firm’s project manager and their construction manager, patiently shared their knowledge with this young, deeply inquisitive person who every day asked a host of questions nobody had ever asked them before. They quickly realized nobody had ever dug into their documents with such intensity to figure out how everyone needed to come together to perform the work.
These early leadership traits and her commitment to environmental stewardship is what’s made Jan stand out in a career that has included some of Jacobs’ marquee projects and programs.
Now, as the global director of Jacobs’ environmental market, Jan leads our team of more than 6,500 practitioners delivering environmental planning and permitting for critical highway, rail, energy and resilience projects; remediating and revitalizing land and ground water contaminated by the full spectrum of contaminants of concern, from radionuclides and metals to various organic contaminants and emerging contaminants like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); and working with government and private sector clients on climate change, resiliency, sustainability and environmental, health and safety compliance.
Jan gained significant industry experience serving as Deputy Program Manager for the environmental remediation of the Rocky Flats Closure Project in Colorado – a manufacturing complex that produced the triggers for nuclear weapons. On October 13, 2005, project physical completion was declared on the $7 billion, 10-year effort, making it the largest Superfund cleanup project to be completed in U.S. history and the first successful major nuclear decommissioning project in the world. Jan continued to lead the regulatory support project team for the next year, which ultimately enabled the Department of Energy to transition a major portion of the site to the Department of Interior, establishing the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
Internationally, she served as the Project Manager for the $1.1 billion critical path Enabling Works Project on the London 2012 Olympics Program Management contract. The project involved one of the largest environmental cleanups ever accomplished in Europe, transforming a 600-plus acre brownfield site and paving the way for construction of the Olympic Park. Jan also served as the Head of Sustainability and Environment at the outset of the program, partnering with the Olympic Delivery Authority to establish the systems, processes and targets adhered to by the entire supply chain to achieve the world’s most sustainable Olympic Games.
As a go-to person for enterprise improvement initiatives, Jan’s depth of experience includes leading the formation of the company’s Program Management Center of Excellence, transforming the learning and development function while serving for three years as the company’s Chief Learning Officer, and supporting the CEO and executive leadership team’s efforts to transform the strategy and operations of the company as Director of Operational Excellence.
“Setting out on this journey, I never could have imagined the many gifts, both personally and professionally, this industry has brought me,” she reflects. “When I think back on my mentors, the many people around the world I've collaborated with and the projects I've been able to contribute to, it's immensely satisfying."