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. 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 SVP, Office of Global Climate Response & ESG, Jan is responsible for leading a corporate function that acts as the connecting point for Jacobs’ end market and enabling market solutions, where every project the company plans, designs and delivers now becomes a climate response opportunity for our clients within the framework of energy transition, decarbonization, adaptation and mitigation, and natural resource stewardship.
Additionally, the Office is coupling climate response with Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) which has taken on heightened significance, both within Jacobs and externally as companies around the globe rise to the climate challenge and address urgent social issues.
“With our future in the balance, the time is now to engage our best and brightest –across sectors and disciplines. Addressing the past, we need to continue to remediate environmental damage to the planet we call home. And looking to the coming decades, the planning, commitments and response steps we take today are critical to leading the world to a more climate-resilient existence for all generations to come.”
Jan also serves as Jacobs’ Global Environmental Market Director, leading our team of more than 6,500 practitioners who work with the federal, state/municipal and private sector to drive sustainability and climate action throughout their operations; achieve environmental health and safety compliance; deliver environmental planning and permitting for critical infrastructure projects; and remediate and regenerate land and ground water contaminated by the full spectrum of contaminants of concern, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
She 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."
years of experience in key management, operations, delivery and corporate roles
miles swam each week all before 6 a.m. local time
Listen: Jan guests on Jacobs Inflection Points podcast
Podcast: Leadership lessons from the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games
Jan joins BusinessLDN's"What Next for London" podcast to discuss the legacy of the Games and what it meant for major projects of the future.
It’s a decade since the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. Jacobs Senior Vice President, Office of Global Climate Response & ESG Jan Walstrom helped to plan, design and deliver the Olympic Park & associated Games infrastructure as part of the CLM Delivery Partner team.
On the 10-Year anniversary Jan joins BusinessLDN’s "What Next for London" podcast to discuss what working on the 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games meant for major projects of the future, for the development of ESG metrics and for her career. Jan shares insight on the significant Games legacy for the local East London communities and the wider U.K.
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