Erosion and Soil Control Specialist

ecospecialistKVN: Please tell our readers your name a little bit about yourself.
My name is John Slupecki, and I have loved nature and being outdoors since I was a small kid exploring in the woods behind our house. I was born in Toledo, Ohio, and lived growing up in other states like Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Now I live in Florida. I have been married for 26 years, raised two kids, and we recently welcomed our first grandchild. I loved teaching my kids about nature and hope to continue with my grandchild and future grandchildren. I enjoy all outdoor sports such as fishing, hunting, free diving, paddleboarding and work. I always wanted a job where I could spend time and work outdoors. I never wanted to work in an office.

KVN: What do you do and how does it relate to erosion?
I went to the University of Georgia and was overwhelmed with the opportunities and decisions to make. I took courses in marine science and forestry and finally decided that I liked weather and climate the most. I graduated with a degree in geography. Since college, I have taken many extra courses within our industry like wetland and stream mitigation, identifying invasive plants, worksite safety and state educational courses across the country.

KVN: What does erosion do and why is it important to manage it?
Erosion is a normal process. However, during the development and clearing of our soils during construction, accelerated erosion occurs onsite at a much faster rate. When the grass and trees are removed for the construction process, the soil is left more exposed to weather and climate. Raindrops and concentrated water flow easily remove the soil without protection from leaves, and roots. The soil that is lost is most often the most organic top soil. It’s important to people who live downstream, because when this soil leaves the construction site it accumulates in those streams, rivers and lakes, causing stress on animals and people.

KVN: How does erosion (or erosion control) affect everyday life for most people?
Erosion control teaches people about how fragile our soils are. When our soils are not preserved it can cost people living in those areas lots of money to clean up the environment, and the environment can be changed for the worse.

KVN: Do you have a favorite tool or piece of technology that helps you do your job?
If so can you tell us about that? I love the weather apps on my cell phone. I track the weather with my customers to determine when the best window of opportunity is to plan and provide our erosion control plan.

KVN: What is a typical day like for you?
I communicate with engineers, contractors and suppliers over the phone and in person to work on erosion control plans. Then we initiate those plans in the field on the project site and make sure the erosion control is installed properly as we all designed it to be. KVN: What is the coolest thing about your job?

I love to travel around the country and meet new people and learn how they do their jobs. It’s fun to learn how erosion affects different soils in different states. I also enjoy when everyone comes to one decision and works together.

KVN: What kind of training does it take to do your job?
An interest in science is a great start. Many people have degrees and studied environmental science, horticulture, geography and engineering. These areas will help you build compassion and interest for your job.

KVN: When/How did you know you wanted to work in this field?
I became interested in erosion control after my first job. I started my career after college working for a city permitting and inspecting home construction. Often when they build new homes, they clear the soil completely. The results from the erosion were so severe that I decided this was a very important career.

KVN: What are some challenges you face in your work?
Erosion control solutions are very hard to complete within the time frame of a project and install before the weather affects the site. It feels likes it rains more and the storms are getting stronger. It’s also hard to train the contractors that Erosion and Soil Control Specialist less disturbance is better.

KVN: What do you like to do when you are not working?
I love fishing, and diving under water. I love watching nature when it’s undisturbed and still. Our lives are so busy, and I travel so much, I love these natural outdoor place to relax and catch my breath.

KVN: What a cool job! Thanks so much for telling us about it!

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