Four Questions with Belinda Butler-Veytia
June 19, 2020
Belinda Butler-Veytia joined Olsson in 2019 as the Denver/Northern Colorado Environmental team leader. We recently caught up with her and chatted about her role and what it’s like working with her team at Olsson. Here’s what Belinda had to say.
Q: What sparked your interest in engineering/environmental?
A: Growing up in Colorado, I’ve always had a love of the environment. My parents really focused all our vacations on exploring Colorado, so I grew up hiking and cross-country skiing across many of the state’s beautiful areas. Before college, I wanted to become a mining engineer and then go to law school to work on cleaning up abandoned mine sites from the legal perspective. Once I had a taste of chemistry laboratory work and visited a refinery, I was hooked on how all the equipment worked within the overall process of making things. I found consulting to be a great way to continue getting to learn about big systems like chemical manufacturing, while helping clients reduce their environmental liability – through contaminated site remediation or compliance with regulations.
Q: What is your management philosophy?
A: Someone told me early on that, one, you never want to be irreplaceable because you will struggle to get new opportunities if you cannot leave your current role; and two, surround yourself with people who have strengths that you lack – people who compliment your capabilities. I try to manage by understanding what people need to do their job well, helping to fill any gaps so they can do their job well, and then get out of the way.
Q: What would you consider your greatest professional achievement?
A: Consulting has been a great platform to work across geographies, industries, and continuously learn. I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked on projects across more than 25 states, as well as see major projects evolve over nearly a decade. Getting to know the people—my clients, project teams, and local community members—has been some of the most amazing, challenging, and rewarding experiences of my life.
Q: When you’re not working, what activities do you enjoy?
A: About seven years ago, I discovered my passion for grappling – a form of marital arts that combines wrestling with submissions. It’s terrifying and exhilarating, and there are so many life skills involved. If it’s not related to grappling, then it better involve ice cream or glitter.