Power Profile: Rhonald Hasenyager

Rhonald Hasenyager, P.G., R.G., a senior geologist at Hanson who joined the company in 2006 and has and has 30 years of groundwater monitoring experience, does not have a conventional workday. He might be at his desk in the Springfield, Illinois, headquarters, poring over groundwater data, or he could be collecting that data on a project site.

Rhon received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from Northern Illinois University and Purdue University, respectively, and uses that educational background and his career experience to assist power companies with a variety of projects, including multiple coal-combustion residual management programs. He designs and performs subsurface investigations, analyzes groundwater and soil analysis data, provides environmental permitting and aquifer testing, develops groundwater remediation and mitigation plans and performs groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport modeling.

What led me to pursue this career: I was fortunate to come out of graduate school at the peak of the environmental boom in the early 1990s. I was hired in Springfield to help a local firm begin its implementation of the new Illinois landfill regulations. This opportunity gave me a much more robust exposure to performing large-scale subsurface investigations, evaluating the subsequent monitoring data and eventually modeling potential long-term impacts from the landfills.

What I do on a typical day on the job: Workdays for me are far from typical. I can be in the office working on data analysis and reporting for groundwater monitoring at client sites, or I can be on a field assignment observing monitoring well installations or collecting groundwater samples that help quantify the extent of groundwater movement. Then it is back in the office to put together a report of those findings.

My favorite part of my job: It must be the problem-solving, such as putting together a subsurface interpretation or using atypical analytical methods to determine if a site is causing problems or not. I typically describe my job as having to figure out a jigsaw puzzle, but you only have about a dozen of the pieces. You must put together the big picture from those few pieces of information.

The biggest challenge I have faced on the job: It would be nice to be able to work on one job or task at a time. However, with fixed regulatory deadlines and multiple clients or sites, this can be challenging. I believe that being responsive to client needs and good time management are the keys to staying focused.

Notable power projects I have worked on:

  1. Performing initial subsurface investigations at several multi-hundred-acre sites
  2. Designing the groundwater monitoring programs for these large-scale projects
  3. Using stable isotope analyses or concentration ratio studies to evaluate what facilities could affect groundwater

What I like to do when I’m not working: Yardwork, woodworking and riding my motorcycle.