Women of Harsco: Mary Weinheimer’s Story
Our Women of Harsco program fosters a diverse and inclusive workplace aligned with our organization’s mission, values, and goals.
We are proud to feature Mary Weinheimer, Materials Manager at Clean Earth.
Mary Weinheimer is the Materials Manager for Clean Earth’s Southwest Region and oversees all inbound and outbound hazardous waste materials through our Fernley, Nevada and Rancho Cordova, California RCRA Part B facilities. Mary is an integral part of the Clean Earth team ensuring compliance, safety, and proper waste treatment are delivered with a focus on superior customer service during each step of the hazardous waste management process. Mary develops outbound waste profiles and works closely with our approvals team to ensure that the waste received by the TSDF (treatment, storage & disposal facility) has an appropriate final placement. Mary is a subject matter expert in her field and is often sought out to answer questions and provide guidance to plant technicians on consolidation and packaging of waste. Mary is well-versed in cost-benefit analysis keeping our customer’s goals top priority and is an essential part of finding the right waste disposal and recycling options that best suit each customer’s goals.
Mary has developed and expanded treatment protocols for the waste streams that our Fernley, NV facility treats directly on-site. She works with the technicians to “use waste to treat waste” whenever possible. This minimizes costs on reagents to treat the waste and ensures timely processing of the waste on-site.
Mary makes certain that Clean Earth maintains compliance with all permits and additional regulatory matters. On a day-to-day basis, it is ultimately Mary’s responsibility to determine how each facility can best handle various waste streams from treatment to final placement.
How Did You Get Your Start in the Waste Industry?
Mary attended college at the University of Nevada Reno with a degree in Environmental Science with a specialty in Chemistry. Following graduation, Mary was looking to work in a laboratory. In Nevada, the mining industry is prevalent, but a career in the industry can sometimes be unpredictable. She soon found a position at our Clean Earth Fernley, NV facility and began working as a laboratory technician. Mary joined Clean Earth in 1997 and within her first year, she was promoted to the Materials Management position for the Southwest Region. Mary has held various management positions during her 24 years with the company from laboratory management to operations. Mary’s diverse skills and expertise are an incredible value to the company.
What are Your Interests Outside of the Office?
Mary has had a love of traveling from an early age. Her father worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Venezuela where she was born. She experienced her first airplane ride to the United States at just two months old. Since then, she has made trips every couple of years back to Venezuela to visit her hometown. Mary’s father was fond of taking short weekend excursions, so she was able to see a lot of the U.S., from small towns, small museums, exhibits, eccentric local points of interest as well as national parks. She traveled yearly to Yosemite National Park and Redwood National Park.
After she was married, Mary and her husband traveled to Canada and across the U.S. Mary’s husband says she has a “knack for finding a winery in any state”. She happened to stumble across the only winery in the state of Montana on a trip several years ago - who knew Montana had a winery? Unfortunately, they haven’t had a chance to do much traveling over the last couple of years but hope to get back out there soon.
Mary also enjoys donating her time with the Alumni Association at the University of Nevada Reno along with close family and friends. She is a passionate reader, and her all-time favorite author is Edgar Allen Poe.
What Advice Would You Give Women Starting Out in the Waste Industry?
Looking back after nearly 25 years in the business, if Mary could provide one piece of advice for women it would be, “Be patient. Ask questions. Be inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to other people in the industry. Remember that the more information you have, the easier it is to piece together your customers’ needs.”
“Every day is different in the waste industry. We face new challenges every day, and it keeps me on my toes. If you like discovering new things and researching environmental topics, this job will constantly keep you learning more and more.”
“I think there is a misperception about the work that women do in this industry. There are a number of college majors that can be applied to the environmental and waste industry in unique ways. As is the case with other science related and S.T.E.M. programs, once we are able to spark curiosity among our young women to get involved in the waste industry, we’ve already placed one foot in the door.”
Why Work for Clean Earth?
“There is never a lack of opportunity at Clean Earth and there have always been learning experiences along the way. Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to have excellent mentors and team members who are willing to take the time to educate me about the job. Furthermore, the diversity within the job has continually kept my interest. There is a decent balance between the science side, the business and finance side, and the customer-service side.”