Somewhere in early 1998 I ran across an ad for a regulatory guy with a start up heavy truck manufacturer in Virginia. I had a relatively freshly minted MBA and due to the aforementioned ISO 9000 stuff, had grown somewhat stiffled in my vaguely defined career ambitions. Plus, my wife’s family is from backwoods Norton, VA down in the southwest corner of the state and she REALLY wanted to go there. So we made the trek and I interviewed. I was apparently the only guy they interviewed that knew what NOx was and so I was hired. We moved to Winchester, VA, conveniently 70 miles west of DC and 50 miles south of Hagerstown, MD where Mack Trucks had an engine plant (gaming the bailout plan).
So I became a corporate Compliance Manager. As it turns out, heavy duty trucks are a completely different game and really don’t have the same EPA regulatory structure so that turned out to be an incidental part of the job. But they do have OSHA standards and EPA waste standards and DOT commercial trucking regulations applying to heavy duty vehicles which greatly expanded my knowledge of industrial regulation. So basically, if it moves I know how it’s regulated.
That gig lasted a little more than 2 years (it was called Bering Trucks for the Google minded) and after bouncing through another couple of plant closures (Winchester ain’t no Detroit when it comes to automotive-like industry), I wound up as an engineer designing diesel engine emissions control systems at Volvo (who had acquired Mack around 2000) in Hagerstown working on inventing Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) for the 2007 model year requirements and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems for 2010. This involved a lot of road work and travel (visited Cornflake when in Phoenix burning up DPFs on a test track out there), but it was mostly standard engineering work.
Next up- Serendipity Strikes and I’m off to DC for the Education of a Lifetime.