Geotechnical Engineering Crawford wins Professional Award in Civil and Environmental Engineering
October 26, 2021
By Holly Hinson
Karen Crawford has won the 2021 Alumni Professional Award in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She received her BS and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering with a concentration in geotechnical engineering from U of L. The engineer said her Speed School experience taught her valuable lessons in teamwork she translated to her career.
“When I went to Speed School, there weren’t any PCs or internet to get information on topics and problem solving,” said Crawford. “I think having to work with other students on projects or to solve problems was a good model to cooperation and working as a team in the workforce.”
She started her engineering career at US Ecology, a national hazardous and radioactive waste disposal company, working on landfill design and facilities project management at sites located throughout the country, including long stretches at remote facilities in Nevada and Washington.
In 1993, Crawford joined with several of her US Ecology colleagues to start Chase Environmental Group. Originally, Crawford and her partners continued engineering work for US Ecology as a subcontractor, but soon transitioned to providing environmental contracting services to consulting firms, industry, and government clients.
One notable project experience for Crawford came on a former military base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, formerly used as a navigation station during World War II. She was responsible for overseeing remediation of contamination from transformer leaks on the tiny, uninhabited island while protecting the endangered species present there. Today, her company, Chase Environmental Group has five locations in four states and over 50 employees.
Not as large but equally impressive is Karen’s family, which includes her supportive husband, Steve, five children, and five grandchildren, all of whom are avid Cardinal fans. If you visit her extensive garden, you will find no hazardous contamination.