EMDS Alumni Spotlight: Zach Davis ('06)

"When I entered EADP I was looking for a career that would keep me out of the office and always on the move. Well… I got my wish. I began the EADP program in 2004 and graduated in 2006, during that time I was IAEM-SC treasurer and one of the key organizers of a bi-annual camping trip. After graduation, I found my first position in Stuart Florida as a Regional Planner for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. I was responsible for coordination between counties and the development of mitigation, preparedness and response plans.

In 2007, I moved back to Texas and took a position in Houston at a small oil and gas consultancy The Response Group (TRG). TRG specialized in emergency response and preparedness for the oil and gas industry. At TRG, I was able to gain the experience that I would rely on for most of my career. I wrote and maintained emergency response plans for every major oil company in Houston, provided training on ICS, HAZWOPER, and the company’s Incident Action Plan software. During my four years with TRG, I participated in or responded to over 90 exercises or real incidents. The exercises ranged in size and complexity from 10-person table tops to 500-person functional exercises with scenarios ranging from the release of crude oil to the capture of a drill ship or oil refinery.
In April 2010, I received a call that the Deep Water Horizon drilling rig at Mississippi Canyon 252 had exploded and was on fire. I drove to Houma, Louisiana where I stayed for 9 months working with the finest and smartest people in the oil and gas industry. During the Deep Water Horizon incident, I worked as the Resource Unit Leader, Situation Unit leader on both day and nights, the Deputy Planning Section Chief and managed a crew of 400 TRG employees in the state of Louisiana. We also processed about ~2 petabytes of data consisting of 40,000 overflight pictures, 6 months’ worth of satellite imagery, 50 terabytes of radar data, and data from over 2000 sensors across the Gulf of Mexico.
At the end of 2011, I started down an environmental and regulatory path working on permitting oil and gas waste sites for R360 Envi-ronmental services. I worked with the Texas Railroad Commission to obtain permits to construct landfills for treated drill cuttings. Three years later (2015), I joined the International Health Safety and Environmental team at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation where I am currently responsible for contractor management and safety, development of environmental impact analyses, permitting for drilling and seismic activities and for emergency preparedness for our international assets.
My advice to EADP students is don’t limit yourself in your job search. The EADP degree is an extremely versatile degree that can open many doors, so be flexible. When you find that job, listen to the “gray hairs” but don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if they say, “we have always done it that way.” Be prepared to be on the bottom for a while and work your way up. Nothing comes easy and if it does... it’s not worth it."
This Alumni Spotlight on Zach Davis ('06) first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of The Mitigator, the EMDS department newsletter.