Maram Kassis

BSc (Hons), PhD (1992)

What is your current position, and what do you do?
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (January 2000-current)
Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California, and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines.
Environmental Health and Safety Manager:
* Responsible for managing functional activities of a team of environmental professionals ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal hazardous waste regulations.
* Implementation of quality assurance processes that reduced institutional liability and risk related to the safe and compliant management of hazardous waste at the onsite Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) and waste generator areas (Research Laboratorie).
* Launched a successful technical documents process to support a compliant Waste Management programs.
* Managing the renewal of a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Part B TSDF permit, leading negotiations with regulatory agency and LBNL legal team.   
* Managed the contracting of accredited laboratories, interpreting and validating analytical results relating to EPA acceptable methodologies.
* Ensured all waste management processes are in accordance with DOE directives, orders and standards as applicable to a range of lab operations including but not limited to radioactive and hazardous waste.
* Successfully administered EHS Division’s ES&H program by reviewing, investigating injuries, reporting safety data, facilitating self-assessment process, revising and updating the Integrated Safety Management (ISM) Plan.
* Responsible for all external regulatory inspections of waste practices and operations and development of corrective actions addressing identified deficiencies and observations.
* Successfully developed working documents and oversaw waste management compliance practices for demolition/construction projects.
* Responsible for managing Waste Management training program and successfully led development and execution of new Operations Division staff training.
* Extensive experience in RCRA and TSCA regulations as applied to TSDFs and construction/demolition projects.
* Accomplished chemist with extensive experience in bench top and theoretical research.

How did you transition into this current role from a science degree?
My science degree afforded me the ability to apply for the role I have now. I traveled to the U.S with the goal of pursuing a postdoctoral position. However, the first position offered was in the hazardous materials/environmental regulations field. I have been in the Environmental Management field for over 25 years. My degree allowed me to work in the academic, industrial and government research settings.

What has been your biggest challenge, career-wise?
Work life balance and acquiring management skills. Gender differential in pay and respect. Having had to travel outside Australia to start my career, missing being in Australia and missing my family.

What achievement are you most proud of?
* My three beautiful children, respect as a subject matter expert in the field of hazardous materials in a highly respected research laboratory.
* Qualified auditor for the U.S. Department of Energy Consolidated Audit Program (DOECAP) in the functional areas of Quality Assurance, Data Quality for Inorganic and Wet Chemistry, Hazardous and Radioactive Materials Management.
* Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM)
* Completed a University of California Extension Program certification in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) regulations
* Member of the University of California Hazardous Waste Action Group
* Member of Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG) Waste Management Working Group (WMWG

What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
Enjoy what you are learning for the sake of learning. Sometimes the career you end up with is not what you originally planned but can still be rewarding.

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