Employee Spotlight: Debra Miller Sartain
Debra Sartain has served as QRI’s Health and Safety Manager since 2007. She is the project manager of all lead, asbestos and mold projects, where she conducts inspections, sampling and remediation in accordance with EPA and OSHA regulations. She has 14 years of experience in ACM/LBP/Mold assessment and remediation; Phase I and II ESA’s; environmental field services including debris removal; drilling and geophysical tools; hazard assessments and remediation; emergency response; quality control documentation and safety and health management.. She has numerous professional certifications and registrations for dealing with ACM/LBP/Mold and has been dealing with hazardous materials since 1997 when she served as a Quality Control Officer for the National Park Service.
How did you get into your profession?
I owned a hair salon back home in Montana and was diagnosed with breast cancer due to the arsenic in the water. During that time I also served as an EMT. I was asked to be a part of a research project and agreed to see if I could help mitigate our losses. We were loosing about 15 women a year due to breast cancer from the arsenic in the water. My town was very small so it had a huge impact on the community. I knew I didn’t want to go back doing the same thing. The effect I saw our environment had on people inspired me to get more involved with it so I closed my salon and started working with Park Services as an EMT and the rest is history.
Describe a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Definitely our tornado project at Smithville. I was able to build the asbestos program to train over 200 people in asbestos remediation and worked with USACE to pick out contractors and crews. We were able to take down 48 structures safely. The only bad thing was we were doing it in 110 degree weather.
In your time at QRI, what are you most proud of?
My training and education that I have been able to obtain. Oh, and that I am still standing after all the projects I have completed. It's nice to be my age and know that I can still pull a boat and climb a ladder.
What is something people might not know about you?
I really don’t like bugs.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
Hiking and being outside, caring for animals and talking to my family.