gene_mclinn_alumni_cropGene McLinn; Featured Alumni


  • ACEC Wisconsin Honor Award:  Phytoremediation at a chemical distribution facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2001)
  • ACEC Wisconsin Grand Award:  Sediment remediation on the Penobscot River in Bangor, Maine (2011)
  • Environmental Business Journal Remediation Technology Award for NAPL Trapping Cap, Bangor, Maine (2010)
  • RMT Mentoring Award (1996)
  • RMT Agent of Change Award (2008)

  1. What is your hometown?
    International Falls, MN
  2. Where do you reside now?
    Madison, WI
  3. What degree(s)did you obtain from UWM and when?
    MS Geology. I defended my Master’s thesis in 1986. 
  4. What was your field of interest in Geology at UWM?
    I studied hydrogeology under Doug Cherkauer and Carl Palmer.
  5. What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your degree?
    Financial aid.
  6. What did you enjoy most about the department, UWM, and Milwaukee?
    I enjoyed field camp with RAP and Rachel Paull, as well as Doug Cherkauer. I liked the interdisciplinary nature of the geophysics and hydrogeology groups at UWM, and the setting near Lake Michigan. Milwaukee is a city of neighborhoods, and I enjoyed the mix of amenities and cultures. 
  7. What is your current job (or field of study) and how would you describe it to one of our current students (e.g. what do you do, how rewarding is it)?
    I am the National Market Leader for Sediment Remediation at Burns & McDonnell (an employee-owned engineering consulting firm) in Madison.  I have been able to combine research with my consulting practice at a number of sites, and have been able to take a deep dive evaluating the mechanisms of NAPL migration from sediment, and multi-phase flow in low-pressure systems. I am co-inventor for two sediment remediation techniques.  I make extensive use of physical modeling techniques to address remediation design problems in my own lab now.  The physical modeling aspect is particularly fun – the first physical model I constructed for my own purposes was a model aquifer in Dr. Lasca’s Ice Lab at the Great Lakes Research Facility as part of my Master’s thesis. 
  8. Why did you choose this career?
    I liked environmental geology problems. 
  9. What's been your best experience in geology (or your career) so far?
    It is a gas to have designed and constructed a full-scale sediment remedy (the NAPL Trapping Cap), and to have the cap perform so well. 
  10. In your career, have you gotten the opportunity to travel or to work with people as part of your job?
    My job has involved a fair amount of travel in the US.  I have had the pleasure of working with excellent teams of in-house and external professionals at my different employers.    
  11. What trait or thing(s) that you learned while in Geosciences at UWM has allowed you to succeed in your career?
    Stay curious. 
  12. Do you have any advice that you would give to our current students about their education or in selecting a career once they graduate?
    Keep an open mind.  Be brave. 
  13. What is/was the hardest thing that you had to do in your career?
    It’s always been a challenge to hold my tongue. 

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