Environmental: Getting to Know Charles Fiedler
Written By: Valerie Edgren
Date: August 11, 2021
Charles Fiedler, PE, LEED AP, is a consulting expert in the field of environmental engineering with over 40 years of experience in solid waste management, waste minimization, recycling, and environmental engineering. He has been involved in every aspect of environmental consulting, including management, engineering, and environmental compliance. Charles is a Principal with Parkhill, and an Environmental Team Leader/Senior Practice Leader in the office located in Rio Rancho, N.M. Charles is a past president of both the Solid Waste Association of North America - NM Roadrunner Chapter, where he now serves as the Assembly Board representative, and the New Mexico Recycling Coalition, where he is currently treasurer.
Q: What project has given you a passion for your expertise?
The opportunity to participate in The Teton County Transfer Station Project and the efforts represented by the two projects we have undertaken as Parkhill Services, Sundance West Surface Waste Management Facility and the OWL Surface Waste Management Facility.
In addition, several projects that I have been involved with evaluating the use of biomass (wood wastes/forest slash) in New Mexico. The first was a Preliminary Engineering Report completed for the Village of Angel Fire, which evaluated the beneficial use of forest waste (slash). The second was the construction and evaluation of two final cover test plots (Lysimeters) for Sandoval County. Both projects focused on using an underutilized resource that could beneficially impact the “Built Environment” of New Mexico by reducing erosion and holding soil moisture.
Q: What values set Parkhill apart for you?
The focus on mission and the ability to live out the corporate and individual values expressed by the company on a daily basis. Other Parkhill values that stand out for me are real innovation, contagious passion, unassuming influence, and humble leadership.
Q: What innovations have you helped with or have seen at Parkhill?
The Innovation Award at our firm’s awards ceremony 2019 for the utilization of Parkhill Services in the design and construction of the Sundance West Surface Waste Management Facility. Our team used this delivery process to design and develop a very successful and profitable project representing the best Parkhill has to offer.
Q: What do you think is the next challenge in your field?
Taking on the battle of finding cost-effective and environmentally sustainable programs that acknowledge product stewardship for the vast quantity of packaging currently being generated without a plan or program to recycle it effectively. This challenge has been my passion for my entire 40-plus-year career. While there have been glimmers of success in solving parts of this problem (i.e., cardboard recycling), there remains a significant challenge addressing the new and evolving packaging products that continue to be developed without a plan to manage (recycle) the materials being developed or the acceptance of responsibility from the entity/industry developing the product. The goal of a responsible “circular economy” is where sustainability is the driving goal, not just the financial bottom line.
Q: Looking forward, where do you see your (industry/practice/area) going in the next 20 years?
Acknowledging that sustainability has to be an integral consideration in “Building Community!” Our “No Deposit/No Return” mindset of the past 50 years has led to most of the environmental catastrophes we are currently facing. As long as we ignore sustainable development, we are doomed to environmental failure.