Voices of the Gulf
Patrick Barnes: Restoration is Good Business
An environmental engineer is helping disadvantaged young people prepare for environmental jobs.
Business and community leaders in the Gulf clearly recognize the important link between a healthy environment and a thriving, resilient economy. Here is one example of a leader working to make a difference in the Gulf.
Patrick Barnes is the President of BFA Environmental, an Orlando, Florida-based regional environmental engineering consulting firm established in 1994. Mr. Barnes is also the founder of Limitless Vistas, a nonprofit preparing New Orleans’ area disadvantaged youths for environmental jobs.
"As a contractor, my firm would always run into issues finding qualified candidates, especially after Hurricane Katrina." Seeing a need and a chance to help economically struggling youth after the storm, Mr. Barnes began training students, helping them gain skills and certifications. The results have been very positive.
"If you look at planned projects in Louisiana and elsewhere, this could translate to a huge number of entry level job needs, including in monitoring and measurement. Companies can realize huge savings by training a local resident with a high school education to be a technician instead of hiring an entry level worker with a graduate degree. There is no downside, we can train someone locally and get the economy going. We just need to do a better job of connecting those dots."