By Jennifer Guzman
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) newly appointed director of operations, Kim Shelley, has a job that fulfills one of her life missions—giving back to the community.
Kim has served the State of Utah for just over 21 years now, starting off as a scientist in the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) in 1998 to her newest position today.
After graduating from the University of Utah in 1996 with a degree in metallurgical engineering and a minor in chemistry, Kim’s career started at a metallurgical lab in Orem. There, her responsibilities included establishing and overseeing the lab and helping budget and negotiate the purchase of analytical equipment. Kim had a lot on her plate for a first job straight out of college.
However, this wasn’t the type of work she had been hoping to do.
“I enjoyed the work, but I wasn’t feeling like I was making a difference in my community and I wanted to give back. When I heard about a position open in DERR, I saw it as a way to serve my community,” said Kim.
Kim’s background helped kick-start a growth opportunity for her, especially regarding management and oversight for a company. Her time at DEQ has resulted in new positions and learning opportunities as the years have passed.
Along with her career, Kim has her husband close by, as he works at DEQ as well. Being that Kim and her husband have two children, it’s safe to say that their careers weren’t the only things that grew while being together at DEQ.
Her previous position as an assistant director in the Division of Water Quality helped her gain the skills to take on her new title of Director of Operations, along with some mentoring from her predecessor, Brad Johnson.
While, in Kim’s term, Brad left some “big shoes to fill,” she has found one of his many attributes that she is going to implement as part of her new title.
“What I really appreciated about Brad was that he was an active listener and a great sounding board. I want to continue his commitment to employees. People should be encouraged to come to the fourth floor and talk to me and talk to Scott. We’re here for them,” Kim stated.
For now, Kim is focusing on helping the divisions at DEQ as much as she can while still getting settled into her new role. As DEQ continues to progress, and some greats are preparing to leave, Kim wants one of her newest priorities, succession planning, to allow for new employees to gain knowledge and skill from their colleagues.
“It’s important to me that we continue to serve the people of the state by accomplishing our mission. We have great people who work at DEQ; I want to make sure we continue to provide opportunities and make the work meaningful and challenging so people really enjoy coming to work and know that they are making a difference,” said Kim.
So, if you find yourself wanting to get to know Kim, stop her in the hallway, shoot her an email, or go up to the fourth floor of DEQ’s headquarters. She’ll be sure to make some time for you.
I’m a recent Weber State University graduate interning here at DEQ. I love writing, usually about my life woes and appreciation for being born Bolivian-American, and taking pictures of folkloric dancers in the valley. Check me out on IG @wararoxfoto.