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Deric Kearns, Project Manager of the Month, on Leading Complex Environmental Cleanup Projects

Headshot of Deric Kearns
Tetra Tech CEO Dan Batrack created our Project Manager (PM) of the Month award to honor PMs who demonstrate excellence in supporting our clients and perform projects to the highest standards of quality and fiscal discipline.
Deric effectively manages some of our most complex and challenging remediation projects, resulting in excellent client feedback.

Andy Bolt, Unit President

Deric Kearns is Tetra Tech’s November 2023 PM of the Month. He has more than 20 years of experience managing environmental projects, including site investigation, mine and soil remediation, and demolition and debris removal.

Clients recognize Deric for successfully managing complex site conditions and safety concerns on remedial sites, including munitions and unstable ground hazards and structures. Since he joined Tetra Tech in 2015, Deric has been responsible for the planning, implementation, and oversight of remediation projects for U.S. Department of Defense clients, including soil remediation on the banks of the Potomac River at a ballistics laboratory and remediating sediments at an abandoned mine site.

“Deric effectively manages some of our most complex and challenging remediation projects, resulting in excellent client feedback,” said Andy Bolt, Unit President. “He is an outstanding project manager, and I am delighted to see him win the Project Manager of the Month award.”

On excelling as a project manager, Deric shared, “Consistent and frequent communication with the project stakeholders and regulators is critical to the success of a project.”

Deric holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

An excavator in front of a body of water at a project site

We talked with Deric about his work managing large-scale environmental investigation and remediation projects.


What impact do your projects have on the environment and communities you work in?

Clients rely on us to manage pressing cleanup projects that reduce risk and protect human health and the environment. Our work does not stop at cleaning sites; we aim to return the land to productive use, supporting more sustainable and resilient communities. We engage local communities since they play a big role as beneficiaries of our projects and are key stakeholders. The way our field teams conduct projects and positively interact with the community is not only important for project success, but also a direct reflection of Tetra Tech’s values.


Could you share a challenging project experience and how you successfully addressed it to maintain client satisfaction?

The mine reclamation project I manage in Maine experienced the highest amount of rainfall in 30 years in 2023. When heavy flooding conditions overwhelmed the bladder dam we had installed within the stream, we had to quickly adapt plans to install a temporary rock dam to allow dewatering and sediment excavation activities to resume. Proactive and frequent communication with the project stakeholders and limiting delays in challenging project environments helped maintain trust and our strong client relationship.


How do you approach managing your team to support them to achieve outstanding results?

I work on building relationships within my team to encourage team members to speak openly to each other and help me refine my management technique as I learn personalities and key issues.

As a project manager, I also recognize the importance of mentoring junior staff whenever possible. In this post-Covid world of remote working, it is more critical than ever to challenge junior staff and maintain connections with them. Sometimes being pushed outside one’s comfort zone is the best way to grow professionally, and it builds character.

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