Project Environmental Scientist, Tighe & Bond, age 36
Jason Barroso went to UMass Amherst to study political science, but decided around his junior year that he didn’t really like politics that much.
So he switched gears and wound up earning a double major in Political Science and Earth Science, and he has built a successful career around the latter.
After a number of positions at other companies, Barroso joined Tighe & Bond in 2006. As a project environmental scientist, he provides services to a mix of clients, including municipalities, real-estate-development professionals, industrial corporations, and utility providers.
It’s a diverse job. For one thing, Barroso serves as Tighe & Bond’s point person for its demolition consulting and design business, a role he finds gratifying. “I like to drive by a site being redeveloped and know I had a part in making that redevelopment possible,” he said. “As cheesy as it may sound, it’s nice to see something growing out of something that was defunct.”
Meanwhile, in his role as emergency response coordinator for the firm, he directs assessment and response to transformer oil spills for major power utility providers throughout the region. There are usually about 30 of those events per year, but between June and October 2011 — a five-month period bookended by the spring tornadoes and the pre-Halloween snowstorm, not to mention a tropical storm in August — he dealt with 147 spills.
“That was pretty taxing on our folks,” he recalled. “It was quite a feat to get all that done along with our regular workload, but we made it through.”
And about his dislike for politics? Well, “I got bit by the political bug again,” he said with a laugh, and took a seat on the Ludlow Conservation Commission, acting as chairman for two years, then chaired the town’s Master Plan Committee. “Both professionally and personally, that just felt like a natural fit for me.”
But he wasn’t done. After the housing market collapsed and the Great Recession began, Barroso sought and won a seat on the Board of Selectmen, desiring to implement strategies aimed at minimizing property-tax increases and cuts to public services; he later chaired that board, too.
“It’s certainly given me a lot of perspective on the challenges of running a municipality, especially in this economic climate,” he said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”
— Joseph Bednar