GRIT Award Winner Nemanja Zivadinovic

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This year’s GRIT award winner Nemanja Zivadinovic is a great example of how a professional career path and even a new and unexpected direction can open up in front of you at ECS.

Originally from Serbia, Mr. Zivadinovic (or as we call him around here: ‘Z’) came to the United States through a work/travel program from his college in Belgrade. He was approaching graduation within a couple of years. “I looked back at my life at that point and thought that I could have done more. I figured it was time to stir things up a little bit.

“So I applied for a work/travel program and came to the United States. The company I worked for applied for me to come back again the next year, and I started to advance in my career there. I got married and made Virginia my home. At that time, I was also friends with someone who worked at ECS. He recommended that I apply for a job at ECS, and I did.

“I started out as a construction materials technician, which was good work that I enjoyed, but I realized there were more opportunities in the environmental field. My Branch Manager, Lloyd Ward, and my supervisor at the time, Mark Foster, also saw that I wanted to do more than what a technician position could offer. They suggested that I could be part of helping to develop a solid environmental group in the Williamsburg office. Just as I was making the transition to environmental work, the ECS Environmental Group was starting to take shape. I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor.

“Christopher Chapman, CIH is my supervisor, and I’ve had great opportunities to grow with Chris and the Industrial Hygiene (IH) team. My work now is almost exclusively IH, and I’m very happy to be working with Chris. He’s not only a great mentor, he’s also so incredibly knowledgeable about IH services.”

Z is a great model of how even an entry-level position at ECS can leads you toward work that you really feel passionate about. He is planning on continuing to expand his knowledge and experience in the IH field. Right now, Z specializes in asbestos, mold and LBP testing. “This is bread and butter work – there’s lots of those projects out there. Other specialized tasks come in the door periodically that keep things from getting stale. I love working on projects that help me learn more and allow me to expand my expertise and experience.”

Z always has a plan for what comes next, a habit he developed as a young college student in Serbia. “My short-term goals include finally obtaining the CSP certification – maybe I can get that done this year. As for long-term goals? One of the things that really interests me is to potentially expand into work safety, with a focus on industrial facilities that have a need for Third-Party work safety audits. If that’s an area that ECS might want to explore and expand, I’m ready to go.”