Q&A with Chris Sutter, Environmental Scientist

Chris Sutter, Environmental Scientist

Q: When you joined DiPrete in 2005, what role did you play at the firm? How has your career developed over the years?

A: When I started at DiPrete, my title was natural resource specialist. I was mainly responsible for assisting with soil evaluations and inspecting onsite wastewater treatment systems during construction. Today, as a licensed soil evaluator in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, I conduct most of the firm’s soil evaluations. In addition, I handle the firm’s wetlands field work and construction inspections. More recently, I have assisted with construction management on the new highway ramps for the Citizens Bank Corporate Campus. In this role I am responsible for inspecting construction, fielding contractor questions, and working with the design team and RIDOT to ensure that the project is built in compliance with the project plans and specifications.


Q: What does a typical work day look like for you?

A: A typical work day can vary greatly. I might start the day inspecting roadway construction in Johnston, be in Westerly by mid-day evaluating a site for the presence of wetlands and end up in North Kingstown creating an OWTS as-built in the afternoon. By the end of the day, I am usually back at the office handling paperwork or meeting with my co-workers to discuss upcoming projects.


Q: As an environmental scientist, you must have a great love of nature. What are some clean energy projects you’ve been involved with over the years?

A: I have always enjoyed working outdoors and my position at DiPrete allows me to do that daily, which is great. In the last few years, solar energy projects have really taken off in our region. It has been very interesting to watch this technology advance and be a part of the engineering team that helps these projects come to fruition. Other interesting projects I have worked on are the offshore wind turbine project located off the south coast of Rhode Island and the Blue Sphere Bio Energy project located near the central landfill in Johnston. For the Deepwater Wind project, I conducted soil evaluations at several locations in southern Rhode Island in support of the switchyard designs, and for Blue Sphere, I conducted wetland delineation, soil evaluations, and oversaw removal of unsuitable material for the construction of the digester tanks.


Q: Did you always know you wanted to be involved in environmental science? What led you to the industry and to your career?

A: I have always been drawn to environmental science because of my love of the outdoors and nature. While at the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Natural Resource Science, I discovered soil and wetland science. I found that I really enjoyed learning about the events that led to the formation of our landscape, and the processes that occur in soils. In my role as an Environmental Scientist here at DiPrete, I’m able to examine and study soils and wetlands frequently. We use the information I collect to determine a site’s suitability for a given land use.


A: How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work?

Q: Most of my time outside of work is spent with my wife and two children. My kids are still young, ages 3 and 5, so they take up a lot of my time and energy. We enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, sledding, and going to the beach in the summer. When conditions allow, I try to squeeze in some ice fishing.