Intern Interview Project: Adam Alavi

November 8th, 2023

Adam Alavi, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, did not take the traditional path to becoming  a project engineer at The Heritage Group. Growing up, sports were a big part of Adam’s life.  After finishing high school Adam traveled to Ottawa, Ontario to play hockey. While his dream of  playing at the higher level did not pan out, this did not stop Adam from making a successful  career for himself.  

After two years in the junior leagues, Adam took his drive and determination to Penn State  University where he majored in mechanical engineering. “I was always a big math and science  person, so I knew engineering was the route I wanted to take,” said Adam. At Penn State, he  became involved with multiple internship opportunities, ultimately receiving an internship with  The Heritage Group through his dad, Ali Alavi, the Chief Legal Officer at Heritage Environment  Services (HES). After interning for the summer Adam knew he wanted to go back to school and  receive his masters in nanoscale engineering. 

After earning his masters, Adam came back to Heritage and was able to jump right in. As a  project engineer, Adam works on a variety of projects, with upscaling as a main task of his role. “As engineers, we try to take what the smart PhD chemists do and scale it up into something  that we can use. Not just beakers pouring into one another but trying to develop it into  something that you turn multiple tons per year,” Adam shared. This scaling process is not  particularly easy, as it takes a lot of time and energy, but Adam talks about how the people at  Heritage make these long, difficult jobs worth the effort. “The people that work here are just  the nicest in the world and very supportive,” he declared. 

The Heritage Group has been a place Adam can put his skills to good use and be truly  innovative. He is currently working on a new air sparging project, a technique used to blow air  through a pipe underground to clean out specific chemicals in the contaminated ground. This  technique is a small part of Adam’s overarching PFAS (Per and Polyfluorinated Substances)  project. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is beginning to regulate PFAS, prompting  efforts, such as Adam’s current project, to find a solution for customers to dispose of these  substances before the regulations take effect. 

While Adam is still young in his career, he notes he has not personally had the opportunity to  bet on someone but has experienced being bet on. Even though Adam’s dad works for the  company, Adam has been very thankful that The Heritage Group has allowed him to prove  himself beyond more than his dad’s connection to the company. Adam wanted to show that he  is “more than just my dad’s offspring.” Heritage has allowed Adam to grow and generate his  own innovative ideas that benefit the company.