Babcock Labs in the Community

by Allison Mackenzie, CEO

This month I had the opportunity to represent Babcock Labs at numerous events promoting science education and water quality in our community. 

 UCR CNAS Entrepreneurial Panel Event

UCR CNAS Entrepreneurial Panel Event

In early April I spoke to students at the Riverside STEM Academy. The Riverside STEM Academy (RSA) is a Riverside Unified School that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. The school serves grades 5-8, with extension plans to include a STEM High School. I was asked to present on Babcock Laboratories—the work we do, its significance for public health and our environment, and the types of careers we offer. It was a treat to meet so many young people who share my love for science and aspire to be our STEM leaders of tomorrow. 

I was also asked by Kathryn Uhrich, Dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) at the University of California (UCR), to speak as a panelist at the college’s Entrepreneurial Panel Event. The event, titled “Bridging the Gap: From Science to C-Suite,” aimed to provide UCR students with information on how to marry science with entrepreneurship. I shared the story of my career, which began in the role of a UCR graduate and bench chemist at Babcock Laboratories and culminated in my current role as President and Chief Executive Officer. I was happy to offer my insight and encourage young scientists to strengthen their business and managerial skills. One thing I have learned in my 39 years of experience is that our industry needs dedicated, well rounded leaders.         

In mid-April I attended the 2018 LESJWA Water Summit. The Lake Elsinore and San Jacinto Watersheds Authority (LESJWA) is dedicated to improving water quality and wildlife habitats in Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, and the rest of the San Jacinto Watershed. Attendees of the summit learned about accomplishments and recent activities, as well as an update from the Lake Elsinore and Canyon Lake Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Task Force. The Task Force explained its partnership with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board in the implementation of watershed monitoring, mitigation projects, modeling, and a variety of other solutions to meet TMDL targets. The lunch keynote speaker, Tim Moore of Risk Sciences, provided information on the impact of these projects and gave insight into the future of our lakes. 

 Dean Sharon Walker speaking at the April CUC Breakfast sponsored by Babcock Laboratories

Dean Sharon Walker speaking at the April CUC Breakfast sponsored by Babcock Laboratories

Last weekend I joined other Babcock Labs staff in attending the United Way of the Inland Valleys (UWIV) fundraising event for the Girls Excelling in Mathematics with Success (GEMS) program. The GEMS program supports and encourages local middle school girls who have shown an interest in and knack for STEM subjects. As part of the program, the girls are connected with women who are professionals in their respective STEM fields. Last year the GEMS fundraiser helped the program to expand into the Alvord Unified School District, which serves Western Riverside County.

Yesterday morning our Vice President and Laboratory Director Brad Meadows, our Chief Financial Officer Tiffany Gomez, and I attended the UCR Citizens University Committee (CUC) Breakfast, which was proudly sponsored by Babcock Laboratories. The speaker, Dean Sharon Walker of the UCR Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering, presented on the contaminants in our food supply that come from water. Specifically, she spoke on bacterial attachment under dynamic flow conditions on spinach leaf surfaces. The talk was very interesting and reinforced the importance of water quality testing to help prevent foodborne illnesses and protect public health. Particularly since Babcock Labs’ mission is to help safeguard public health and the environment, I was happy that we were able to sponsor such an informative event. 

While it has certainly been a busy month, I am honored that I had the opportunity to represent Babcock Labs at these events. Babcock Labs’ involvement in the community is in keeping with our Core Values. Specifically, it aids in our endeavor to foster meaningful, long-term relationships with our community by upholding our values of integrity, respect, knowledge, equity, accountability, communication, and camaraderie. As employee-owners of a STEM company, we believe we have a responsibility to contribute meaningfully to our industry, which includes supporting and encouraging young people interested in pursuing STEM careers. That’s why Babcock Labs works hard to continue its legacy of active community involvement.