environmental engineer

Little-known career paths at DTE Energy: Environmental Engineer


When you think DTE Energy, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is electricity. However, with our power sites and buildings found all across the state, we also have a commitment to ensure the land we use benefits the community through biodiversity.

This is where team members like Kristen LeForce, Associate Environmental Engineer, come in. Learn more about how her little-known position has a big impact in the way we serve our state.

  1. What are your responsibilities as an Associate Environmental Engineer?
    • I work with about 35 certified sites affiliated with our Wildlife Habitat Council to help them effectively manage their environmental projects and manage their re-certification process. I also help new sites develop conservation goals and become certified.
  2. What was your educational and professional journey to get to where you are now?
    • I attended the University of Michigan – Dearborn and, while there, I obtained a degree in Biology. Fortunately, they have a fantastic biodiversity and habitat program that, in addition to my summer internships with DTE, was my first glance into the career path. I have also worked as an Environmental Interpreter, where I was able to educate children about wildlife and nature.
  3. What is one of your favorite aspects of your career?
    • Occasionally I am informed of lost or injured birds on one of our environmental sites. It’s always fun to go in and operate as a “life-saver,” working with a rehabilitator to catch the bird and safely release it. Wildlife is unpredictable – even when you create a beautiful, safe garden habitat, they can interact with the human world in unexpected ways.
  4. What connection does DTE Energy have with the environment?
    • Pollination is important because it helps flowers grow and spread, and boosts the creation of fruit and veggie plants. Our pollinator gardens help to sustain native habitats, while creating the food we eat. They have flowers and grasses that benefit pollinator species like moths, beetles and flies (more than just the honey bees people often think of). Being able to create a habitat that may have been historically destroyed due to factors like pesticide use supports pollinator species and healthy food creation is a great opportunity.
  5. What does a day at work look like for you?
    • I usually purchase the plants we use in our pollinator garden, based on the best species to use, how large we want them to grow and the area we want to plant them in. From here, I work with the team to design the garden and ensure proper planting. It’s not only an opportunity to create a habitat, but to also educate employees. I have a great job – I’m very lucky.

Learn more about other unique positions at DTE Energy in the “Our People” section on Empowering Michigan.


Photo Credit: A Great Capture