A Chip Off the Old Block…Boeing Benefits From Geology Genealogy

Boeing environmental scientist is a restoration "rock" star
Oct 3, 2019 4:10 PM ET
Katie Moxley leads a team of experts who care about the environment, using innovative approaches in cleanup efforts to ensure the protection of human health and ecosystems.

A chip off the old block…Boeing benefits from geology genealogy

Katie Moxley’s mom placed a rock hammer in her hand at age 10. It felt right. Little did she know that geology tool would end up chiseling her future as an environmental leader at Boeing.

Moxley went on to become a geologist and is now a Boeing restoration “rock” star in the Puget Sound. It all started with her mother, an elementary science teacher with Seattle Public Schools, introducing her young daughter to geology while taking extra science courses at the University of Washington.

During graduate school, Moxley started her Boeing career as an intern. Now, she manages a team of environmental experts, who use innovative approaches in cleanup efforts ensuring the protection of human health and the environment. It’s about respecting the fundamentals of nature. For example, using green infrastructure – plant roots to filter toxins – along the Duwamish River in Seattle, which helps remove contaminants from stormwater before it flows to the waterway.

“It’s humbling to think about the geological processes and forces that have shaped the earth -- on and beneath its surface -- to create our amazing landscapes,” Moxley said. “While I admire how we can often engineer solutions, I also believe that Mother Earth can be the best engineer of all.”

Some people, including Moxley, are surprised that she ended up working in the environmental field for one of the world’s largest corporations. Many of her peers in graduate school went on to work for nongovernmental or regulatory agencies. But Moxley believes that NGOs, government, communities and companies all have a role to play when it comes to cleaning up sites that are contaminated because of industrial activity.

“The best solutions are found when all of those stakeholders work together,” she said. “We’re doing the right thing and we’re cleaning up locations affected by our business operations.”

Just as Moxley benefited from her mother’s gift of teaching her about the earth, she is doing the same for her children and hopes that lineage continues.

“As a mother I care about the environment and the legacy we leave our children and their children and their children,” she said.

Besides input from community members and environmental groups, Boeing is guided by leading environmental scientists, and federal and state regulatory agencies. Boeing also collaborates with wildlife and conservation organizations to restore habitat for the benefit of wildlife and the community.