By Matt Welsh
Jarrett Standridge is from Bridgecreek, Oklahoma. He is a junior at the University of Oklahoma studying journalism.
Matt Welsh: Do you work right now?
Jarrett Standridge: Yeah, I work for my grandpa. He runs an environmental remediation company. Basically, I am a hazmat technician. I’m certified to deal with hazardous materials. So, say a semitruck rolls over and spills all of its diesel on the ground. We go out there, dig up all the dirt, send it for testing and backfill it with clean dirt. But whenever we don’t have jobs like that, we pressure wash parking lots and stuff like that to keep us busy.
MW: Interesting. So, you grew up around that?
JS: Yup, my dad does the same thing for a different company. I have been around it for a while.
MW: What was the most dangerous job you’ve had?
JS: This summer we got called out to Amarillo. There was a semitrailer that was hauling 88 fifty-gallon drums of various chemicals. It was in a wreck, so the wrecker hauled it off. Then one day, they walked out there and noticed there was a puddle underneath the trailer. There were some flammables and some poisonous chemicals in there, so they were like “I don’t know what this is.” We had to suit all the way up, respirators, everything, the whole nine yards. We had to get in there, dig around and climb up on the barrels to figure out which one was leaking and figure out what it was. Luckily it wasn’t anything dangerous… After that, we were able to take off our suits, haul the drums off to another trailer and get them shipped to where they were going.
MW: That sounds like something that’s really dangerous. Why do you not want to pursue that full time? It seems pretty fun.
JS: It’s fun in the sense that you get to learn a lot of things, but it is pretty labor intensive. I don’t know if I want to do manual labor my whole life. Like you said, it’s kind of dangerous, depending on what you’re getting into. My dad, he burned his foot with some acid one time. You just never know what you’re going to get into. I don’t know if I want to do that full time.
MW: Was there any pressure to join the family business growing up?
JS: No, my parents said you could do whatever you wanted. But my grandpa had some openings and its good money for a kid in college.
MW: During the summers is that what you do, or do you pursue internships?
JS: So, I’ve had a couple of internships. I had one right out of high school that I did during school. In the summer, I try to work as much as I can so that way, I don’t have to work that much during the semester.
MW: Is that a challenge or something you like then?
JS: I wouldn’t say it’s really a challenge. During the summer, I have nothing else to do. It is kind of a challenge during the semester, though. My grandpa’s company is pretty small. I think there’s five of us, including him, and three of us are in college right now. During the semester he doesn’t have much help, so we have to work either nights or weekends to try to help him keep up.
MW: How do you balance school and work?
JS: It’s nice that I’m related to him so I can work when I have a gap. I don’t necessarily have to work all the time. That’s a part of it. I work with him to figure out when he really needs me versus when he can get by without me.
MW: What do you do to relax?
JS: If I’m not working or at school, usually I’m chilling at home watching football or something.
MW: What’s next for your career?
JS: I’d like to be a sportswriter. I’m not really sure where at… Covering sports is what I really love and what I am interested in. That’ll be fun to finally get to do that.