DWM Employee of the Year Finalist Spotlight: Jeremy Poplawski -- Epitome of a Helpful State Employee

Author: Laura J. Leonard

Each year, the Division of Waste Management encourages its staff to nominate fellow colleagues who have gone above and beyond in their service to the public and the regulated community, while striving to showcase the mission of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

Jeremy Poplawski, program consultant in the Underground Storage Tank (UST) Section, demonstrates a willingness to help no matter the task. Described as “one of the most self-motivated people in the program,” he tackles obstacles that others shy away from, while expanding his knowledge to benefit his co-workers, section and overall, the division. 

Nominated for his can-do attitude and willingness to help, Poplawski made significant improvements to the quality and usability of the section’s GIS datasets and applications. He assisted regional staff with correctly collecting and entering data into the system to be used for improved site management. He has linked the section’s web application site search results to the Laserfiche archiving system; programmed mobile device apps that allow incident managers to record receptor and monitoring well data while in the field; and layered multiple external datasets like county parcel information and subsurface geologic details through the web application to better inform staff when making regulatory decisions.

Poplawski centralized internal communication through Sharepoint tools, building a site and subsites for each regional office, so the division could more quickly and easily access and share information. Additionally, he created a more transparent way to store preapproval requests filed by tank owners applying for support through the Leaking Commercial Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.

Two years later, Hurricane Matthew’s impacts are still being felt by underground storage tank business owners who seek recovery aid from the section. Poplawski has been instrumental in Hurricane Matthew recovery aid distribution for the UST Section. Sensitive in nature, Poplawski has shown great consideration and support to those who were devastated by the storm’s impacts.

With his initiative and willingness to help, Poplawski is the epitome of a helpful state employee.

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