Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Michelle Sherven: Western Environmental Testing Laboratory (WETLAB) is an environmental testing laboratory based in Sparks. We believe getting high quality data can be easy, and working with the right lab can make it a pleasure. As president, my role is to work in conjunction with the leadership to set the strategic vision of the company.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Sherven: My degree is in Environmental Science. When I graduated from college I started working in the laboratory field and found I loved the environment it offered. I have been fortunate enough to be trained by top-notch people in many different areas of the laboratory and they are who inspired me to do what I do every day.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
Sherven: We have the privilege of working with many different industries. Our clients range from government agencies to mining companies to private enterprises. Learning about all the different industries we serve makes this a challenging and engaging position.
NNBW: What is the most challenging part about your job?
Sherven: I would have to say keeping up with regulatory changes. Our clients rely on us being current and up to date at all times on what they can expect during whatever process they are involved in.
NNBW: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?
Sherven: Being a part of a laboratory requires certainly an attention to detail but also a curiosity and willingness to keep learning. Working in the science field is very rewarding when you are well suited for it.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you either professionally or personally?
Sherven: Enjoy learning. Whether you are learning a new skill, adapting to changing conditions or learning to work well with others, those who approach learning openly and without ego will be more successful regardless of the industry.
NNBW: Has there been someone who was especially influential in helping you establish your career or in reaching your higher goals? If so, who and how?
Sherven: My father is extremely business savvy and has always been extremely supportive and open to having me bounce ideas off him. I am grateful for his involvement throughout the years.
NNBW: Do you belong to any professional/networking organizations? How has membership benefitted your career?
Sherven: I belong to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Reno Tahoe. The group is a peer-to-peer network of business owners here in town. It offers owners a group of accomplished people who are not personally vested in your business to help you work through decisions. I have to say it has been an extremely valuable resource.
NNBW: Is there any educational advancement that is essential for someone in your career field?
Sherven: It’s helpful to have a degree in chemistry, biology, or environmental science given what we do. An advanced degree would be required to advance past a certain point.
NNBW: How do you manage your time between the responsibilities of your profession and your personal life?
Sherven: I am extremely fortunate to have a great staff so I can step away when needed. I am a parent and think work-life balance is really important so it’s part of the company culture. We do a lot of cross training so people have flexibility to be away from work.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Sherven: Baskin Robbins.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Sherven: Running, coaching my son’s soccer team, spending time with friends.
NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Sherven: Princeville. Kauai.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
Sherven: It’s a great place for environmental work because there is so much going on (mining, geothermal, Lake Tahoe). The same features that make this an interesting place to do environmental work make it a great place to live and raise a family. We are pleased to call northern Nevada home.