Monticello, NY – Monticello resident Kassie Thelman is thrilled to be back working in her home County.
“It felt right,” says Thelman, who left a nearly seven-year inspection and operations job with a prestigious Orange County materials testing firm to become Sullivan County’s Recycling Coordinator. “I am excited to share the latest information about solid waste and recycling with our community. I feel like I can really make a difference here.”
A graduate of Sullivan West Central School District, Thelman is the daughter of Bill and Laurie Thelman of Bethel, where she grew up with her sisters Kellee and Katie. Though she was initially unsure of how she might spend her professional future, a professor at SUNY Sullivan engaged her interest in biology, and she ultimately earned an associate’s in Environmental Science there, followed by a bachelor’s in Environmental Planning at Binghamton University.
“The environment we live in is so very important,” she explains. “There is always a need to understand what we do with what we’re throwing away. It’s a pressing issue.”
Thanks to an ad her mom spotted in the newspaper after her graduation, Thelman landed an internship with Advance Testing in Goshen, inspecting and testing soils, concrete, asphalt and other materials during the building of the billion-dollar Resorts World Catskills Casino Resort and the adjacent Kartrite water park.
That led to an offer of full-time employment, and Thelman assisted Advance Testing’s vice president in reviewing the accuracy and effectiveness of various reports, plans and drawings. She was subsequently put in charge of scheduling and logistics in the operations department – a key reason Sullivan County became interested in bringing her on.
Almost as soon as she joined the County’s ranks in October, Thelman focused on improving efficiencies.
“What can we do differently?” she wonders. “If, for example, we can cut back on how many trips trucks make to the upstate Seneca Meadows landfill, it will be more money for the County and less emissions for the environment.”
She’s already eagerly discussing the future with fellow recycling coordinators across the State.
“Kassie brings a deep enthusiasm for and commitment to best practices in the fields of solid waste and recycling,” notes Public Works Commissioner Edward McAndrew. “I welcome her to our hardworking team, and I’m looking forward to the innovations she’ll introduce.”
“How we handle our recyclable and non-recyclable waste is one of the Legislature’s top priorities, and Kassie will definitely be involved in the discussions we’re having with Public Works,” says District 5 Legislator George Conklin, chair of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee. “She adds to the experienced crew we have in that Division, one we’re increasingly relying on to help us make fiscally smart and environmentally responsible decisions.”
In the meantime, Thelman is undertaking the same public outreach efforts her predecessor long enjoyed.
“I’m particularly excited about working with local elementary schools,” she affirms. “As our Deputy Commissioner Mark Witkowski has said to me, it’s the kids who are going to make the changes we need to make. They’ll take it from the classroom and bring it home.”
Thelman is happy to make presentations to schools, community groups, social clubs and businesses – or just answer people’s questions over the phone or via email. She can be reached at 845-807-0291 or Kassie.Thelman@sullivanny.us.