DEQ leader tours Nucor

Published 11:21 am Thursday, October 20, 2016

COFIELD – Dr. Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), recently took a tour of Hertford County Nucor.

He described Nucor as, “incredibly impressive,” and “a great example of economic excellence for North Carolina.”

He said, “We need more businesses like Nucor in North Carolina. They’re one of the biggest recyclers in the state, are very energy efficient, make a good profit, and hire a lot of workers for very good wages.”

Bob McCracken, Nucor’s plant manager, said Secretary van der Vaart is, “Fantastic in his role and is easy to work with.”

McCracken reiterated that Nucor not only uses recycled scrap steel to make its high quality plate steel, but also recycles all by-products and offers a local Earth Day for recycling program.

But he said he is most proud of the excellent people working with Nucor. The steel mill has 480 direct employees and another 125 indirect employees.

Secretary van der Vaart also serves as the governor’s energy policy advisor.

He expressed enthusiasm for Nucor’s energy efficiency in such a high energy business.

McCracken said Nucor is very energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

He said they took van der Vaart throughout the plant and showed him everything.

Gov. Pat McCrory named Donald R. van der Vaart Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality effective Jan. 1, 2015.

From Aug. 2014 to his appointment as DEQ Secretary, van der Vaart served as DEQ’s deputy secretary, and as the department’s energy policy advisor.

Before becoming deputy secretary and energy policy advisor, van der Vaart worked as an engineering supervisor and later as program manager for the N.C. Division of Air Quality. He also teaches environmental policy and law at N.C. State University.

His previous work includes scientific research at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and at Research Triangle Institute.

Van der Vaart also has experience in research and regulatory positions for energy and utility companies in the private sector.

Van der Vaart holds a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge (England), a law degree from North Carolina Central University, a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from N.C. State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He is a licensed Professional Engineer and attorney in North Carolina.  He has published numerous technical and legal articles and holds two patents.