CTEH Spotlight: Christine Millner, MBA (Part I)

From chemist to project manager in the Toxicology Emergency Response Program, Christine Millner, MBA has played a vital role in almost every department at CTEH. Since 2002, she has worked on projects involving emergency response, remediation, industrial hygiene, regulatory compliance and more. Today, she oversees our quality management system, where she helps CTEH continually improve its processes and services to better meet clients’ needs. Learn more about Christine and her work below:

You were responsible for creating CTEH’s Quality Management System. What was the motivation for developing this program?

Quality is in CTEH’s DNA. It’s in our people, processes, internal initiatives, training, responsiveness and more. This is essential because, in our industry, quality has never mattered more. Clients now have the ability to find consultants at their fingertips or just ask Siri. So we have to stay on the cutting-edge. We’re adopting new technologies, developing new products and consistently delivering quality services. We created the Quality Management System to place the highest importance on all of our processes, both internal and client facing. I believe CTEH is unique in this respect because, in most cases, companies create a quality management system only when they get too large or create a hand-held product (i.e., medical device, drug, phone, etc.). Our system was put in place to help us ensure quality is continually driven from the top down and bottom up.

What does your job as manager of quality management entail?

Our clients are in need of trained, skilled and knowledgeable environmental, health and safety professionals. I’m responsible for working with our team to identify issues, document existing processes and build new procedures or quality initiatives. I like to think of myself as a “re-engineer.” I work with staff and the management team to rethink and redesign processes for businesses in order to exceed stakeholders’ requirements. This could be ensuring our staff has the proper training requirements before they’re deployed to the field; confirming air or environmental samples are collected correctly; checking that data is valid and defensible, or guaranteeing invoices are correct and timely. In my role, I often have the opportunity to be involved with various aspects of our business, which is a challenge I enjoy.

You have an MBA from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. How has this degree benefitted you at CTEH?

I initially decided to pursue my MBA to help me grow professionally and personally. I had no idea it would completely reshape how I think about and view things. While at Owen, I gained exposure to the health care, marketing, information technology, automotive, insurance, human resources, transportation, and manufacturing sectors. All of these arenas are different than the environmental consulting world. As a result, I have a more global view of how ripples in the market or foreign affairs affect our clients, industry or company. I always thought about our clients’ needs in the moment—during cleanup activities or at an incident site. However, I didn’t fully understand how they have specific requirements and how we can develop new products or services to turn their problems into solutions. I now rarely see a problem as a problem, but as a capacity constraint. This has helped me problem-solve issues internally and for clients. With my degree, I’m also now able to translate what differentiates CTEH from others so we can better support our stakeholders, manage our processes and ensure quality throughout all levels of our company.


Want to learn more about Christine? Connect with her on LinkedIn.