Joel Zirkle, PG


Joel Zirkle

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M.S. in Geology
University of Iowa, 1992

B.A. in Geology and Environmental Studies
Cornell College, 1988


Professional Geologist
Illinois #196-001140, 2004

Registered Geologist
Missouri #RG0924, 1996


Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) 40-Hour
Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)
OSHA 8-Hour Refresher

Joel joined Fehr Graham in 2003 and became a Principal in 2011 thanks to his diverse experience in site assessment and brownfield remediation. He works with various regulatory programs in Illinois and Iowa and the Environmental Protection Agency to procure funds for his clients and help them make informed decisions.

Joel was instrumental in developing Fehr Graham’s leadership program and mentoring future firm leaders using John Maxwell’s “Five Levels of Leadership” and RightPath assessments to improve collaboration and understanding of colleagues. His efforts are helping groom the firm’s future leaders.

A Grinnell, Iowa, native, Joel graduated from Cornell College with a bachelor’s degree in Geology and Environmental Studies. He earned a master’s degree in Geology from the University of Iowa. He lives in Rockford, Illinois, with his wife and her children. He has two adult children.


How would you describe what you do to someone unfamiliar with your job?

I assess and clean up contaminated properties to make them productive again.

What do you like most about working at Fehr Graham?

I like our diverse range of services and our culture that is always striving to improve.

Tell us about your professional accomplishments.

I brought brownfield redevelopment work to the firm. I’ve also helped develop many of our younger staff and watched them grow and take on more responsibility in the firm.

Who are you outside work?

Some of my hobbies include fishing, hunting, exercising, woodworking and blacksmithing.

How would your co-workers and clients describe you?

Friendly, even-tempered, thorough, logical and a bit of a nerd.

What do you enjoy about helping clients and the communities in which they work and live?

I love the challenge of taking a contaminated or abandoned property that seems unusable and bringing it back to life. The harder it appears, the more I want to do it!