The Three Rs

It’s about sustainability for Veronica Roof (JD 06). From her career as a solid waste management consultant to her decision to attend law school, she believes it always pays to think about how things will look down the road.

On a daily basis, Roof assists state and local governments with recycling and solid waste management issues, helping them establish more sustainable approaches for dealing with the ever-increasing amounts of refuse that are the byproducts of modern life. And her decision to return to school to earn a law degree after establishing a career as a consultant provided her with the knowledge and skills to ultimately be more effective – and sustainable – in her field.

“A large percentage of my time is spent utilizing the skills I obtained in law school,” Roof said. In her current position at consulting firmR.W. Beck, a SAIC company she is often required to draft or review contracts, ordinances and negotiations. Her background in law contributes to her effectiveness in that role.

When she began working for R.W. Beck in 2001, Roof said she was exposed to sustainability issues early on. And as she found herself working on an increasing number of law-related projects with state and local governments, the need for a law degree became clear.

“I just knew this is the area I wanted to continue in as a career,” she said. “Consulting just offers the opportunity to have a different project every day, and with the type of work I do, I actually see my projects being put into place in communities. To me, that’s rewarding.”

One of her recent rewarding projects came when she served as the project manager of a statewide construction- and demolitiondebris characterization study in Georgia. The study – a follow-up to a 2005 municipal solid-waste characterization study – was the first time Georgia characterized construction and demolition debris. Roof was pleased with the results.

“It has provided an enormous amount of information for the state to pursue opportunities to educate both the private and public sectors to recover construction- and demolition- debris materials,” Roof said. “It will be great to see the impact of that knowledge fiv or 10 years down the road.”

Roof enjoys the direct connection she has to governments in helping them become more sustainable.“ The most fulfillingaspect is the procurement work,” Roof said, “assisting local governments that are faced with procuring solid waste and recycling services once every 10 or 20 years, and they are across the table from the private sector that handles these issues every day. I’m able to bring them to an equal playing fieldand it ultimately benefits the community at lage.”

And there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of projects out there that require Roof’s expertise. In the past year alone, she has assisted local governments in Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

But that doesn’t stop her from getting back to Gainesville once in a while.

“You always have to squeeze in a Gator football game at least once a year,” she said.

Roof’s husband, Brian Roof (JD 06), is on the UF Law Alumni Council and was a two-term president of Florida Blue Key, so they both remain very active with the law school, she said. With an undergraduate degree in business and a career in the consulting fiel working on sustainability issues, Roof has been able to use her law degree in a less tra-ditional way, and she encourages current law students to do the same.

“Simply think outside the box,” Roof said. “A law degree opens a lot of opportunities for professions that law students may not have considered initially but can be extremely rewarding in the long run.