DeShawn McGregor ’10, ’12 M.S. grew up in the Bahamas and spent every minute he could outside, running along the sandy beaches, climbing trees, exploring the sea. His parents were always calling him to come in for dinner or bedtime. “But I’d still stay out, trying to get those last few minutes of sunlight,” he says.
So it is a fitting that McGregor is the environmental specialist at Baha Mar. The $3.5 billion project, slated to open this spring, is the largest single phase luxury resort project in the history of the Caribbean and one of the largest developments underway in the Western Hemisphere, he says.
McGregor is the guardian of the sprawling sweep of sand and sea at the property’s edge. He serves on the Green Team, supervising contractors and sub-contractors to ensure compliance with environmental management plans on behalf of the owner, acting as a liaison to governmental agencies, and drafting and implementing the operations department’s environmental management and recycling plans. He’s also developing the resort’s sustainability program.
His work takes him outside often. One particular “day at the office” featured a snorkel inspection of an artificial reef the company installed to rejuvenate and support the sea life. McGregor’s task: to snorkel all around it and check on its progress.
He finds it fascinating that it was a professor on a campus 1,100 miles away who would teach him about the land and sea he’d enjoyed all his life. Laurence Davis, a UNH professor of earth and environmental science, is an expert in the Bahaman environment. McGregor received a Gerace Research Center Scholarship to study biochemistry and environmental science.
“Dr. Davis was instrumental not only in getting me to the University but preparing me for the competitive job market and teaching me the environmental aspects of the Bahamas, because he studied it for years,” he says. “Dr. Davis really lived his work, and I want to do the same. He drove a hybrid; he recycled; he got us involved in all aspects of protecting the environment.”
Now McGregor is a voice for the environment, speaking on the project and on related environmental issues in newspapers and television newscasts. When young people ask him how he got his start in the field, he always mentions the University of New Haven.
“The sincere passion and esteem I hold for the University shines through,” he says. “UNH has provided so much to me – mentors, life lessons, work experience, fun memories and, last but not least, lifelong friends. I credit UNH with helping to mold me into the man I am today.”
Hennessey, J. (2015, February 5). Alum Becomes Voice for the Environment. Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://unhtoday.newhaven.edu/index.php/component/content/article/3232#alum