Merry Christmas 2023 and a Happy New Year!

From our Keika Family to yours, here’s wishing you peace, joy and blessings of the holiday season. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We are again partnering with our friends at One Tree Planted to plant our “Keika Christmas Trees” in honor of our employees, clients, and vendors. The essence of our mission is to support clean air and water along with training for safe travel across the globe. Thanks for all you do and for honoring us with your association along the way.

We funded these tree projects this year:
Argentina
Indonesia
Peru
Philippines
Thailand
Protect the ORCA

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men


What are the Different Types of Hazmat Certifications?

First let’s address a bit of a pet peeve here at Eduwhere. There are no government certified courses or trainers regarding hazardous materials. The government requires employers to know the rules and train their employee on the rules. The hazmat employer may provide the training in house or use a subject matter expert to conduct training. The employer must decide if the expert is qualified to teach the Regulations. If the trainer has been offering courses for 30 years you may have found a good prospect.

You probably searched for “Hazmat Certification” because you need training on these rules so let’s discuss hazmat training – what it is, who needs it and where to find it. And if you call our help desk 866.523.9108 and ask how to get “hazmat certified” we can quickly tell you if your employer uses our courses. We can also ask you some questions like what are you shipping to help you select which course our clients use and which your hazmat employer might consider. Your hazmat employer certifies you by sending you through our training. So with that huge clarification out of the way we can begin.

Hazmat, or hazardous materials, are substances and products we encounter daily. They are ingredients, chemicals, or properties that threaten the health of humans, animals, and the environment. You might find some of these substances at your place of work, in which case you will need the proper hazmat courses under your belt to do your job properly.

This article will cover what hazmat training is and offer some guidance on the different hazardous materials training courses you will need for your profession. 

What Are Hazardous Materials Certifications?

Hazmat training is a must for compliance with Department of Transportation (DOT) and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for safety. Employers must certify that their employees have passed required safety courses on handling hazardous materials. Employees must complete hazardous materials training before shipping, receiving, handling, cleaning, packaging, or preparing hazardous materials.

Who Needs Hazmat Training?

All employees who will be in contact with hazardous materials at any point in the supply chain must attend hazmat training classes, as required by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Truck drivers, warehouse workers, waste management personnel, and many others may need different levels of hazmat training to do their job safely and effectively and comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Title 49 of the CFR covers Transportation. Subchapter C covers Hazardous Materials Regulations and Part 172.702 addresses the applicability and responsibility for training and testing.

The types of hazmat certifications required vary depending on the kind of work and field. Again, the hazmat employer has responsibility for training the hazmat employee. Safety training is required and recurring so employees may stay well versed in how to properly identify hazmat and protect their safety and the safety of others.

How To Become Hazmat “Certified”

Begin by checking with your employer because “a hazmat employer shall ensure that each of its hazmat employee is tested by appropriate means on the training subjects covered in § 172.704.” The government does not certify training or trainers, they put the requirement on the hazmat employer to train the hazmat employee on the safety regulations.

You may get your hazmat training online, on-site, or via webinar. Many hazardous material certification courses are also available locally at different educational facilities. 

You can explore the selection of webinars on the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration site. As for on-site training, check out your local community education centers and schools for availability. 

If online training suits you more, Eduwhere features a large selection of online hazardous materials training courses that will give you the proper classes for handling hazmat at various levels.

Types of Hazardous Materials Courses

Depending on the work you will be involved in, you must complete different types of hazardous materials training. Eduwhere has several courses that can teach you to handle hazardous materials at work.

DOT General Awareness of Hazardous Materials

This course will provide its students with general awareness training for hazardous materials and their transportation. It’s a required course by the DOT and covers all the basic regulations of transporting hazardous materials, different classifications, and security.

What you’ll learn:

  • Proper training requirements for hazmat employees
  • Federal hazmat regulations, such as the Hazardous Materials Table
  • What makes something hazardous material
  • The nine classes of hazmat, according to the DOT
  • The risks that come with the transportation of hazardous materials

Who should take this course:

Those who will be working with and transporting hazardous materials are required to complete this course. That may include employees that will be responsible for any of the following involving hazardous materials: 

  • Loading and unloading
  • Shipping and receiving
  • Transporting

DOT Hazardous Materials Transportation

This course will give students the necessary information on the proper procedures and regulations regarding ground transportation of hazardous materials. It’s a 10-step approach that outlines all activities associated with preparing hazardous material for travel. Students of the course will learn the classes of hazardous materials, how to choose the right packaging for hazmat, mark/label containers, and prepare shipping documents. This course will also cover new requirements enacted over the past year.

What you’ll learn:

  • Locating and using the federal hazardous materials regulations
  • Proper labeling and marking of hazardous materials that are ready to be shipped
  • Completing a Bill of Lading for hazardous materials
  • Selecting the proper packaging for hazmat
  • Requirements regarding vehicle placards
  • Developing emergency response information that will accompany hazmat shipments
  • Security awareness and plans

Who should take this course:

Completion of this course is required of employees who will be involved in the following:

  • Shipping hazardous materials by ground or preparing hazardous material shipping papers
  • Loading, unloading, or handling hazardous materials
  • Marking, labeling, or preparing containers, drums, or packages containing hazardous materials for transportation
  • Ensuring the safety and security of transporting hazardous materials

DOT Hazardous Materials Shipping for Environmental Professionals

Environmental professionals are required to take this course to properly protect the environment, other employees, and the public. It will cover all DOT regulations and requirements for shipping supplies, equipment, and samples related to hazardous materials and waste.

What you’ll learn:

  • Locating and using the federal hazardous materials regulations
  • Proper labeling and marking of hazmat containers
  • Completing a Bill of Lading for hazardous materials
  • Selecting, preparing, and packaging hazardous materials
  • Vehicle placarding requirements
  • Filling out the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest
  • Developing appropriate emergency response information to accompany shipments

Who should take this course:

Environmental professionals that will handle or come in contact with hazardous materials, which may include:

  • Samplers
  • Drillers
  • Engineers
  • Geologists
  • Lab techs
  • Scientists
  • Field techs
  • Hazardous waste handlers

Hazardous Waste Management Courses

There are also training courses specifically for hazardous waste. Hazardous waste has properties that prove to be dangerous or life-threatening to humans, property, or the environment. 

DOT Hazardous Waste Manifest

This course introduces the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest, which helps those who generate hazardous waste keep track of its management and disposal and follow regulations from start to finish. All employees that sign off on the manifest must receive the proper training to complete manifests. 

What you’ll learn:

  • The requirements set by the manifest
  • Completing a hazardous waste manifest
  • All possible security concerns that come with hazardous materials shipments
  • Transporting hazardous materials

Who should take this course:

  • All employees who will be handling, generating, storing, treating, or disposing of hazardous waste
  • Environmental professionals who are responsible for manifesting hazardous waste
  • Environmental managers who may use hazardous chemicals at certain facilities 
  • Individuals who want to learn more about hazardous waste regulations

RCRA Hazardous Waste Management for Generators

This course is all about handling hazardous waste at the facilities where the waste is generated. It will cover all federal solid and hazardous waste management laws and regulations as well as the history of hazardous waste management. The course also features a complete guide on recognizing hazardous waste and managing it from labeling to shipping. 

What you’ll learn:

  • Federal hazardous waste regulations
  • Identifying and managing hazardous waste
  • Determining the generator status and maintaining the facility’s overall compliance
  • Recognizing the regulations for record-keeping, training, and enforcement regarding hazardous waste management
  • Managing used oil
  • The requirements for restrictions regarding land disposal

Who should take this course:

  • All employees who will be handling, generating, storing, treating, or disposing of hazardous waste
  • Environmental managers who may use hazardous chemicals at certain facilities
  • Individuals who want to learn more about hazardous waste regulations

Hazardous Waste Management and Shipping for Environmental Professionals

This hybrid DOT-RCRA course is designed to meet annual training requirements for professions that generate hazardous waste. It will showcase the history and overview of laws and regulations regarding hazardous waste management. It will also teach you how to comply with various regulations and manage all aspects of hazardous waste. 

What you’ll learn:

  • Identifying and managing hazardous waste
  • Determining the status of the generator and maintaining facility compliance with regulations regarding hazardous waste
  • Recognizing regulations for hazardous waste record-keeping and reporting and adhering to them
  • Proper labeling and packing of containers that contain hazardous waste
  • Filling out the manifests for hazardous waste

Who should take this course:

Environmental professionals charged with handling, shipping, or receiving hazardous materials (including hazardous waste) and professionals involved with managing hazardous waste during cleanup activities must take this course. These professionals may include:

  • Samplers
  • Drillers
  • Engineers
  • Geologists
  • Lab techs
  • Scientists
  • Field techs

Take Action to Maintain your Compliance Training, with Easy, Online Courses! 

Eduwhere makes online learning simple and easy with its large selection of online courses. You can study on the go whenever you want to get your compliance training. All you need to do is select the course you need and register securely online. We will send you your login credentials and activate your account.

You set the pace for how fast you complete the course, so you can work toward your “certification” in the way that is most convenient for you. With nearly 30 years of training experience the government auditors may be our best endorsement. Recently during a review of one of our clients an auditor spotted an Eduwhere Certificate of Completion in the files. “if you are using Eduwhere, you will be fine.”

Eduwhere has designed learning to be flexible so that you can achieve your goals without disrupting your regular routine. Explore how you can complete your 49 CFR hazmat training requirements online now with Eduwhere.

Take the next step in your career with easy online training!

Can You Ship Lithium Batteries? And Do You Need to be Certified to Ship Lithium Batteries?

First envisioned by British chemist M. Stanley Whittingham, in the 1970s, the lithium-ion battery has today become a major fixture of our technology-driven world. Thanks to their power, rapid charge, and efficiency, lithium batteries are now found in the vast majority of modern mobile devices and electronics. While lithium-ion batteries have helped to transform society over the past three decades, there are some dangers associated with these batteries that are important to understand.

So, can you ship batteries? The short answer is yes, but it’s not that simple. To protect public health and safety, businesses and independent resellers must comply with various restrictions on shipping lithium batteries either in the United States or abroad. Read on to learn more about the best practices for packing lithium batteries, how they’re shipped, and the types of electronics that typically contain these types of batteries.

Can You Ship Lithium Batteries?

You can ship lithium batteries through approved couriers so long as you adhere to certain standards and restrictions. Since the Department of Transportation (DOT) designates lithium batteries as potentially dangerous, some lithium batteries have more stringent shipping requirements than others. For example, the shipment of defective lithium batteries by air or to international destinations is strictly prohibited. Some of the approved couriers who can ship approved lithium batteries include USPS, FedEx, and UPS. You can review DOT’s comprehensive shipping guide online to dive deeper into restrictions on shipping batteries that contain lithium-ion cells.

Can You Take Lithium Batteries on a Plane?

Due to some incidents involving lithium batteries on aircraft, people often ask: Can you fly with lithium batteries? The short answer is yes, but there are several restrictions.

You may only bring lithium batteries onto an aircraft so long as you keep them in a carry-on bag and not in checked luggage. This includes any loose or spare lithium batteries for devices like cameras, laptops, or vape pens. However, it’s important to note that any loose or spare batteries should be properly packaged in separate plastic bags before traveling on a plane. In addition, the FAA recommends isolating the terminals of lithium batteries using tape to help mitigate any risks of short-circuiting during the flight.

Are All Batteries Lithium?

Not all batteries contain lithium-ion cells. For example, standard alkaline batteries such as disposal AA or 9V batteries are composed of manganese dioxide and zinc. Other types of batteries include carbon zinc, silver oxide, and zinc-air batteries, such as those used in wristwatches. Most batteries are clearly labeled and easy to identify.

What Has Lithium Batteries?

Lithium batteries are found in many electronic devices people use daily, including laptops, tablets, smartphones, and portable power rechargers. These types of batteries can also be found in sophisticated medical equipment like defibrillators and hearing aids. Larger, more powerful forms of lithium batteries are also used to power electric vehicles or store large amounts of electricity for solar energy systems.

Do iPhones Have Lithium Batteries?

All iPhones contain lithium batteries. The design and capacities of iPhone batteries vary depending on the model. While removing an iPhone battery at home is possible, doing so will void the warranty on the device, potentially damaging the device in the process.

Do iPads Have Lithium Batteries?

Just like iPhones, all iPads are powered by lithium batteries. The battery of an iPad can also be difficult to remove, and an Apple technician usually does this. After reaching a full charge, an iPad battery will typically power the device for a maximum of 10 hours, depending on usage, before it requires recharging.

Do Laptops Have Lithium Batteries?

Laptops are another common device that relies on lithium batteries for power. These batteries are typically easy to remove and replace. Unlike iPads or iPhones, it’s possible to provide power to a laptop without a battery by using the AC power cable. However, removing the power outlet from a laptop that doesn’t contain a battery will immediately power down the device.

Considerations when shipping laptops with lithium batteries

When shipping a laptop with a connected lithium battery, it’s important to ensure the packaging is strong enough to sustain the rigors of transport. The package must also be appropriately marked with the right UN code that indicates the type of lithium battery being shipped and whether or not the battery is connected to the laptop. You can find a summary of these UN codes and what they mean on the International Air Transport Association website. You should also take measures to ensure the laptop is protected from liquids during transport. The best way to do this is to place the laptop in a static-proof bag before packaging.

How to Ship a Lithium Battery

Understanding how to ship lithium batteries isn’t difficult, but there are a few important rules to keep in mind. First, all lithium batteries intended for shipment must pass UN 38.3 testing requirements. In addition, any loose lithium batteries shipped by air must be in a state of charge (SOC) 30% or lower than their full capacity. Before shipping one or more lithium batteries, take some time to follow these additional essential tips.

Inspect the Battery

Before shipping batteries like these, take some time to check the labels. Lithium batteries shipped via a ground courier cannot exceed a 300-watt-hour maximum, and, as previously mentioned, recalled or damaged lithium batteries are entirely prohibited from air shipment. To ship damaged lithium batteries by ground freight, the package must be properly marked with a Class 9 hazard label and the corresponding UN shipping label.

Carefully Package the Battery

Since lithium batteries are potentially dangerous, you must take great care with packaging. If you’re only shipping one battery, make sure the terminals are covered with tape and have no way of moving around inside the package. The battery should also be adequately protected from impacts or moisture.

Select a Courier

Once the package is ready for shipment, it’s time to take it to a courier to handle your battery delivery. When shipping batteries USPS, FedEx, DHL, or UPS, make sure the individual understands the contents of the package so they can create the appropriate battery shipping label and shipping documents. If you’re uncertain about the regulations concerning shipping lithium batteries with FedEx, USPS, or through another courier, it’s a good idea to ask for guidance or have the shipping professional inspect the contents of the package before shipment to ensure safety.

How to Pack Batteries for Shipping

It’s important to ensure lithium batteries are safely packaged in compliance with DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations. Failing to comply with these regulations can result in a hefty fine of up to $27,000. Follow these steps to prepare lithium batteries for shipment.

If Possible, Keep Batteries in the Original Packaging

It’s always best to keep lithium batteries in the manufacturer’s packaging. Next, the batteries should be well-insulated with packing material like bubble wrap to prevent any movement of the contents during transit. Take care to ensure the batteries are insulated from impacts from all sides of the box. If you can’t do this, then you should package the batteries in separate static-proof bags and cover the terminals with tape.

Prevent the Batteries from Contacting One Another

If shipping lithium batteries in their original packaging isn’t possible, you should place each battery in a separate static-proof bag and cover the terminals with tape. Doing this will ensure the batteries do not react with one another during transport.

Use a Sturdy Box

Finally, be sure to use a strong, preferably unused, shipping box. This box should have rigid sides that protect the batteries from any impacts during transit. Shipping lithium batteries in bubble mailers or envelopes is never a good idea.

How to Store Loose Batteries

You should always store loose batteries with the same care as when packing them for shipment. Remember, various environmental factors can cause lithium batteries to become hazardous. Observe these tips to store batteries long-term safely.

Keep Loose Batteries in a Dry, Climate-Controlled Environment

You should always store batteries in a place free of moisture or extreme temperature fluctuations. Never expose loose batteries to the elements. Any damaged or corroded batteries should be recycled following EPA guidelines.

Store Different Types of Batteries Separately

Avoid storing batteries of different capacities or ages in the same container. Instead, take some time to organize batteries according to type. Doing this can help mitigate any dangers of the materials interacting.

Prevent Metal From Contacting Stored Batteries

You should never store batteries near materials that can conduct electricity. This includes metal scrap or electronic equipment. Don’t forget to close the terminals of stored batteries with tape as well.

Shipping Lithium Batteries FAQs

Understanding the process for shipping lithium batteries can initially seem a little challenging. With so many regulations governing the shipment of lithium batteries, it’s not unusual to have a few questions. Here are a few answers to common queries people tend to have about the process.

How much does an AA battery weigh?

The typical AA battery weighs about 0.08 ounces or just over 2.26 grams.

Does a charged battery weigh more?

Although a charged battery contains more mass than an uncharged battery, the net weight of the battery will remain the same.

Does it cost more to ship lithium-ion batteries?

In many cases, yes, largely due to the increased care needed to safely ship lithium batteries.

Can you ship batteries internationally?

Batteries installed in an electronic device can be shipped internationally, but individual lithium batteries cannot be shipped to international destinations. You can find additional information online regarding USPS lithium battery shipping guidelines.

Do you need to be certified to ship lithium batteries?

If your profession involves shipping lithium batteries or cells by ground or air, you must complete required DOT and IATA training in order to comply with agency regulations. Eduwhere’s IATA lithium battery training will fully prepare you for any contingency of transporting batteries whether by truck or aircraft. This training is especially important for employees who work in shipping and receiving.

After learning how to properly document, mark, label, and package shipments for transport, you will become confident in your ability to properly manage the shipping of lithium batteries. You will find out what restrictions are in place for air transport and gain knowledge of how to proceed in emergency situations.
You will learn not only about the regulations concerning lithium batteries, but also about other types of batteries classified as hazardous, such as wet batteries (lead-acid, lead-alkali, non-spillable); dry batteries (alkaline, Ni-Cd, etc.); and vehicles and equipment powered by batteries.


At Eduwhere, we provide comprehensive training courses on IATA, DOT, and EPA regulations pertaining to the shipment of potentially hazardous materials like lithium batteries. To learn more, review our transportation and shipping courses online today.

Another 1,000 Trees

We are pleased to honor our clients, vendors, consultants and employees by planting trees across the globe.  We are working with One Tree Planted again this year.

Trees are vital.  They help clean our air and water and provide habitat to an array of animals including over 80% of the world’s birds. In addition to absorbing harmful carbon from the atmosphere, forests are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines.  And they are beautiful.  From afar they provide epic scenery and there is something eternally calming and relaxing from a simple walk in the woods.  We can’t think of a better way to honor our people.

We are supporting four projects this year. 

250 Trees in Appalachia, , where many of our employees spend countless hours enjoying nature.

250 Trees in Peru, home of some of our very first and oldest clients.

250 Trees in Vietnam is one of our fastest growing regions.

250 Trees in Indonesia is home to some of our newest clients.

Keika planted 1,000 trees in 2022!
One Tree Planted

Thanks for your association with Keika Ventures we appreciate you very much.

Merry Christmas 2022

All of us here at Keika Ventures would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday Season and safe, peaceful and joyous New Year.

As has become our tradition we are again partnering with One Tree Planted to plant 1,000 trees in honor of our clients, colleagues, vendors and their families.  Thank you again for a great 2022.

Peace!

Keika & Eduwhere Group Shot
The Keika & Eduwhere Group

Lorri White, Co-Founder

Through hard work and passion, Lorri White, co-founder of Keika Ventures, has gone from a curious small-town girl to a global entrepreneur, seeking to help people around the world facilitate their environmental testing projects. 

“We help them get their sampling projects done in a quicker and more streamlined fashion,” White said. 

Hailing from the southeast corner of Indiana, White lived in Osgood, Indiana, with one stoplight, a town population of 1,000, and a high school graduating class of 50 students. White’s family’s national claim to fame was the Oscar nominee “Hoosiers” film, which was loosely based on the story of the Milan High School team that won the 1954 state championship. White’s uncle played on the 1954 team. 

“It was a great way to grow up. We knew what our boundaries were, and if you were home before it was dark, pretty much, we could just go do whatever,” she said. 

During her time at home, she helped on the family farms and at her grandparents’ gravel and limestone hauling business where she realized she wanted to have her own business someday. She also fostered a love for science, which led her to Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, where she majored in chemistry, and got the small classroom and big football school setting.  

Before starting Keika Ventures, White sought to pursue a Ph.D., which brought her to the University of North Carolina. After a year of chemistry-related research, White realized that research was not her passion. Instead of pursuing a career in open-ended research, White decided that project-driven deadlines were more in line with her interests. 

“But I had no plan,” White reflected. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just figured it out along the way by trying things and seeing what I like to do and then continue on that line.”

So, White started working at a lab that focused on environment testing of air, water, and soil for dioxin. There she met Allyson Porter, who ended up helping White co-found Keika Ventures. 

After some time, the lab they were working at was struggling and didn’t seem like a viable option for the future. Forced to plan their next move, the pair began to brainstorm and began Environmental Connections, the first iteration of Keika Ventures. 

“It was in the early days before the internet was really big, that we’d be an aggregator of like environmental services, connecting people who wanted various things from various companies in local services and sort of bundling that all together and coordinating it for them,” White said. 

In less than 3 years, the company managed to get $20 million in venture capital. After bringing in venture funding,  the company, during the “dot com boom” saw a name change, boom in clientele, and growth of employees. But with the boom came the bust, and the company began to lose footing with what White calls the “legacy clients.” 

These clients were people who wanted to continue their business the traditional way through emails, phone orders, and purchase orders; something the investors, insistent on using portals and websites, tried to diminish. 

White and Porter realized they knew the trick of the trade, having built environmental connections for years and had clients who were eager to continue business with them. Keika Ventures was officially born.

After starting Environmental Connections, White and Porter met Woody Taylor who soon became part owner of the company. White and Porter, rich in business skills but unfamiliar with website building, were looking to create a website but couldn’t afford to contract a website builder. Luckily, the pair and Taylor bartered a deal in which Taylor, familiar with website building, would build a website in exchange for a part ownership of Environmental Connections. 

“When we started with Environmental Connections with the three of us, we’re doing what we do now just on a bigger scale now, because we are selling products and analytical and online training,” she said. 

Since then, White has expanded her small-town horizons to aid clients from Thailand, Kenya, and Israel to Columbia, Chile, and Ecuador. 

“I feel like [working with Keika] has expanded my global awareness. In a greater sense, connecting with the world, especially through COVID. You know… with all the problems in the world, you realize that people are more alike than they are different, no matter what religion, or what color or what sexuality or whatever they are. There are more commonalities if you get to know people,” she said. 

White feels that people need that awareness and connection to different people in different places to best help them in projects crucial to their industries. Without this sense of global teamwork, neither end can obtain what they need. 

To White, Keika Ventures, and her work, functions as a fundamental tool to many clients and countries who may not have the easiest means to run tests locally. Keika Ventures provides the infrastructure and connections to get these crucial jobs done efficiently and reliably. 

“Today, somebody emailed me from Mexico about mushrooms growing out of a wall and [wanted] to test them,” she said. “We get these interesting things to try and solve. So, it’s never boring, it’s not the same thing all the time. You’re challenged. You’re using your mind to try and think ‘oh, how can we do this? What can be done to help them solve this problem?’” 

On top of odd and interesting challenges, White values flexibility and creativity, striving to incorporate both aspects into the Keika Ventures workspace. 

There’s a lot of room to do what you want to do. If there’s something that you really want to do or have an idea that you think is going to help the business or grow a certain product line… you can do it,” she shared.

Many children say they want to be doctors or firemen when they grow up, setting upon their lives with an end-goal career in mind. A handful, like White, are unsure but manage to take one step at a time to find where they can shed their light best. Hard work, perseverance, and curiosity can take people through incredible places they did not expect. 

“I would like to think that when I leave this world, that I’ve left it a better place.”

April W., U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

It’s the holiday season, time to enjoy friends and family, honor our traditions and give thanks. November means we honor our veterans and their service to our great nation. We are thankful for our Marine Corps veteran April W. April leveraged her military logistics training to secure a role at Keika Ventures.  Her experiences abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan make any challenge she faces in our Garner warehouse  small in comparison.  Welcome home April, thanks for your service and for being on the KV Team.  Please enjoy this profile written by Noelia Arteaga, a sophomore journalism student at Northeastern University, of April as she shares some of the stories behind her grit and can-do attitude. 

——-

“After the military, I was seeking employment that has meaning. I wanted more than just a job. I can’t speak for all vets, some miss the camaraderie and mission. Others may be seeking redemption or a need to balance this cosmic karma for following orders they didn’t always agree with. I don’t know. All I can say is any meaningful work, if you can find it, is a four leaf clover,” said April during a break from preparing shipments in Keika Ventures’ Garner, NC warehouse. She joined Keika Ventures in July 2019. It was a different world then. Just about the time she learned the job and got into an operating rhythm, a global pandemic changed everything.

“You have to laugh in bad times,” April said, sitting in her apartment where she lives with her 16-year-old son, Hayden. “I’ve always laughed the most in the worst times… right now, society refuses to laugh. This is the time when we need that the most.”

April is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. As a sergeant in the Corps, she specialized in logistics with supervisory skills during her seven month deployment in Iraq. 

April enlisted at 17, but because she had not finished high school, she was put in what is called the delayed enlistment program. During this time, she had to take all the classes she would have taken in high school, obtain elective credits by working at a flower shop, and receive P.E. credits through her recruiter, which was more demanding than a traditional P.E. class. But that didn’t phase her.

“I ended up graduating a couple months earlier than my class,” April said with a smile.

Before getting “sucked” into military life, as April describes it, she aspired to become a novelist and investigative journalist. However, to “get the hell out of Oregon,” enlisting seemed like her best option.  

“I grew up poor. I don’t want to say ‘poor’ because, since leaving Oregon, I’ve seen true poverty. But I was just living a dead-end kind of life,” she reflected. 

Like many veterans, April had trouble landing a job upon returning, leading her to opt for the only option she had as a contractor in Afghanistan. April’s story highlights some of the challenges veterans face amidst transitioning back home.   

“When I first got back, my family really hated it because they thought that when I got back, some invisible spirit was going to envelop me, and I was going to turn back to who I was before [I left for deployment]. Which to me is bizarre.”

Her confusion was not unwarranted; she questioned how a person could witness all that happens in a warzone and not be affected by it all. 

“Sometimes they act like they feel sorry for me. And I hate that because I hate the feeling of people feeling sorry for me.” 

In the military, April obtained powerful and eye-opening insights that everyone can learn from. She reminisced about an old roommate who was a scout sniper who witnessed some horrible events. Her roommate, confiding in April, explained he was torn up by what happened, using alcohol to cope. He asked April if it was right to be that torn up.

“Think about it: if you went and did some of the stuff they did and you came back the same way, not changing a bit, not bothered at all, I would kind of distance myself from that person,” she said. “He never thought about it like that.” 

April compared it to a person changing from the way they acted as a teenager to the way they act when they are 30. People always change which is healthy, April mused.

With life challenges, coping mechanisms can take over. However, April believes there are right and wrong ways to take on life. 

“There’s a lot of ways for people to react. It depends on what they went through. It also depends on how they were raised. Some people were raised that reacting at all isn’t okay,” she said. 

This circles back to April’s emphasis on laughter. 

“I remember being in Iraq and we were on a convoy at night. The driver got lost, and the convoy commander got pissed so they started arguing. It got so bad that the convoy commander stopped the truck in the middle of the desert. There were no towns, it was in the middle of the night in the middle of the desert. [The convoy commander] got out, and they argued in front of the humvee.”

“This isn’t very smart…if there’s some suspicious [thing] in the road in front of you, you can’t see it. You know how people get that gut feeling [of something could go wrong]? I didn’t really get a gut feeling which is why I knew that wasn’t my time. So I just started laughing and the rest of [the people on the humvee] started laughing too.”

She chuckled to herself and continued reminiscing. “So, we’re just like ‘okay, like when is it going to come?’ When we’re like ‘this is our time right? Should we do the Lord’s prayer?’ So, we just started laughing. Real hard. Just like [making fun of] those guys.”

Eventually, April and everyone in the humvee safely found their way to their destination. 

“You must laugh. Take life one disaster at a time.”

Of course, now April is part of a team with a real world mission, the kind of meaningful work vets are looking for – the sort of job she once said you have to “get lucky” to find.

We are helping people clean up their air and water and shipping environmental testing equipment all over the world.  We provide safety training for thousands of military and civilian clients. Keika is a mission first, people-always kind of team. The similarities to her military service are not lost on April.

“This [mission] feels pretty important. Especially during these crazy times. The pandemic makes our jobs very challenging, but I am on a great team and this group is a source of strength. We come together to get things done.”

Silver Bells and Silver Linings

The 2021 headlines sent us all looking for silver linings.  Infections, insurrections, inflation and internet fueled memes were enough to make us look elsewhere to count our blessings.  Keika continued our social distancing plans through 2021 so we missed giving Allyson a proper retirement party, but celebrated her long planned transition to Director Emeritus status.  We still miss her wisdom and energy every day.  We celebrated new talent in the company!  Welcome aboard Keith and Emma.  Our famous Keika Lunches are still suspended but we stepped up our video meetings.  We asked our eduwhere clients to help us accelerate our sustainability goals and switch to paperless electronic download.  The response was fantastic and we now have over 90% of our enterprise training clients going GREEN.  We celebrated new business in all our divisions and across the globe, including new clients in Bolivia, Trinidad, Columbia, Mexico, Vietnam, Israel, Ghana and Papua New Guinea.  And we continue to train clients in every state of the Union including a new record number in Arizona. 

On behalf of all of us at Keika Ventures thanks for an incredible 2021.  Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year.

With gratitude for these and many other silver linings we are planting trees to honor our clients, vendors and employees.  This year KV planted 2,000 trees through our continued sponsorship of OneTreePlanted.org

Thanks again for being a Keika Ventures stakeholder.  Here’s wishing that 2022 is filled with happiness, prosperity and good health.

Be Well!

KV Jedi Council

2,000 Trees!!

RCRA Notification Deadline

Here is an important reminder for Hazardous Waste Generators: beginning on September 1, 2021 (just a week away!), all Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) must “re-notify the Environmental Protection Agency of their hazardous waste activities every four years”. This means that some Generators, who have not previously been required to re-notify the EPA of their activities, are now required to do so on a 4 year schedule.

The September 1 date is the deadline for SQGs to re-notify the EPA of their hazardous waste activities, so any SQGs who have not submitted their re-notifications should do so immediately. The purpose of this re-notification process is to ensure that the EPA has up-to-date information on hazardous waste generators, and is not relying on potentially old, incorrect data.

If you would like more information, as well as resources and guidance on how to submit the form, follow this link to the EPA’s webpage about the rule: https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/re-notification-requirement-small-quantity-generators

Planting 1,000 Trees for the Future

2020 has been a difficult year for many of us, and as the new year approaches, we find ourselves in need of a bit of hope for the future. Towards that end and in honor to our loyal partners, clients, and employees, Keika has partnered with One Tree Planted to plant trees!

One Tree Planted is a nonprofit dedicated to global reforestation. They plant trees to restore nature and biodiversity. They also raise awareness about the importance of trees, offer businesses like ours a simple sustainability solution, and motivate younger generations to do something positive for the environment.

Their projects span the globe and are done in partnership with local communities and knowledgeable experts to create an impact for nature, people, and wildlife. Reforestation helps to rebuild forests after fires and floods, provide jobs for social impact, and restore biodiversity. Many projects have overlapping objectives, creating a combination of benefits that contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

250 trees in Honduras
250 trees Brazil
250 trees in Vietnam
250 trees with US Forest Service

Keika planted 1,000 trees in 2020!

Sustainability is close to our hearts here at Keika Ventures, and we have committed $1,000 this holiday season to planting trees, allocated to the following locations: US National Forests, Honduras, Brazil, and Vietnam. At $1 per tree, this donation supports the planting of 1,000 trees. We are thrilled with this partnership and honored to be a part of this reforestation effort, and we hope that we can continue this new tradition in years to come. All of us here at Keika and Eduwhere wish you the happiest of holidays as we all look forward to the hope and promise of a New Year.

We are planting 1,000 trees in Honduras, Brazil, Vietnam, and the U.S.

To learn more about One Tree Planted, visit https://onetreeplanted.org