Greenwood native Jessica Hart grew up camping, hiking and going to the lake with her family.
If given the choice, she’d usually rather be outdoors — tending the raised garden bed she built herself, learning to fly fish, or going to the Buffalo River with her dog, an Australian shepherd named Rush.
That active lifestyle has shaped her career choices. “I never wanted to have a job where I am always behind a desk,” she said.
As project engineer and project manager at BlueInGreen LLC, Hart has the opportunity to work in a lab or sometimes in the field, enjoying the very thing she strives to protect through her work on the HyDOZ ozone water disinfection system. It’s why she went into bioengineering.
“That’s always been my thing — outdoorsy, environmental — you know, save the planet. It has always been a driver for me,” Hart said.
Ozone gas is the strongest stand-alone water disinfectant possible, and because of its fast reaction time, it’s safer for the environment. It destroys contaminants in wastewater quickly, leaving less residue than chlorine.
For drinking water, ozone is better than almost anything at removing pharmaceuticals. It produces very high-quality water, while decreasing the amount of chlorine needed, Hart said.
HyDOZ is the uniquely efficient method BlueInGreen uses to dissolve ozone into the water. It achieves higher concentrations than competing technology, according to Hart, who started as an intern during her junior year at the University of Arkansas. After she earned her bioengineering degree in 2012, she came to work full time.
During her studies, Hart said she was not in the minority as a woman. However, her career has moved in the direction of civil engineering, and that industry is highly male.
At various professional conferences, where she often gives presentations, Hart finds herself surrounded by colleagues who are predominately men. “Walking through there, there are no females and definitely no younger females,” she said.
But she hasn’t felt any push back for her gender or age. “I don’t think people see me that way,” she said. “I do my job and do it well.”
Hart believes ozone has a big future in water and wastewater, and has given speeches on the subject throughout the country and abroad.
In her free time, Hart also attends West Coast swing dancing classes and competitions.