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Anita Cooney

Senior EHS Consultant

Anita and sons with Joy
Taking Joy for a spin on the test track
Anita's garden

It wasn’t that far a leap from Anita’s first career in forensic science to her current career in environmental management. What she loved about working in crime labs was applying science to the law, the same activity that underpins environmental management. 

Because she couldn’t advance in the forensics field in Michigan without becoming a state trooper—a job she didn’t feel cut out for—Anita returned to school to earn a master’s degree in environmental science. As she completed courses involving the business and legal aspects of environmental science, she began moving away from the lab and toward corporate environmental management.

Helping clients implement EHS management systems and achieve compliance with regulations still requires the attention to detail that suited her to lab work, but brings more variety to her job. It’s also a less solitary pursuit. “I love what I do because I love who I work with,” Anita says, “both my clients and my coworkers.” She began working with Barr as a client while managing EHS activities at a pharmaceutical research facility, and liked our consultants so much that when her employer closed her facility, joining Barr’s team was a natural step. It also paved the way for several other colleagues from her facility to join our firm, giving Anita what she says is the best of both worlds: being a member of Barr’s team while remaining part of her former team.

Anita has devoted more than 15 years to helping companies implement ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001, the international gold standards for environmental and health and safety management systems. Although she also assists clients with compliance auditing and greenhouse-gas accounting, implementing company-wide EHS management systems is what she enjoys most. Of her two-year work helping a mining client implement ISO and OHSAS programs, she says, “If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d still be here until these guys got registered.”

Other passions in Anita’s life include raising her two sons—which involves spending lots of time at the hockey rink—cultivating ornamental and vegetable gardens, and, recently, indulging a lifelong dream to own a Mustang convertible. The 2007 GT California Special, which she christened Joy, has complicated her life a bit: on sunny afternoons, it’s hard to decide whether to spend time in her garden or her car.