Recollections of Bob Shatten
This article is part of our continuing feature: Remembering ADL—Stories from Arthur D. Little Alumni. We want to capture our stories before they are lost forever! This recollection is from Bob Shatten as told to Kathy Thrun.
Bob Shatten was a Senior Consultant at Arthur D. Little from 1988 to 1991. Originally hired for his experience as a Regional U.S. EPA Project Manager to support the Environmental Remediation portion of ADL’s environmental business, once at ADL he saw a variety of other opportunities. He came to the attention of Noble Robinson, a senior ADLer in the Environmental and Risk Management practice. From then on, Bob was part of the team conducting environmental due diligence and auditing in Europe, Latin America, and, occasionally, the U.S.
His best memories of ADL were travels to places Bob would have never guessed he would go—Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Alaska, Luxembourg, and Hungary. Those memories were quickly followed by the opportunity to learn much about individual industrial processes and facilities, including the manufacturing of sponges, light bulbs, tractors, and batteries—and managing radioactive waste.
Bob particularly remembers a project ADL had won with Exxon to support litigation resulting from the Valdez oil spill. Bob had always wanted to go to Alaska, so he offered Paul Boehm, the ADLer leading the project, his expertise in managing chain-of-custody documentation. It turned out that his particular skill set was needed, so, after a quick shopping trip for expedition gear, Bob was off to Alaska!
The project included collecting samples for a long-term weathering study of oil, including fish. Bob, the kid from Cleveland, was among scientists conducting one of the seminal investigations of the time. The seas were rough, but the fishing was great! They caught some 55-65 pound halibut; the livers went to the lab, but the rest was sent home on ice. After the voyage, the ADLers had a fish fry in Cambridge! This was an experience still remembered after 20 years.
In the 1990s, Bob saw the Soviet-flavored world of Hungary shortly after Perestroika. He conducted an assessment for GE of an old light bulb factory that still exhibited Socialist-worker art in huge oil paintings. The plant property had been bombed during World War II, and the owners used the resulting craters most creatively—as aeration lagoons for treating wastes!
The factory—a scary place—was led by a Communist Party boss who had unique cultural business norms. For breakfast, beer was available, and as the day progressed, much vodka and cigarettes were on hand.
Staying at a beautiful Hilton Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany, Bob and other audit team members were each provided with a suite with an open bar and Easter baskets filled with chocolate. The Hilton staff noted their most valuable employee was a gentleman who sorted out trash (while given a daily six pack ) to recover silverware—recycling at its finest!
Ultimately, Bob realized that he had a different calling. Consulting and extensive travel—while wonderful—wore thin with time. He left ADL to join a startup, Molten Metal Technology. While it was not a winner, Bob went on to be quite successful.
Today, he is the owner of Boreal Renewable Energy and SuperCool LLC. One of his very visible projects is the 1.5MW wind turbine at Charlestown, MA for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. In another project, Bob has patented a method for cryogenic tire recycling. Dr. Little would have been pleased!
Bob also has other interests. He coauthored a book with Lew Allen (his uncle) and Mike McCartney (Beatle Paul McCartney’s brother!). The title: “Elvis and the Birth of Rock.”