Alumni Spotlight: Mark Conger
R. Mark Conger
B.S. Geology, 1982
M.S. Environmental Science, 1996
Ph.D. Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, 2003
Mark Conger is a senior environmental specialist at BASF Corporation, Environmental
Expert Services, North America, in Geismar, La. He completed all three of his degrees
at LSU. Professor Ralph Portier served as his primary advisor during the completion
of his M.S. and Ph.D.
“The environmental studies that I received, especially in toxicology from Dr. Portier, have been invaluable to me over the years in working with wastewater treatment and environmental remediation projects,” Conger said. “I rely on those same basic concepts daily when evaluating water and environmental risks.”
After Conger obtained his B.S. in geology, he worked for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, then the Louisiana Geological Survey and Office of Conservation.
“I then took a position in private consulting to expand my interests,” he said. “After accepting a position with BASF, I began working on a master’s and later a doctorate degree.”
Throughout his time as a student and during the course of his professional career,
Conger has compiled quite a list of accomplishments: He completed the first horizontal
well design and construction in the state of Louisiana in 1992. The next year, he
completed the first successful aquifer recharge system operated with horizontal wells
in Louisiana. In 1995, he completed the first in-situ bioremediation system operated
with horizontal wells in Louisiana. He was also the first in Louisiana to use black
willow trees (Salix nigra) for phytoremediation.
Additionally, Conger has served as the director of the Baton Rouge Geological Society, president of the Louisiana section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists and chairman of the Louisiana section of the Air and Waste Management Association. He is also a Licensed Professional Geologist in Louisiana, Florida, and Arkansas.
Conger recalls that, while a student in the Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, one of his fondest memories was working on his coastal ecology project at Grand Terre with Professor John Day.
“I distinctly remember him laughing at me one day when I was knee deep in the marsh to collect a sample,” Conger said, “Day told me, ‘It’s tough when you are the old man in the class, isn’t it?’ I was working on a Ph.D. when I was in my early 40’s, while my classmates were mostly in their mid to late 20’s.”
Conger speaks highly of his alma mater. “LSU prepares you for great things in all ways. The holistic approach to coastal studies and the environment that I received in coastal ecology and wetland courses has been invaluable to my understanding of the natural cycles in the environment,” he said.
What’s more, in 2007, when Conger’s youngest son was stricken with leukemia, the entire LSU football team produced a get-well video for his son.