Making a Mark: Brightmark Employee was Born for This

May 1st, 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes

Cat MacGregor’s origin story is one you might find on The Hallmark Channel or in a Lifetime movie, not necessarily in the pages of a blog.

But everyone has a story to tell, and Cat is no different.

Before Cat was merely a twinkle in her mother’s eye, her father traveled a lot for work, crisscrossing the world to grow his business. On one particular flight, the plane experienced a significant bout of turbulence, which caused one of the flight attendants to fall and land in his lap. What follows is the making of sappy romance movies, but occasionally, it does happen in real life: the two hit it off, kept in touch, and eventually married.

Years later, Cat was born in New Hampshire, and this is where her story begins.

Cat’s mother is of Japanese descent, and Cat and her family have been lucky enough to visit Japan to see where her mother grew up and participate in the culture.

One thing about Japanese people that stood out to Cat was their mindset around the waste they produce. Indeed, the country leans into a culture built around beliefs and practices to drive its recycling and resource conversation. While it is common for Japanese citizens to wash their plastic products before they are recycled, the Act on the Promotion of Resource Circulation for Plastics was enacted in April of 2022 to improve plastic waste circularity further.

“While in Japan, it was definitely a shift in my perspective to see how the people take the time to clean their waste before sending it off to be recycled,” said Cat. “Whether subconsciously or not, I definitely think some of what I experienced rubbed off on me and set me on the path toward a career trying to do better by the planet.”

After graduating from high school, Cat matriculated to Georgia Tech, where she was on the swim team and was named a four-time ACC academic honor roll recipient and CSCAA Scholar All-American honorable mention. During her time at the university, her academic advisor mentioned Brightmark as a viable career option since Cat wanted to put her mechanical engineering degree to use in the sustainability space.

“I’ve always been interested in math and puzzles and figuring things out,” says Cat. “Combine that with the knowledge that we waste a lot of energy, and it’s a big area for improvement, and it started to dawn on me what I wanted to do.”

The advisor knew of Brightmark because the company’s CEO, Bob Powell, earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech and also graduated from Scheller College of Business. Intrigued, Cat visited the website and filled out the contact form, which led to a personal response from Bob.

This led to an internship that eventually turned into a full-time job as a mechanical engineer, where she spent six months working on Brightmark’s proprietary Plastics Renewal® technology before spending another six months on the renewable natural gas vertical of the business.

Now, she does a little bit of everything for the company.

“It’s a mishmash of work that I do, but I love doing it,” says Cat. “Whether working on pilot projects, plastics collaboration projects, or integrating data for new sites coming online, I get to touch a lot of Brightmark’s business.”

When she’s not helping Brightmark advance, she’s traveling or exploring Colorado, where she lives and works remotely. Cat also likes to visit national parks throughout the country to see all of what the United States has to offer. You can’t help but wonder if the fact that her parents met on an airplane had anything to do with her love of travel, but it’s fun to imagine that to be the case.

“I am incredibly lucky to work for a company that leans into sustainability and allows me to get paid for doing work I find valuable and affords me the freedom to enjoy my life,” adds Cat. “When I began my job search, I had never heard of Brightmark, but now I can’t imagine myself working anywhere else.”

Man posing for professional headshot
Brad Marley

Brad is a lifelong storyteller who helps companies find their single source of truth. He works with brands in tech and sustainability to identify their most impactful narratives and ensure that messaging is weaved throughout their storytelling efforts. Brad brings more than 20 years of storytelling experience to bear as he helps Brightmark make its mark.

At Brightmark, we respect your right to privacy and value our relationship with you as a user.

Like most companies today, we use cookies to enhance your user experience and better understand the goals and aspirations of our visitors. To understand our Privacy Policy and use of cookies better, you can visit our Privacy Policy page here.