Ones to Watch

May 4, 2015

New wave of water professionals promises bright future for industry

It’s a topic that instantly creates fodder for speculation about the future: Will younger generations be able to adequately fill the gap left by the aging workforce of the water industry? 

To help quell this concern, W&WD presents a selection of bright individuals who can assure us that the future of the water and wastewater industry is in good hands. These men and women propel research efforts, technology innovation and sustainable water practices, and their accomplishments have earned them recognition in W&WD’s first Young Professionals Special Section. We expect you will be seeing and hearing more from these rising stars. 

Sean Hayes
Mechanical Engineer
Milwaukee County, Wis.
Sean Hayes has more than 10 years of experience working for Milwaukee County, Wis., as an environmental engineer. He received his B.S. in engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Platteville, and is a licensed professional engineer. Hayes has taught courses at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee on using native landscape design for storm water management and has presented at two American Public Works Assn. national conferences. Hayes has been responsible for planning, design and management of a wide variety of public works projects, including Milwaukee County’s largest permeable pavement project, fast-tracked $2 million lift station, restoration of an 11-acre lakefront marina and conversion of a problematic lagoon into a functional wetland.

Patrick D. Hill 
Business Development Manager
Triplepoint Environmental LLC
Patrick Hill, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, began his career at Sheaffer & Roland Inc., a civil engineering firm with a focus on wastewater reclamation and reuse. Dedicated to the study of energy conservation and the development of sustainable water and sanitary solutions in the developing world, Hill assisted in the development of water and wastewater infrastructure for Tansian University in Nigeria. He co-authored a study that was accepted by the Water Environment Federation and presented at the Water Environment Federation Technical Exposition & Conference (WEFTEC) in Chicago in 2008. At Triplepoint Environmental in Oak Park, Ill., he was instrumental in the development of a lagoon ammonia removal process, NitrOx, and is creating other innovative technologies for lagoon-based wastewater treatment. Hill’s mission is to optimize existing lagoon systems to reduce the financial burden on municipalities and industry.

Katherine J. McAllister
Project Manager/Associate
George, Miles & Buhr LLC
Katherine McAllister is a professional engineer licensed in the state of Maryland. She joined George, Miles & Buhr’s (GMB) Water/Wastewater Engineering Group in 2005 and recently was selected as an associate with the firm. McAllister holds a B.S. in environmental engineering from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. from Salisbury University. She has experience with wastewater treatment processes, onsite subsurface disposal systems, sanitary sewer system designs, hydraulic modeling and water distribution systems. McAllister is known for her strong team leadership, technical and communication skills and her extensive knowledge of funding agency requirements, rate structures and grant writing. GMB was voted 2013 Business of the Year in Fruitland, Md., largely due to McAllister’s strong client relationship with the city. She also chairs GMB scholarship activities and attends Rotary Club meetings on behalf of the company. McAllister currently is an integral part of a team working to fast-track a $6 million project to bring safe drinking water to residents with contaminated wells.

Alecia Patton
GIS Coordinator
Jacksonville (Ark.) Wastewater Utility
Alecia Patton graduated in 2012 from the University of Arkansas at Monticello with a B.S. in spacial information systems. She has worked as GIS coordinator for Jacksonville Wastewater Utility since February 2013, and was a contract GIS engineer for CenterPoint Energy in Little Rock, Ark., prior to that. Patton currently serves as Young Professional Committee chair for the Arkansas Water Environment Assn. (AWEA), and is an active member of the Communications Committee. As Young Professional chair, she organizes a track of eight speakers for the annual statewide conference and two Meet & Greets annually at two separate conferences, in addition to other Young Professional activities. In her service on the Communications Committee, Patton has been instrumental in updating the AWEA website. She also serves as the TAC Committee Chair for the Pulaski Area GIS representing the city of Jacksonville. Patton was the recipient of the 2013 AWEA Young Professional of the Year Award.

Susie Santilena
Environmental Engineering Associate
Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, Watershed Protection Div.

Susie Santilena has a passion for the arts and for protecting the environment. She holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering and science from Stanford University. As a GEM (Graduate Education for Minorities) Fellow at Battelle Pacific Northwest National Labs, she studied and assisted with experiments on CO2 for carbon sequestration applications. Working as an environmental engineer in water quality for Heal the Bay, Santilena advocated for water quality protection in local and statewide regulations, sat on the Contaminated Sediment Task Force and aided in the development of a low-impact development (LID) project in South Los Angeles. Santilena continues her work protecting water quality at the City of Los Angeles Watershed Protection Div., where she develops green infrastructure projects and sits on the Green Streets Committee. In her off hours, she performs and choreographs dances for a local shadow cast and is part of the Visceral Co., where she has served as a board member, stage manager, board operator and spotlight operator for various live theatrical productions.

Miranda Santucci
Civil Engineer III
Bechtel Infrastructure Inc.
Miranda Santucci is a civil engineer in the field of water resources. Since joining Bechtel Infrastructure Inc. in 2011, she has demonstrated an ability and willingness to take on increasing levels of responsibility for design and management of engineering on domestic and international water and wastewater projects. Santucci developed a baseline water quality sampling plan for a wastewater treatment plant outfall in the Angondje community in the country of Gabon in West Africa. She prepared 65% potable water and wastewater design plans and calculations for Libreville, Gabon, and assisted in the development of first-of-a-kind design criteria for the wastewater collection system there. She also prepared conceptual design drawings for potable water and sanitary sewer networks for a greenfield industrial city development in the Middle East.

Andre Adams
Mechanical Engineer
Centrisys Corp.
Andre Adams’ career in engineering took root many years ago when he received an academic scholarship from Centrisys Corp., paving the way for him to attend Gateway Technical College and build a solid engineering background. Adams has since taken a role in the development of some of the company’s newest centrifuges, including the award-winning THK thickening system. In his 10 years with the company, Adams has been involved with some of its most innovative projects. He has served as lead engineer on numerous applications for centrifuge technology and is the lead design engineer on centrifuge designs.

Dave Sobeck
Senior Vice President
Carollo Engineers Inc.
Dave Sobeck, P.E., is a senior vice president with Carollo Engineers. Sobeck also serves as the Southwest business development manager and principal-in-charge for many of the firm’s largest and most complex projects. As senior vice president, he interacts with senior management and staff throughout the company on corporate affairs and planning, employee management, business development processes and pursuits, branding and marketing, and technical leadership. As the business development manager for the Southwest region, Sobeck leads strategic elements of the firm’s growth business plan. Sobeck is a member of Carollo’s Membrane Technology Group, assisting in identifying comprehensive treatment solutions and innovative approaches within the water industry. He also remains closely involved in his projects, supervising various work efforts and providing services such as integrated water resource master planning, water and wastewater treatment design and construction management, program management and delivery, procurement, permitting, sustainable solutions, and site security systems.

Aarin Teague
Sustainable Storm Water Engineer
San Antonio River Authority
Aarin Teague, Ph.D., P.E., is a sustainable storm water engineer for the San Antonio River Authority (SARA). Teague received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological and agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University. Teague continued her education and received her doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from Rice University in 2011. Prior to joining SARA in 2012, Teague worked for the Gulf Ecology Div. of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development. While at SARA, Teague has completed an LID manual. She assists the city with reviewing development plans that include LID best management practices and works to develop storm water tools for the city to evaluate storm water fees and credits. Teague currently is assisting with the Upper San Antonio Watershed Implementation Plan. 

Amanda Withers
Water Resources Engineer
Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc.
Amanda Withers, a certified Envision Sustainability Professional, attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s in environmental engineering. Withers specializes in process design of water and wastewater treatment plants and pump station design. Employed by Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. in Springfield, Ill., she currently is the construction administrator for a $30 million water system improvement program at City Water, Light & Power in Springfield. Withers has served as Award Committee chair, Program Committee chair and president of the Illinois Water Environment Assn. (IWEA). She currently is the chair of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Liaison Committee for the American Council of Engineering CompaniesIllinois. In 2012, she was named a “Water Hero” by IWEA at WEFTEC. Her most recent presentations include “Illinois Storm Water Workgroup Recommendations” and “Envision Rating System Training: One Woman’s Journey” at Watercon 2013.

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