2022 WWD Young Pros: Nadine Robertson, Veolia

May 26, 2022

From being first in the immediate family to graduate from college after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina to helping to develop and run WEF's InFLOW Program virtually, Nadine Robertson is looking forward to achieving more professional accomplishments in the industry.

About the author:

Bob Crossen is the senior managing editor for Water & Wastes Digest. Crossen can be reached at [email protected].


Name: Nadine Robertson

Age: 35

Education: A.A. Process Technology (PTEC), B.A. Criminal Justice

Company: Veolia North America

Title: Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator IV

What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?

Obtaining my class IV Operator Certification and earning WEF/LWEA Hatfield Award for Operator Excellence.

List some of your professional accomplishments.

  • 2018 State of Louisiana /AmeriCorps Volunteer Champion of Service Winner (1 of 9)
  • 2018 WEFTEC Emerging Water Scholar Recipient (1 of 15)
  • 2019 WEFTE Water Leadership Institute Scholarship Recipient
  • 2019 WEFTEC Water Leadership Institute Cohort Graduate (1 of 52)
  • 2019 WEF Young Professionals Midyear Springboard Recipient (1 of 25)
  • 2020 ACTE National Policy Seminar Louisiana Representative Scholarship Recipient (1 of 3)
  • 2020 LWEA/WEF Hatfield Operator Award Recipient
  • 2020 Women In Industry Award Nominee
  • 2020 WEF SYPC Rookie of the Year
  • 2020 AWWA Operator One Scholarship Recipient
  • 2020 American Geophysical Union Emerging Geoscience Scholar Program Graduate
  • 2020/21 ACTE Inclusion, Access, Equity, and Diversity Mentorship Program Graduate 
  • 2020/21 Society of Women Engineers Collegiate Leadership Institute Program Graduate
  • 2021 WEF Operator Scholarship Recipient (1 of 15)
  • 2021 Gamma Beta Phi Collegiate Honor Society Inductee
  • 2022 National Water Week Policy Fly In Scholarship Recipient (1 of 10)

What has been your most memorable project?

I would have to say helping to develop and run WEF's InFLOW Program virtually in 2020 due to COVID19. This opportunity allowed me to provide insights as a former participant, choose speakers from the Louisiana water industry, provide a virtual plant tour, connect local residents interested in water careers with a vast network of individuals, expand their knowledge, and provide tools to actively and successfully allow them to enter the workforce.  

What did you do before entering the water industry?

Before entering the water industry I was a contractual Safety Attendant (FireWatch/HoleWatch/BottleWatch) and Operator Trainee within the chemical refinery industry. 

What was the biggest lesson you learned when you entered the water industry?

Water is an essential resource that is vital to public health, quality of life, and the environment. I also learned about the endless career pathways that exist within the water industry. Beyond that I learned where and what happens to the water when you flush your toilet, wash dishes, do laundry, take a bath etc. I've learned to appreciate the things we take for granted, as many third world countries are not afforded the luxury of quality water.

How do you expect your generation will influence the water industry?

I expect that my generation will improve the overall process or treating water through innovation and technological advances. We as millennials are forward thinkers and it is exciting to see just how far the industry has come with water reuse. Organizations are actively improving DE&I within industry and taking steps to introduce the next generation to careers in water at earlier stages in life to fulfill the gray tsunami that is underway. 

What are your aspirations for your water industry career?

I aspire to serve as a WWTP Director and obtain a Professional Engineers License to provide consulting, O&M staffing, and training services to the environmental industry at large.

In what extracurricular work activities would you like to be (or are) involved in?

I am a member of the following associations but I would like to be more active in: Operators Without Borders, National Society of Black Engineers, Association for Career and Technical Education, Society of Women Engineers, Urban League, and American Water Works Association. 

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy playing basketball, listening to music, mentoring youth, and participating in community service projects.

What is your hidden talent?

I'm a self taught mobile DJ and graphic designer. I'm a self taught mobile DJ and graphic designer.

Tell us a "secret" or something about you nobody knows.

I hope to one day make history (in some positive capacity). Get your autographs now! lol


What volunteer work do you do?

I am an active member of the Water Environment Federation's Students and Young Professionals Committee. I have co chaired WEF's Emerging Young Professionals Leadership 2021, I participate in WEFTEC Community Service Projects yearly, and serve as the YP Chair for WEF's Member Association chapter LWEA. I also volunteer and hold positions with SWANA, serving as the Regional SYPC Liaison and serve as the Officer at Large for the Louisiana Conference on Water Supply, Sewage, and Industrial Wastes. I also dedicate a lot of time to volunteering for my own 501c3 organization as well as support other organizations through various philanthropic and volunteer service projects. These organizations range from Junior League of Greater New Orleans, Young Leadership Council, The Harvey Civic Association, USA Basketball Foundation, and The Jeremiah Group to name a few.

In what ways are you involved in your local community outside professional work (organize fundraisers, youth group counselor, etc.)?

I created a grassroots organization (Visionary Philanthropic Media Arts Foundation) in college and became a 501c3 roughly 7 years ago to give back to the community. Step It Up! And Together We Can Make a Difference is the organization's mantra. My organization utilizes media and performance art as vehicles to spark change in youth. We conduct back to school giveaways, Easter egg hunts, feed the homeless, provide platforms for youth to perform song, dance, and display visual art, in addition to providing field trip opportunities, various development workshops, mentorship, and much more. Outside of my own organization I am also a member of The Jeremiah Group. A civically engaged group that empowers the community to be actively engaged and exercise their political rights, register high school students to vote, conduct health fairs, host candidate forums and conduct various events to give back to the community.

What are your passions?

I am passionate about mentorship, giving back to the community, and all things water. I believe everyone should have access to safe and quality water regardless of socioeconomic status globally. 

Describe a memorable moment with family or friends.

My fondest memory with family would have to be the day I graduated from college (The University of North Florida) GO OSPREYS! My family traveled from New Orleans to Jacksonville to celebrate and support me on my big day. I was the first in my immediate family to graduate from college, so it was great to be able to accomplish such a feat after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. After the ceremony my entire family went to Orlando Florida for our very first family vacation. It was so much fun and I have to add that I was surprised with a brand new car (my very first car) as a graduation present. So as you can imagine I was head over heels excited. 

Who has been your greatest personal (or professional) influence and why?

My greatest personal influence would be my mom and grandmother. They have instilled in me the importance of seeking a higher education, exhibiting work ethic, perseverance, faith, humility, and basic morals and principles that I utilize daily. 

On a professional level I would have to say my two mentors have also influenced me. Mr. Drew Lehman and Ms.Tabitha Robinson. Mr. Drew is a consultant within the water industry whom I met in 2018 and he has been a tremendous support system for me as I journeyed through the water industry. I can call him and chat about literally anything in regards to career advancement and he has provided me with opportunities to improve various skill sets. 

From speaking on panels, conducting research, giving presentations, negotiating salaries, discussing career elevation opportunities and so forth. Tabitha has been a spiritual mentor encouraging me to aim higher despite barriers and roadblocks. She is also someone who I can turn to for advice both personally and professionally and has encouraged me many times to step out of my comfort zone in order to grow and experience something new. I am grateful to have them all in my life.

Sponsored Recommendations

Get Utility Project Solutions

June 13, 2024
Lightweight, durable fiberglass conduit provides engineering benefits, performance and drives savings for successful utility project outcomes.

Energy Efficient System Design for WWTPs

May 24, 2024
System splitting with adaptive control reduces electrical, maintenance, and initial investment costs.

Meeting the Demands of Wastewater Treatment Plants

May 24, 2024
KAESER understands the important requirements wastewater treatment plant designers and operators consider when evaluating and selecting blowers and compressed air equipment. In...

Modernize OT Cybersecurity to Mitigate Risk

April 25, 2024
Rockwell Automation supports industry-leading Consumer Packaged Goods company, Church & Dwight, along their industrial cybersecurity journey.