2024 Wastewater Digest Young Pros

May 28, 2024

Tony Reid

Vice President, Water Resources and Treatment

Goodwyn Mills Cawood

Greenville, South Carolina

38

Biography

Reid is a board-certified environmental engineer and licensed professional engineer in South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. He is responsible for one of GMC’s specialized departments working on some of the firm’s most complex projects. Reid is a caring, servant leader with the ability to bring people from different backgrounds together to achieve a common goal. He advocates for and empowers those he leads to improve and strive for excellence, professionally and personally.

Professional accomplishments

Reid has acted in the capacity as process engineer, project manager, project executive and lead designer on different projects. Highlights include the Riviera Utilities Wastewater Treatment Plant Aerobic Granular Sludge Upgrade in Foley, Alabama; Lake Greenwood Water Treatment Facility and Raw Water Intake in Laurens County, South Carolina; and SJWD Membrane Water Treatment Plant Expansion in Lyman, SC.

Kourtney Revels

Water Justice Organizer

Bayou City Waterkeeper

Houston, Texas

30

Biography

Revels’ dedication to water justice and environmental advocacy has significantly contributed to positive change in the Houston community. Her role as a water justice organizer showcases exceptional leadership, as she passionately addresses the intersection of social and environmental issues. Revels’ work at Bayou City Water Keeper reflects a commitment to fostering equitable access to clean water resources.

Professional accomplishments

Through her advocacy, Revels has been instrumental in raising awareness about wastewater challenges, engaging the communities, and promoting sustainable solutions. She embodies the spirit of innovation and collaboration needed to address the complex issues within the wastewater industry. Her passion for water justice showcases her dedication to creating a more sustainable and just future for the Houston community and beyond.

Evan Griffin

Water/ Wastewater Operator

City of Nacogdoches

Nacogdoches, Texas

20

Biography

Evan “Gage” Griffin began his employment with the City of Nacogdoches with the Parks and Recreation Department at 17 years old, directly out of high school. After 16 months of service with the Parks Department, Gage transferred to the Wastewater Treatment Plant and began preparing for D licenses in both water production and wastewater treatment.

Professional accomplishments

At the age of 19 years, Griffin earned both D licenses in water and wastewater treatment. He has become a valuable member of the Water Utilities Department and a valuable coworker. His name is synonymous with reliability, intelligence, and leadership. He is currently working to obtain class C licenses in both groundwater production and wastewater treatment, is a leader in the field and an advocate for excellence at the treatment plant. His supervisors express excitement and pride about his future with the utility.

Silver Chai

Engineering Specialist III

DPW of Howard County, MD Bureau of Utilities

Columbia, Maryland

39

Biography

For the past eight years, Chai has served as a Project Manager for capital water and wastewater projects at Howard County Utility Design, managing all stages of design and construction. She started at Howard County Bureau of Utilities Technical Service Division in January. Silver oversees multiple projects, consultants, contractors, inspectors, budgets, and schedules. She manages contracts and is overall responsible of providing technical advice to the water and wastewater operation and maintenance team.

Professional accomplishments

  • Brought 100 projects to close over 16-year career
  • Two National Association of Counties awards
  • Terminated a Maryland Department of Environment Sewer Overflow Consent Agreement with her work on a capacity management operations and maintenance program
  • 2023 Gold Award for Exceptional Utility Performance from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies

Caeleb Butler

Lead Wastewater Plant Operator

North Texas Municipal Water District

Mesquite, Texas

26

Biography

Caeleb Butler is a lead wastewater operator with North Texas Municipal Water District. He was hired at the age of 19 as an operator trainee at the South Mesquite Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. He now supervises 10 employees over the liquids operational side of the facility which is rated for 33 MGD with two treatment units (biological nutrient removal and conventional activated sludge). He participates in facility project expansions, process equipment upgrades and training other NTMWD employees. He is a member of Water Environment Association of Texas and WEF and participates in Operations Challenge, in which competes in collections, lab, safety, maintenance and process control events.

Professional accomplishments

Butler holds an A Wastewater Operator License, is TCEQ Certified Wastewater Instructor and holds the record in Texas as the Fastest Saw Cutter in the Operations Challenge.

Tesfa Haile

Global Fulfillment COE Operations Executive

Veolia Water Technologies & Solutions (Veolia WTS)

Washington DC, District of Columbia

38

Biography

Tesfa Haile is the Fulfillment Operations Center of Excellence (COE) executive for the services business of Veolia Water Technologies & Solutions (WTS), a business delivering double digit top and bottom line growth over the last three years. He is responsible for execution and driving cross functional operations for the over-the-road functions of the WTS ES Services business. Haile co-led the Covid-19 response during the pandemic and is currently co-leader for the ACHIEVE (African descent) employee resource group. He previously served as plant manager for the Fontana, California WTS site and was responsible for safe, compliant operations, fulfillment, quality, continuous improvement, and cost productivity.

Professional accomplishments

Haile achieved double-digit growth by focusing on the execution of multi-million dollar annual operations budgets, while driving safe and compliant workforce practices. In 2019, Haile oversaw the delivery of a new resin regeneration facility in Atlanta, Georgia. He has successfully led and managed the Fontana, California facility for approximately four years, maintaining full compliance with zero wastewater violations to facilitate the execution of a multi-million dollar expansion while concurrently growing the business.

Brian Rule

Wastewater Technician

Georgetown Divide Public Utility District

Georgetown, California

39

Biography

Rule started working for Georgetown Divide Public Utility District in 2017. Within a few short years, he transferred to the collections system and wastewater department. In his off time, he likes to build things and work around his home. He likes to fish, skateboard, play with his daughter, Avery, and make people laugh. He enjoys camping, social gatherings, and going to the local lake with Avery and his fiance, Brooke.

Professional accomplishments

Rule has been with the District for six years. He is NAWT inspector-certified, and inspects more than 1,000 on-site wastewater systems annually. He runs the district’s collections system single-handedly, and takes all the ground and surface water samples for the community of Auburn Lake Trails.

Noah Moss

Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

City of Tybee Island

Tybee Island, Georgia

25

Biography

Moss is a native of Savannah, Georgia, currently employed with the City of Tybee Island, Georgia, as a Wastewater Plant Operator, and has served has Water treatment operator for both Tybee Island and the City of Savannah. He entered the water and wastewater utilities industry approximately three years ago and has gone above and beyond in his duties. He is a quick learner and is very conscious of his tasks. He is a great asset to the organization, and explores ongoing issues and events in water and wastewater.

Professional accomplishments

He currently holds Class 3 Water and Wastewater Treatment licenses in the state of Georgia, and his Wastewater Laboratory Analyst license application is pending. In addition to operations, he performs preventative maintenance, lab operations, and emergency response for treatment, collections, and distribution.

Ikenna Okeke

Project Manager

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

Phoenix, Arizona

33

Biography

Okeke joined McCarthy Building Companies fresh out of college in 2013 as a project engineer on San Jacinto River Authority’s Surface Water Treatment Plant. He has been a consistent leader of McCarthy’s national water group since 2018 and currently manages the Northeast Water Purification Plant (NEWPP) expansion in Houston, Texas. As a project manager, he serves as the primary interface for the architect and owner, coordinating schedules, trade partner activities, and negotiation of contracts for the 320 MGD expansion of NEWPP.

Professional accomplishments

Okeke has boosted the tenure and growth of McCarthy’s two national groups, with early experience in solar, and now a dedication to water. A member of the Associated General Contractors (AGC), he has worked on award winning projects such as the Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant Expansion, which was named Project of the Year in 2021 by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), as well as Project of the Year by the Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association (AWPA).

Kamyar Sardari, PhD, PE

Fayetteville Water Design Center Process Team Leader

Garver

Fayetteville, Arkansas

32

Biography

With a focus on facility master plans, Sardari designs, performs, and evaluates processes to develop clean, reliable water resources for communities in need. He is a former researcher and board member for the National Science Foundation’s Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology (MAST) Center at the University of Arkansas. He has authored eight peer-reviewed industry publications, including CEP Magazine, and has led more than 20 technical presentations at nationwide conferences. He has been recognized as one of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Fast 15 honorees and as a finalist for the Spirit of Garver award, the firm’s highest employee honor.

Professional accomplishments

Two of his most notable projects include the design of major mechanical improvements at Texas’ largest wastewater treatment plant, which serves most of Dallas, and the conceptual design of the Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority (NACA) Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion. The NACA project was awarded the Best Engineering Report by the Arkansas Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He serves as a peer-reviewer for Separation Science and Technology Journal and the Journal of Water Process Engineering.

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