This article originally appeared in WWD July 2020 issue as "Leading a Digital Transformation"
This year’s selection of Water & Wastes Digest (WWD) Young Pros are quite the achieved bunch. Many of them have accelerated to positions of importance in their organization at incredible speeds, and others are intensely involved with industry associations and their local communities.
Regardless, the WWD 2020 Young Pros highlight a growing importance of digital tools in municipal water and wastewater and how those solutions dovetail into issues of affordability, sustainability, conservation and reuse.
WWD will be conducting video interviews throughout the month of July with these professionals to further showcase their passions and industry aspirations, so like and follow the WWD Facebook page to get notified of new videos as they are released at facebook.com/waterwastesdigest.
Title: Technical Coordinator
Company: Plymouth Technology Inc.
Education: Bachelor’s in Environmental Sustainability and Resource Management, and Minor in Biology; Oakland University Master Student in Chemistry (Graduating in December 2020)
Personal accomplishment: Being the youngest person ever to become a Certified Water Technologist (CWT).
Professional accomplishments: Introducing new technologies and applications to company offerings in wastewater treatment as well as boiler and cooling water treatment while also supporting the company’s efforts to expand manufacturing through product formulation and quality control systems and protocols.
Life before the water industry: Worked for an environmental organization at Oakland University; 2017 field ecology internship in South Africa.
Greatest influence: Honors college thesis advisor Dr. Linda Schweitzer. Steven Buday, and coworkers at Plymouth. Trace Blackmore, Angela Pike, and many others in the Association of Water Technologies (AWT).
Hobbies: Birdwatching, fishing, golfing and exercising. Also enjoys domestic and international travel for those hobbies around the world.
Best project ever: “A low-level phosphorus removal application for a large brewery where I took the lead on developing a chemical treatment program. The unique chemistry of the phosphorus in the waste stream drove an unorthodox approach to removing it, so I formulated a product tailored to this specific application.”
How will your generation influence the water industry? “Our generation is positioned in such a time where sustainability is no longer a choice but instead mandatory. I expect that more attention will continue to be directed to water reduction and re-use technologies as water resources continue to become more stressed.”
Industry aspiration: To look back on work and know he contributed to water quality, helped conserve resources and protected the environment.
Extracurricular work: AWT Wastewater Subcommittee member; served on Young Professionals Panel at the 2019 AWT Annual Convention.
Personal passions: Environmental conservation and sustainability.
Worst kept secret: Always wanted to be an astrophysicist. “I think I watch too much of ‘The Big Bang Theory’.”
Hidden talent: Can identify many bird species by their songs and calls.
Outside the office: Surveys bird diversity and abundance in his home county through the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count Program. Also monitors six sites on Oakland University’s property for frog and toad diversity and abundance during breeding season.
Giving back: Partnered with professors at Oakland University with his front watch monitoring responsibilities for a campus-specific database and collected observational data during bird migration season for environmental protections and biological preservation.
Best memory: Went to Costa Rica in 2016 for a Tropical Field Ecology course through Oakland University. “This experience really inspired me in ways that solidified my appreciation for environmental sustainability, birdwatching and travel.”
Biggest lessons learned: “In academics, good grades were predicated on knowing virtually everything that was taught, so it was difficult transitioning into an industry where there is a lot to learn, especially through experience that takes time to accumulate. I quickly had to embrace not having answers for everything, and I had to accept that my skills would develop through time and consistent dedication.”
Jay Vanden Brink
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Company: Aqua Clara International
Education: B.A. Biology/Spanish
Personal accomplishments: Supplied clean water to more than 10 countries.
Professional accomplishments: Installed filters in schools, homes
Life before water industry: Traveled after graduating university.
Greatest influence: Jack Johnson. “Not only does he make great music, he has raised awareness of how we can be better stewards of this earth. He is also a great surfer.”
Hobbies: Loves all things water, which includes surfing and skiing.
Best project ever: Supplied clean water to the remote village of Papaturro, Nicaragua.
How will your generation influence the water industry? “We have had the internet to inform us and the world that water scarcity is a growing issue, especially with climate change. This knowledge will cause more conscious minds with water conservation and more helping hands for the problems we will face.”
Industry aspiration: “To be in the industry my whole life and continue to lead the way for sustainable water-use worldwide.”
Personal passions: To bring clean water to the whole world and protect the environment and fragile ecosystems.
Hidden talent: Includes everyone in the room.
Giving back: Worked with Habitat for Humanity and has also been on several service trips.
Best memory: “Every summer my whole family comes home to Holland, Michigan, to enjoy Lake Michigan and its beauty.”
Biggest lessons learned: “It takes a lot of engineering, and a lot of places are not as lucky as us in Michigan when it comes to freshwater.”
Title: Superintendent, Wetlands and Water Reclamation Facility
Company: City of El Dorado
Education: B.S. Wildlife Biology
Personal accomplishments: Balances work and family to live for today and provide for our future.
Professional accomplishments: Class IV Water certification, Class IV Wastewater certification, Class IV ABC Wastewater Laboratory certification, Class IV ABC Collections Systems Technologist, Class II ABC Distribution Systems Technologist, WEF William D. Hatfield Award recipient, WEF Laboratory Analyst Excellence Award recipient, Crystal Crucible Society recipient, 5S Society recipient, Leadership Butler graduate, KU Certified Public Management graduate, Water Leadership Institute graduate, Rural Water Board Chairman, Past Rotary Club President.
Life before water industry: “As luck would have it, shortly after graduating college I stumbled upon the water industry and had no idea the career path waiting for me.”
Greatest influence: Kurt Bookout. “He has provided me with the avenue for success, encouraging me to become involved with our local water organizations in addition to civic groups within the community.”
Hobbies: Owns and operates a hunting preserve. Raises English Setters. Raises Akaushi cattle from farm to fork.
How will your generation influence the water industry? ”We will continue to connect communities with safe clean water, in tune to the environment we live in, utilizing advancement of water treatment technologies, and
making a concentrated effort to seek out the next generation of operators.”
Industry aspiration: “I hope to highlight the industry as a strong viable career path with great opportunity that provides a huge benefit to the communities we live in.”
Extracurricular work: Member of the Kansas Water Environment Association as well as the Kansas Section of the American Water Works Association. Served on various different sub committees within KWEA and currently is the president-elect for the association.
Personal passions: Family and demonstrating that hard work and dedication can be rewarding.
Worst kept secret: “The water industry can give you so much opportunity back in return if you let it.”
Giving back: Coaches youth sports, is a founding member of the South Central KS Bird Dog club and is the Rural Water Board Chairman.
Best memory: “Anytime we can get away as a family to see or do something new has always been memorable. The water industry has taken us literally across the U.S. with opportunities to mix work and play.”
Biggest lesson learned: “Water is not on the forefront of most peoples’ minds. We have come to expect safe drinking water from taps and wastewater disappearing from our homes. The biggest lesson for me today is that we need to be specific in targeting the next generation of operators. Specific in that as industry professionals we need to get in front of job seeking youth and open their eyes to the many facets of water treatment and the opportunities that come with it.”
Title: Chief Operating Officer, Wastewater Operating Services
Company: Great Lakes Water Authority
Education: Wayne State University ‘06 Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Personal accomplishments: “First and foremost, on a personal level my family is my greatest accomplishment. Professionally, it is having the opportunity to advance in my career by becoming the chief operating officer at the Great Lakes Water Authority.”
Professional accomplishments: “During my tenure as chief engineer at the Oakland County WRC, I led the transitioning of the city of Pontiac’s water and wastewater operations and maintenance from private contract operations to county operations. I also provided leadership for engineering, field staff members and administrative and technical support personnel who provided service for a number of county facilities, including three treatment facilities, over 200 pump stations, community wells and retentions basins.”
Life before water industry: “I worked for several engineering firms performing material testing, geotechnical investigations, construction inspection, surveying and site development. What really drew me to the water sector was the opportunity to face ever-evolving challenges with science, technology and innovation.”
Greatest influence: His uncle, Al Mehram, M.D., who inspired him to do anything for anyone. “Uncle Al showed me the importance of being passionate in his career and when at work, no matter at what level, I am there to serve a group of individuals and provide them with the best experience possible. I am forever grateful to my uncle for the time he committed to helping me adapt to American culture when I first moved to the U.S. By observing my uncle’s caring nature and the interactions he had with people, I was given the foundation to become a compassionate, selfless leader.”
Hobbies: Likes to snowboard, golf and grill out with family. “I have been married to my wife for eight years, and we have a seven-month-old son.”
Best project ever: “The project that stands out the most is the Solids Improvement Project for the Clinton River Water Resource Recovery Facility. The existing facility solids loading exceeded the facility’s anaerobic digesters’ capacity. This project provided for an opportunity to overhaul the facility’s solids processing system in its entirety, while integrating a process to maximize existing infrastructure and incorporate a more advanced, proven technology.”
How will your generation influence the water industry? “The water and wastewater sector is rapidly changing with the integration of technology and artificial intelligence. Also, the sector is recognizing the opportunities and the resources that are available in wastewater. Additionally, our generation will have the challenge of rehabilitating and rightsizing the current deteriorating infrastructure, while dealing with funding challenges and more stringent regulations. This is how I believe our generation will make its mark, by challenging the status quo and making the water sector more sustainable.”
Industry aspiration: “Long term, I look forward to the challenge of taking existing infrastructure and rehabilitating it. What we realize now, is that before us, infrastructure was built, but there was no foundation on how to sustain it. Now, we have the challenge of finding creative ways to utilize this existing infrastructure, making it reliable and optimizing it by incorporating more real time tools and maximizing the use of new technology.”
Extracurricular work: Member of Chi Epsilon, a national civil engineering honor society.
Personal passions: “First and foremost, being a great father and husband. Professionally, it is working to ensure that we provide our member partners with a high level of service in a manner that environmentally sustainable and provide the best value to our member partners.”
Worst kept secret: “I have wanted to be an engineer since I was a child. In 5th grade, I wired a circuit with a switch to power a light bulb as part of a science project.”
Hidden talent: Rough carpentry, wood working and working on cars.
Giving back: “My wife and I adopt families during the holidays. We are proud to help out less fortunate families in our community and hope this gesture brings them joy. I also help raise money to fight against Multiple Sclerosis by hosting community cookouts and golf events.”
Best memory: “My father, Reza, came to the U.S. in 1993 at the age of 37, with almost nothing to his name. He had two kids and my mother, and the need to begin a new life for his family. After seeing all my father sacrificed and the challenges he overcame, I learned the values of hard work, problem solving and perseverance that I employ every day in my leadership.”
Biggest lessons learned: Collaboration with Operations and Maintenance, along with buy-in from all teams responsible for the facility is critical. “You can implement the most efficient, creative, cost-effective design and/or standard operating procedure, but if you do not engage your team and work together, an idea cannot be successful.”
Title: Manager of Energy and Environmental Policy
Company: American Water Works Association
Education: Ph.D. Environmental Science and Policy
Personal accomplishments: Working full time while pursuing a Ph.D. for nine years during which he also “changed jobs, got married, moved into a new house, had a kid, and moved into another new house and had the second kid on the way.”
Professional accomplishments: “Over the past few years, we’ve spent a lot of time working to build relationships between the agricultural community and the water sector to protect source waters through conservation programs.”
Life before water industry: Worked for a governmental contractor with work through EPA, NASA and other federal agencies.
Greatest influence: Dr. Sharon deMonsabert, his first advisor for his Ph.D. program at George Mason University. “She has since gone on to lead an incredibly successful company, and I hope I can one day have even a fraction of her number of accomplishments.”
Hobbies: “With two small children in the house, their ‘hobbies’ become mine. Lots of walks and playgrounds, exploring new places, arts and crafts and other similar activities. I do have a set of golf clubs, but they’re probably covered in an inch of dust at this point!”
Best project ever: A project that incorporated sustainability principles into rule-making using cost estimates for an anticipated rule and layering on factors related to materials consumption, emissions, traffic accidents, and others. It opened his eyes to a fuller picture of the environmental, economic, and social costs and benefits, even if unintended.
How will your generation influence the water industry? It will modernize the water sector. “The sector has done some pretty amazing things to protect public health and the environment, but there’s room for improvement as the next generation finds ways to incorporate new technologies and new ideas into the mix.”
Extracurricular work: Five years in the Toastmasters program learning about writing and delivering speeches. Also enjoys peer-reviewing scientific papers “for rigor, proper analysis, clarity and other merits.”
Personal passions: “I love every time I see one of the kids learn something new. It’s amazing how much they’re like sponges, and the older one seems to remember things better than I do these days.”
Worst kept secret: Pulled an all-nighter for the first time in 10 years to complete his dissertation a couple days early. “I was so tired that I just about passed out the next day at work, but it was worth it because I was done!”
Hidden talent: Went to flight school to become an airline pilot.
Outside the office: Works as an election officer for local community.
Giving back: Neighborhood civic association member who advocates for safety improvements in the neighborhood.
Best memory: “When my oldest (and at the time, only) son was three, the family joined me on a trip to Seattle for a conference. Over the course of those four days, I saw my son really start to grow up – doing really well on a flight all the way across the country, enjoying the sights and learning new things. I savored every moment I got to spent with the family on that trip.”
Biggest lesson learned: “Obtaining, treating and distributing water may sound straightforward, but every step along the way is met with important choices that have meaningful impacts on public health, costs, environmental concerns and many other factors.”
Title: Co-founder & CEO
Education: B.A. Communications DePauw University
Personal accomplishments: “My family! Husband Tristan and two kiddos Jack (9) and Grace (6). I started 120Water when my daughter was just 2 years old. Without the support of my family, including my parents, it would not have been possible. I’m grateful for their ongoing support!”
Professional accomplishments: IBJ’s 40 under 40; Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Indianapolis Winner; closed the largest Series A round of funding led by female entrepreneur in Indiana; 2019 Imagine H20 Accelerator Winner; starting 120Water from nothing into a multi-million dollar company providing drinking water solutions for some of the most pressing challenges in our industry.
Life before water industry: Sales and marketing executive for start-up and scale-up software-as-a-service companies.
Hobbies: “Spending time with my family. Shuttling my two young children around to various activities. I love to run, garden and play golf!”
Best project ever: “Being a part of the Indiana Lead Sampling program from the beginning has been incredible. I will never forget the early days of traveling the state to train TAPS, beta test the software and ultimately send over 500,000 Hoosier kids back to school with safer drinking water.”
How will your generation influence the water industry? The digital transformation to address challenges relating to “a retiring workforce and appetite for digital tools from the next generation of water professionals. [And] unprecedented new drinking water regulations that will force the industry to adopt more digital tools in order to comply.”
Industry aspiration: “My aspiration for my career in water is to be a leader of transformation and digital technology. I would love for 120Water to be synonymous with helping the industry advance the use of digital technologies to evolve existing and emerging challenges our industry faces.”
Extracurricular work: I serve on various boards to advance workforce development and the technology sector in Indiana. I’m passionate about retaining and recruiting talent to Indiana to build technology companies!
Personal passions: “Water! Seriously...I’m a total water nerd.”
Hidden talent: “I was involved in theatre from the time I was five through college. I even played Peter Pan in our local community theatre and got to fly!”
Giving back: ITIA Board, Zionsville Educational Foundation, Governor’s Workforce Cabinet
Biggest lesson learned: Be patient.
Title: Engineering Manager
Company: West Virginia American Water
Education: Masters in Engineering with dual emphases in Environmental Engineering and Engineering Management from Marshall University. B.S. in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
Personal accomplishments: Getting through college as a civil engineering major while balancing social life and involvement in student government, her sorority and her role as a Resident Assistant. “Eventually, I found a love of the environmental and water field through research opportunities and made it through with encouragement from my now husband and fellow engineering classmates.”
Professional accomplishments: Received the George Warren Fuller Award by the American Water Works Association for distinguished service to the water supply; the Water Environment Federation Arthur Sidney Bedell Award for meritorious service to the West Virginia Water Environment Association; and the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers Gold Shovel. Named West Virginia American Society of Civil Engineers 2012 Young Civil Engineer of the Year and received 2019 Excellence in Construction award recipient from the West Virginia Association of Builders and Contractors.
Life before water industry: Youth tennis instructor in college and high school; receptionist at a local country club; holiday customer service and professional gift wrap associate at Macy’s; and server at Pizza Hut.
Greatest influence: Her mom, who instilled the importance of selflessness, volunteerism and education. “She showed me the meaning of perseverance and hard work.”
Hobbies: Baking, tennis, golf and strategy board games. “I enjoy nature activities, hiking and bird watching. I record bird counts for Cornell’s Feeder Watch program and track turtles for the local state Division of Natural Resources.”
Best project ever: Took lead engineering role to provide assistance to a small neighboring water system called Queen Shoals PSD that had been affected by a 1,000-year storm that caused catastrophic flash flooding and at least 23 fatalities in West Virginia. “We were the first assistance seen by these residents that were traumatized by the event that just took place and thankful for our assistance.”
How will your generation influence the water industry? Solving problems related to aging infrastructure, utility financing and extreme weather event damage. “We are the generation that will effectively transition the industry into big data use, and bridge the practical aspects of being a utility and our goal to serve the customer with a basic service and the advanced technical capabilities associated with AI, automation and robotics.”
Industry aspiration: Continue her career into director roles and utility management. “I eventually would like to work in water policy/utility advocacy or teaching, as I think it is a way I can give back.”
Extracurricular work: Secretary of the AWWA Asset Management Committee; Water Utility Council Chair, and Government Affairs Chair of the WV AWWA Section.
Worst kept secret: Highly competitive and I won a state championship in tennis.
Hidden talent: Enjoys learning about other cultures and their social/business etiquette and can speak some Japanese.
Giving back: Graduate of the Charleston Citizen’s Police Academy, is involved in the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, serving as secretary for the Generation Putnam organization and is active at church.
Best memory: “My family took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, which coincided with ‘Great American Eclipse’ of August 2017. The path of totality was less than 50 miles away, so we decided to entertain my mother who did not want us to miss this opportunity, and we stumbled upon the beautiful town of Sylva, North Carolina. We found a great community park, shopped at the Main Street stores, and visited their beautiful courthouse. It was a memorable moment joining the community as we all waited and sat together in darkness with our funny looking glasses.”
Biggest lessons learned: “The biggest lesson I learned when entering the water industry is value of networking and creating professional industry relationships through involvement in organizations, such as AWWA, WEF and ASCE. In West Virginia, whether you work for a consultant, regulatory entity, manufacturer or utility, you can learn something from everyone and there is always someone willing to help.”
Title: Senior Program Manager
Company: Isle Utilities
Education: B.S. in Marketing & Logistics
Personal accomplishments: “Moving across the country and starting fresh was a major personal challenge. It was also the best decision I have ever made. From then on, taking risks became easier, although it is still something I work on.”
Professional accomplishments: Launching the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association’s InFLOW program. “Short for ‘Introducing Future Leaders to Opportunities in Water,’ InFLOW seeks out young people of color and women to expose them to careers in the water industry. The program is a win for young people seeking meaningful and essential work, a win for employers looking for new talent and a win for an industry seeing much of its workforce retiring.”
Greatest influence: “I am uplifted and inspired by those who conduct themselves in accordance with a set of values that transcend both their personal and professional lives. The values I cherish most are honesty, courage, grit, trustworthiness, humility, positivity and The Golden Rule. A countless many have influenced my life, but my deepest gratitude goes to my mother, my sister and Cristina Ahmadpour.”
Hobbies: Watercolors and letter-writing with her nephew. She also aims to take sailing classes and pottery lessons.
Best project ever: Working with Isle Utilities’ Technology Approval Group (TAG). “Essentially we gather forward-thinking utilities to share technology trends and best practices with the goal of innovation uptake. The people at this nexus are inspiring, the energy is contagious and seeing change happen in real time is invigorating.”
How will your generation influence the water industry? “In the past handful of years, there have been many scrappy and creative companies pop up that take unconventional approaches to age-old issues. These companies also prioritize giving back to communities and the environment, while treating their employees like human beings with personal lives and responsibilities. Our industry can be slower to adopt change; however, I think the triple-bottom line approach has proven itself, and my generation will not only embrace that, but bring an open mindset to solve challenges.”
Industry aspiration: “Truthfully, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! However I do know that I’m motivated by making a positive impact on people’s professional and/or personal lives and plan to do much more of that.”
Extracurricular work: Working as conference chair fo the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association. “We don’t know what the conference will look like yet. I have been tremendously uplifted by the words of support from our membership, and positivity of the Conference Committee to deliver the best conference we possibly can.”
Personal passions: Reducing waste of any kind, including energy, water, materials, food, money and time. “We are overdue for a hard look at the way we consume, transport, manufacture, spend and do business in general.”
Worst kept secret: “Plead the fifth!”
Hidden talent: Good listener and gets people to open up.
Outside the office: Working with Swim for Haiti, DePave, food banks, watershed clean ups, removal of invasive plants and Habitat for Humanity.
Giving back: “My partner and I recently landed in the Bay Area, and we certainly have plans to find ways to engage with our community once restrictions lift. I have particularly appreciated the extra time to reflect on how we can best serve our communities, as there are many people and groups in need of support.”
Best memory: “I was shooting the breeze with some folks at a party where I didn’t really know anyone. As per usual, I steered the conversation to ‘flushable’ wipes and the issues they cause in sewers and treatment works when flushed. Rather than politely excusing themselves from the conversation, I’m now friends with one person who has since committed to no longer flush wipes, and another party-goer was so wooed with my sewer talk he (eventually) asked me to marry him! #WastewaterIsHot”
Biggest lessons learned: The water industry can sometimes be slow to adopt change, but those with the power to affect change “are some of the most passionate, dedicated and altruistic folks I have ever met. I have made many life-long friends through my ‘accidental’ career in water, and I am forever grateful. It’s not uncommon to find me trying to recruit Lyft drivers, bouncers and bartenders to the water industry.”
Title: Product Resources Engineer
Company: Rinker Materials
Education: University of Central Florida Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering
Personal accomplishments: “Becoming a mom to my son, Andrew! Getting to teach him about engineering and show him photos from my projects is always so fun!”
Professional accomplishments: State of Florida Professional Engineer #70942; American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Region 5 Governor from 2018-present; 2020 ASCE Florida Section Infrastructure Report Card Update Contributor; 2011-2020 Florida Delegate for the ASCE Legislative Fly-In in Washington, DC; Active member of the American Concrete Pipe Association; Member of the Florida Engineering Society; Member of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE); Member of Commercial Real Estate for Women (CREW) Central Florida Chapter; Member of ASTM C13 Committee; Member of Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS).
Life before the water industry: Worked in roadway design and utility coordination management for a private consultant.
Hobbies: Plays golf in many amateur tournaments. “I have played in five USGA Mid Amateur Championships and have also won a Florida Mixed Team event with my husband.”
How will your generation influence the water industry? “Being able to design efficient projects that are inclusive and enhance the natural environment.”
Industry aspiration: To highlight the value in forward thinking and designing for a generation not just for an immediate need.
Extracurricular work: Region 5 Governor for the American Society of Civil Engineers and has been involved with ASCE for her entire civil engineering career. Has participated in the ASCE Legislative Fly In in Washington DC for the past 10 years.
Personal passions: Has played golf since she was four years old. “I have always played, but now that I don’t get to play as often, I am love what the game of golf teaches us about ourselves and how we deal with stress”
Worst kept secret: “Most of my friends in the construction industry don’t know I have been tap dancing since I was four!”
Giving back: Practitioner advisor for the University of Central Florida American Society of Civil Engineers chapter and volunteers with the University of Central Florida College of Engineering and Computer Science with resume and career building workshops, in addition to serving as a judge at the Senior Design Project Showcase event.
Best memory: “A special time was [when my husband caddied] for me at the 2015 USGA Women’s Mid Amateur Championship in Louisiana when I was four months pregnant with our son. I now get to tell my son that he’s already played in a USGA Championship!“
Biggest lessons learned: Sometimes the smallest of details can make the most difference.
Title: Septic Division Managing Director; Septic Contractor/Inspector
Company: Pro Chek Home & Septic Inspections
Education: BA in Communications from Western Connecticut State University; Masters degree in Education from Manhattanville College
Personal accomplishments: Led college baseball team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Creating a septic division that has grown to a level we never expected.
Professional accomplishments: Independently obtained training and certifications in the Onsite Wasterwater Disposal System Industry. Built the Septic Inspection Division from scratch and increased the number of inspections by 50% from start up and to 110% 2020 year to date.
Life before the water industry: NYC School Teacher - Hunts Point section of the Bronx NY
Hobbies: Sports, working out, spending time with family
Best project ever: Dug up a septic tank covered in fill and packed down to use for a dirt driveway. “We dug for hours, over 4 feet of concrete-like dirt and had to put a ladder into the hole to be able to open the access lid.”
How will your generation influence the water industry? His generation will be tasked with filling the shoes of business owners looking to retire. “Our industry is extremely important and awareness has grown tremendously over the years, so we have to continue this trend and keep building.”
Industry aspiration: To start a successful septic pumping business and continue to grow the inspection division each year.
Extracurricular work: To visit technical schools and give a presentation on the wastewater industry, specifically septic systems, and highlight careers in the field.
Personal passions: “To be the best at what I do, known as an expert, and provide for my family as my father provided for my mom, sister and I for all these years.”
Worst kept secret: “I lock my truck doors every time my parents come over so my mom doesn’t open the door and yell at me for having so many water bottles on the floor.”
Best memory: “The day my son was born was/is the greatest gift my wife and I could ever receive. The look on my wife’s face, my family and her family as they all met him for the first time.”
Biggest lessons learned: Books are great, but field work is critical for learning. “I have seen 100-year-old tanks, brick and mortar tanks and distribution boxes and designs look like roller coasters that no classroom training or research could teach you about and prepare you for.”
Contact WWD about the Young Pros program at [email protected].