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  • 1.  Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-07-2017 11:03 AM

    What do you think every Young Graduate Water Engineer should do to become highly successful in his/her career. Is there anything you wished you could have done in your 20's or regret not doing earlier in your career?

    And what's the best advice you would give to a young college graduate who is starting his/her career in the water sector.

    Your experiences and insights will be very valuable to me!

    PS: If you're mentioning a particular course, workshop, training, conference, internship, a particular program for MSc/MS, a particular company to start career with, a particular piece of software etc. then please mention it's name.

    Thank You!

    Saurabh Singh S.M.ASCE
    Galgotias College of Engineering & Technology
    Greater Noida

  • 2.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-08-2017 09:44 AM

    Get active in the various association (i.e. ASCE, AWWA etc.).


    But I think the most important one is to take a job with a small to medium size engineering firm if possible. While the firm may not specifically concentrate on water or wastewater projects, you may do doing site design for residential or commercial projects, the opportunity to have exposure to various aspects of a project is invaluable. I was fortunate to work for a small firm doing site development and was responsible for every aspect of the project, from master planning with our landscape architects, doing drainage analysis and design, roadway design, water and sewer design, permitting, bidding, and construction administration. Being responsible for everything helps you to understand how it all has to fit together to work and the level of effort that goes into the design. It has made me a better engineer and helps me to do my job in the municipal water and wastewater sector every day.


    Thank you,



    James R. Wilson, P.E.


    Engineering & Construction Department


    O: 843-727-6878

    C: 843-696-8352




  • 3.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-09-2017 06:34 PM

    Learn the fundamentals of "numerical methods" and fluid dynamics.


    Now days all the water problems are solved with numerical models.



  • 4.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-08-2017 09:58 AM
    My career has been in water and wastewater. I spent about ten years in municipal work, in the laboratory, going out with water and wastewater maintenance crews to learn their work, going through industrial plants to inventory their waste discharges (prior to EPA reps), attended technical seminars when I could, was troubleshooter on equipment failures to determine reasons for failures and to select better systems, eventually went on to do a lot of remodeling of pumping stations and architecture for a SCADA system -- while working in operations. This was excellent preparation to work in consulting, where I was able to offer a strong understanding of electrical and computerized control of machinery and processes for about ten years. For the last 15 years I have been able to provide expert witness services in professional liability cases and law suits involving municipal operations.

    Conclusion -- getting a broad background of experience has served me very well.

    Sent from my iPad

  • 5.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-08-2017 10:31 AM
    In addition to design work, field and construction experience during the E.I.T. years are two of the most important items I believe every successful and respected Engineer has under his or her belt. This experience teaches what makes a good engineering design that is constructable, cost effective, and meets the specific needs of your client or site/preexisting conditions.

    It doesn't make a lot of sense to recommend a traditional wastewater treatment plant for a small rural town or municipality with an average daily flow less than 0.25 MGD when treatment lagoons with aerators will do the job at a quarter of the capital cost and a tenth of the O&M costs. But I've seen just this being recommended and built where other solutions are more practical and appropriate. In the end, the client doesn't have the skilled operators to operator it and the plant falls in disrepair or it never works correctly from the beginning.  An engineer with solid experience from the field and in construction won't usually make this mistake because he or she will have been exposed to a wider variety situations and will tailor the recommendations and engineering solutions for the clients specific needs.  

    Sean Brady P.E., M.ASCE
    Project Engineer
    New Mexico Dept. of Trans.

  • 6.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-08-2017 11:02 AM
    I am in the Stormwater side of Water Resources.  I am quite happy with my career so far, although getting to the "Managment" level wasn't a easy feat for me. I had to leave a job I loved, and great people to get it.  After 12 years with one firm I made that jump, and I don't regret it at all. I would say to those of you looking to get high up in your careers, that it really depends on what kind of Engineer you want to be. If you want to be a technical expert, take the time to go through ebs and flows of projects, spend a lot of time in the books and GET A MENTOR. I had a few people in my career that have really inspired me to never stop learning.  For the first ten years I was in the Design/Project Engineer role. I think that makes me a more well rounded Manager now, and I understand the business much better than if I tried to rush to the top. Doing proposals, going out to get work, client relationships all comes natural because of the confidence I have in my technical abilities.  I owe that to the people who I learned from, and those I am still learning from today.   

    Larry Tortuya P.E., A.M.ASCE
    Senior Project Manager
    Irvine CA


  • 7.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-08-2017 11:38 AM
    It's nice to say "work for a small firm" or a "municipality" but really, you can't focus on that as much as just getting that first job.

    My first job was in a large international firm.  I did not know what I would be doing until I showed up for work a week before my finals.  When I arrived, I discovered that one of the senior engineers was up to his chin in recycled water projects, so I started out designing water pipeline systems.  Natural curiosity led me to work with the salesrep for recycled water to analyze systems for proper use while protecting the public health.  Moving around with the company, I ended up doing a host of projects that spanned both recycled water and water.  I worked closely with state health departments.  I also designed road turnouts, intersections and realignments to accommodate growth.That led to a few sewer projects.  basically, a varied career spanning 33 years.  I explored all my avenues and would say I have never regretted a decision.  I would say don't focus on water, just get that first job.  Open your mind, and let it all in!

    Daniel Chase M.ASCE
    Camarillo CA

  • 8.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-09-2017 03:46 PM

    Get practical field experience in waterworks construction.  It's a great way to avoid designing stuff that can't be built.

  • 9.  RE: Things every aspirational water engineering experts should do in their 20s

    Posted 02-14-2017 06:09 PM
    Good exchange.

    What is often missing is a career plan that layouts what you want to do and how you plan to get to a career goal through continuing education (training plan), assignments that give you the needed experiences, selecting and working with a mentor (formal or informal), and developing your professional network. The plan can be sketchy at first and revisited every 2-3 years. As you get more experience and feedback from others, you can revise your plan. Think about where you want to in 5, 10, 15 years... Let others know of your short and long-term goals so they can be part of helping you achieve your goals. If your first and second level supervisors don't know of your interests, they may not think of you when a training opportunity or special assignment pops up in your areas of interest.

    Improve your communications skills: writing and public speaking. Unless you are really gifted, you need lots of practice at getting proficient. Learn to write and speak so non-technical folks can understand.  Be a team player, develop your leadership skills, share information and help others succeed, and don't say anything negative about your employer outside the office but give constructive criticism in the office...be tactful.

    Allen Masuda P.E., M.ASCE
    Plainfield IL