To help an industry progress and maintain, the professionals that make it up must be varied. Their passions and skills may be different, but together they make up and move an entire industry forward. Going forward, a new wave of leaders will be carrying the industry through future challenges. On the following pages, you will meet 10 young professionals under the age of 40 who are paving the way for the future of the storm water and erosion control industry.
These 10 professionals make up the SWS 2021 Young Pros class. Their roles and goals might be different, but together this group presents varying sectors of the industry, from the manufacturing side to the engineering side. They shared with SWS how they got their start in the industry, what their goals are and where they see the industry heading.
SWS is excited to recognize these individuals. You can also learn about each of them in our video series, Dropping By. Visit estormwater.com/droppingby to watch an interview with each of these professionals.
Erin M. Lowe
Official Title: Civil Engineer
Company Name: Bexar County Public Works
What are your professional certifications and education? Professional engineer in the state of Texas; CESSWI. Lowe graduated from Baylor in 2009 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics
What are your professional accomplishments? My biggest accomplishment is earning my PE license. My background was mechanical but my PE is in civil: water resources. When I received my PE, I was just so proud.
How did you come to be in the water industry? I actually graduated from Baylor with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. When I graduated in 2009, it was during the “downturn” and many of the companies that had numerous job postings went to having one job posting or none at all. I had interned at Bexar County for a couple of summers, and I received a call right before graduation asking if I was interested in working in the storm water field.
What are your goals? I have recently been promoted out of the storm water quality area and into storm water quantity. I’m now involved with floodplain platting and permitting. With this position, my first step is to get my CFM.
Who is your greatest influence? As cliché as it sounds, my greatest influences are my parents. Both of them instilled hard work and perseverance in me.
What are your hobbies outside of work? With COVID-19, some of my hobbies have been sidelined. But I’ve been focusing on my family tree and doing a lot of genealogy research.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? I have a mechanical degree and not a civil. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that.
What is your hidden talent? Well, this talent seems to be very hidden. Even from me! Once I discover this hidden talent I will let you know.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? Communication, communication, communication! It is vital to be able to communicate in any workplace. This is how trust is built with the community and with co-workers. Communication is the foundation for transparency, engagement, productivity and problem solving.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? Working at a regulatory agency, a lot of direction comes from the state and [U.S.] EPA. For the immediate future, the EPA has been pushing low impact development (LID) for a decade now and with an administration that shares that view backing them, I think we will see development lean towards more green space, less impervious cover and more LID centered BMPs to help improve our water quality.
Official Title: Senior Project Engineer
Company Name: Crane Engineering Corp.
What are your professional certifications and education? Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, certified floodplain manager and licensed professional engineer in Texas.
What are your professional accomplishments? My most notable accomplishments include being named as the first ever Young Engineer of the Year for my chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers in 2017 and serving as the MATHCOUNTS Coordinator for our chapter in the year it was named Chapter of the Year for the state of Texas in 2018
How did you come to be in the water industry? I interned over the summer during college at my current company and the emphasis placed on the water industry during this time hooked me on the industry.
What are your goals? I would like to have studied and modeled most of the streams within my hometown of Laredo, Texas.
Who is your greatest influence? This is the toughest question but without a doubt my family. The root of anything I have ever achieved comes from them.
What are your hobbies outside of work? I love heavy weightlifting and gaming with friends and family. I am also a huge sports fan and a fan of Marvel comics/films. Most of the time outside of work you will see me doing something related to one of those four things. I loved going to rock concerts pre-pandemic, so that is one hobby on standby.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? I was named after a Tex-Mex singer from the 60s-70s named Freddie Martinez. My parents were sticking to names that began with the letter “A” and that led them to name me Alfredo. The funny thing about it is I am not at all influenced by that music genre. I am a total metal head.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? Martinez is involved in TSPE as a MATHCOUNTS coordinator.
What is your hidden talent? I can deadlift 600 lbs. Not tremendous weight by strongman standards, but I consider this impressive for the recreational lifter like myself.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? The biggest lesson I have learned in my professional career is a two-parter. As we are all lectured on, you need to prioritize time management and my personal lesson is focus on one task at a time. That is not to say “do not multi-task,” but do not allow yourself to be distracted from the task you chose to take on at a certain point. The office and life in general will throw distractions your way but maintain your focus on your task or tasks. It has paid dividends on my ability to hit project goals efficiently.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? I see the industry concentrating more and more on providing sustainable solutions with the use of the world’s ever advancing technologies. This will require a serious investment in infrastructure that I hope is made by our community leaders.
Official Title: Supervisor of Engineering/Associate
Company Name: RGS Associates Inc.
What are your professional certifications and education? Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, University of Cincinnati, 2004; NPDES Certified Stormwater Inspector, National Stormwater Center, 2017; Licensed Professional Engineer, Pennsylvania, 2010. Maryland, 2011, New Jersey, 2011.
What are your professional accomplishments? 2020 Governor appointed member of the Pennsylvania Statewide Water Resource Advisory Board; 2019 Forty Under 40 – Central Penn Business Journal; 2015 Opportunity for All Award – George Street Commons, 10,000 Friends of PA; 2014 Leadership Award – Steeple View Lofts, the Lancaster County Planning Commission.
How did you come to be in the water industry? While enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, Bradley was taught by some passionate professors in hydrology and hydraulics. During those college years, he said he was exposed to the real-world application of those principles during multiple co-op opportunities at a land development firm (CDS Associates).
What are your goals? In 30 years, I want to be able to look back and see a legacy of leadership, positive change within my community, and professionals I have mentored succeeding in their careers. Civil engineering and storm water management are extremely rewarding endeavors.
Who is your greatest influence? My family has always been there to support me through all of my endeavors. Directly out of college, I was very blessed to have a great professional and personal mentor Thomas Neugebauer, PE, during my time with Morris and Ritchie Associates. Later in my career at RGS Associates, Joel Snyder, RLA, and Mark Hackenburg, RLA, have given me the opportunity and support to grow professionally; both technically and the business side. Philosophically, I have been inspired by the collaboration with our sister-profession of Landscape Architecture.
What are your hobbies outside of work? Much of my out of work time is dedicated to family activities with my wife Jessica, and children Benjamin and Allison. Personally, I love all things barbecue. Given the opportunity on the weekend, we normally have something on the smoker to enjoy as a family.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? Like many of my peers, my degree, certifications, and professional licenses are displayed in my home office. However, what occupies the top center of my wall is my Kansas City Barbeque Society BBQ Judge Certification.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? Bradley incorporates his three life passions – family, career and food – with family service events. He also volunteers with MATHCOUNTS to encourage students to have a love of math and to overcome their natural fear of the complicated.
What is your hidden talent? If being considered an Excel ninja is a hidden talent, then we can go with that.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? The biggest lesson learned at this point in my career is to embrace the notation that being an environmental steward and an advocate for clients are not competing interests, but rather an opportunity to showcase sound engineering judgment and imagination. Engineering, in this era, is as much science as it is diplomacy.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? This industry of storm water management is ever changing, increasingly regulated and more complex than ever. Bradley hopes to see a more regional approach to storm water and floodplain management and anticipates a shift within the regulatory community toward the operation, maintenance and inspection of facilities. He said he also believes there needs to be a focus on recruiting the next generation of storm water professionals.
Official Title: Engineering Services Manager
Company Name: Propex Operating Co. LLC
What are your professional certifications and education? B.S. Civil Engineering and M.S. Civil Engineering from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), Licensed Engineer in Tennessee.
What are your professional accomplishments? Development of web-based design application for evaluation of Propex erosion control solution within channels as well as geotechnical stability of Propex wall systems.
How did you come to be in the water industry? When I was a senior in college, I applied for the position of engineering manager at Propex. I had no experience and did not meet the job requirements, but they offered me an internship. After I graduated, Propex offered me a position as an applications engineer. I gravitated towards the hydraulic and geotechnical side of things and eventually became the engineering services manager.
What are your goals? My goal is to see the use of geosynthetic erosion control solutions grow throughout the engineering community.
Who is your greatest influence? My greatest influence is my wife. We dated all through high school and college and have been married for almost 10 years. She drives me to work hard and encourages me to be more gracious, both in my profession and at home.
What are your hobbies outside of work? Most all of my time outside of work is spent with my wife and three kids. We love to explore, fish and play in the outdoors, along with bike rides and trampoline games.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? Right now in this current stage of life, my family is my community. We are constantly engaged with our siblings, cousins and grandparents as we have a large family.
What is your hidden talent? While I love being an engineer, I have always loved music. With a growing family I don’t have time for a full band now, but I try to at least pick up my acoustic guitar and play a little a couple times a week, even if it is some Taylor Swift for my girls.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? Be gracious. We all have a lot going on and no one is perfect. If you see someone make a mistake, walk alongside them to help them grow.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? I hope that with all the information we have at our fingertips that we are able to have a better grasp of the overall picture. We can often get overly focused on one aspect of design and lose focus of the project as a whole. Our design must balance performance, project budget and environmental impacts at the same time. We cannot just focus on one and ignore the others.
Title: Senior Stormwater Inspector
Company: Parker Design Group
What are your professional certifications and education? Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, VA DEQ Dual Combined Administrator, OSHA 10 Hour, combined space entry, VDOT concrete, VDOT soils and aggregate.
What are your professional accomplishments? I was named to the Top 40 Under 40 Young Professionals by the Roanoker Magazine in our community.
How did you come to be in the water industry? After falling in love with the water industry in school and volunteering my time since 2013 to help to maintain our local waterways, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in water. My career in construction materials testing led me to marry the art of helping our communities grow while preventing harmful sediment from entering our waterways.
What are your goals? Continuing to help grow the knowledge of communities on the importance of managing storm water. Storm water is my passion, and I feel like with more education and public outreach we can continue to grow this important field.
Who is your greatest influence? Nadean Carson is my greatest influence in the storm water world. Her passion for storm water management is contagious.
What are your hobbies outside of work? Caring for my newborn baby girl, Brenley! I love to be outside in nature. From hiking, camping, biking, kayaking and beyond.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? I love live music. I’ve missed it so much throughout the pandemic and am looking forward to the day we can gather with friends and share a dance.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? I am a certified stream monitor and have been volunteering to collect benthic macroinvertebrate data to help determine the quality of our local streams. I enjoy spending my time participating in local cleanups or organizing my own.
What is your hidden talent? I love to DIY. I enjoy the challenge of finding something that I love and then figuring out how I can create it myself and watching it come to life .
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? To trust the process. Make sure to listen. You will be surprised what information you can gather about a person, place or system.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? As all of us in the industry know, with increasing storm events the importance of storm water management continues to grow. Every year, I see so many different innovative approaches to managing the quality and quantity, and I am excited to continue to see these practices implemented and outdated policies revamped.
Title: Project Engineer
Company Name: CASC Engineering and Consulting
What are your professional certifications and education? Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering – Cal Poly Pomona; Minor in Digital Media Arts – Cal Ploy Pomona; P.E. 85473 ; CPESC 6693; QSD/QSP 22295; ASCE & CASQA Member.
What are your professional accomplishments? Ogaz has worked in every sector of the storm water consulting industry for private, city, county, state and federal clients. A highlight of this work was his contribution to the 2014 Riverside County Whitewater River Region BMP Handbook update. He is currently the field team leader for multiple simultaneous monitoring projects. Since 2019, Ogaz has been the lead managing professional on a two-year project known as “Design, Installation, and Monitoring for Gross Solids Removal Device (GSRD) Retrofit with Filter Media.” He will lead the development of an end-of-season report to document the efficacy of the GSRD retrofits.
How did you come to be in the water industry? I have worked in the storm water industry since joining CASC Engineering and Consulting and working as an engineering intern while attending Cal Poly Pomona.
What are your goals? My goals are to continue to work and grow in the storm water industry. I plan to meet additional professionals in my industry and to continue to promote clean storm water and construction practices during and after development. I hope to look back over my career and be able to feel like I helped to find a balance between moving development forward but also doing it the right way for the environment and also protect the valuable resource of storm water and our surface waters.
Who is your greatest influence? My greatest influence in the industry is definitely my manager and mentor, Jeff Endicott. He has helped guide me throughout my career and taught me many things about the storm water industry.
What are your hobbies outside of work? Outside of work, I like to spend my time traveling with my fiancée. We both enjoy traveling and attending live sporting events. I also enjoy spending my free time in my home garden tending to my fruits and vegetables. I also enjoy playing Texas Hold’em with my friends.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? I am ambidextrous and can do most things left or right handed. I am definitely better at most things left handed.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? I find time to assist the storm water community by volunteering my services at CASQA events and on CASQA Conference and Construction subcommittees.
What is your hidden talent? I am really good at carnival/fair games. The trick is to figure out the way the game is rigged against you and find its weakness to win the prize every time.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? The biggest lesson I have learned so far is that most of the people who are around you are here to help. I would sometimes have a tendency to try to do everything myself in the past. The people who are around you can be your greatest resource and can help when you need it the most.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? I see the permits and regulations to protect the storm water resource evolving to newer practices and technologies, while continuing to be cost effective and efficient. I hope that as we move forward, storm water management and treatment becomes more integrated into a project design and more of a project feature, than a minimum requirement that is just met. I hope people outside of the industry become more aware of the issues with storm water management and pollution and that through awareness we can do more to protect the storm water resource.
Official Title: Water Resources Engineer
Company Name: Center for Watershed Protection
What are your professional certifications and education? Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, Master’s in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University, and Professional Engineer License in MD, VA, and DC.
What are your professional accomplishments? Getting my PE has probably been my biggest accomplishment. Since I switched disciplines (mechanical to environmental/civil), it was a lot of new stuff to learn. It’s really rewarding to work on a project through the whole journey and see an idea come to fruition.
How did you come to be in the water industry? My first job out of college was as a contractor for the military, managing environmental R&D projects. One project I worked on funded university research on a modular water treatment plant for base camps, and that got me on the water track. Seeing how research can turn into real, tangible solutions was really cool.
What are your goals? To make real changes that improve environmental diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. It’s not always easy to bring social issues to a technical audience, but we need to have these conversations.
Who is your greatest influence? My mom. She’s always worked really hard to get what she wanted and perfected everything she did.
What are your hobbies outside of work? Rock climbing and gardening.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? I am a seafood snob. My mom owned a seafood restaurant in Hong Kong when I was growing up, so I grew up eating some of the best seafood. Not to mention I’m a born and raised Marylander, so fresh rockfish and blue crabs are common staples.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? I am on the Board of Directors for the UMD Engineering Alumni Network.
What is your hidden talent? I’m pretty good at cooking. My family has worked in the restaurant business my entire life, so I’ve learned a lot there.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? How to take and use constructive feedback. It took a while to turn off the defensive mechanisms, but actually listening and reflecting on the feedback is a great way to grow.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? I think designing for climate change is becoming more and more important. Our dated storm data will need to be revised, and that’s going to change a lot of standards.
Official Title: Environmental Scientist specializing in Stormwater Management
Company Name: Vineyard City, overseeing the MS4 UPDES Stormwater Permit in Vineyard, Utah
What are your professional certifications and education? Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the Environmental Studies program with a concentration in Earth Science. Other certifications: Utah Department of Transportation Environmental Control Supervisor; Utah Registered Stormwater Inspector; American Concrete Institution Field Technician ; APNGA Portable Nuclear Gauge Safety & U.S. D.O.T. Hazmat Certification Class; OSHA 40-Hour HAZWOPER Certification; Nebraska Master Naturalist
What are your professional accomplishments? As a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, I researched sedimentary diagenesis processes occurring at Lake Francis Case, South Dakota and helped co-author the research article, “Strata-bound vein array in the basal Pierre Shale, Lake Francis Case, South Dakota, U.S.A”, published in Rocky Mountain Geology. Marshall was also the vice president of the Environmental Club and a member of the Geology Club.
How did you come to be in the water industry? I was originally majoring in Marketing with a goal to work for a sustainable fashion company after I graduated. But that all changed after taking a Geology class for one of my science general requirements. I fell in love with geomorphology and switched my major to Environmental Studies.
What are your goals? I’m currently working towards obtaining the Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality licensure. I plan on enrolling later this year in the American Public Works’ Certified Stormwater Manager certification program. In the future, I’d love to enroll in a master’s degree program focused on Watershed Science and Public Policy.
Who is your greatest influence? Professionally, that would be Andy Szatko. He’s the Environmental Quality Control Technician for Omaha’s Stormwater Department and was my boss during my internship. His enthusiasm for green infrastructure was contagious and really shaped my career trajectory. My greatest personal influence would definitely be my little sister. "Her determination and accountability to always be her best...is something I really admire and aim to embody in my own life."
What are your hobbies outside of work? I really enjoy being outdoors; hiking, camping, paddleboarding, backpacking and most recently scuba diving. One of my deepest passions is road tripping to a place with fabulous geology.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? I was a broke college student who couldn’t afford to go see Neil Degrasse Tyson when he came to Omaha to give a talk on astrophysics. A professor at UNL gave me a ticket for the event and then I snuck into the VIP After Party to meet him.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? COVID-19 restrictions have put most of my plans on hold, but I'm really excited to volunteer with the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium and to participate in Wild Utah’s streambank restoration projects in the future.
What is your hidden talent? I’m a super organized minimalist and make spreadsheets for every area of my life.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? Practicing ultra discipline resulted in getting to really know who I am as a person. I’ve learned not to make excuses for myself. If I’m not reaching my goals, most likely, I’m the one holding myself back.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? Overall, I see a greater focus being placed on not only water quantity but also water quality. We believe we will see the industry shift its focus to water quality and not only on quantity. You can already see this with the research being done with post-construction storm water management. Another key issue will be storm water mitigation related to climate change. I was just reading about environmental mitigation banking for port cities.
Official Title: Public Works Supervisor III- Drainage System Management
Company Name: Snohomish County- Surface Water Management
What are your professional certifications and education? Education B.S. Earth Sciences, Minor Public Administration CalPoly-San Luis Obispo. Master Public Administration, University of Washington-Seattle, Northwest Public Works Institute (NWPW) Certification.
What are your professional accomplishments? Updating the Snohomish County Drainage Manual, Water Quality Codes, NPDES Annual report, Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) and Stormwater Management Action Plan-Little Bear Creek (SMAP) and the LID Implementation Report. Led the implementation of a Cartegraph OMS within SWM division; represented SWM during a Clean Water Act lawsuit.
How did you come to be in the water industry? Frolich studied earth science focused on water resources, which developed her interest in environmental protection, water quality, resource conservation and policy. She worked for the city of San Luis Obispo, California, and focused on water conservation initiatives, tracking high water use and irrigation auditing. In 2015, she transitioned to a Phase I Municipal permittee and into a management role.
What are your goals? To use her knowledge and expertise to help support the communities in which she lives, managing built infrastructure and protecting natural resources. Frolich has a desire to work in public service, representing and collaborating with stakeholders, promoting clean safe water, reduce flooding and educating the public on the importance of investing in their quality of life. She also wants to work at the national level.
Who is your greatest influence? My two grandfathers who both had long careers, one in the U.S. Army and the other in the automotive industry. They taught me I could be anything I want to be and gave me lots of confidence to pursue my goals. My two female managers - Janet Hruby and Karen Kerwin who regularly supported me through mentorship, coaching, encouragement to achieve, be creative, and seek opportunities.
What are your hobbies outside of work? Skiing, sailing, hiking, spending time with family and traveling.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? Frolich is a certified yoga instructor.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? Frolich is busy with her two young girls, ages 7 and 3.
What is your hidden talent? Fine art. Frolich specializes in teaching school-aged children.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? Realizing that there are many important issues affecting communities and governments beyond the water resource field and learning how to compromise and collaborate with competing interests such as land development, industry, agriculture and transportation.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? Population increase is going to continue to strain our natural resources. Water quantity shortages are of particular concern. Funding the long-term costs of infrastructure repair and replacement is not easy and will take major failures before people are willing to invest what is needed.
Official Title: Director of Marketing and Environmental Business Development
Company Name: Profile Products
What are your professional certifications and education? CPESC, CESSWI, BS Marketing in Diversified Fields and Minor in Corporate Communications, Ferris State University.
What are your professional accomplishments? Recipient of IECA Outstanding Professional Award; Sigma Pi Fraternity Young Professional Award, youngest Board Member of IECA; youngest President of IECA.
How did you come to be in the water industry? An opportunity to work for Profile Products in the sports division and found growing opportunities in the erosion, sediment, storm water Industry. I found many career opportunities and a really welcoming industry of professionals who were willing to share education and mentor young professionals.
What are your goals? Retire early, rescue St. Bernard’s and participate on boards of nonprofits to give back to meaningful philanthropic activities. Professionally, I have set a goal to partner with industry professionals to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly approaches to close out construction projects.
Who is your greatest influence? Marc S. Theisen has been my greatest industry influence. He’s been a great mentor, a trusted colleague and a close friend. He’s encouraged me to pursue meaningful industry credentials and engage in leadership opportunities.
What are your hobbies outside of work? Boating, gardening (I grow giant sunflowers), traveling internationally and most recently I’ve taken up snowmobiling.
What is a fun/surprising fact about you? I make my own bacon from pork belly.
Are you involved in the community outside of work? I recently moved but previously was involved in a no-kill pet shelter, and I’m really excited about the opportunity to become involved in our new community.
What is your hidden talent? I’m wicked good at bar games – billiards, darts, table tennis and golden tee to name a few.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far? I’ve learned a lot in my 11 years in the industry so far, but I think the biggest lesson learned has to be about perspective and prioritization. One of my key learnings would be this: your priority is rarely the same as the other person on the other side of the phone or Zoom conference. It’s that disconnect on priority that often hinders development and understanding. The resolution can be as simple as being clear about the task timing and the expectations, and that really benefits all involved to create mutual prioritization.
Where do you see the industry going in the future? I think we are going to see a larger focus and greater importance on environmentally sustainable design and product deployment. I think we will see contractors, project owners and government agency officials push forward with emerging technologies and deploy those that do not have the side effects of micro plastics, animal entrapment issues and residual site waste. I do think we will see a pivot by this industry in the coming years, and I welcome the change.