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Professional Life


Global Service Leader for Drinking Water
By USBE Online
Apr 10, 2014, 16:23

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World Water Day has been observed on March 22 since 1993 and Dr. Russell Ford, the water expert who won a 2014 BEYA, is a pioneer in the challenges surrounding drinking water.

Ford is leader for drinking water infrastructure at CH2M HILL, a company with 26,000 employees on six continents working on some of the most complex and exciting projects on the planet.

“Dr. Ford has over 27 years engineering experience developing, evaluating, and designing treatment processes to remove a variety of contaminants from drinking water both here in the USA and abroad,” said Mike Szomjassy, president, Energy, Water & Facilities Division, CH2M HILL.

Dr. Ford is responsible for advancing drinking water technology, conducting senior technical reviews and is continuously sought after by his peers for solutions to the most challenging water treatment issues, Szomjassy explained.

Upon graduating from Syracuse University in 1986, I took a position at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals as a process development technician, Ford said. “My responsibilities included assisting with the scale-up of research to production batches of pharmaceuticals.

“Later, I applied for a position with Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. (now Arcadis) for a water engineer. It seemed that my chemical engineering skills were directly transferable to the world of water process engineering.

“I also entered the field at a time when drinking water regulations were changing around the late 1980s and it became evident that a new breed of engineer was needed in the industry, one that understood process and engineering design.”

As for life decisions, Dr. Ford notes that switching to the environmental engineering field molded his career. “I love everything that comes with making all types of water drinkable around the world and protecting public health,” he said.

“I completed both my Master and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, while working full-time. In 2005, I was an invited member to the National Academy of Engineers-Frontiers of Engineering Program. I am also a Board Certified Environmental Engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

"My work at CH2M HILL has given me the opportunity to develop a variety of innovative solutions to meet client needs around the globe."
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The development of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers is integral to America's advancement. Career Communications Group publications--US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine and Women of Color magazine--offer a blueprint for continued growth and success in STEM fields by highlighting progress and people at all stages of the STEM pipeline; from the college student taking his first engineering courses to the senior executive managing the projects that will change the ways we live.

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