Empowering Pumps & Equipment shines a light on the People behind the Pumps and Equipment that work behind the scenes to make our daily lives possible. Our recently nominated Industry Person of the Week is Kristiana Dragash, PE, a professional engineer with Carollo Engineers and President of the Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA). Here is what she had to share:
Q. How did you get started working in your field?
Kristiana: I have to admit, I really stumbled into this industry. I knew a friend who is a civil engineer; she specializes in bridges, and loves it, so I thought I’d give civil engineering a try. I never realized in school (USF circa ’08) that I’d one day be working in utilities – more specifically, water distribution, wastewater collection system modeling, and master planning. But I do, and I love it!
Q. What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Kristiana: I love to solve problems and make things better. I consider myself a professional problem solver. I have worked my way around South and West Florida figuring out how all of the different water and wastewater systems work. That’s my favorite part of my job is getting to work with different utilities all over the state and figuring out their unique systems. We all learn about the system together using the hydraulic model calibration process and then use the model to plan for future conditions.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Kristiana: My biggest piece of advice for anyone interested in this field would be to get involved in some professional societies to meet and network with other professionals in the industry. Being an active part of the Florida Water Environment Association has been instrumental in my success and fulfillment as an engineer. In fact, I wouldn’t have the job that I do today if it weren’t for my involvement in this association. I have people in my life now that will be lifelong friends. All because of FWEA! I cannot say enough good things about this association. I have been on the FWEA board of directors since 2014 and am so honored to be the current acting president of the association.
Q. Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Kristiana: One of my favorite recent projects was a merged hydraulic model of Sarasota and Manatee Counties. We updated and calibrated both the Sarasota and Manatee County potable water models. Both counties have very complex distribution systems with multiple remote pumping and storage facilities that operate in a variety of ways. After updating and calibrating both models, the models were merged together into one model. This model was used to evaluate water transfer and different effects on pressures and water quality between the two counties under existing and future demand conditions.
On behalf of our entire team, Thank you for being our Industry Person of the Week and a great role model for Empowering Women in Industry! The #PumpTalk Community looks forward to keeping up with you!