Our Industry Person of the Week is Megan Whitesell, a Project Engineer for JKMuir, LLC.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Megan: It’s a weird story, but my high school science teacher showed us the movie “Tapped” (2009), which took a hard look at the bottled water industry. That night, I had a nightmare we ran out of freshwater. I remained deeply concerned and wanted to be proactive in the protection of our planet. I learned about engineering and how infrastructure plays an integral role in people’s access to clean water.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Megan: The versatility of engineering problems and people interaction keeps every day interesting. Every client and their site has their own challenges, whether technical or non-technical. As an engineer on the job, we apply our practical knowledge and personalize a solution given limitations. Small and large improvements to water, wastewater, industrial systems attribute to an improved overall process. At JKMuir, we connect people to funding opportunities to make energy-efficient design decisions, which results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. We help the planet!
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Megan: Absorb as much as your brain allows. Seek and reach out to a mentor, and ask questions. Stay curious and learn!
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Megan: The JKMuir team is currently working as a sub-consultant on the New York City Energy and Carbon Neutrality Plan. New York is among the leading states for ambitious goals to reduce their global footprint. The broader goal of the plan is to identify ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a way that is carbon neutral. The solutions are not straightforward, as NYC is limited in space and availability. The planning phase thus far has required a grasp of the current solar and hydro technologies for water and wastewater facilities, as well as evaluating opportunities for renewable technology implementation at the 14 WRRF treatment facilities in NYC. Another component of the project has been chatting with people about their biosolids management plan at various facilities within a 250-mile radius. The challenge is that the regulations are becoming more stringent, and only limited carbon-neutral options are available. The project planning phase has been really interesting and highlights the challenges that the industry and operators face.
THANK YOU, MEGAN! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
KNOW AN AMAZING PERSON WHO IS MAKING VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS WITHIN INDUSTRY? NOMINATE THEM TO BE AN “INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE WEEK”!