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Leadership and Excellence in
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Farewell, and Best Wishes, to Burk

As many of you are already aware, Academy Executive Director Burk Kalweit has tendered his notification of Retirement effective December 31, 2020. Burk first joined the Academy staff as Executive Director on December 2, 2013, and has faithfully served the Academy, including its Goals and Missions, since. That appointment of Burk as Executive Director was unanimously approved by our Board of Trustees during the AAEES Annual Meeting on November 9, 2013. It has been my privilege to serve on behalf of the Academy with Burk, including as a Trustee-at-Large and Academy Officer, over the subsequent seven-plus years of his Executive Directorship. As I think that we all recognize, the foundation and strength of the Academy is rooted in our amazing, dedicated, and highly competent staff, including the Executive Director! The services and support that they provide to the Academy are inspiring, and deeply appreciated. In closing, I wish Burk a restful and satisfying retirement, and to each of you, a peaceful and productive New Year.

James W. Patterson, BCEEM
2020 AAEES President

Interim Executive Director

Effective January 1, 2021, Benson Pair, P.E., BCEE, will be the interim Executive Director of AAEES. Mr. Pair has been a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (Life) in Water Supply and Wastewater Engineering since 1984. He has served multiple terms, for a total of 12 years, on the AAEES Board of Trustees as the AIChE representative.

Mr. Pair has a long history of serving professional societies. In addition to AAEES, he has also been a member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and Water Environment Federation (WEF). Over the course of his career, Mr. Pair has served in every office of the Southeast Section of the Water Environment Association of Texas, as well as every office in the AIChE Environmental Division. In 2019, he was awarded the Stanley E. Kappe Award by AAEES.

Welcome aboard, Benson!

AAEES Highpoints

The December 2020 Highpoints is now online. Click here to read this month's edition.

To have Highpoints delivered to your email, sign up for a free account at the AAEES Center:

For upcoming AAEES events, go to

The VIRTUAL 2020 AAEES Conference and Awards Ceremony


AAEES held the 2020 AAEES Conference and Awards Ceremony virtually this year. We wish to thank all who attended this event!

AAEES President Dr. James W. Patterson, BCEEM, introduced Keynote Speaker Dr. Rita Rossi Colwell who started off the event with with her timely topic, Climate, Oceans, and Human Health - What Cholera Can Teach Us About COVID-19.

2020 Stanley Kappe Award Recipient Wendy Wert, P.E., BCEE introduced Matt Bao, Brian Polson, and Larry Wong - all representing Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. LACSD won the 2020 E3S Superior Achievement Award and the Grand Prize for 50th Anniversary of the 1970 Clean Air Act. They conducted a special presentation of the Tulare Lake Compost Project: Attaining Sustainability in a Nonattainment Area.

AAEES President-Elect Dr. Lilia A. Abron, P.E., BCEE, rounded out the event by recognizing all of the award recipients, staff, attendees, and all participants. She remarked:

"I am really happy to be a part of this army of activism, intellectualism, and innovation."

A special thank you to Master of Ceremonies David Gaddis, P.E., BCEE.

A recording is available at:

All award recipients and winners are listed below. Click the links to read more about them.

AAEES Award Recipients

Danny D. Reible, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
Gordon Maskew Fair Award

Wendy A. Wert, P.E., BCEE
Stanley E. Kappe Award

Prakasam Tata, Ph.D., BCES
Edward J. Cleary Award

Nancy G. Love, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
Science Award

Ann Massey
Honorary Member

Jimmy C.M. Kao, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
International Honorary Member

Susan J. Masten, Ph.D., P.E.
Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Education Award

Jonathan L. Bradshaw, Ph.D.
Paul F. Boulos Excellence in Computational Hydraulics/Hydrology Award

Ashley Osler
W. Brewster Snow Award

Megan E. Patterson
W. Brewster Snow Award

Joseph E. Weaver
W. Wesley Eckenfelder Graduate Research Award

2020 Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Award Winnrs

Superior Achievement and Grand Prize for 50th Anniversary of the 1970 Clean Air Act

Tulare Lake Compost: Attaining Sustainability in a Nonattainment Area
Entrant: Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
Engineer in Charge: Robert C. Ferrante, P.E., BCEE
Location: Kings County, California


Grand Prize

Stormwater and Deicing Capacity Projects
Entrant: Wessler Engineering
Engineer in Charge: William J. Leber, P.E.
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Honor Award

Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman Superfund Study Area
Entrant: Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.
Engineer in Charge: Eric Suchomel, Ph.D., P.E.
Location: Mountain View, California

Environmental Sustainability

Grand Prize

Success of an Integrated Approach for Groundwater Clean-up Beneath an Urban University Campus
Entrant: Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.
Engineer in Charge: Carl Elder, Ph.D., P.E.
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Honor Award

City of Virginia Beach Stormwater Management and Flood Mitigation Planning Project
Entrant: CDM Smith
Engineer in Charge: Gary St. John, P.E., BCEE, PMP
Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

COAST: Carribean Ocean and Aquaculture Sustainability faciliTy
Entrant: Daniel B. Oerther, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, BCES
Engineer in Charge: Daniel B. Oerther, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, BCES
Location: Caribbean Sea


Grand Prize

Climate Resiliency and Adaptation Plan
Entrant: Orange County Sanitation District
Person in Charge: Nasrin Nasrollahi
Location: Fountain Valley, California

University Research

Grand Prize

Hybrid Adsorption Biological Treatment System (HABiTS) for Nitrogen Removal in Onsite Wastewater Treatment
Entrant: University of South Florida
Engineer in Charge: Sarina J. Ergas, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
Location: Tampa, Florida

Honor Award

REMChlor-MD Groundwater Containment Transport and Remediation Computer Model
Entrant: Ronald W. Falta, Ph.D.
Person in Charge: Ronald W. Falta, Ph.D.
Location: Clemson, South Carolina

Environmental Communications Competition

Grand Prize

Gaining Community Support for a Regional Recycled Water Program
Entrant: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Person in Charge: Susan Sims, Group Manager, External Affairs

Honor Award

Phase II Recognize, Retreat, Report (3Rs) Explosives Safety Education Program
Entrant: U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville
Persons in Charge: Brian Jordan, Chief, Environmental and Munitions Center of Expertise and Betina Johnson, Chief, Ordnance and Explosives Design Center Division

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