Title: A Tale of Two Careers in the Same Field
By: Dr. Kerry J. Howe, P.E., BCEE
Completing a graduate degree in civil and environmental engineering opens the door to a variety of career paths: government agencies, consulting firms, universities. Dr. Howe has worked extensively in two of these arenas. First, as a design engineer for the engineering firm that is now Montgomery Watson Harza. After a 12-year stint there, he completed a PhD degree and starting working as a professor at the University of New Mexico, where his research has focused on membrane technologies, desalination, and water reuse, including the use of reverse osmosis and ozone/biofiltration to treat wastewater for water reuse applications. This presentation will use case studies from his career to describe a typical design project done by consulting engineers and a typical research project at a university. The presentation will then describe the skills needed by civil and environmental engineers in both career paths, and describe the similarities and differences between consulting engineers and academicians.
Dr. Howe is a professor and regents’ lecturer at the department of civil engineering, University of New Mexico. Dr. Howe is also a registered professional engineer (P.E.) and a board certified environmental engineer (BCEE) by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. Prior to studying for his doctorate degree at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Environmental Engineering, Dr. Howe worked for environmental engineering consulting firms for more than 12 years. During his time in consulting, he worked as project engineer or project manager on a wide variety of projects related to water treatment engineering, including treatability studies, regulatory compliance evaluations, facility evaluations, master plans, pilot studies, predesign, detailed design, construction management, and plant startup. His practical engineering experience has a strong influence on his research and teaching activities. He is a co-author of the textbooks Principles of Water Treatment and MWH’s Water Treatment: Principles and Design. Dr. Howe is a director for Center for Water and the Environment from the National Science Foundation Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program.