Supporting Environmental Opportunities for Boston Youth

Introducing X-Cel Education

 

Meet Gemma Kite, P.E., one of HW’s DEI Leaders

Gemma Kite is a talented engineer and water industry professional who has nurtured a relationship with a Boston based non-profit, X-Cel Education (X-Cel). Through networking with the Charles River Watershed Association, she met Aaron Dale, Program Manager of X-Cel Education’s Conservation Corps. Once they talked, she realized HW’s staff expertise and skills might match the training priorities for the program, and she launched a volunteer program. Many of these students are considering career options that do not require a four-year degree, like wastewater and drinking water treatment system operations. Currently X-Cel is graduating 30 students per year.

 

“X-Cel’s goal is to provide training and exposure for young people in the environmental and conservation areas. X-Cel Education improves economic opportunity in underserved Greater Boston neighborhoods through accessible, individualized, and free high school equivalency education, post-secondary preparation, and career readiness development.”

X-Cel Education

 

Wastewater Training  &  Stormwater management

 

The wastewater sector may not sound appealing to many, but truth be told, it is a growing field that is not going away anytime soon. X-Cel’s program offers classwork combined with hands-on field training with professionals, like the engineers and scientists at HW, to learn and hone the skills they will need as treatment facility operators. The trainings help to increase the students’ awareness of environmental career paths and other opportunities. Students learn how to take samples and witness wastewater operations  during tours of nearby treatment facilities. Through HW, participants have also learned about stormwater management  practices by helping with site maintenance and meeting our engineers.

 

Partnerships

 

HW and fellow engineering firm Woodard & Curran are corporate partners to X-Cel Education. We have teamed together to offer training at client sites including The Pinehill’s LLC. wastewater treatment plant. After two successful trainings held last year, six trainings are planned for 2022. Our favorite part of the training is sharing our career choices and milestones one-on-one with the students! We look forward to participating in future training events where we can meet new people. 

 

Future opportunity

 

We hope that by reading this blog post and learning about X-Cel Education we can bring much needed attention to the program and the participants. Currently Gemma is considering co-authoring a presentation at a water focused conference that will also help spread the word. X-Cel has only a handful of partners and is looking for more connections that can expand on the training opportunities . Woodard & Curran have found that it is a great avenue to find young wastewater operators. You can read about their experience at their site.

 

Next Steps

 

Learn more about X-Cel Education.

What other training opportunities are a good match for this program?

Reach out to Gemma Kite to start a discussion.

 

 

Horsley Witten awarded EPA small business award

 

The EPA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization has recognized Horsley Witten Group for outstanding small business accomplishments. The announcement was made during the Annual Small Business Program Awards Ceremony on May 5, 2022. These awards recognize program activities, individuals, businesses, and state and local entities for their outstanding contributions during Fiscal Year 2021.

HW was one of two small business contractors acknowledged for Outstanding Accomplishments by a Small Business Contractor.

“Thank you, Horsley Witten Group, for your exemplary customer support and technical adaptiveness, acquisition specific managerial, and responsiveness during COVID-19. Thank you for your outstanding commitment.” -EPA award annoucement

For more information, please view the Administrator’s 32nd Annual Small Business Program Awards Ceremony press release and awards ceremony recording.

 

“The Horsley Witten Group is honored to have been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its work in supporting the Agency and its mission. Our firm addresses environmental and social challenges with sustainable solutions and it is gratifying to work with a federal agency that thinks the same way.”

– Tom Noble, HW Principal

 

 

Quinn McWatters

Environmental Planner

We are happy to announce that Quinn McWatters has joined our planning group in Sandwich as an Environmental Planner. She will be supporting, and leading project work related to water security training. Quinn earned her B.S. in Environmental Science with a focus on Ecological Restoration, and a B.A. in International Studies with a focus on Globalization from Humboldt State University in California and will receive an MBA in Environmental Sustainability from Wilmington University in Delaware in 2022.

Prior to joining HW, Quinn worked at a non-profit in Falmouth as the Research Coordinator for a marine research organization. She has four years’ experience working for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as an inspector and attained a wastewater operator certification in 2018 from Delaware Community College. She also earned GIS Professional Certification from the University of California, San Diego. In addition, Quinn has vast project management experience having worked for three consulting firms prior to working for the State. When she is not working, Quinn enjoys exploring her new home in the Northeast while camping and hiking with her husband and her pup, Roscoe.

 

James Cady

Environmental Scientist

We are thrilled to share that Jimmy Cady has joined HW as an Environmental Scientist. He will be working on the firm’s water sector cybersecurity training projects. Jim earned his B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland and an Associate of Arts, General Studies degree from the American Military University, in Charles Town, West Virginia. Jimmy has 13 years of experience working for the U.S. Government.

Growing up in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, the southernmost part of the Outer Banks he dreamed of moving away to discover new people and places. After high school he postponed his degree and joined the United States Navy which sent him to Nevada and after that Maryland where he worked as a Counter Intelligent Analyst with the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.  He previously held positions in the U.S. Navy as an Industrial Security Analyst and Intelligence Specialist. We know his military experience will be helpful to our water utility clients who are working on cybersecurity assessments and plans.  

When not working he enjoys time with his Fiancée, his cat Milktea, and his dog Egg Roll who is a Corgi. Jimmy has always enjoyed hiking and hopes to rediscover this activity in New England.

 

NARRAGANSETT BAY COMMISSION
Macomber Stadium

The Narragansett Bay Commission is implementing final phases to reduce Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) in Pawtucket and Central Falls. One part of this large endeavor is the award-winning green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) project at the Macomber Stadium located in Central Falls.

 

A combined sewer system (CSS) collects rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater into one pipe. Under normal conditions, it transports all the wastewater it collects to a sewage treatment plant for treatment, then discharges to a water body.” 

– U.S. EPA


In 2020 and 2021 this project received awards from two vastly different organizations. First, a “Stormy Award” from the New England Stormwater Collaborative recognized the project as the “Best Stormwater Idea” at the annual New England Stormy Awards. Second, more recently,  the American Sports Builder’s Association named Macomber Stadium “Outstanding Single Field Facility of the Year,” which is a national award. Awards aside, we are proud to have worked with NBC and collaborated on this GSI project with Pare Corp., and Stantec.

The new state-of-the-art synthetic turf athletic field includes a subsurface infiltration system and sand filter with enough capacity to treat and infiltrate a 25-year design storm. The system captures runoff from over six acres of surrounding impervious surfaces. Other GSI features include a permeable paver mezzanine and stormwater bio swales. New landscaping also provides streetscape appearance and overall curb appeal.  The project also restored a contaminated site to its highest potential. Over 10,000 tons of contaminated soils were removed while other soils were encapsulated under an engineered cap that doubles as the final site surface.


Learn More:

Video by Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank
RIIB Project Funding = New Community Sport Fields!!

New England Stormwater Collaborative

American Sports Builder’s Association

 

Gabrielle Queenan

Environmental Planner

We are happy to announce that Gabby Queenan has joined HW as an Environmental Planner. Recently she completed a planning internship working with our planning staff in Providence, RI. We are thrilled to welcome her to the HW Team full-time! Gabby earned her B.A. in Environmental Science and Political Science from Macalester College in Minnesota. A tennis player since age 4, Gabby played singles and doubles tennis for the Macalester Scots! She is currently a M.A. candidate at Tufts University and is studying Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.

Gabby enjoyed working as a teaching assistant for Tufts University and completed  several internships at Tufts, including serving as an environmental analyst with Horsley Consulting. Prior to pursuing her graduate degree, she was the policy director for the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance where she worked on local and state water and climate issues with watershed associations and state environmental agencies.  Gabby’s expertise is focused on water and land planning, climate adaptation, and climate resiliency policies.

When Gabby is not working, she likes to spend time hiking and cross-country skiing in Concord, Massachusetts, as well as kayaking on local rivers. She has a bucket list goal to kayak all the rivers in Massachusetts! We wish her much success.

 

Michael C. Laham, P.E.

Senior engineer

We are pleased to announce that Michael Laham has joined HW in Exeter, NH as a Senior Engineer and Project Manager. A Seacoast New Hampshire native, Mike earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering with a minor in Environmental Science from Northeastern University before pursuing work in the San Francisco Bay Area. While living in the Bay Area, Mike took the opportunity to study permaculture and ecological design with several inspiring practitioners through programs offered by the Regenerative Design Institute and the SF Institute of Architecture, gaining valuable skills to supplement his traditional engineering training.

Mike has 15 years of practical experience in civil and environmental engineering with specific expertise in site design, land-use planning, municipal infrastructure improvements, watershed analysis, stormwater management, permitting and construction oversight. His strong interest in holistic site design, ecological landscapes, and regenerative agriculture systems make him an ideal fit at HW.  When he is not working, Mike is outside: tending the homestead with his wife and two young sons, exploring local landscapes, or hanging out at his family’s apple orchard down the street. He enjoys cooking and fermenting a variety of foods in the kitchen, playing in the rain, and making music with friends and family.

 

Caroline Armstrong

Staff Scientist-Engineer

We are happy to share that Caroline Armstrong has joined HW as a Staff Scientist-Engineer. Caroline earned her B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She has completed internships for two private organizations in Massachusetts and the RI Department of Environmental Management – Office of Waste Management. In her third year at WPI she had the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary project in Panama City, Panama where the team produced a skills database for the tourism industry. She also completed a major qualifying project at WPI which focused on the East Bridgewater dam removal project.

Caroline has three years’ experience as a Design and Staff Engineer. She is enthusiastic about sustainability and coastal resiliency and looks forward to working on coastal projects. When Caroline is not working, she likes to spend time with her family and her cat, Pepper. She grew up in Hanson, MA and enjoys creative writing, and everything that the south shore has to offer, like pontoon boating, tubing, and relaxing at the beach.

 

Jenna Bernabe

GIS Manager

We are pleased to announce that Jenna Bernabe has joined HW as our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Manager. Jenna earned her B.S. in Imaging and Photographic Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology and her M.A. in Geography with a concentration on GIS and Remote Sensing from San Jose State University. A Pittsburgh native, she grew up in Northern Virginia. Her internship at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency piqued her interest in satellite imagery analysis and motivated her to apply to graduate school where her passion for geography and technology came together. Her master’s thesis was a case study of urban heat island detection using Landsat data. Jenna has over ten years’ experience as a GIS professional and program manager with a transportation industry data services provider located in MA.

When Jenna is not working, she enjoys all that New England has to offer, exploring the outdoors while hiking, skiing, and spending time with her family and young daughter. Jenna likes to run and has finished a marathon in Newport, RI! She also enjoys getting out to local ponds and visiting Cape Cod to kayak with family and friends.

 

nick cohen, env sp

Senior environmental planner

We are pleased to announce that Nick Cohen has joined our Boston office as a Senior Environmental Planner. Nick will be assisting our clients, with MS4 compliance, as well as green stormwater infrastructure and resilience planning. He earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies and Spanish from Bowdoin College in Maine and his master’s degree in City Planning (MCP) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nick has extensive experience  working as a Green Infrastructure Planner and Sustainability Analyst in New York City and as an Environmental Analyst/Environmental Justice Coordinator working with Massachusetts communities. Most recently, he was an Environmental Planner with a large engineering and planning firm.

 In a previous role, Nick led the production of a documentary film about the environmental history and revitalization of the Malden River, managing  a small crew, who filmed and developed the documentary. Nick also acted as the film’s narrator and the project received an Alliance for Community Media Hometown Media Award!

When he is not working on a documentary, or planning local rain gardens, Nick can be found hiking, skiing, or just exploring the outdoors. He enjoys cooking and has a unique pet turtle named Sally who unbelievably was a birthday present from his parents when he was six years old!

Welcome to HW Nick!