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Arcadis calls on industry to act for water sustainability

Arcadis calls on industry to act for water sustainability

 October 02, 2019

At Arcadis, improving quality of life is why the company exists. Forging innovation regarding the future of water is one of the ways the company supports this agenda.

Whether Arcadis employees are helping water utilities re-imagine resilience to build a fit-for-future utility, sparking transformation with digitally enabled innovation, or demystifying Intelligent Water for a human-centric future, their work at Arcadis is very exciting. The bigger the question and the more complex the challenge, the more curious and creative Arcadis employees are.

During the Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC), Arcadis invited the water industry to be courageous as well as to listen, share and act for an intelligent and sustainable water future. 

Investing in the future of water 

One of the most significant challenges facing the water sector is also one of its greatest opportunities - attracting and developing the water workforce. As the leading global design and consultancy firm for built and natural assets, Arcadis knows that cultivating the talent of water workers - novice and experienced - includes investing in their interests, ideas and passions. Subsequently, the company held an inspiring and informative students and young professionals program during WEFTEC.

Ashley Landis, Talent Acquisition Specialist, was on hand to give expert advice and support as well as members of the Arcadis family from around the country. Arcadis invited young deelgates to explore the company's open career opportunities and to consider applying for those roles that resonate with their interests and match their qualifications.

Arcadis career fair

Supporting future leaders in water industry

Arcadis was the founding sponsor and luncheon sponsor of WEF InFLOW (INtroducing Future Leaders to Opportunities in Water), an initiative that strives to identify promising students from underrepresented minority groups and kick-start their professional careers in the water industry.

InFLOW has expanded its reach to include African American students as well as Latinos, Hawaiian Natives and Alaskan Natives. InFLOW is also tailoring its programing to resonate with two groups. The StemPATH track includes 25 students from 6 universities and colleges and focuses on mapping out professional career opportunities. The CareerTECH track includes 16 opportunity youth from the local Chicago area and focuses on exploring meaningful careers in operations and maintenance and other technical services.

“Building fit-for-future utilities requires a diverse workforce in terms of what it looks like and sounds like,” says John McCarthy, President of Water. “By continuing to support InFLOW at the highest level, as founding sponsor and luncheon sponsor, we hope participants and industry leaders alike walk away from this experience with meaningful connections and an unwavering commitment to a diverse and inclusive water future.”

Arcadis Program Manager Melissa Pomales shares insights

Arcadis employees and industry leaders also shared their expertise at WEFTEC.

Arcadis Program Manager, Business Advisor and Consultant Melissa Pomales also joined a powerhouse panel of water leaders to share her story and career tips with WEFTEC participants and what motivates her to help utilities be fit-for-future.

Involvement in WEF Midyear Springboard Program

When it comes to charting a course for the future, inclusion of different perspectives is critical. Each year WEF hosts a Midyear Meeting for key volunteer committees to meet face-to-face and develop programming for WEFTEC. During this time, WEF’s Board of Trustees, Committee Leadership Council, and other key groups meet to discuss strategic direction and progress with programs and initiatives.

To make sure conversations and decisions are inclusive of the insights and ideas of young professionals, or those new to the industry, WEF created a Springboard Program. People working in the water industry who fall within this early career stage are invited to apply for the program and, if accepted, receive assistance with their travel expenses.

Arcadis supports the participation of employees like Anniestacia Miskel, Vicki Chou and Hannah Giacomin in the Springboard Program because of the benefits it provides them as individuals and the industry. Anniestacia, Vicki and Hannah are making contributions to the WEFTEC technical program and participating in the events for students and young professionals, which includes connecting them at the Networking and Career Fair. 

"During the program, we talked a lot about not being afraid to “take up space” as junior-level professionals. We reiterated reaffirming statements to say to ourselves: “Your ideas are meaningful. Your questions are valid," says Anniestacia, Water Engineer at Arcadis.

"Your contribution is impactful. You, alone, are enough.” As I sit in rooms filled with people who are older, higher ranking, more male, and less ethnic than me; statements like these help me maintain my self-assurance and motivate me to dig in and actively engage and participate. This practice has increased my enjoyment in and my contributions to the water industry and Arcadis."

"Participating in the program motivated me to strategically amp up my involvement in WEF industry committees. I diversified the committees that I joined to deepen my expertise and expand my knowledge and skills," adds Vicki, Water Resources Engineer. "In doing so, I am gaining more knowledge and experience in specific focus areas within water, like stormwater, watershed management, and public health, and applying the work and research that these committees do to solving client challenges.

Supporting employees in the Water Leadership Institute

Arcadis believes in the power of its people, and that solving for the biggest challenges of today and tomorrow requires continuous growth and development on behalf of its entire workforce. That’s why the company supports the participation of employees, such as Amy Eberhardt and Melissa Darr, in the WEF Water Leadership Institute (WIL) program. 

The Water Leadership Institute program is aimed at educating, training, and providing opportunities that enable developing and emerging leaders to build strong, lasting relationships within the water industry. This intensive program engages participants in management training and leadership development through a blended learning approach that includes the examination of complex challenges facing the water and wastewater industries and networking with public and private sector practitioners.

The topic of focus was workforce. As part of their final project, participants worked in teams to develop a webcast series that explores different aspects of the water industry workforce. Amy participated in a group that examined inter-generational knowledge transfer, and Melissa participated in a group that examined diversity and inclusion. 

"I am energized and eager for the future. WLI has empowered me to identify and leverage my unique strengths to become a more meaningful leader and contribute to the water industry in more collaborative and meaningful ways. Working with inspired leaders across the country, I’ve taken a hard look at the importance of workforce development within our industry," explains Amy. "In doing so, I discovered the overwhelmingly positive benefits of putting people first in all endeavors—our customers, clients and colleagues. Human-centric leadership is always a win."

"Participating in WLI connected me with awesome people who work across the water industry, in different specialties and geographical locations. Working with such an eclectic group of people gave me a better understanding of and empathy for the workforce challenges that my clients face, especially those related to diversity and inclusion. I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity to co-create solutions that can be adapted and applied by utilities in new, innovative ways." adds Melissa.

Amy and Melissa participated in the Water Leadership Institute Workshop where they set SMART goals, presented on their workforce group project, and mentored InFLOW students during a networking social.

Fundraising for Water for People

Back in 2008, George Patrick, principal engineer based in Arcadis’ Atlanta, GA office, organized the first WEFTEC Pedal With A Purpose cycling event to raise funds for Water For People, and has been a co-organizer with Gary De Kock ever since.

Pedal With A Purpose is not a race, but a casual 25-mile ride through the historical and diverse neighborhoods of Chicago. Cyclists of all abilities are encouraged to participate. 

Cycling Water for People Arcadis

Proceeds from the ride support Water For People's mission to promote the development of safe and reliable drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses and governments. When women and girls aren’t spending 6 hours a day sourcing water, they have time to work and go to school, which improves the financial standing of entire households. WEFTEC rides have raised approximately $50,000 for Water For People.

Arcadis was proud a premium sponsor of ride.

"From all 60 of us representing Arcadis at WEFTEC, thank you WEForg  for bringing the #water industry together to be and do better. It’s our honor to share knowledge, insights, perspectives and passions that make water fit for future," says Arcadis.

Arcadis water

Join a company building a sustainable water future 

Arcadis is always looking for innovators to help drive the company's commitment to a more sustainable and intelligent world.

If you think this could be you, search and apply for a career with Arcadis today.


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