Amy Hwang wanted to be where the action was. Water. Wastewater. Water reuse.
So after receiving her engineering degree from the University of Texas, she came to California, and got her master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. After working a bit as consultant, she joined the engineering staff at Central Marin Sanitation Agency.
“I decided to stay in California because this is where the actual steps (on treatment and recycling) are being taken,” she explains.
She’s experiencing those new trends in water management and more in her job as Associate Engineer. “In a small agency, you get to wear different hats,” she says. Public outreach is one. Asset management another. Collections yet another.
“You have the opportunity to see results right away,” she says. “Things pop out at you. They’re not always the things you study in engineering school. It makes every day at work fun and challenging.”
She’s been up to the variety of challenges, according to Mary Jo Ramey, environmental services analyst and Brian Thomas, her supervisor when she joined the agency.
“One of her first assignments was recoating the organic waste receiving facility pit,” says Ramey. The key issue was that FOG deliveries could not be stopped for the work, but Ramey says Hwang effectively coordinated with operations, maintenance, and environmental services to develop a daily pumping strategy using temporary trash pumps that was successful.
Thomas says Hwang has been successful because she learns from each assignment and applies those lessons to future work. “Amy developed trusting relationships with coworkers in the engineering, administration, operations, and maintenance departments by listening to their concerns and trying to address those concerns in her projects.”
Listening is important to Hwang.
“Good listening skills are critical to your growth,” she says. “You shouldn’t get caught up in the technical details of the job. You need a curious mind to keep asking questions, and be honest about what you know and what you don’t know.”
“There’s always someone you can learn from if you just take the time to listen to them.”