For the first time in its 124-year history, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has a female director of engineering. The MWRD Board of Commissioners and Executive Director David St. Pierre appointed Bridgeport resident and IIT Armour College of Engineering alumna Catherine A. O’Connor to the post on June 7.
O’Connor joined the MWRD in 1998 as an associate environmental engineer and has worked in an array of positions in the Engineering, Maintenance and Operations, and Monitoring and Research departments. In 1993, she received an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from IIT and her Ph.D. in 2003. She chose a career in environmental engineering because of her passion for minimizing society’s environmental impact.
“I look forward to working with the world-class engineers at MWRD and being a part of the industry transition from ‘wastewater treatment and disposal’ to ‘resource recovery,'” said O’Connor. “We look forward to recovering heat and phosphorus, and becoming an operation that has a very positive impact on the environment.”
For the past three years, she served as the assistant director of monitoring and research, which comprises 65 professional and technical staff responsible for conducting environmental testing. O’Connor managed the analytical functions of the division’s laboratories, ensuring tests are conducted in conformance with approved analytical protocols. She also managed the MWRD’s Radiation Safety Program.