2019 Speaker Bios
Dr. Sergio Abit is the State Specialist for onsite wastewater treatment systems in the State of Oklahoma. He got his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Soil Science at the North Carolina State University where he specialized in environmental soil physics and hydropedology. He has conducted research and published scientific articles concerning the fates of nitrogen, phosphorus and bacteria in soil systems. As a State Specialist, he oversees the state-wide extension effort geared towards addressing the training and educational needs of various stakeholder groups in the onsite wastewater industry and organizes Oklahoma’s annual onsite wastewater conference. He is also a faculty member of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the Oklahoma State University where he teaches various undergraduate- and graduate-level soil science courses. Dr. Abit also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association.
Allison has been in the onsite wastewater treatment industry since 1997, first as a regulatory official and then in the wastewater treatment manufacturing industry participating in sales, regulatory affairs, design reviews, and training for a national treatment system manufacturer. Ms. Blodig had her own company for 3 years called GYST (Get Your “Stuff” Together) Consulting, specializing in regulatory consulting, market research, and training across the US. Currently she is an Engineered Systems Specialist with Infiltrator Water Technologies, a leading developer of decentralized wastewater treatment technology. Along with a degree in Biology from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS, she has been a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and member of the National Environmental Health Association since 1996. She is also very active with the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) and is the former chair of the Technical Practices Committee, current chair of the Conference Committee and participates in the Online Education Committee. She has participated in the NSF Joint Committee on wastewater, participating in task groups and annual meetings. Allison received the Women in Manufacturing award in 2012 and was the 2017 recipient of the Raymond Peat Lifetime Achievement award for outstanding achievement in the Kansas onsite wastewater field.
Kelly Brown has a BS in Chemical Engineering and a MS in Business Management, both from the University of Utah. Kelly has spent his career in filtration, sedimentation, and dewatering. For the past 20 years he has been the Sales and Marketing Director for BDP Industries, a premier manufacturer of belt filter presses and screw presses.
James Cochran is an Environmental Engineering consultant working for JVA, Inc (JVA). Before James started his engineering career he served four years in the United States Marine Corps. After the military, James then earned his B.S. and M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. At JVA, James works on permitting, designing, and overseeing construction for all water and wastewater treatment systems, but specializes in onsite and decentralized wastewater treatment systems. James is a Colorado native and when not in the office you can find him spending time with his family, preferably outside.
Chuck Cousino is the Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Health from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, and is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist. Mr. Cousino has spent his entire career working in the onsite wastewater industry. The majority of his experience came from almost 25 years as a project manager at a civil engineering firm in S.E. Michigan were he gained extensive experience in site/soils evaluations, alternative onsite wastewater system design and the operation and maintenance of residential and small-scale wastewater treatment systems. Mr. Cousino is a former chair of the Michigan Onsite Technical Advisory Council. He is a former president of the Michigan Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, the Colorado Professionals in Onsite Wastewater and the national association of State Onsite Regulators.
Eric Daniels is Senior Technical Lead at Eljen Corporation. Since 2016 Eric has specialized in technical training, and plan reviews for the onsite wastewater community nationwide. Eric is a native of Massachusetts and has a strong technical background after serving in the United States Navy for 11 years.
Mark joined the faculty at the University of Alabama in 2013 and is currently Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering. He received his PhD from the Dept. of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina and did postdoctoral research at the UNC Water Institute. Most of his research training was on drinking water and sanitation in developing countries. His current research focuses primarily on determining impacts and solutions for rural wastewater management in Alabama.
Tom grew up in a family owned full service septic system company which eventually employed about 40 people who designed, built, pumped, and repaired onsite wastewater treatment systems. He developed, and continues to use daily, a technical process which pretreats septage prior to introduction of the liquid faction into a municipal sewage collection system and landfills the solids. He is working on beneficial uses of the solids on farmland, reclamation sites, landscaping applications, etc. He has held positions in the septage industry Associations on a National, State, and local level, with the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), the National Association of Wastewater Technicians (NAWT), and the Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA).
Tom Frank has worked in the family full service onsite business his whole life and is now the owner of the business and responsible for all day-to-day operations. He has had an active role in helping build the wastewater treatment facility owned and operated by his business. He is the past president of the Ohio Waste Haulers Association and past director of the Ohio Onsite Wastewater Association.
Tom Fritts is vice-president of Residential Sewage Treatment Company, Inc. in Grandview, Missouri where they design, sell and service alternative onsite wastewater systems. Tom is past president of the Missouri Smallflows Organization (MSO), the Kansas Small Flows Association (KSFA), and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA). He is an approved instructor for NOWRA, the Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment and several states across the country. Tom is the 2016 recipient of the NOWRA “Dick Otis Industry Achievement Award” and the 2015 Kansas Small Flows Association “Raymond Peat Industry Achievement Award.”
Christine Gan is the head of research and development at Bishop Water Technologies. Prior to working with Bishop, Christine received her Master's degree in Chemical and Wastewater Engineering, where she worked to augment septic lagoon systems by developing biological treatment technologies. At Bishop, Christine has been working to optimize technologies for the removal of ammonia and total nitrogen in wastewater and has implemented a number of projects to treat materials from onsite and decentralized systems.
Ryan Gerlich has been employed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension since May 2008. During this time he has assisted in the North Central Texas Water Quality Project, Lake Granbury Water Quality Project, and the Rio Grande Basin Initiative. He serves as the project leader for the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments project addressing bacteria impairments in Brazoria County and other coastal counties. Mr. Gerlich manages the Onsite Wastewater Training and Research Facility on the Texas A&M RELLIS Campus in Bryan. He is also licensed to install and maintain irrigation systems and on-site sewage facilities in Texas.
Claude Goguen has more than 25 years of experience in the precast concrete and construction industry. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering and is a licensed P.E. in Indiana and a licensed P.Eng. in Canada. Prior to his role in technical services with NPCA, Claude was an operations manager at a precast concrete manufacturing plant. Since starting with NPCA, Claude has focused on the onsite wastewater industry and has served as the staff liaison to the NPCA Water and Wastewater Structures Committee. Claude also serves on NAWT and NOWRA education and technical committees. He has presented courses and seminars relating to precast concrete wastewater systems at various federal, state and regional onsite wastewater meetings over the last 10 years.
Dave Gustafson, PE is a registered engineer working in the Water Resource Center at the University of Minnesota. He has been dealing with sewage for over 30 years in municipal scale systems and backyard treatment technologies. He has been educating and assisting onsite treatment professionals in MN, nationally and internationally for over twenty-five years. His position allows him to be active in the troubleshooting and evaluation of systems in MN and nationally. He has learned through the years that we can learn from each other and getting your hands dirty helps to keeps your thoughts clear.
Dennis has over thirty years of experience with the design and construction of on-site wastewater treatment systems. He has authored dozens of articles for on-site industry magazines and has given numerous presentations nationally on the science and fundamentals of on-site wastewater treatment systems. Dennis also is responsible for product research and testing at Universities, test centers and with private consultants. His department develops system sizing charts for national and international approvals and assists customers and field representatives in the design, planning and review of large commercial decentralized systems. Many of these systems have design flows in excess of one million gallons per day. He received his MS in civil engineering from the University of Connecticut and his BS in civil engineering from the University of Vermont. Dennis is a registered professional engineer in Connecticut. He has been with Infiltrator Water Technologies for 19 years and holds the current position as Technical Director. Dennis also holds patents for on-site wastewater products and is a member of the Water Environment Federation and of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association. Dennis has served for several years on the NOWRA Technical Practices and Educational Committees, serving currently as the Chair, and is also a member of the WEF Small Communities Committee.
Charlotte Hampson graduated from CSU with her BS in Environmental Health in the spring of 2013. She completed her capstone internship with the Clear Creek County Public and Environmental Health Department at which time she got to experience a variety of different areas such as wastewater management, water quality, air quality, emergency planning, food safety, hazardous waste management, zoonosis and environmental health planning. After her internship, she was hired on full time to work as an Environmental Health Specialist – Generalist Inspector for Clear Creek County. As of September 2015, Charlotte is the Environmental Health Manager for Clear Creek County.
Kayla Hanson is the Director of Technical Services with NPCA. She supports NPCA members and industry professionals by addressing technical issues, interpreting standards and specifications, and providing support for the NPCA QC Manual. Kayla graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Purdue University. She also serves as the Secretary of ASTM Committee C27 on Precast Concrete Products and as the current staff liaison to the NPCA Water & Wastewater Committee.
Dr. Sara Heger is an engineer, researcher and instructor in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program in the Water Resources Center and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department. Since 1998, she has been conducting research and providing education and technical assistance to homeowners, small communities, onsite professionals and local units of government regarding onsite wastewater treatment. She presents at many local and national training events regarding the design, installation and management of septic systems and related research. Sara is president-elect of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association and has served on the board of the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association. Sara serves on the NSF International Committee on Wastewater Treatment Systems. She is also the chair of the Minnesota State Advisory Committee on Decentralized Systems. She has BS in Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering and a MS and a PhD in Water Resource Science.
Mr. Hopkins has worked four years at CTL | Thompson in our Summit County office as a Geologist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from West Virginia University and came to us with 14 years of geotechnical experience in Denver. Previously to joining CTL, Mr. Hopkins worked for CTC-Geotek as a Project Geologist and Environmental Professional. He was responsible for groundwater sampling and monitoring; geological hazard surveys; Geotechnical Engineering/soils and foundation report writing; helical pier, drilled caisson, and micro-pile inspection; and project management. Mr. Hopkins also managed the Geotechnical drilling operations as well as the Environmental and Geology departments. He is a special materials inspector and soil technician. His current responsibilities include working in the field and office conducting Phase I ESAs; directing geotechnical studies and report writing; design, innovation, and inspection of onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS); and conducting wetlands delineations. Mr. Hopkins also provides construction and materials testing and observation for of soils; concrete; asphalt; drilled pier, helical pier, and micro-pile installation, ground stabilization, and environmental sampling of soils and water.
Terry Hull holds a B.S. degree in biology from St. Lawrence University and an M.P.H. degree from the University of Minnesota. His broad experience in the onsite sewage profession includes regulatory experience as a local public health officer in Geauga and Green Counties, Ohio and as water quality program manager in Clermont and Hamilton Counties; field experience as owner/manager of En-V-Con, Inc., an Ohio design/construction firm; policy/legislative experience at the Puget Sound Action Team (Washington State) and as Clean Water program manager and senior strategic advisor at Craft3, a Northwest non-profit. He was a principal partner in the conception and initial development of the Craft3’s Clean Water Program and continues to advise on program implementation.
Dr. Anish Jantrania is an Associate Professor/Extension Specialist in the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. He is based at the Blackland Research & Extension Center in Temple, Texas. Dr. Jantrania has over 25 years of experience working in the wastewater industry, in the public and private sectors, with a focus on On-Site Sewage Facilities (OSSF/septic systems), and decentralized wastewater systems used in areas not served by public sewer. His research and extension interests focus on sustainable infrastructure to ensure the availability of clean water to meet society’s water demands, and to ensure safe sanitation to protect public health and environmental quality. Before coming to Texas, Anish has worked in Virginia, Massachusetts, and West Virginia, and has studied in West Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio, and India. His work in Texas will focus on developing a statewide extension education and research program related to surface and groundwater quality protection with specific emphasis on non-point sources, OSSF, and other environmental issues.
Dan Johnson is the Chief Technology Officer at OneWater Inc. and has been with the company since 2012. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois in May of 2019 and his MS form Eastern Illinois University.
Ben Kele is Director of Arris Water, an Australian company that specializes in decentralized water systems for domestic, commercial, and industrial/mining water. The treatment chains he has developed have won state, national and international awards. Ben specializes in difficult sites and enjoys the challenge of tough situations. He has co-developed and co-presented multiple short courses and a Master’s by coursework degree on the engineered water cycle. The technologies that he developed during his Master’s and PhD study have both been patented and successfully commercialized. His main interests are decentralized water systems, out of the ordinary effluents, and finding solutions for difficult-to-treat water.
Keven Kelley, EIT, is a Regional Sales Engineer with Orenco Systems®, Inc., a wastewater equipment manufacturing firm based in Sutherlin, Oregon. In this role, he provides engineering assistance to commercial designers in the western half of the United States. Keven came to Orenco in 2015, and since joining the company, has focused on designing treatment systems for projects with high-strength waste and strict nitrogen limits. Keven holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of South Alabama. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, sports, and spending time with his family.
Jim King is the President for Eljen Corporation. He finished his engineering degree at the University of Connecticut and joined the military. Mr. King was a Captain in the US Army, serving two tours in Iraq. After his military career, he returned to Connecticut where he finished his MBA at the University of Connecticut and found a home at Eljen. During his time at Eljen, Jim brought the company to new regions around the world by working with the local and state health departments. His work at Eljen focuses new technologies innovation and development. Based in East Hartford, CT, Eljen produces units which are installed throughout the world. They are currently celebrating over 40 years of innovation and success and look forward to being a part of your future septic projects.
Chris Kumnick is the Deputy EH Director at GA Department of Public Health in Atlanta, Georgia. He provides training for newly hired environmental scientists within the Georgia Department of Public Health on the aspects of on-site waste treatment. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Food Science and Microbiology.
Dave Lentz manages Infiltrator Water Technologies’ government affairs department, with responsibility for regulation of the company’s effluent dispersal, tank, and treatment product lines. Nationally, Infiltrator is involved in rulemaking, legislation, and industry standards development supporting the onsite wastewater treatment system industry. Dave has 25 years of experience related to soil and groundwater systems. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in structural engineering and a Master’s degree in geotechnical engineering, and is a licensed professional engineer.
Zach Lowenstein is an Environmental Scientist in EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management (OWM), located at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Zach has been with EPA for close to three years and primarily supports the Decentralized Wastewater Program. Zach is also OWM’s Office of Research and Development research coordinator, and manages an interagency agreement with IHS for technical assistance and training of wastewater utilities. Prior to his employment at EPA, Zach worked for a couple of years in water use permitting compliance at the South Florida Water Management District, and before that, as an environmental scientist at a small consulting firm in the oil and gas sector. Zach holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Master’s degree in Public Health, both from the University of Florida.
Laura Marcolini, PE earned her BS in Chemical Engineering and her Master of Science degrees from the University of Rhode Island. After graduating she served as the Technical Director for Biowater Technology where she was later promoted to President. Her experience and entrepreneurship drove her to start her own consulting firm in 2016 where she currently serves as President. She actively consults with companies across the US and around the world. Her experience and professionalism are exceptional and her work offers exemplary guidance to any aspiring wastewater professional.
Brenda Martinez has been the Commercial Project Manager for Delta Treatment Systems (formerly Delta Environmental), a subsidiary of Infiltrator Water Systems, for three years. Brenda assists developers and engineers in designing wastewater treatment systems that will optimize treatment performance for their projects. Prior to working for Delta, Brenda spent 15 years in the environmental testing industry, doing bench scale treatability studies for municipal wastewater plants as well as standard analytical testing for soils and waters under both Standard Methods and ASTM methodologies. Brenda holds a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science from Texas A&M University, a Masters Degree in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland University College, and is currently a PhD student at Louisiana State University in the Environmental Science program.
Dr. Randy Miles is an Emeritus Faculty of the Soil Science program at the Unversity of Missouri. He was Director of the Missouri Soil Health Assessment Center, Director of the Missouri SmallFlows Wastewater Education/Research Training Center, Director of Historical Sanborn Field, the third oldest continuous research field in the world, and curator of the Historical Duley-Miller soil erosion plots. He also worked in the soil genesis, morphology and soil survey area. He also is principle owner of Randall J. Miles, LLC which provides soil assessments for many different land uses plus educational workshops and seminars for professional certification and continuing education.
Scott Moore is an industry specialist focusing primarily on onsite solutions for difficult lots. He is a three-year veteran of the industry and comes from a machinist background. His focus in the industry has been developing new methods for the treatment and disposal of different waste streams to include waste streams involved in the cultivation of marijuana.
Charles Otis has a diverse background in the environmental field. He achieved his bachelors in CEE from UW-Madison, master's from U of Stavanger in Environmental Technology. He worked as an R&D consultant with Aquateam in Oslo, Norway, working with companies such as Biowater Technology, Salsnes Filter, and large oil and gas companies. He has worked as a hands on engineer, building analytical pilot plants for a variety of processes both domestically and abroad. In 2017, he joined Pulsed Burst Systems after being awarded with The Water Council's BREW accelerator award in Milwaukee, WI. In April 2019, he filed for patent for an innovative low pressure pulsed-air mixing and pumping device.
Danna Revis began working in the onsite wastewater industry as a soil consultant with a small hydrogeologic consulting firm in Newport News, VA. She worked for 14 years as an environmental health specialist in Prince William County, VA, and then spent 16 years as the training coordinator for environmental health at the central office of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in Richmond, VA. She retired from VDH in 2018 and now works as an onsite soil evaluator and operator for Old Dominion Onsite, Inc., in Ashland, VA. Danna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Arts in Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University. She is licensed as a master alternative onsite soil evaluator and a master alternative onsite sewage system operator in Virginia and remains active in VOWRA.
Kevin Sherman has Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Civil Engineering, Masters Degrees in Biology and Public Health and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography. Before becoming technical specialist for Presby Environmental, Inc., Kevin was Vice President of Engineering for Clearstream Wastewater Systems. Dr. Sherman was also formerly the Director of Engineering for Quanics, Inc., executive vice president of the Florida Onsite Wastewater Association and before that worked for 14 years at the Florida Department of Health. Kevin is past president of the Florida Environmental Health Association and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association. He is a professional engineer in seventeen states and a registered sanitarian. He has achieved the distinction of being named a diplomat of Water Resources Engineering.
Katelyn Skornia is currently a graduate research assistant in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University. She recently completed her Bachelor of Science in Biosystems Engineering with a concentration in Ecosystems Engineering. Her current research is focused on the use of gravel bed vertical flow constructed wetlands for the treatment of winery wastewater. Previously, she has worked in the food industry and environmental consulting. After finishing her Master’s degree, she plans to work within the decentralized onsite industry.
Luther Smith, CAE, MBA is the Director of Professional Development and Business Relations for the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). He has over 23 years of experience in association management working with certification programs and online education to meet the needs of the practicing professionals. He has a BS and an MBA. Joining Luther will be a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) with experiences in on site waste management as well as other soil science related aspects.
Carlise Sorenson is a Masters student in the Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering program of the University of Minnesota. Her research has focused on municipal wastewater treatment with an emphasis on reducing environmental impacts such as eutrophication and minimizing energy consumption.
Ron Suchecki is the General Manager for Hoot Systems, LLC. He also serves as the company’s Director for Research. Ron has extensive experience on onsite wastewater treatment systems and serves on the NSF Joint Committee for Wastewater. He is also heavily involved in organizing the annual meeting for the Texas Onsite Wastewater Association. Mr. Suchecki has made presentation at regional and national meetings organized for stakeholders of the onsite wastewater industry.
Joelle Wirth holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Arizona University in Resource Management. She is a Registered Sanitarian with over 30 years’ experience with onsite wastewater in management planning, permitting, design and administration through her position as the Program Manager for the Coconino County Environmental Quality Program for Onsite Wastewater. She has been actively involved In the Arizona Aquifer Protection Rule writing process that has spanned from 1999 to today's date. In 2014 Joelle joined the International Standards Organization (ISO) Task Group 224 WG 8 Onsite Domestic Wastewater Management Using Low Technologies. Her work continues today with the ISO committees. Joelle is currently a member of several IAPMO WeStand Committees, is a member of the National Environmental Health Association, the NSF Joint Committee for Onsite Wastewater and the current chair for ADEQ’s Beneficial Reuse Committee. She is a member of the Arizona Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association and is currently the Vice President of this organization. She is an active planner for the Southwest Onsite Wastewater Conference held bi-annually in Laughlin Nevada. Joelle has received professional excellence awards from national and local organizations. Joelle is also a homeowner with a grey water system in her back yard that has been in operation for several years and has gardening as one of her hobbies.
Therese is the sole proprietor of Crystal Environmental. In 1992, Therese began optimizing dewatering systems in wastewater. Since 1992, she has assisted and trained clients on how to maintain and optimize their dewatering facilities. She works in both industrial and municipal areas of dewatering. In the last decade, she has had a special focus on handling septic and grease trap wastes. These systems are being used in industrial pre-treatment facilities and municipal receiving and equalization systems with focus on solving regional problems and creating financial profit centers.