Andrew Patch often doesn’t know what in the world he will be working on when he gets up at 5:30 a.m. every day.
Patch, the first recipient of UW-Madison’s Certificate in Water Reclamation, works for the Technical Center of Expertise (TCX) for water and wastewater servicing the entire Corps of Engineers, with projects ranging from Baghdad to Baltimore and Afghanistan to Anaheim.
“Our district also covers South America, which often requires low-tech, low cost solutions that can dramatically improve the quality of life for the residents of less fortunate countries,” he says. “I take great satisfaction knowing, if only in some small part, that I can help make a difference.”
Patch, an environmental engineer for the U.S. Army Corps, works in downtown Mobile, Ala., which means a three-hour commute roundtrip three days a week—the days he brings his daughters to school.
“Thank goodness for satellite radio and audiobooks,” he says.
Patch’s work–which he describes as interesting, meaningful, and challenging–will no doubt be boosted by his new credential. The certificate requires completing five courses (three cores and two electives) in water and wastewater at UW-Madison. It’s geared toward professionals of any experience level who work in water reclamation—whether by education or occupation.
“The program at UW-Madison has been an integral part of my development as an engineer who will work in the field of water and wastewater,” he added. “Having a certification from a university on the leading edge of education and innovation in the field gives me a quantifiable edge over similarly experienced engineers.”
While the problems Patch will solve on the job are many, he’s specifically gained skills and knowledge in hydraulics, pumps and controls, asset management, applied water chemistry, portable water quality control, municipality wastewater control, sanitary sewer engineering and nutrient removal.
Patch references his course notes daily. His education has “and will continue to set me up for success,” he says. “I very much appreciate the efforts of the university’s Engineering Department and specifically Ned Paschke for making this available for engineers who need quality continuing education options.”