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Chair-Elect Candidate Isabel

MN AWWA is proud to announce one of this year's candidates for Chair-Elect:


Rob Isabel,
CDM Smith


When Rob entered college, he never envisioned a career as an environmental engineer. After an uninspiring internship with a transportation firm in 1996, Rob joined the drinking water industry at the urging of one of his favorite professors. Like most people, Rob never gave much thought to the importance of the water industry and the work that happens quietly behind the scenes to ensure safe drinking water flows every time the faucet is turned on. After attending the AWWA Annual Conference that year, he was inspired by the hard work and dedication of the people in our industry, and could not envision a career in anything except the drinking water industry.

These feelings were confirmed in 2016 after spending a month at the Flint Water Treatment Plant in the aftermath of the Flint Water Crisis, assisting the city in determining whether to rehabilitate their facility and continue to treat their own water, or to purchase water from a neighboring utility. Rob was reminded that while his educational background is in civil and environmental engineering, our industry is absolutely essential for public health and a healthy economy.

After moving to Minnesota in 2010, Rob joined the Program Committee for the MN Section AWWA Annual Conference. While planning for the 2015 conference, he was “volunteered” by Bert Tracy to take over as the Chair of the Program Committee. At the conclusion of the 2016 Annual Conference, Rob was nominated to join the Board of Directors and succeed Brian LeMon as the Conference Committee Chair. During his time as Chair of the Conference Committee for the 2017-2019 conferences, Rob led multiple upgrades to the conference technology and championed the change to make the Thursday evening Member Appreciation Dinner more inclusive for all members of the section.

Rob holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He earned his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. Since graduate school, Rob has been employed by CDM Smith as a Vice President and senior project manager. His project work has been focused almost exclusively on drinking water projects, including numerous water quality and treatability studies, source water protection, water main design, and various design and construction projects at water treatment facilities. He is currently managing a project to rehabilitate the filters, originally constructed in the late 1920’s, at the largest water treatment plant in Minnesota.

Rob and his wife Sarah have been married for 19 years and live in Shoreview. They have twin daughters Taylor and Laurin (14) and a son Alex (11). They enjoy spending their free time at their kids’ cross country and track meets, basketball and football games, and at their cabin near Aitkin fishing and pulling tubes and skiers. Rob also volunteers as a head coach for a travelling basketball team and is currently the president of the Mounds View Basketball Association.

As Chair, Rob’s primary objective would be to continue to make our organization more inclusive for the underrepresented members of our section, including women, minorities, operators and young professionals. Rob appreciates the opportunity to be considered for the position of Chair-Elect and looks forward to serving the association for many years to come.


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