Black & Veatch’s Cindy Wallis-Lage, Dr. James Barnard Elected to National Academy of Engineering | Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch’s Cindy Wallis-Lage, Dr. James Barnard Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Membership reflects career achievements in water reuse, resilience planning and biological nutrient recovery

Black & Veatch’s Cindy Wallis-Lage and Dr. James Barnard have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering – one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

The honor to Wallis-Lage, president of Black & Veatch’s water business, and Barnard, a global practice and technology leader for advanced biological treatment who conceived the biological nutrient recovery in wastewater treatment process, recognizes outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature."

Academy membership also acknowledges those who have been instrumental in "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Among the 129 new members elected, 23 of them international, Wallis-Lage was chosen “for applying innovative technology to complex, large-scale water infrastructure systems,” the NAE said. The academy said Barnard was selected based on “development and implementation of biological nutrient removal in (waste)water treatment.”

Since joining Black & Veatch in 1986, Wallis-Lage has contributed significantly to process design for some of the most innovative resource recovery, wastewater treatment and water reuse projects delivered by Black & Veatch over the past four decades. A leading expert in water reuse and a champion for promoting utility resilience and water’s true value, she was named president of the company’s water business in 2012. She had led the company’s Water Technology Group, which conducts applied research, leads pilot programs, supports an innovation platform and serves on projects worldwide, providing expertise in process design solutions for water supply and wastewater treatment.  

“I’m honored to be elected to the NAE and join this esteemed collection of professionals dedicated to developing and delivering solutions to our complex engineering challenges,” said Wallis-Lage, whose career firsts include her role as the first woman president of an operating business unit at Black & Veatch. “This recognition furthers my commitment to make essential water infrastructure a priority that will ensure more sustainable communities across the United States and beyond.”

Barnard, who joined Black & Veatch in 1998, has spent the entirety of his more than 50-year career researching, developing and improving processes for treating water and wastewater in a more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner. He has received numerous industry accolades, including the 2011 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, and is recognized internationally for the development more than four decades ago of revolutionary principles that have formed the contemporary scheme and basis of biological nutrient removal (BNR), a non-chemical means of water treatment in which nitrogen and/or phosphorous are culled from used water.

“Having been in this field for so long in trying to make a difference in this industry and in people’s lives, being chosen for the National Academy of Engineering is humbling but so very much appreciated,” said Barnard, known globally as the “Father of BNR.” “I tell young engineers, ‘Remember, you are ingenieurs,’ entrusted to be ingenious in finding solutions. It’s a principle that continues to guide me.”


Editor’s Notes:

  • The latest class of NAE members will be formally inducted during the group’s annual meeting on Oct. 3, bringing the academy’s U.S. membership to 2,355, with 298 members internationally.
  • Wallis-Lage and Barnard join only two other former Black & Veatch professionals, Paul Haney and Thomas Robinson, on the esteemed list of NAE members. Haney, who passed away in 1990, was elected in 1974. Robinson, who died in 2006, was elected to the group as an emeritus member in 1979. At the time of their NAE elections, both also were honored for their civil and environmental engineering work in the water industry.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries by addressing the resilience and reliability of our world's most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2019 were US$3.7 billion. Follow us on and on social media.

About the National Academy of Engineering
Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

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