Senior Project Delivery Leader Rachel Friend PE, CSM will serve as Chair of the American Public Works Association (APWA) Certified Stormwater Manager Council. In this role, Rachel will lead the certification of Stormwater Managers, a credential for public works professionals aimed at promoting excellence and commitment to public service by advancing the knowledge and practice of stormwater management to benefit the community, public agencies, and the profession. We sat down with Rachel to discuss her goals in this position, her motivation to be a part of the organization, and her advice to aspiring stormwater managers.
What does it mean to you to serve as chair of this council?
Being the chair of the Certified Stormwater Manager (CSM) council gives me the opportunity to serve in a leadership role supporting the certification program for the American Public Works Association. APWA committees are critical in providing quality services for their members. The Certification Commission defines and governs APWA’s certification activities, which include establishing the governing rules and regulations related to APWA’s certification system, providing executive oversight for the programs, interpreting the rules and regulations of the programs, and other related responsibilities pertaining to the certification programs as needed. The Stormwater Manager Certification is intended for experts in the public and private sectors who coordinate and implement stormwater management programs for city, county, state, provincial, and federal agencies. These individuals are responsible for administering drainage, flood control, and/or water quality programs.
Why did you choose to become involved with this council’s leadership?
In 2021, the chance to be part of the council unexpectedly came my way. A representative from APWA reached out, inquiring whether I’d consider joining the national council. My journey began as a CSM back in 2012 and the prospect of supporting a field close to my heart was too tempting to resist. Being part of the council has been a rewarding experience, as I’ve cherished the collaboration it fosters. When the position of chair became available, I embraced the opportunity, knowing that it would allow me to continue to engage and collaborate with fellow stormwater professionals across the nation, furthering our shared passion and expertise.
How do you see this role benefitting your and the team’s development at RK&K?
This role holds significant value, especially in terms of the valuable networking opportunities it brings, connecting me with fellow stormwater experts from various corners of the nation. The council is comprised of accomplished CSMs from diverse locations including Iowa, Georgia, Florida, New England, and Kansas. While the primary objective of the council is to oversee and establish rules and regulations for APWA’s CSM certification, it extends further. It serves as a platform for gaining valuable insights into the flood mitigation and water quality measures being implemented in other states, broadening our perspective, and allowing us to learn from one another.
What inspired you to pursue this career field?
My father, an aquatic ecologist, included me with his field work and lab analysis from a young age. His studies focused on how stormwater runoff affects our sensitive water bodies. Witnessing the detrimental effects of pollutants, erosive flows, and flooding on both our environment and community ignited a passion within me, driving my determination to take meaningful action and mitigate these impacts. Now, as a stormwater engineer, I’m fortunate to have the chance to design and implement projects that have a true benefit, making our communities more resilient.
What piece of advice would you like to share with people just starting their professional journeys?
Follow your passion and love the work you do. If you do, it will make your “job” so rewarding. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about getting certified as a stormwater manager to just go for it!