| AWWA Member Spotlight – Charlie Ulloa, P.Eng., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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AWWA Member Spotlight – Charlie Ulloa, P.Eng., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Charlie UlloaJob title and employer: Process Engineer, AECOM Canada

Education/certification: BASc, Engineering Chemistry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; MASc, Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Job duties: I work in AECOM’s Winnipeg office and specialize in environmental chemistry and membrane separation technology. I’ve managed projects from design through construction and contract completion, including small-scale desktop studies through large-scale, multi-million dollar upgrades.  

Canadian watrer plant undergoing enhancementsHow and why did you get into the water industry? I wanted work that involved an environmental slant and found that the water sector offers a lot of advancements that can be applied to help both new and existing facilities be more sustainable. This, paired with my interest in chemistry, led me to my current position at AECOM. Each job is like a puzzle to solve and there’s always room to make improvements.

What led to your focus on water treatment and membranes? During my first year in university, my roommate’s father introduced me to what was then Zenon Environmental’s work in the growing field of membrane technology. After specializing in chemical engineering and keeping in touch with him, I decided that completing a graduate degree in membrane technology would be a solid route to break into the water sector.

Pet German Shepherd mix, MacWhat are you currently most focused on in your work? Most of my work is related to retrofitting many of the mid-sized plants across the Prairies in Western Canada (pictured above left, one of Ulloa's plant projects), as well as the design and construction of water and wastewater plants in Indigenous communities in Manitoba.

Why did you join AWWA, and how have you benefited from your membership? AWWA was a natural fit for my work and has helped me develop new relationships with clients, competitors and vendors across the country. I’ve attended several AWWA conferences and subscribe to Journal AWWA, which helps keep me updated on advancements in the water sector. The Western Canada Section has been a great meeting place for others in our sector, particularly in the Canadian Prairies. We’re a small group, so it’s great to know how your neighbors are doing and about the challenges we all face.

Charlie Ulloa with fish and partner BarryDescribe your family and personal interests: My partner, Barry (pictured below left with Ulloa fishing), and I spend what time we can camping and hiking in Manitoba with our 100-pound German Shepherd mix, Mac (pictured above right). During the COVID-19 pandemic, my hobbies have been mostly indoors and include 3D printing, woodworking and board games.

What would surprise people to know about you? I’m an avid Dungeons and Dragons fan, which probably plays well into some engineering stereotypes.
(Photos courtesy of Charlie Ulloa)