| AWWA Member Spotlight – Matt Erickson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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AWWA Member Spotlight – Matt Erickson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Matt Erickson is operations manager at Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services (AE2S) in Sioux Falls, where he oversees office management, project management and water treatment design.

Education/certification: B.S., Civil Engineering, University of North Dakota; Master of Technology, Civil Engineering, University of North Dakota

Member Spotlight, Matt Erickson, Sioux Falls, South DakotaJob experience: My experience includes potable water piloting, preliminary engineering, design services, operation improvement assessments, water quality analysis and cost of service analysis modeling. I also really enjoy getting out into the field and seeing projects turn from design to reality through construction administration, including project management and RPR (Resident Project Representative) services. I’ve helped communities optimize both water and wastewater treatment systems through design and implementation of processes, such as pretreatment, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis, distribution modeling, and water blending techniques to help them provide better, safer, more reliable water.

How and why did you get into the water sector? Growing up, I really enjoyed math and science in high school and got involved in some engineering and drafting classes, which guided me to pursue engineering in college. I started as a mechanical engineering major but quickly realized it wasn’t something I was passionate about it. As a college student, I got the opportunity to intern at AE2S. I was able to work on a variety of projects, including surveying, road design, water and wastewater treatment, and construction and RPR services. After shadowing some really passionate water engineers and seeing how the projects I was working on impacted the community, I realized I shared that same passion. I’ve been committed to water ever since. 

What is an interesting project you’ve worked on? I worked on the design team for a new water treatment plant for the City of Pierre, South Dakota. The city is located along the Missouri River but had an existing water system that utilized a series of groundwater wells that had been experiencing increased manganese levels. The project featured a change in water source, a unique site location, and a lot of interesting and challenging design aspects. The project was especially important for the capital city, and it was really rewarding to be a part of. 

What is one of your proudest accomplishments? During graduate school, I worked on a pilot study at the Grand Forks Water Treatment Plant (WTP) researching the feasibility of pretreatment, ultrafiltration, and reverse osmosis for its source water. Following my graduation, I joined the AE2S team and continued to work on the same project, contributing to the planning and design of a new regional WTP for my hometown of Grand Forks. The completion of the award-winning WTP in 2020 was the result of decades of hard work and planning, and I was fortunate to be part of the team that made it happen.

How have you benefited from your AWWA membership? During my early career in North Dakota, I was a member of AWWA, but my involvement was minimal. Since moving to South Dakota, I’ve become more involved in the South Dakota Section and have held various positions on the board over the past five years. Getting involved in AWWA has given me a wonderful opportunity to meet a lot of people throughout the state, learn from others in the industry, get involved with all types of water systems, and form many great relationships.

Describe your family and personal interests: I met my wife, Lexi, in college. We have two children, Madeline (4) and Cameron (2), and a golden retriever named Maya. We stay busy with the kids’ soccer and swimming activities, and we love spending time outdoors together and traveling. I also enjoy watching sports, boating, fishing and golfing.

What would surprise people to know about you? To this day, I have never had a cup of coffee. I typically just start my mornings with a glass of tap water – what else! 

What do you find rewarding about your work? It is rewarding to know we’re helping communities solve problems that affect so many people. We’re helping to bring an essential resource to people, safe and reliable drinking water. Aging infrastructure and increased regulations create new challenges to overcome each day, leading to opportunities to work on exciting and rewarding projects.