| AWWA Member Spotlight – Paolo Torassa, Piedmont, Italy
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AWWA Member Spotlight – Paolo Torassa, Piedmont, Italy

Job title and employer: Chief of Engineering & Construction Division, IRETI (a company within Iren Group). The multi-regional Iren Group has 8,000 employees and around 1.9 million customers in the energy sector, 2.8 million in integrated water and more than 3 million in wastewater.

Paolo TorassaEducation: Bachelor and Master of Science degrees, Electrical Engineering, University of Genoa; certified senior project manager, International Project Manager Association, and project manager, IMQ (Italian national accreditation agency)

Job duties: I lead a division composed of project management, networks and plant design, construction management, technical administrative support, project control, and planning and standardization. I also serve as a technical director, project director and board member for investee companies in Italy and South America.

How did you get involved in the water sector? I became involved in water as part of a wider infrastructure project, and since 2016 it has become my main business in terms of network and plant investment activity. Working in the water field means providing a primary resource to local communities and combining your professional activity with a service for people.

Earlier in my career, I served in the Italian Navy as a general staff officer. I also worked at Ansaldo Energia as a power plant project engineer, and in several engineering, management and board of director capacities at Fiat Engineering (currently part of the Maire-Tecnimont Group), Geodata and General Electric. Since 1994, my projects have included industrial, historical and modern buildings, power, transport and utility, impacting projects or resources in Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.

Paolo Torassa at workWhy did IRETI recently join AWWA? IRETI develops knowledge in the water sector through pilot projects, research and participation in technical discussions. Joining AWWA is part of the process of sharing experiences and skills. We are sure AWWA can be an important partner in technical development for the engineering areas of IRETI and we can bring our ideas and experience to AWWA members.

What is a current challenge you’re facing in the water sector? Our main challenges are the construction of new wastewater treatment plants and the drinkable water treatment to reduce hexavalent chromium (CrVI), an issue well-known in the United States. These are complex and critical projects in terms of site identification, scheduling and technical solutions. Renewing the water network to maintain or further reduce low levels of losses requires constant commitment to both medium and large projects in diversified areas. It has been a huge challenge to Paolo Torassa outdoorsmaintain our level of investment during the COVID crisis.

Describe your family and outside interests: I have been married for 23 years to Anna, a teacher. We have a 16-year-old son, Simone, who attends high school and an older daughter, Elena, who studied food technology. Outside of work, I enjoy history, travel and sports such as soccer and cycling.

What would people be surprised to know about you? To keep fit I regularly exercise… but there is no great result!