Capt. Richard Gelting, P.E., an international expert on water safety with the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been named the NSPE's 2013 Federal Engineer of the Year.
Gelting, who manages and coordinates the CDC's water, sanitation, and hygiene team, has led numerous efforts to improve living conditions around the world. He has not only coordinated implementation of water safety plans in seven countries but, working with the International Water Association and the World Health Organization, has led teams that developed evaluation documents for those water safety plans and shaped the global research agenda.
Gelting also championed and directed a 10-year sustainability study of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions implemented by the Red Cross in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Results from this study have led to changes in the way the Red Cross works to sustain health benefits.
Outside his normal work with the CDC, Gelting is also cofounder and cochair of the CDC Water Working Group and serves on the Water Safety Plan committee for the World Health Organization. He has written and published numerous papers concerning water safety and serves as an adjunct professor at Emory University, where he teaches and mentors students in the Master of Public Health program.
"I'd like to recognize the people on the teams that I've worked with and the people on the teams that I've led, because I wouldn't be here without them," Gelting said after being announced the winner. "I think these kinds of awards are really important because it shows people what engineers do, what engineers are capable of, and ultimately what engineers contribute to society on a daily basis."
He added in a later interview: "I'd like to stress that this was a great honor and thanks to everyone that was involved, especially NSPE. I hope this boosts the profile of engineering both in the government and outside of it."
Gelting holds a bachelor's degree in hydrology from the University of New Hampshire, a master's degree in water resources engineering from Stanford University, and a doctoral degree in civil engineering from Stanford.
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