Veterans in Water: Ryan Ward, Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA)

Veterans in Water

Army Veteran, Ryan Ward, Associate Engineer

Introducing Ryan Ward, an Associate Engineer at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA). Since joining IEUA in 2017, Ryan has brought valuable expertise, holding certifications such as F.E., D2, T2, Wastewater 3, and Collection System Maintenance Grade 2. Prior to his role at IEUA, Ryan dedicated a decade of service to the Army.

Army Veteran, Ryan Ward

What is your role?

As an Associate Engineer, I work closely with my Senior Engineer to deliver critical projects to our end users (usually Operations & Maintenance staff). From a project’s creation (project request form) to its design and all the way to construction, this cradle to the grave approach allows the Engineering team to turn an Agency need into a realized solution.

What / who inspired you to work in water?

During my yearlong deployment to Afghanistan as a U.S. Army infantryman, I was able to witness how a country not as advanced as the U.S. dealt with water and wastewater. What I saw was old-school water wells that are drawn by hand as well as drainage ditches for their wastewater. This experience made me want to learn how we in America deal with water and wastewater.

What fuels your passion for your work?

Being in the military established a great sense of public service in me. I felt like I was waking up everyday and fighting to preserve the liberties that we all enjoy as Americans. At IEUA, I get to wake up everyday and ensure that the public health is maintained in a cost-effective manner. What this means is that sickness and death are actively prevented by providing high quality treatment for water and wastewater, while at the same time keeping rates as low as possible.

What is the biggest misperception about working in water?

In my opinion, the biggest misperception about working in water is that it is a field related job. Coming from someone who spent a considerable amount of time in the field, it is 100% true that our Operators, Mechanics, and Electricians bear the brunt of the physical work. However, there are also Accountants, Environmental Planners, Administrative Assistants, system integrators, Information Technology personnel, and countless others needed in the industry.

Why should veterans join this field?

Veterans take pride in what they do and how they do it. Their attention to detail and selfless sacrifice translates well in the water and wastewater field. The goal of being able to provide safe, high-quality, compliant water comes down to the people working every day to ensure we meet this goal. Veterans are a big part of this.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Working with staff who have a similar mindset is always fulfilling. Every person that I have been able to interact with at IEUA is always positive and excited to serve the public.