Marcus Andrew became interested in wastewater while in graduate school at Howard University in Washington, DC.
“When I started studying for my master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering, I wasn’t sure what my specialty would be. My advisor suggested wastewater. As I learned more about the science behind cleaning wastewater, I became interested,” Marcus said.
Marcus, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Howard in 2011, received his master’s in 2014. Last fall, he applied and was accepted into Alexandria Renew Enterprises’ Apprenticeship Program. He recently passed the Class III Wastewater Operator License exam, and is looking forward to “climbing the career ladder” in the water industry.
Alexandria Renew Enterprises Operations Technician Apprenticeship Program trains participants to run a wastewater treatment facility in an effective and efficient manner. Generally, the program requires 4,000 hours of on-the-job experience and 300 hours of class time. The number of hours can be fewer if the apprentice takes additional classes or holds a degree in an applicable field.
Marcus works with a team monitoring AlexRenew’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system to ensure that the system is operating properly, and solving problems when they occur. Finding ways to save energy is also an important of the team’s work. “The water-cleaning process requires a lot of energy. We’re always looking for ways to reduce the use of electricity,” Marcus said.
“What we do is important. Clean water is critical for the quality of life in Alexandria and the region. The water we use, flush, or clean with has to go somewhere to be treated, or else it becomes a public health issue,” Marcus said.
Marcus graduated from Lakota High School in Cincinnati, Ohio before receiving his degrees from Howard University. He’s lived in the Washington, DC/Baltimore area since 2006, and moved to Alexandria in November. His parents currently live in Green Brook, New Jersey