Daniel Cook, PE | PSPE VP Northeast Region
Dan is a Senior Project Engineer with Alfred Benesch & Company at their Pottsville office. Dan earned his BS in Environmental Engineering from Wilkes University and an MS in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering from Villanova University.
Dan chose Environmental Engineering as a high schooler because of his love of the outdoors and outdoor activities. “Most of the other PSPE members who know me may be surprised to discover that I am a whitewater kayaker,” Dan shared. One of the aspects of being an environmental engineer that Dan enjoys is the design of recreational projects such as trails, playgrounds, parks, and stream restorations. “One of my most memorable moments was taking my children to one of the parks I designed. It’s kind of hard to get them excited about a wastewater treatment plant.”
Dan’s PSPE Journey
“I joined PSPE in June of 2008 because many of my colleagues were also members.” Since joining PSPE, Dan has been a great asset to PSPE, serving on PSPE’s Membership Committee and several state and national conference planning committees. Dan is currently the VP of the Northeast Region and the State Director of the Anthracite Chapter. “Volunteering allows you to see behind the curtain and see firsthand what is going on with the organization and work with great individuals.”
“Being an active member of PSPE has given me the opportunity to serve on a professional board and in leadership positions, I may not have had otherwise. By attending conferences and committee meetings, I have met several NSPE Presidents that I would not have been able to meet otherwise.”
I would recommend membership to others to gain leadership opportunities and help protect your PE license. Most of the time, the public has very little involvement with or understanding what engineers do. Many people overlook what we do daily and may not even know we must be licensed to practice engineering. At some point, elected officials may forget about us and our licenses, in which everyone will be negatively affected.
Dan would give someone interested in working in the engineering field the following advice, “Diversify your skillset. Be agile. Some engineering practices have lows while other disciplines are booming, and the ability to be flexible will allow you to be both knowledgeable and bring another viewpoint to a project.”
Dan’s hobbies include white water kayaking and ham radio. “I have learned about ham radio, and I recently received my General Class Operators license in May.” He is looking forward to communicating with individuals from all over the world.
When asked who inspires him in life, he did not hesitate to respond. “My youngest daughter inspires me every day.” Dan further shared, ” My daughter has Cerebral Palsy and has made great strides in everything she does. Everything she does is 10x’s harder than it is for anyone else, but she does it with a smile on her face.”
Jennifer Nolan-Kremm, PE | PSPE President 2021-2022
Jennifer is the Transportation Hydraulics Lead PA/WV at HDR, Inc.
After receiving a BS in Physics from Saint Vincent University, I realized that I did not want to teach for the of my life at a University. “I changed my discipline in grad school to civil engineering.”
One of the aspects that I like about water resources is that every project is different; while finding a solution that meets the regulations and needs of a client is a challenge, it is rewarding to see everything come together.
I joined PSPE in 2011, when a co-worker invited me to attend a PSPE Pittsburgh Chapter event. At the time I was looking for a professional society that encompassed more than civil engineering. Since then I have served on numerous PSPE committees and Tasks Forces including MATHCOUNTS, Conference, Education, Membership committees.
One of the highlights of my career is seeing the section I helped design and get permitted on the Southern Beltway be completed. Looking at the erosion and pollution control devices, I design actually work and hold up for a new roadway project was rather exciting to see considering the severe weather we had while the site was under construction.
A word of advice to people who are interested in entering the field of engineering – While you do not need to be the best at math, you need to enjoy the subject. Where else can you design something that influences the public daily?
My greatest challenge is walking away from work and finding ways to de-stress. When I am able to walk away I enjoy reading, video games, hiking, and trying out new places to eat.
Susan Best, PE, F.NSPE | PSPE Past President (2020-2021)
Growing up in a rural part of Pennsylvania in the 60s, there was little focus on careers from school counselors. “I applied to University of Delaware as a nursing major. Before I even started, I realized that I would make a terrible nurse, so changed to Undeclared Arts & Sciences within three weeks of beginning school”. After a discussion with a recruiter from Bethlehem Steel, and encouragement from her father, an agricultural engineer, Susan switched to civil engineering. “I saw engineering as a practical application of the physics that I enjoyed and didn’t require a PhD to get a reasonable job.”
Susan shared that seeing projects come to life is rewarding, although there is also the frustration of the many projects that never made it off the shelf.
“For much of my career, I worked between different groups within the company, first as a civil engineer “on loan” to the electrical engineering department, as a traffic engineer working as a bridge between the environmental and highway/bridge groups, and as a traffic engineer providing services to just about every other group. This allowed me to see many different perspectives and understand the big picture,” Susan shared.
Susan was the principal author of a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement on a project that had been ongoing in fits and starts for about 10 years. We took a new approach for the document, reducing the detail in the SFEIS and preparing technical files for the various environmental agency reviewers. As the principal author, I was able to provide a level of continuity across the various technical disciplines and eliminate redundancy. The technical details were of course reviewed by the appropriate subject matter experts for accuracy.
Susan’s advice to someone interested in engineering is to consider what type of work you are most interested in. Engineers can work in the field, in a lab, in an office, or a combination. Certainly, in college, but possibly even in high school, find summer jobs or internships that allow you to test out various types of engineering and various settings. Getting some type of field experience, no matter the discipline, is always a good idea.
Susan’s PSPE Journey
"I joined PSPE 25 years ago as I knew that NSPE/PSPE was the only national / state organization that worked to protect engineering licensure and the profession’s standards of excellence. While my technical societies are important in their own way, PSPE looks at the broader picture of protecting public health, safety, and welfare. As President this past year, I worked with all the committees (except Nominating). I have taken the lead on the Bylaws committee, where several updates to the bylaws have been made this year. I am also on the NSPE Professional Engineers Conference Task Force. Next year, I will represent the Northeast Region on the NSPE Candidate Selection Committee. I have recently been appointed to a three-year term as NSPE’s representative on the DiscoverE Board of Directors. I intend to continue my involvement in a few select committees next year. "Being an active PSPE member has provided me with numerous professional development and leadership opportunities including meeting and working with engineers in multiple disciplines, attending educational programs at the chapter and state level, as well as serving in leadership roles on committees and the board. All of these opportunities and experiences have contributed to enlarging my overall technical knowledge and leadership skills.”
It is important that engineers be involved at various levels in not just the technical side of the job, but also the societal and political issues that impact our profession. Many engineers don’t want to get involved in politics, but we can’t hide our heads in the sand and ignore what the political and legislative environment is doing to our profession and the public health, safety, and welfare. Being a member of NSPE/PSPE allows engineers to band together to have a greater impact than any of us individually.
A Good Read
I just finished reading Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, about Abraham Lincoln’s genius in first, getting the Republican nomination for president, and then managing his formal rivals and other men with diverse opinions in his cabinet.
Martial Arts, Music, and Community Service
At one time, I was a second-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. I play in the Handbell Choir at my church, and do solo and quartet work, as well as vocal solos. Pre-pandemic, I sang in two choirs (The Philadelphia Chorus and Coro da Capo); I’m anxious to be able to get back to singing with both groups soon. I’ve been involved with the Philadelphia Region Future City Competition for 27 years, as Judging Coordinator (all 27 years), sponsorship coordination, and many other roles as needed. I’m the District Administrator for the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Mid-Colonial District. I volunteered (pre-pandemic) in the local elementary school library, as there are no professional librarians in the schools. I am the Administrative Director for Fair Districts PA, supporting the effort to end gerrymandering in PA.
Nicole C. Wilson, PE | Vice President of the PSPE Southeast Region
Nicole is the Technical Manager- Air Quality Services at Earthers Group, Inc., which is in the Philadelphia area.
Nicole picked chemical engineering when she was a high school senior because she wanted to challenge herself. “Unlike a lot of people, my parents were not engineers, so I had no idea what I was getting into,” Nicole said. She went on to share, “I was more interested in biomedical engineering, but at the time, the University of Rochester did not have it as a major or even a minor.” She took her advisor’s suggestion to focus on one of the core engineering disciplines. Even though she knew it was going to be extremely difficult, she decided to focus on chemical engineering, “Sticking with cheme made sense to me.”
After graduation from the University of Rochester, she started her career as an environmental consultant. During this time, Nicole earned a master’s degree from Villanova University in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering and her PE license. “It seems to be a better fit for me considering the combination of technical, people, organizational, administrative, and writing skills it requires.” One of the many aspects that she enjoys about her job is interacting with clients and mentoring staff.
Nicole has had some memorable moments and events in her career. During an audit of a power plant, she recommended that they instituted a non-mandatory (i.e., not a regulatory requirement) recycling program at their facility. "They surprised me with it when I came back the next year. That was pretty cool."
Nicole began her PSPE journey in 2006. In 2011 she received a call from a member of the PSPE Bucks Chapter inviting her to attend their meeting.
Fast forward ten years, "I have made a lot of good friends and contacts through my involvement with PSPE." She knows if she is having a bad day at work, she can pick up the phone and call one of the PSPE guys for a reality check. "I also value the opportunity, especially in my chapter, to learn from the more senior and retired members who have been where I am and can provide good career advice."
She credits being involved with PSPE and the Bucks Chapter to enhancing her public speaker and event organizational skills. These skills have become an invaluable asset to NSPE and PSPE. Nicole is the PECON 2021 Education Committee Chair, a board member of the PSPE's Pennsylvania Engineer Foundation, a member of the PSPE Chapter Task Force and PSPE State Awards Committee, and the Vice President of the PSPE Southeast Region. She is actively involved with the PSPE Bucks Chapter.
"I would recommend membership to others, whether a younger engineer, mid-level, or advanced, more for the opportunity to connect with other engineers and colleagues on a personal level." Nicole further added, "The work NSPE and PSPE do in terms of advocacy and STEM is important, but just as important is the networking and career opportunities both organizations offer."
In her free time, Nicole enjoys watching Top Chef, reading, travelling, and trying new restaurants, especially anything Indian/Thai/Japanese. She is currently re-reading, “The Idiot's Guide to Managing Stress. "It was published in 1999, and it is crazy to see how much things have changed in terms of day-to-day work style and technologies." Nicole was once featured on Action News. Unfortunately, it was before the days of YouTube!
Marleen Troy, PhD, PE, BCEE | PSPE 2021-2022 President-Elect Nominee
Marleen is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Before transitioning to academia, she worked as an environmental engineer performing hazardous waste site remediation. “I have been fortunate to have been involved in projects that successfully employed bioremediation treatment techniques to facilitate site clean-ups. Now, I appreciate utilizing and discussing my previous field and project experiences in the courses I currently teach.” Marleen shared.
“My previous education and training had been on dealing with the “end-of-pipe” management of wastes and facilitating the best ways to dispose of them safely,” Marleen says. She further adds, “Recently, I have been transitioning to learning what can be done differently to prevent the production of these wastes, to begin with, to minimize future disposal challenges.”
Marleen joined PSPE in 2009 because of the professional networking and development opportunities they offered. “My involvement with PSPE gave me opportunities to work with great engineers like Walter Popalwski, who was instrumental in establishing a PSPE Student Chapter a Wilkes University,” she points out, “Wilkes University has held an Order of the Engineer Ceremony for graduation Seniors since 2009.”
She firmly believes that she and her students have greatly benefited from their involvement in PSPE’s Keystone NE Chapter. “MATHCOUNTS, speaking events, project tours, and social events have provided opportunities, which have had a positive impact on the students and me.”
The advice she would give to someone interested in working in the field of engineering is, “The environmental engineering field is constantly changing. Now is a great time to be entering the engineering field, and it is an opportunity to make a difference.”
Additionally, Marleen is active in PSPE, serving as a member of the Board of Directors and on various committees. Marleen is a member of the Pennsylvania Engineering Foundation (PEF). PEF provides scholarships to students who are going on to study engineering at the Pennsylvanian college. She says, “I appreciate the opportunity to support this important initiative of furthering engineering education opportunities.” Marleen also serves as the Chair of the PSPE Chapter Merger Task Force, is the VP of the Keystone Northeast Region, and is the 2021-2022 President-Elect Nominee.
“On a personal level,” Marleen shared, “I enjoy puttering with vegetable pickling, sourdough baking, and digital media. I am also an avid WaterRower.”