Erik Howe Promoted to Associate Director
On behalf of the Board of Directors, please join us in congratulating Erik Howe in his promotion to the leadership position of Associate Director. Within this new role, Erik will have the opportunity to guide RH2 towards a future filled with growth and excellence. We look forward to the insights Erik will bring the Board.
Erik's journey with RH2 began in 2006, following nearly six years of valuable experience at WSDOT. Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington, Erik's expertise in transportation engineering has been a cornerstone of his success. However, his time at RH2 has also exposed him to the diverse world of municipal engineering, broadening his skill set and perspective.
Five years ago, Erik took the reins as the manager of RH2's East Wenatchee office, a pivotal role in the continued success of that branch. Under his leadership, the office has thrived, a testament to his initiative, dedication, and commitment to the team. Erik's approach to management is deeply rooted in RH2's people-oriented culture, inspired by the guidance of mentors who came before him.
Passionate about making a positive impact on the community, Erik cherishes the opportunity to collaborate with highly talented colleagues on a variety of projects. He takes pride in the thoughtfulness and dedication of his team, appreciating the impact that RH2 has on clients and the wider community. Erik loves living in the Wenatchee Valley with his wife and three kids, enjoying the amazing creation.
As Erik embarks on this new chapter as Associate Director, RH2’s Board eagerly anticipates the insights and innovation he will bring to the table. We are confident that Erik's vision and expertise will play a significant role in RH2’s future success and in making a lasting difference in the lives of those we serve. Congratulations, Erik!
Edwin Halim Promoted to Director
On behalf of the Board of Directors, RH2 is pleased to announce the advancement of Edwin Halim to the position of Director. As an Associate Director for the last two years, Edwin has continually demonstrated that he is a natural leader. His insight and contributions have been of great value to the Board. We are confident that he will play an important role in providing leadership at RH2 for many more years.
Edwin joined RH2 in 1998 and currently leads the RH2 Bothell Design Group. A trained Mechanical Engineer, Edwin’s specialty is facility projects, such as reservoirs, pump stations, lift stations, and treatment plants. Edwin is also passionate about mentoring young engineers—he loves to teach them the “why of design and consulting decisions. Witnessing their growth and eventual success in managing their projects and acquiring their own clients brings him immense satisfaction. Edwin’s goal as a Director is to make sure newer staff are properly mentored and to provide a different perspective in the Board meetings.
There are too many favorite projects to mention, but Edwin loves to rehabilitate an existing facility. Facility rehabilitation requires more attention to details as the envelope of the facility has already been defined. Most of the time, the best solution requires creative ideas to solve the space constraint issues that are frequent with these types of projects. Two of his noteworthy projects are the Tacoma Water McMillin Reservoir Replacement and the Issaquah Highlands Fire Station No. 73. The McMillin Reservoir is still the largest diameter Type 1 pre-stressed concrete reservoir in the world, and the Issaquah Highlands Fire Station No. 73 was the first fire station in the US to receive a Silver LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.
Edwin grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, and had wanted to become an engineer a early as elementary school. He came to the US to pursue a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Washington. Edwin’s original plan was to move back to Jakarta after graduation; however, the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis hit. Luckily, Edwin saw a small ad in the Seattle Times and applied for the job, and RH2 has been his only employer since starting his career. Outside of work, Edwin likes the outdoors: tennis, fishing, crabbing, clam digging, hiking (mainly looking for wild edibles such as mushrooms and berries), gardening, and skiing. He also loves to travel the world with his family, showing his kids where he grew up and helping them see things from a different perspective. Unsurprisingly, Edwin is also a foodie and enjoys trying different foods in the Seattle area.
Edwin is grateful to the Directors for recognizing his accomplishments and his ability to positively impact the culture at RH2. Edwin deeply appreciates the colleagues that have helped him become an impactful mentor, project manager, principal, and now Director, and he hopes that he has provided valuable guidance to those around him. The Directors welcome Edwin’s work ethic, unique insights, and ability to enrich RH2.
2023 Top Fundraiser for the AWWA WE Walk!
Congratulations to Doug Schlepp!
RH2’s Doug Schlepp has emerged as the 2023 Top Fundraiser for the AWWA WE Walk! 2023 event! We extend our congratulations to Doug for this remarkable accomplishment and are proud of his outstanding achievement.
American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Water Equation (WE) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides funding for workforce advancements, scholarships, students, young professionals, and Community Engineering Corps. WE is committed to fulfilling the critical need to ensure that the water sector has the necessary workforce to provide clean and safe water to communities in North America.
WE Walk! is an eight-week virtual walk/fundraiser that is in its fourth year and has raised $110,000 since its inception. The event begins in April and runs through the end of May. Participants support the programs by walking, hiking, cycling, kayaking, giving, engaging with the water community, and gathering donations for designated scholarships. Over 11,000 miles were walked by participants.
Within this short two-month timeframe, Doug was the Top Fundraising individual across all of North America. He was part of an 11-person team named "PNWS Walks for Water" that raised a total of $7,186, making them the top fundraising group. Overall, this event raised $33,901 for water and wastewater operators continuing education, young professional leadership programs, and youth STEAM education programs.
When asked about why he got involved with WE Walk, Doug Schlepp shared, “I became a WE Walker through my association with AWWA-PNWS. This came at a time when the pandemic was limiting social activities, but I found walking was a great outlet. This was also an opportunity to bring awareness of the water operator in both my professional and social community. The dedication of our local water operators to both maintain and sustain safe water supply during the peak of the pandemic was a big motivator for me.
“While I have a great rapport with members of the PNWS, the WE Walk updates introduced me to people within the AWWA community from across the country. The enthusiasm of individuals, and teams from coast to coast motivated me to put my best foot forward, both raising money and logging miles. In return, the PNWS has benefitted from the WE Walk program through matched scholarships and PNWS Short Schools. It’s great to see a program put into action and immediately see the results and impact.”
Doug’s stellar participation with WE Walk comes as no surprise, however. Doug also achieved the Top Fundraiser in 2020, he was the third finisher in 2021, he came in second place in 2022.
AWWA’s goal for 2023 was to fund and award “One AWWA Operator Scholarships” for thirty (30) applicants to encourage a career path for entry-level water operators. “One AWWA Operator Scholarships” provide educational assistance for materials, tuition, and certifications. With the addition of the thirty additional scholarships, the annual WE Walk! event now funds 140 awards that help attract and retain a new generation of water professionals.
Congratulations to Doug on his well-earned recognition as Top Fundraiser! RH2 is proud of your support of the water community that benefits us all.
Take a moment to congratulate Doug on his accomplishment by heading over to our LinkedIn post: https://bit.ly/3N1Oj9s
2023 PNWS-AWWA Subsection Activity Award Winner
Congratulations Ryan Withers!
RH2 joins PNWS-AWWA in recognizing and celebrating Ryan Withers as the Washington winner of the 2023 Subsection Activity Award. On May 5, Ryan was awarded the Subsection Activity Award at the Annual PNWS-AWWA conference, which recognizes individuals who have done an outstanding job promoting Subsection events and showed exemplary involvement in the local Subsection and the water works industry.
Ryan has been an AWWA Central Washington Subsection member since 2015 and has served as its officer and secretary since 2017. The Central Washington Subsection boundaries include Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Okanogan, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties.
Ryan's 15 years of experience includes working within multi-disciplinary teams in the design and construction of facilities, site improvements, utility replacements, project report writing, and specification development. He is well versed on water system design elements that are critical to ease of operations, ease of access, and longevity of infrastructure. His extensive design background, field experience, and understanding of public processes allow him to repeatedly deliver realistic and successful projects for our clients.
Together, we create an environment where we can achieve excellence, and this milestone shows the immense dedication and talent of our team.
Congratulations, Ryan, on this well-deserved recognition! Thank you for your ongoing commitment to RH2’s contributions to the water works industry.
To see the previous winners of the Subsection Activity Award, check out the following link: https://www.pnws-awwa.org/about-us/awards/subsection-activity-award/
Take a moment to congratulate Ryan on his award by heading over to our LinkedIn post!
Jim Swanson Retires
While we are excited for our valued Principal, James Swanson, to begin his well-earned retirement, RH2 staff and clients will miss Jim’s unmatched expertise, analytical mind, problem-solving persistence, and guidance and mentorship. Throughout his 31 years at RH2, Jim led the charge toward incredibly significant advances in the SCADA, controls, and electrical engineering industry for our municipal water and wastewater clients.
Jim was hired in 1991 to provide IT support to RH2 after spending 5 years as a traveling Systems Engineer. At that time, RH2 was just a few engineers in Redmond and one in Wenatchee. An opportunity arose for Jim to provide IT support to one of our clients. Jim turned that opportunity into something so much larger. Soon after, through Jim’s foresight and progressive thinking, RH2 added SCADA system consulting to the list of services we could provide to our clients. Jim started and led us on a SCADA journey of many years of experience, countless projects, immense institutional knowledge, and ultimately becoming recognized as premier control system consultant.
In working first as a control system specialist and ultimately as a principal at RH2, Jim provided SCADA system consulting to almost every client where we provided those services. Considering his expertise and specialization in control system design for water, wastewater, stormwater, and irrigation systems, it comes as no surprise that Jim was routinely requested by clients to help with everything from reviewing existing control systems and identifying cost-effective upgrades to implementing systems that was intuitive for both inexperienced and experienced treatment plant operators to use.
“I spent the majority of my career at RH2 on SCADA and industrial control projects from very small clients in Eastern Washington to helping design a 200 facility SCADA system for Seattle Public Utilities,” shared Jim. “As anyone in the Control group knows, this type of work is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Every project was different, and the vast diversity of projects made me an expert in areas I never expected.”
Jim helped register the RH2.com domain name in the very early 90s with approval from a forward-thinking board of directors. At that time, it would have been considered by some as a questionable $500 investment given that the commercial internet barely existed. Jim saw and took full advantage of how the internet could be leveraged in the SCADA world.
Jim served as the Principal of the Controls group, and routinely collaborated with the Electrical group on projects that spanned communications, control programming, instrumentation, and SCADA computer system integration tasks for facility projects.
Clients and coworkers know that Jim will forever leave an impression on the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Mike Miller, Former Manager of Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District, said, “He was one of the most analytical and intelligent programmers we had met at GWID to this point. I learned an incredible amount from Jim and RH2 through the years. Congratulations to Jim on retirement, we hope you had some fun hanging with us at GWID.”
Coworker Derrick Elsner shared, “It is one thing for someone to know how to write a program, but quite another for someone to know what to actually write. The latter is much more difficult to teach and relies heavily on experience. Jim would share his experiences about various projects, which were valuable in providing background information on the inner workings of the industry and specific challenges that I would encounter. Similarly, Jim valued the knowledge and techniques that I brought in from my work in other industries, and we would often brainstorm on how to best approach a new project.”
Many coworkers recall Jim’s storytelling abilities and have memories of listening to his stories during team and client meetings, interviews, or site visits where Jim would be obviously passionate and sometimes even boisterously expressive. His exuberance certainly grabbed the attention of his listeners.
“Jim is one of the most brilliant men I have ever had the privilege to work with. Though his delivery on occasion was brash and some colorful metaphors/tools would sometimes fly across the lift station, he always treated me with respect and was always there to assist when I needed something. I will always be grateful for the things he taught me, and I wish him all the best on this next chapter of his life,” said Shane Couty, Former City of Renton Wastewater Operator.
“I worked closely with Jim for 20 years and it was a pleasure to work alongside him and help grow the electrical and control groups at RH2,” said Chris Roberts, Principal at RH2. “Under Jim’s leadership, the control group experienced tremendous growth in client base, staff, and technical capabilities. Jim always had my back professionally and I will forever be appreciative of the support and friendship that he has provided me.”
Speaking of his coworkers and the company as a whole, Jim shared that he feels that RH2 is an incredibly rare company. Jim shared, “I never thought I would end up spending more than half my life at RH2, but I always knew how lucky I was to be part of it.”
When asked about Jim’s time at RH2, President Tony Pardi shared, “His insight, leadership, and analytical mind will be missed. Even if his future doesn’t include more consulting, he has had a career to be proud of. It has been a privilege to work with Jim for 31 years. We wish him all the best in the next chapters of his life’s journey.”
From all of us at RH2, thank you for your dedication and years of service—we wish Jim all the best in retirement
2022 RH2 Year in Review
With January under our belt and a new year officially underway, we want to take a moment to reflect on the many ways in which RH2 has supported our valued clients and helped them achieve their goals. From providing expert engineering services to delivering innovative solutions, RH2 strives to be a trusted partner to our clients.
But our success isn’t just about the work we do for our community or our clients. It’s also about the dedication and expertise of our employees, who have been an integral part of our growth and achievements over the past year. As we celebrate our 2022 Year in Review, RH2 is proud to see the impact we’ve had, and we look forward to thriving in 2023.
New Patent Announcement for Advanced Seismic Controller System
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to RH2 Engineering, Inc., (RH2) for its Advanced Seismic Controller System. This innovative technology offers seismic resilience and earthquake early warning capabilities, delivering crucial information for communities at risk.
RH2 is a proven leader in promoting and supporting the USGS' earthquake early warning system, ShakeAlert®. The Advanced Seismic Controller System provides crucial seconds to minutes of advance notice of earthquake shaking, helping protect critical infrastructure and ensuring staff safety.
RH2 is proud to receive this patent, which recognizes the innovative technology behind our Advanced Seismic Controller System. We are committed to continuing our work in delivering advanced solutions for seismic resilience and earthquake early warning, helping to keep communities safer.
Safety, Stormwater, and Style: West Valley View Road Improvements Project
In late fall 2022, the City of Talent finished construction for the West Valley View Road Improvements project. RH2 Engineering led the design to upgrade the pavement, enhance aesthetics, install low impact development stormwater treatment facilities, and improve non-motorist safety.
West Valley View Road is the main gateway into the City, and repaving was overdue. The project was a part of the City’s Transportation System Plan Update and was funded by the City, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and a small grant from Rogue Valley Sewer Services.
RH2 developed the design that improved bicyclist and pedestrian safety, beautified the City, and protected the environment. Throughout the project, RH2 coordinated input from City staff, Rogue Valley Sewer Services, and local property and business owners to successfully address community concerns.
RH2’s curbed bioswale design mitigated stormwater runoff to treat the volume of water before it discharged back to Wagner Creek, Bear Creek, and Rogue River. The bioswales also provided a buffer for bicyclist and pedestrian safety and included a mid-block crossing at Wagner Creek with flashing beacons that alert motorists to pedestrians crossing the road. Another advantage of the project was that the bioswales were specifically designed to allow emergency vehicles and fire trucks to straddle these facilities in an emergency without hampering vehicular travel lanes.
Beyond improving safety and cleaning stormwater, the project relocated driveways to improve traffic flows, conform to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and upgrade the City’s water main for future development, all elements that help surrounding businesses.
Prior to construction completion, RH2’s Project Manager Tyler Duncan gave an overview of the bioswales for a group of local leaders representing various community enhancement groups, state officials, and other citizens from Rogue Valley communities.
The City, RH2, and other involved agencies worked closely to successfully bring these upgrades to our local community with consideration for many modes of transportation, local businesses, and the environment.
To learn more about the project, check out the article “Bioswales Protect Bicyclists, Clean Stormwater, and Beautify Town” that was published in the 2022 Early Fall Edition Newsletter for the Jackson County Community Long-Term Recovery Group.
RH2 Named Outstanding Partner by Lakewood Water District
In early October 2022 , RH2 was honored to attend Lakewood Water District’s celebration for completing the Wholesale Transmission Main Extension (WTME) project. The Partners, which include the District, Firgrove Mutual Inc, Spanaway Water Company, Summit Water & Supply Company, and Washington Water Service, recognized the efforts of the team that made project successful.
RH2 originally designed 24,000 LF of 20-inch ductile iron pipe through Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Lakewood, and Pierce County, along a largely dry and flat alignment in 2008 to bring water from Lakewood to another water purveyor in Pierce County. In 2017, RH2 was then hired to design the WTME, which added an additional 36,000 LF (6 miles) of 20-inch ductile iron pipe to the end of the existing pipe, to bring water to two additional water purveyors in Pierce County, with a future connection designed for a third. The project included two interties to the water systems of the additional water purveyors.
Our experienced team worked closely with the District to successfully navigate several challenges during this effort, including a route realignment after design was underway and extensive geotechnical and environmental assessment to determine the optimal route. The transmission main is designed to transmit 10 million gallons per day of potable water at full capacity. To meet the client’s accelerated timeline, several steps were taken to speed up the traditional bid/build process. Prospective general contractors were pre-qualified ahead of bidding to have a faster turnaround. Additionally, 90 percent of the materials for the project were pre-purchased by the District before the installation contract was awarded to decrease the lead time necessary for material procurement.
“Lakewood Water District has enjoyed our relationship with RH2 for well over 20 years. RH2 has proven to be an engineering firm that has great levels of expertise on many levels of discipline within the firm needed by water utilities like our District,” said Randall Black, General Manager.
More than 50 RH2 staff worked on this project and RH2's efforts through the years were recognized during the evening. As a token of the District's appreciation, we were named an Outstanding Partner.
Western Water Market Podcast, Top 10 Things to Know Before Buying Property with Water Rights, Tips from Andy Dunn
RH2 Joins the Western Water Market
RH2’s history of meeting client needs is one of the reasons that 80 percent of our projects stem from repeat clients, many of whom have selected RH2 to provide project services for decades, and we feel that this is a testament to the quality of service we provide.
One of RH2’s specialty skills is water rights assistance, and our in-house experts successfully resolve water right complexities and implement solutions that efficiently manage water resources.
RH2 is now listed as a water right professional on Western Water Market and helps highlight our skills and staff. We are proud to showcase our wide range of abilities to new potential clients, and we believe that Western Water Market allows us to keep abreast of water rights that are available for purchase in areas where our clients need additional water rights.
Click the link at the top of the page to visit Western Water Market's press release for additional information!
APWA-WA Project of the Year-City of Snoqualmie WRF Phase II
RH2 is proud to announce that the City of Snoqualmie’s Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) Phase II project was chosen by the Washington State Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA-WA) as the 2021 Project of the Year in the Environment $5M - $25M category!
RH2 has been working with the City on its WRF since 2015, and has completed two large capital projects. Phase I included UV disinfection, a 1,500 kW diesel backup generator, and SCADA improvements, and Phase II involved solids handling improvements, odor control, vactor decant stations, a headworks upgrade, and more. Two significant motivating factors for the Phase II improvements included increasing operational reliability of the solids handling system and reducing solids handling costs. The project is projected to save the City at least $4.2M in operating costs over the next 10 years.
All combined, this project accomplished renovations to the WRF on the following sustainability fronts:
Allows the City to produce reusable Class B wastewater byproduct.
Minimizes unpleasant odors so that the WRF is a conscientious component of nearby ecosystem and residents.
Provides ability to process waste that is generated from City stormwater maintenance programs on-site.
Reduces the consumption of natural gas and electrical power by eliminating the gas dryer system.
Reduces heavy truck traffic to and from the WRF to disposal facilities.
The new WRF is safer and more sustainable, reliable, and environmentally friendly, with lower operations and maintenance costs. The entire project team is proud of this outcome—thank you and congratulations to the City of Snoqualmie on a highly successful project!
Click on the Award Submittal Button at the top of the page to view the full award submittal or click on the APWA-WA Awards Button for more information about the awards.