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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 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

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