Photo of awardee

Glen T. Daigger

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer,
BSCE ’73, MSCE ’75, PhD ’79

In recognition of his innovative contributions to the field of environmental engineering and his international role in water resource policy issues

Growing up in Battle Ground, Ind., essentially the backyard of Purdue University, Glen Daigger had little trouble deciding to pursue a Purdue engineering degree. The three civil engineering degrees he subsequently received provided the fundamental engineering science education he says he uses every day as an environmental engineer.

As an internationally recognized expert in wastewater treatment and water quality management for municipal and industrial systems, Daigger has come a long way from Battle Ground. Now the volunteer president of the International Water Association, Daigger has entered the arena of global policymaking for water and environmental issues. One recent three-week trip for that organization took him through China, Austria, Brazil and Tokyo. He is widely published — an author or co-author of more than 200 technical papers, four books and several technical manuals. He also has nine patents. In 2003, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineers.

It is not the accolades, however, that inspire him to engineering success. The challenge to solve problems has been the motivating factor in Daigger’s professional life. “It’s the ability to conceive solutions,” he says. “Sometimes they are physical, sometimes they’re institutional, but you work with a team of professionals to get the problem solved.”

Throughout his years at CH2M Hill, the nation’s largest wastewater treatment firm, Daigger has helped to solve a number of problems — big and small. He was named the company’s first director of the Office of Innovation, which championed creative solutions and processes. Daigger points to a wastewater treatment plant in Virginia Beach early in his career that proved to be particularly rewarding from an innovative standpoint. The project resulted in the development of a new biological phosphorous and nitrogen removal process termed the “VIP process,” which also led to a patent.

Within the broad field of civil engineering, Daigger says, he is fortunate to have landed in the ever-broadening field of environmental engineering. “You’re looking at an area that could go from the physical design of facilities to planning to economics and even to sociology to a certain extent,” he says. “The range of knowledge and skills needed is very wide.”

Daigger says he always wanted to pursue a PhD. He credits his faculty mentors for getting him to stay the entire course through Purdue. His major professor, Les Grady, suggested he work for a few years before going into academia. Ironically, Daigger ended up working 15 years in industry before a two-year stint as a professor and the chair of environmental engineering systems at Clemson University. But the pull to the daily challenge of environmental engineering brought him back to CH2M Hill. After all, he reiterates, “Solving problems is what I enjoy most.”

Career Highlights

1996-present Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CH2M HILL
1994-1996 Professor and Chair, Environmental Systems Engineering, Clemson University
1992-1994 Senior Vice President, CH2M Hill
1988-1992 Vice President, CH2M HILL
1979-1988 Process Engineer, CH2M HILL
1979 PhD, Purdue University
1975 MSCE, Purdue University
1973 BSCE, Purdue University