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April 17: Carnegie Mellon Appoints David A. Dzombak to Prestigious Environmental Engineering Professorship


Chriss Swaney

Carnegie Mellon Appoints David A. Dzombak to
Prestigious Environmental Engineering Professorship     

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's David A. Dzombak was named the Walter J. Blenko Sr. Professor of Environmental Engineering for his outstanding accomplishments in civil and environmental engineering, effective March 1.     

David Dzombak"Dave has contributed to raising the national visibility and impact of our environmental engineering education and research, and the Blenko professorship recognizes his significant contributions to and leadership of the environmental engineering program in our top-ranked Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). His contributions will enable this program to rise to even higher levels," said Pradeep Khosla, dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering.     

For more than two decades, Dzombak has conducted leading-edge research in the areas of aquatic chemistry, water and wastewater treatment, abandoned mine drainage remediation, river and watershed restoration, and hazardous waste site remediation.     

The Walter Blenko Sr. Professorship, established in 1981, is funded by Walter Blenko Jr. and his wife, Joy. Walter Jr. received his mechanical engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon in 1950. A lawyer at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott in Pittsburgh, Walter Jr. established the Walter Blenko Sr. Professorship in Civil and Environmental Engineering in memory of his father, who was a mechanical engineering graduate and a life trustee of the university.  

"I am honored to be recognized with the Blenko chair, and I will use the visibility and resources of the chair to advance the mission of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, the College of Engineering and Carnegie Mellon," said Dzombak, who is associate dean for graduate and faculty affairs in the College of Engineering and co-director of the new Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems (WaterQUEST). "The environmental engineering research and education program is world-class, driven by outstanding, highly motivated faculty, students and staff. I am fortunate to be a part of this innovative group."     

Dzombak has been a member of the CEE faculty since joining the university in 1989 as an assistant professor. Prior to coming to Carnegie Mellon, Dzombak worked for Paul C. Rizzo Associates Inc., performing engineering investigations, analyses and designs related to the remediation of uncontrolled waste-disposal sites and the development of new disposal facilities.     

"We are extremely proud of Dave's accomplishments, and this professorship recognizes those outstanding accomplishments and his promise here at Carnegie Mellon," said James H. Garrett Jr., professor and head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Dzombak has contributed his expertise and professional services at local, state and national levels. He serves as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board's Environmental Engineering Committee, and the EPA National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology's Environmental Technology Subcommittee.     

He chairs the National Research Council's Committee on the Mississippi River and Clean Water Act. Dzombak is also an associate editor of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, and has served on the editorial board for the journals Water Environment Research and Ground Water.     

In service related to regional water quality, Dzombak belongs to the Regional Water Management Task Force, organized through the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics, and sits on the Stormwater Advisory Panel of 3Rivers Wet Weather Inc. He previously served on the steering committee of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Water and Sewer Infrastructure Project, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Economy League and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

Dzombak has received numerous professional awards and honors. In 2002, he was elected a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He also received the Excellence in Review Award from Environmental Science and Technology journal; the Professional Research Award from the Pennsylvania Water Environmental Association; the Jack Edward McKee Medal from the Water Environment Federation; the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellowship from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation; the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers; the Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal from the Water Environment Federation; and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award.     

Dzombak earned his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon. He also has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., where he was enrolled in a 3-2 liberal arts/engineering program. He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania and a diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.