Meet the 2024 WAVE Leadership Team

The WAVE program engages students and emerging professionals from diverse backgrounds with the water industry through a series of workshops and attendance of the 2024 PNCWA conference. The workshops focus on the various paths within the water industry, networking, skills development, employment opportunities, and conference preparation. This month, you get the opportunity to meet the WAVE Leadership Team for 2024, who have been working hard to continuously improve the WAVE program. Here is a quick introduction of our fearless chair, Asa, and our three awesome leaders, Angela, Juliana, and Anu!

Asa Reyes-Chavez, Chair

Associate Civil Engineer (EIT), Seattle Public Utilities| Seattle, WA


What's one thing you have learned or gotten out of being a part of this program as a participant and as a leadership member?

Being an alumna of this program has allowed me to see other sides of the water industry that I don't typically engage with, and meet other people who are passionate about water and environmental issues like I am. As someone who is the first in their family to graduate college and be an engineer, the WAVE program was the perfect opportunity to learn about PNCWA, start building my network, and take a step into a leadership position. Being the Vice Chair and now the Chair of this program has been valuable to me in many ways. It means a lot to me to be able to be in a position to uplift others from underserved communities and help them find rewarding careers in this industry. I'm proud of what this program has shaped into in the 3 years that I've been involved. The recognition and support the program has gotten from the WEF/PNCWA associations has been so encouraging because the type of work we do here is important for the growth and sustainability of our industry!

Why are you passionate about the water industry?

Access to clean drinking water is a human right and something many of us take for granted. This is an issue that people in our own communities experience and many other countries. Even as a young girl I knew this and witnessed it, so I grew determined to fuse my interests and skills into a career that would serve our planet and generations to come. Water equality and equity is closely tied to environmental, social, and economic justice. I believe our industry knows this and is starting to take the right steps to find solutions to these pressing issues.


Angela Smith

Chief Operating Officer, Minority Construction Group LLC | Seattle, WA


What's one thing you have learned or gotten out of being a part of this program as a participant and as a leadership member?

As part of the leadership team collaborating with younger generations, I find it rewarding to witness their fervor for water conservation and ensuring resources endure for future generations. The diverse disciplines impacting water quality and our collective efforts to address clean water challenges are particularly invigorating.

Why are you passionate about the water industry?

Understanding the water purification process and devising strategies to raise awareness among disadvantaged communities about the impact of these issues is crucial. By doing so, we can work collectively to ensure clean water reaches all communities. Exploring the water purification process from a construction perspective, understanding equipment failure points, and ensuring proper maintenance are vital. It’s fascinating to delve into the various careers within the water industry, all contributing to clean water accessibility.


Juliana Andrade

Environmental Engineer (EIT), Brown and Caldwell| Seattle, WA


What's one thing you have learned or gotten out of being a part of this program as a participant and as a leadership member?

I could talk about this all day! Being part of WAVE has been an incredible experience, both on the participant and leadership side. This program has helped me build confidence in myself and my ability to do well in this field, and I have gained many valuable friendships along the way. It was an incredible privilege to attend and present at the PNCWA conference at such an early stage in my career – an opportunity that I likely would not have had without WAVE. I struggled with a lot of imposter syndrome as I entered my career, but this program has taught me that I am much more capable than I think, and that there is a place for me in this industry. We have an amazing group of students and early professionals this year, and I am incredibly grateful to be serving the next generation of WAVErs as a member of the leadership team.

Why are you passionate about the water industry?

I am passionate about the water industry because it is critical to the health and safety of both the environment and our communities. Whether dealing with issues of water quality, water supply, or any of the many other facets of our industry, I get excited knowing that I am making a difference for people and our planet. I’ve been working in the industry for less than 2 years, but even in that short time I have also been able to meet and learn from some amazing individuals whose passion and excitement are contagious. Working with them is the icing on the cake! 


Anukriti Shah

Water Engineer, TYLin | Bellevue, WA


What's one thing you have learned or gotten out of being a part of this program as a participant and as a leadership member?

I think the biggest thing I valued about the WAVE program was building connections in the water industry, both through my cohort and the industry professionals I met at the PNCWA conference. I think that is so valuable for an emerging professional and I wanted to make sure that other students and professionals could have the same, amazing experience that I had through the WAVE program. It’s been great to work with a leadership team that wants to make the WAVE program better each year.

Why are you passionate about the water industry?

Water, in the near future, will start to come up on everyone’s radar. With climate change and growing populations, we as engineers have to find solutions to meet the growing demand and shortage of supply. The water industry has global impacts, and this is what excites me about working in this industry, so that I can make a positive impact and help communities with their water challenges. 


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