President of Aqua America.
Growing up on Staten Island, N.Y., Colleen Arnold was always surrounded by water—but not all of it was pristine. She began to wonder about a better way to “make urban environments more environmentally friendly.”
That became the driving force behind her work as an environmental engineer. Arnold’s experience in the field is diverse, from wetlands restoration, groundwater monitoring and hazardous waste treatment to drinking water issues and utility management. She worked to solve water-related problems with the city government in Wilmington, Del., managing a $40 million energy performance program contract with Honeywell and establishing an asset-management program. “I loved actually operating and figuring out how these things work and measuring water quality,” she says.
Arnold has since worked her way up the ranks at Aqua America, the Bryn Mawr-based utility that delivers over 86 billion gallons of water to roughly three million people in eight states. “Most of the water systems out there are standalone, and so one of our strengths is our diversity,” she says. “Having operations in eight states gives us depth. We have this one company, and it’s all about sharing best practices.”
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