The Minnesota Erosion Control Association’s (MECA) 32nd Annual Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Conference and Tradeshow took place in Minneapolis in January 2020. During the event, SEH Associate and Professional Engineer* April Ryan and Senior Geologist Keri Aufdencamp were presented with the MECA Recognition Award.
This award recognizes outstanding individuals who have been actively involved with MECA, contributing significant time and effort to MECA’s work. The following provides a closer look at April and Keri.
What does it mean to receive the award?
April: MECA is a great organization doing great things, and it has been my pleasure to be part of that. MECA’s accomplishments have been due to the efforts of many.
Keri: It was an honor to receive the award because I wasn’t expecting it. MECA is an excellent organization, and I am glad to be a member.
How long have you been a member of MECA? What roles have you had within the organization?
April: I have been a member for 15 years and served on the MECA board from 2014 - 2020. In those six years, I held the position of secretary, treasurer and most recently vice president. I was a driving force behind the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) training that MECA has done, an emcee for several conference planning events and initiated bean bag tournaments at MECA social events.
Related Content: 25 Facts About Stormwater and the MS4 Permit Program
Keri: I have been a member for many years and served on the board for three years from 2017 - 2020. During that time, organized an educational boat tour of the St. Croix River Bridge and a tour of the St. Anthony Falls Lab. I was instrumental in helping find new and diverse educational sessions for the MECA annual conference where I also served as an emcee.
What led you into your career?
April: I have wanted to be an engineer ever since I can remember. I pursued civil engineering in college, because it seemed the most flexible in what area I could focus my career. I have had the pleasure of working in the civil and water resources practice at SEH and helping our municipal clients.
Keri: I wanted to be a Geologist because it covers so many different subjects that I liked in school. For example, if you like English, you can write papers. If you like history, you can learn about the history of the earth. If you like math, you can do a lot of complex calculations. My geology and earth science degrees provided me different pathways for my career. I started at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in water resources engineering designing drainage systems for highways. From there, I moved into MnDOT's Design-Build program. I became MnDOT's first environmental compliance manager (ECM) and when the I-35W Bridge collapsed, I was asked to be the ECM for the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge project. Then, I moved to MnDOT's Office of Environmental Stewardship (OES). Next, I had the opportunity to move to a national contractor and worked on projects across the United States. Now, I'm at SEH and enjoying working on many projects including the Southwest Light Rail Project.
What excites you most about your job?
April: Each project and client is so different, and it is fun to work as a team to figure out the challenges and deliver a product that meets the goals. Every day is different, fun and exciting – plus, the people I get to work with, both SEH staff and our clients, are amazing.
Keri: What excites me about my job is anticipating project needs and being able to quickly solve problems that may arise in design or construction. I enjoy being part of a team of people that are committed to completing all projects - small to large - from cleaning up a tank release site to building a new interstate bridge in less than a year.
Tell me about other organizations you are actively involved in and why?
April: I enjoy my involvement with youth. I have been on an advisory board to help improve and direct engineering and industrial technology curriculum in our area schools. I have been a part of multiple educational events for students, helping them learn about science, math and engineering. Most recently, I became a co-director for a BIO Girls program in our community. BIO stands for Beautiful Inside and Out – BIO Girls’ 12-week self-worth building program serves girls in grades 2nd through 6th. Each session combines life-skills lessons, small-group mentoring and non-competitive physical activity in a positive, inclusive environment. The program also includes training for – and ending the season with – the girls and mentors running a local 5K race.
Keri: I am an instructor for the University of Minnesota's Erosion and Stormwater Management Certification Program. For the past eight years, I have been our elementary school's box tops coordinator. When time allows, I volunteer for classroom field trips, parties, or help teachers with copies and collect materials needed for activities, among other tasks. For several years, I have been a co-leader for Girl Scouts. I want to be a role model for my children to let them know we can make a difference to someone else. Everything helps, even little things. I enjoy baking and frequently bring homeade treats into the office for my coworkers to enjoy. I also volunteer for packing meals with Feed My Starving Children.
*Registered Professional Engineer in MN