Our Staff

Our staff members have dedicated their careers to the science and engineering of water treatment.  We take great pride in the work that we do, and we are immensely grateful to our clients for entrusting us with the task of finding the solutions to their water quality and treatment challenges.

You can open the resume for each staff member by clicking on her/his name.

 

Issam Najm, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
President

Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1990
M.S., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987
B.S., Civil Engineering, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 1985

Dr. Issam Najm is the founder and President of WQTS.  He specializes in the evaluation of water treatment technologies and their applications for specific water quality goals.  He is a recognized national expert in the science and engineering of water treatment and water quality applications.  Over his extensive career, he has worked on countless projects related to the evaluation of water treatment technologies including ozone applications at surface water treatment plants, arsenic and chromium removal from contaminated groundwater, destruction of algal toxins and taste-and-odor chemicals, control of manganese in surface water treatment plants, troubleshooting of media filter performance, control of disinfection by-products, evaluation of corrosion control strategies for distribution systems, and many other applications.

Dr. Najm is an active member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and has served as a committee chair, a trustee of the Water Science & Research Division, and Chair of JOURNAL AWWA Editorial Advisory Board.  Dr. Najm is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where he teaches a class on physical and chemical processes in water treatment.  Dr. Najm has been recognized for excellence in Environmental Engineering. He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineering, the recipient of the Dr. Pankaj Parekh Research Innovation Award (2014) from the Water Research Foundation, and a recipient of the Fuller Award (2017) from AWWA.


Daniel Askenaizer, D.Env.
Principal Scientist

D. Env., University of California Los Angeles, 1988
M.P.H., University of California Los Angeles, 1982
B.A., Biology, University of California San Diego, 1979

Dr. Askenaizer leads WQTS’ work on regulatory compliance support for many of our water agencies clients. Dr. Askenaizer tracks water quality and treatment regulations at the Federal and State levels and provides regulatory updates to our clients. Dr. Askenaizer has strong expertise in the development of Regulatory Monitoring and Compliance Plans (RMCPs), which he has completed for a number of water agencies. He has also been working on a number of projects dealing with the development of distribution system monitoring plans and review of nitrification control strategies. Prior to joining WQTS, Dr. Askenaizer was the Water Quality Manager for the Glendale Water and Power. Under his leadership, the Water Quality Group conducted a demonstration-scale study of chlorite for nitrification control and a pilot-scale study of biological treatment for removal of nitrate. Dan has 25 years of experience working on projects dealing with regulatory, water quality and public health issues. Dan has given numerous presentations at workshops and round-tables across the country for water utilities. Dan was instrumental in developing and implementing a Mentoring Program for water staff and was involved in a Sustainable Development team.


Brian Gallagher
Senior Scientist

B.S., Medical Technology, California State University Los Angeles, 1994

Brian Gallagher has more than 25 years of experience in bench-scale and pilot-scale treatment studies.  Brian has designed and fabricated numerous conventional and advanced pilot-scale water treatment processes including coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, media filtration, advanced oxidation, ion exchange, membrane filtration, membrane bio-film reactors (MBfR), and sequencing batch reactors. These pilot-scale units have been stand-alone single processes or fully-integrated treatment trains.

Mr. Gallagher also has a wide range of on-site field experience including: on site installation and decommissioning of pilot and demonstration scale treatment equipment, staff training in operation and maintenance of pilot study equipment, assistance in full scale treatment plant start up, full scale filtration media evaluations, and tracer testing of chlorine contactors, storage reservoirs and treatment unit processes.


Ofelia Romero-Maraccini, Ph.D.
Engineer

Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014
M.S. Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009
B.S., Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of California Berkeley, 2007

Dr. Ofelia Romero is a graduate of the University of California Berkley with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an MS and PhD degrees in Environmental Engineering. Her PhD dissertation research focused on the disinfection kinetics and mechanisms of viruses in water irradiated with sunlight, with emphasis on the photochemical and microbiological processes leading to disinfection. She brings to WQTS strong expertise in laboratory experimental work, and strong technical knowledge of disinfection kinetics. Since joining WQTS, Ofelia has been the project engineer for a number of bench and pilot-scale projects including a pilot-scale study evaluating the application of chlorite as a nitrification inhibitor in a distribution system, a bench-scale column study for chromium removal with anion-exchange resins, a detailed bench-scale study examining the effect of pH on the inactivation efficiency of chlorine, and numerous bench-scale studies evaluating the removal of TOC with activated carbons and/or coagulants. Ofelia has also built Excel-based models for data evaluation and analysis of various scenarios.


Peter Maraccini, Ph.D., P.E.
Engineer

Ph.D., Environmental Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 2016
M.S., Environmental Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 2011
B.S., Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010
B.A., Spanish Language & Culture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010

Dr. Peter Maraccini is a graduate of Stanford University with Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science and Engineering. His Ph.D. dissertation research focused on the disinfection kinetics and mechanisms of bacteria in water irradiated with sunlight, with emphasis on how the water properties and cellular characteristics would influence the disinfection rates. Dr. Maraccini provides WQTS his expertise in laboratory experimental work, strong technical knowledge in microbiology and water chemistry, and advanced organizational and data processing skills.  Since joining WQTS in 2016, Peter has led a number of pilot-scale studies including a large study to control red water occurrence, a study on the removal of manganese and color from a highly colored groundwater, and others.  He has also conducted a number of tracer tests at water and wastewater treatment plants.