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

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.

Nik Vishwanath, EIT.

M.S., Environmental Engineering, Loyola Marymount University, 2017
B.S., Biology, Loyola Marymount University, 2014

Nik Vishwanath is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering (Environmental Emphasis). He brings to WQTS several years of experience in conducting research on water quality, including projects that assessed the removal of stormwater pollutants in an engineered stormwater bioretention system and tracked the sources of fecal pollution in surface waters. Since joining WQTS, Nik has been involved with bench, pilot and demonstration-scale projects including a pilot-scale study examining the effect of raising the pH on the release of heavy metals from home plumbing, a demonstration-scale study assessing TOC removal and DBP reduction with GAC adsorbers, and a bench-scale study evaluating the removal of perchlorate, nitrate, VOCs, and 1,4-Dioxane through biological treatment, Ion Exchange, and UV-AOP.

Victoria Whitener, Ph.D., EIT

Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, UCLA, 2020
M.S., Environmental and Water Resources, UCLA, 2015
B.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA, 2014

Dr. Whitener is an engineer with WQTS with a strong expertise in planning and conducting both bench and field studies examining both emerging water contaminants as well as traditional water quality parameters. Since joining WQTS in 2020, Dr. Whitener has been involved with a number of projects including studies on the pre-treatment of manganese for a groundwater RO (reverse osmosis) plant, nitrate peaking events through GAC (granular activated carbon) treatment, the effect of pH on the corrosion of home plumbing, ozonation for taste and odor control concerns, and biologically active filtration. In the past, Dr. Whitener has also served as a monitoring database developer and has the expertise to create customized data analysis for complex datasets.