Hazardous Waste Management Expert, Duke Professor Earns Fellow Status

February 10, 2017


David E. Schaad, Ph.D. P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, a Board-certified environmental engineer with specialties in both hazardous waste management/site remediation and water supply/wastewater engineering, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.

Schaad began the first stage of his career working for various firms, including Parsons Engineering Science, Marshall Miller and Associates, Appian Consulting Engineers, and AMEC. During that time he helped lead teams of resourceful and dedicated engineers who tackled a variety of challenging and innovative technical projects (hazardous waste and water/wastewater) for a diverse set of clients – the Norfolk Southern and CSX Railway Companies, the North Carolina and Virginia Departments of Transportation, and North Carolina State University, among others. Of most significance was designing and managing the remediation of the NCSU Lot 86 National Priorities List Site, where shallow soil mixing was used to encapsulate approximately 11,000 cubic yards of chemical and hazardous waste into a 10-foot-thick monolith about half the size of a football field. After about 15 years as a design engineer, Schaad transitioned into investing in the next generation of leaders by becoming a professor of the practice at Duke University, where he could assist future engineers in developing their design skills and ability to move from thinking to conceptualization to implementation.

He currently serves as president of the Eastern Branch of the ASCE North Carolina Section. He is also a diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, and a licensed contractor and a qualifier in Building, Highways and Public Utilities in the State of North Carolina.

Schaad, in response to the December 2004 tsunami’s effects on coastlines in Southeast Asia and Hurricane Katrina’s on the New Orleans area, began a new course focused on response, rebuilding, and resilience and lead teams to both areas. The largest of these was 130 students going to St. Bernard’s Parish over spring break of 2006, and he continued leading teams to New Orleans every other year for a decade afterward. He helped establish Duke Engineers for International Development, a student group that works in collaboration with local partners to address identified community needs. His experiential, service-learning pedagogy has helped facilitate over 30 international (and a few domestic) projects impacting over 300 student engineers and over a dozen communities building rain water harvesting tanks, water distribution systems, vehicular and pedestrian bridges, health clinics, and primary schools.

He recently led the effort to establish a new Certificate in Global Development Engineering, which, on top of their major, helps students broaden their global competency, establish technical depth in a specific track, and have a mentored experiential design/construction experience in the United States or abroad. Schaad has taught over 80 courses at Duke and has been recognized with departmental and/or schoolwide awards for his teaching and mentoring.

He is a registered professional engineer in 21 states, and he earned an undergraduate degree from Denison University, a Master’s from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a doctorate from Duke University.

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