Colin Daly (BSE CE ’05, MSE EnvE ‘06) is a field engineer for the Indian Health Service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“I love the broad spectrum of work we do,” Daly says of his career. “Visiting families with no water, obtaining clearances for construction, designing a solution, overseeing construction, training homeowners and finally seeing running water to the families!”
He says the courses he took on engineering for the community and in water policy with Professor Bulkley were especially helpful in preparing for his career. He adds, “I loved fluid dynamics with Professor Aline Cotel. She was very passionate and the material was very interesting. I use what I learned in her class regularly.”
Daly also took part in experiences beyond the classroom.
“I had great internships with LimnoTech in Ann Arbor and the City of Troy as an environmental engineering intern. But I also worked as a camping guide one summer and a caretaker at the arboretum another summer, and think the things I learned were as valuable as the technical positions. A good engineer should have some experience working with their hands and doing physical labor.”
Daly credits an environmental engineering course he took as a sophomore with Professor Walter Weber for drawing him to environmental engineering.
“You couldn’t cram for his exams, you had to actually understand the simple environmental concepts he was teaching. I remember him saying if scientists had even glanced at MTBE’s chemistry they never would have added it to gas. I saw that knowledge in this field had great implications to society.”
After graduating from college, Daly served in the Peace Corps in Panama for two years. He was inspired to join by two U-M Engineers Without Borders club founders who were both returned Peace Corps volunteers. His work with the Peace Corps included building waterlines for those without running water, similar to the work he does today.