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Wise Water Words - Volume 51, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2014)

The Passing of a Pioneer in Operator Training

(Submitted by Mike Wentink [Nebraska DHHS DPH])

Ken Kerri, a pioneer in water operator education, passed away on December 15, 2014. Ken established the Office of Water Programs in the Department of Civil Engineering at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) in 1972 and served as its director until his retirement in 1997. He continued work as a consultant to the Office of Water Programs after retirement, and had taught at the University for nearly 40 years.

The training materials that Ken developed have been in use around the world for the training of many thousands of individuals in the disciplines of water systems operations, wastewater operations, management, and stormwater. The Nebraska DHHS operator training program has utilized these materials for water operator training for over 20 years.

I first personally met Ken some many years ago at a USEPA-sponsored conference and also had the pleasure of sharing a one-hour presentation with him at a conference several years later. We would see each other at various conferences over the years and also talk occasionally by phone and email. What struck me most about Ken was his personable and sincere interest in one's observations, thoughts and ideas. Irrespective of the issue he discussed with him, he eventually drifted to pheasant hunting, one of the many activities he enjoyed until the end.

Although he was an Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering with awards and professional affiliations too numerous to list, he was a very humble man. Aside from continued work in the Office of Water Programs, during his aged years he also kept very active, riding a bike, hiking in the mountains, and participating in many of the outdoor activities he enjoyed.