Editor's note: Warren Jones passed away on Sunday, July 7, 2013, after a battle with cancer.
BOZEMAN – Warren Jones, a beloved Montana State University professor of environmental engineering, was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award bestowed jointly by the Montana Water Environment Association and the Montana Section of the American Waterworks Association.
The award comes in recognition of a career spent solving water problems, as well as offering support and education to the water and wastewater operators in Montana, said Anne Camper, MSU interim vice president for research, creativity and technology transfer.
“Warren has a real passion for education and interacting with students, whether here at MSU or in one of the professional certification courses he leads (through MWEA/MSAWA),” said Camper, who is a close colleague of Jones as a fellow water specialist with the Center for Biofilm Engineering and MSU’s College of Engineering. “He always has made his students feel that he was interested in them, both as students and as people. And as dedicated as he has been to his students, those students have always been equally dedicated to him.”
Jones came to MSU in 1986 after receiving a doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of California at Davis.
He began teaching environmental engineering in the Civil Engineering Department and, in 1990, became one of the inaugural members of the Center for Biofilm Engineering, bringing along his interest in biological treatment options for wastewater in municipal and industrial settings.
In the late 1980s, he became involved with the Montana Water School, which offers certification and career enhancement programs to professionals working on civil and industrial water projects. Ever since, he has continued to organize and chair sessions, give presentations and participate in after-hours functions.
As part of the Governor's Advisory Council on Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Operators, Jones created new formula sheets with a distinct engineering perspective to assist operators in achieving certification, Camper said. Many of those professionals were former students, she added.
Jones also has volunteered as an adviser for the Gallatin Local Water Quality District, as well as a member of the Gallatin County Board of Health. Those efforts helped citizens of the Gallatin Valley understand water quality issues from a non-regulatory perspective, Camper said.
Camper said Jones has had a direct impact on water quality in Gallatin County.
In recent years, he has been working with Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality to investigate the performance of the Bridger Bowl Ski Resort septic system, including the installation and monitoring of a uniquely constructed wetland system.
In 2013, along with CBE undergraduate student Eric Dietrich, Jones received an Award for Excellence from the MSU Alumni Association and the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes MSU’s top seniors and their faculty or staff mentors.
Because he is so approachable and genuine, Jones is the kind of professor who forges long-standing friendships with his students, Camper said.
“He’s always been a great adviser and mentor and, whether they live in Bangladesh, Mali or Montana, people tend to keep in touch,” she added.