2018 A&WMA Outstanding Young Professional Award -- Algu

The Outstanding Young Professional Award recognizes an individual who is pursuing excellence in their career and has made a valuable contribution to A&WMA by serving in a leadership position. To be eligible, a candidate must be a young professional working in the environmental profession. A young professional is defined by the Association as being 35 years of age or younger.

Any Association member can submit nominations for this award. The nominee's contribution to A&WMA must be documented to include leadership at the local level and/or the international level. Evidence may be provided in the form of references containing personal testimonies or corroboration of committee, section, chapter, and/or council experiences; commendations from the Board of Directors and/or other professional associations or societies; commendations from governmental and/or private sector groups.

Selection will be based on how the individual provided leadership for the A&WMA at the local (Section, Chapter) level and/or the international (Association) level, and how the individual is actively pursuing excellence in his or her environmental career

A&WMA commends the following individuals and awards them the Outstanding Young Professional Award in 2018:

Paul Algu
Jessica Miller

Paul Algu’s involvement with the Association began, like many things involving college students, with the promise of free pizza and extra credit. As a freshman studying environmental management systems at Louisiana State University (LSU), he attended his first Student Chapter meeting at the behest of his advisor Dr. Maud Walsh. By the end of the meeting, which was presided over by then-Student Chapter Chair (and fellow 2018 Outstanding Young Professional winner) Jessica Miller, he was happy to have found a community of students and professionals he could grow with and begin to build his career around. Most importantly, the pizza was delicious.

Over the remainder of his collegiate career, Algu became more involved in A&WMA, eventually himself serving as LSU Student Chapter Chair. He helped develop the position of Student Liaison to the Louisiana Section’s executive board, a role which he holds to this day and has championed across the Association. Algu was selected to lead LSU’s EnviroChallenge International (ECi) team three times, starting with the 2008 competition in Detroit, and has relished in the chance to work with the ECi Committee as a professional and watch the challenge grow into a showcase event at the Association’s Annual Conference & Exhibition (ACE). Algu currently serves as Secretary of the Louisiana Section.

In 2011, Algu was appointed to the Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) as Vice Chair of the Vitality Committee, and immediately began work on the “Free One Year Membership Gift” for graduating students. As part of this project, he was also charged with organizing student information and developing member retention strategies for YPAC. The Vitality Committee also created a YP “Tool Kit,” which was launched in 2011 with Algu and former Outstanding Young Professional award recipient Laura Cremer producing a short video and providing relevant literature to facilitate the transition of students into their careers and A&WMA membership. The YP Tool Kit and welcome video debuted at ACE 2012 in San Antonio and have since become one of the key pillars of YP content for YPAC and the Association.

While developing the Tool Kit, Algu realized the best way he could serve the Association was by creating content for students and entry-level YP members. After Cremer moved to the position of Board of Directors Liaison on YPAC, Algu assumed the role of Vitality Committee Chair. He has continued to improve the Tool Kit and helped produce and moderate a series of student and YP webinars on career transitions and social networking. He was selected by the 2016 Local Host Committee to serve as student program chair for ACE in his hometown of New Orleans and was appointed to the Education Council as Chair of Higher Education following a successful conference.

In 2018, Algu began serving as Vice Chair of YPAC and reprised his role of Student Program Chair for the 2018 ACE at the request of the Local Host Committee. Beginning in 2019, he will serve on the Association’s Board of Directors as Chair of YPAC.

Upon graduating from LSU in 2011, Algu accepted a position at PPM Consultants Inc. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During his three years at PPM, Algu worked on a variety of multidisciplinary projects involving air, water, and waste permitting. He left PPM in 2013 to pursue a master’s degree at LSU, joining the staff at the LSU Center for Energy Studies as a graduate assistant, where he worked on policy briefs regarding the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Clean Power Plan. He graduated in 2015 with a master’s degree in Environmental Science and a graduate minor in Disaster Management. His thesis research focused on resiliency in New Orleans neighborhoods ten years after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

Algu currently works as an environmental scientist for RTP Environmental Associates Inc., a national multimedia environmental consulting firm specializing in air programs and compliance. Algu is responsible for handling permitting and compliance needs for clients across the United States. He is driven by an underlying need to serve others and is incredibly grateful for the opportunities RTP and A&WMA have given him to develop his skills as a servant leader in both personal and professional capacities.