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Front Line: Dr Gergely Forgacs, Senior Process Engineer, Aqua Enviro

In this month's Front Line feature we meet Dr Gergely Forgacs, a specialist in process modelling for clients in the water and wastewater sector

In Context

- Aqua Enviro is a consultancy and event company that specialises in the water, wastewater, engineering and bioresources industries. It offers on-site commissioning support, in-house analytical services and training facilities.

- A specialist company in environmental and scientific consultancy, Aqua Enviro is also the event organiser for two major water events, The European Wastewater Management Conference (EWWM) and The European Biosolids and Organic Resources Conference.

- The company works in the public, private and NGO sectors, and collaborates on many government initiatives such as WRAP UK and the €1 million EU lead INNOQUA project.

What’s the main purpose of your job role?

As a process engineer my main role is to help clients with challenges that arise in the environmental, scientific and engineering industries. The fundamentals of process modelling are to build the most efficient and reliable model, while also showing the client what the model process is capable of. It is also important to demonstrate what alterations can be made if the model has to deal with any alterations, such as changes to current or future legislation.

When did you start working in the water industry and what led you to your current job?

Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) offered me a PhD position in the field of anaerobic digestion right after I completed my MSc in bioengineering. So, my career began in academia nine years ago. My PhD focused on pre-treatment optimization, process development, process modelling and economic analysis of food waste digestion. I really enjoyed working in the AD sector, however it is a very small field and I wanted to broaden my knowledge and expertise. I decided that the water and wastewater industry would be the perfect direction to take. Also, working for a renowned company such as Aqua Enviro has great benefits for developing skills in these sectors. The company has an extensive range of clients and works in a variety of industries.

Describe your typical working day.

My working day varies quite a bit. Some days, I’ll mostly sit in the office and run process simulation on various wastewater and AD sites. Other days, I’ll be on a client’s site trying to understand how their process operates and how it can be further improved. I also try to keep up to date with the industry, so I attend several conferences during the year, which I enjoy.

What attributes do you need to do your job well?

Working with a client requires a wide range of attributes, the most crucial is to understand what the client’s needs are. The role also requires you to be diagnostic: precise, fast thinking, problem solving, as well as creative.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I really enjoy creating solutions to problems and the troubleshooting process. After spending so many years in academia it is great to see that my knowledge is extremely useful and is actually being implemented in the industry! I would say making a plant operate to its fullest potential and exceeding the expectations of the client is the most rewarding aspect for me.

And the worst (or most challenging) aspect?

I have a special mindset when faced with challenging projects. I truly believe that I can learn and develop the most when I tackle these challenges and frankly these are the most rewarding projects as well.

When not at work, my ideal way to unwind is…

I really enjoy travelling, discovering new countries and cultures and at the same time treating myself to some really tasty, exotic food.

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