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Eric Stacey, BEng '00

Using sound to diagnose water

In a world of aging infrastructure and scarce resources, the challenge is to prioritize. What needs to be replaced? And how soon?

When it comes to water pipelines, that’s a question that Eric Stacey helps decision makers answer.

As VP & General Manager at Echologics, the 2000 Mechanical Engineering grad heads a team that designs, manufactures and delivers systems and services to detect leaks and assess the condition of water pipelines. The company, part of Mueller Water Products, uses technology based on acoustics and relies on the physics of sound propagation to locate leaks and measure pipe wall thickness.

“Along with full profit and loss responsibility for Echologics, I also sit on the Mueller Water Products executive leadership team, which advises the CEO and helps set strategy for the business,” says Stacey.

Stacey says he opted for Mechanical Engineering as “a hedge that was general enough to allow me to just about anything when I graduated,” but always expected he’d build a career around engineering and design work.

“However, with a few years of engineering work experience, a whole world of career possibilities began to open up,” he says.

In 2007, he added an MBA to his resume and moved into increasingly market-oriented positions. He even spent three years as an analyst at a venture capital firm focused on funding promising new technologies in the water industry.

“With my mech eng degree, I was uniquely able to not only understand the technologies, but to analyse the economic value proposition,” he says. “That was something that a traditional analyst with a business degree would simply not be able to do.

“Working with the CEOs of the companies and seeing all the emerging water technologies around the world was a very exciting time in my career.”

He urges today’s students to maintain the sense of bold invincibility that graduation brings.

“There is a tendency for that perspective to erode over time as you gain experience and deal with difficult problems or situations.  Don’t let this happen.  Only by remaining bold can you tackle the large problems in the world and solve them through engineering.”