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Eco-Alpha Inspires: Michael Ramos

Michael Ramos

Eco-Alpha Chief Engineer, K-12
Proud Father, Grandfather, Uncle


"I love that Eco-Alpha encourages engineers to work together and reach out to each other."

Who is Michael?

Although Michael Ramos joined Eco-Alpha in 2021, his passion started long before he joined the team. He started his career in the engineering field straight out of high school in 1988 and has been the Chief Engineer at his current building for the last five years. He is driven by knowing the work he does each day creates safe, warm, well-lit buildings for children that could very well be his own kids, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Michael remarks, “There is nothing sadder than walking into a room and seeing kids in their winter coats and hats.” His mission is to make sure the buildings he engineers are never a concern for a child or their parents. He adds, “They should never worry about feeling safe and comfortable in these buildings. I think about that a lot as a father and grandfather.”

Safety is a Top Priority

In 2014, the Flint water crisis hit the news. Children were exposed to unsafe lead and toxin levels found in their drinking water. A large number of students required special assistance in school because the water was unfit for consumption. Some would need assistance for the rest of their lives. Other big cities grew concerned in 2016 when over 5,000 assessed water systems had lead levels exceeding the EPA’s safety standard.

Science shows that older buildings and pipes are at a higher risk for lead exposure in the drinking water. Chicago is known for maintaining historical buildings and continuing to use them for several purposes: schools, museums, architectural design, and art. Although the structural integrity of those historical buildings may remain intact, some of the materials that were used are no longer considered safe.

Michael remembers his experience of working in a building with lead contamination very well:

“The building I was working in – and many other buildings throughout the city – had high levels of lead in the water. We know the dangers of drinking lead. There are 42 water fountains. I am only in the building for maybe half an hour before people start to arrive. It was a daunting task to flush all of the water fountains. I felt like… I can’t be the only engineer struggling with this. How can we use technology to make this job easier?”

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While serving as an engineer in other buildings prior to 2016, Michael spent much of his time developing his skills in electrical systems. He knew he could not complete the manual protocols of flushing all 42 water fountains on his own in just 30 minutes. However, his familiarity with electrical engineering created an opportunity for automation that could speed up the flushing process and remediate the lead problems in the water.

The Noah System

Michael developed the Noah system which he named after his nephew who has autism. It is an automated flushing system that activates the water fountains as soon as the lights are turned on in the building in the morning. Every three hours, the Noah System flushes the water and coats the pipes. What becomes detrimental to water safety is allowing the water to sit stagnant in the pipes. Stagnant water will leach the harmful substances from the metal and carry them to the water fountain.

“By flushing the systems every three hours, we effectively made the lead levels undetectable overnight. Now, I watch people come into the building in the morning and fill up their reusable bottles. Nobody is carrying around single use bottles. They want to drink from the water fountain.”

THE TECHNOLOGY HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED IN MORE THAN THREE CHICAGOLAND AREA SCHOOLS IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHY DRINKING WATER.

Michael’s goal is to bring safe, clean water to children nationwide. This includes taking major steps like speaking before of Congress in 2019 and attending other major conferences around the country. 

Photos courtesy of M. Ramos. October 2022, Noah Systems visits New Orleans, Louisiana WEFTEC Convention, meeting other water professionals from around the world to discuss the future of water quality.

Why Eco-Alpha

Michael is an innovator and has a passion for healthy environments both in the workplace and at home. In fact, he has a large aquarium with African cichlids in his house. He loves looking at the fish for relaxation. He also learned that the aquarium has the capacity to be a natural air purifier for his home. Michael takes pride in knowing the plants are purifying the air in his dining room. He also uses the waste from the fish to fertilize plants he grows in the water.

Michael describes his passion for working with Eco-Alpha:

“I’m passionate about the work I do everyday. The feeling I get from my Zone Chief and Building Manager – there is a lot of support and knowledge there. When the supervisors can give you guidance or point you in the right direction, it goes a long way. I feel like I can continue to learn from them and work with them. It definitely boosts morale. I love that Eco-Alpha encourages engineers to work together and reach out to each other. There is a network. You feel the support. We have friendship. That’s not something that is always encouraged. Here, it is encouraged to reach out to your fellow engineers. We have a common goal.” 

As a Chief Engineer, Michael also serves as a mentor and supports engineers with less experience, by providing upskill training. Click here to learn more about Noah Systems and the inspiring work Michael Ramos is doing in the community.

Eco-Alpha is a minority and women-owned family company and is proud to be comprised of a diverse group of engineers, scientists, and consultants. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate content doing business with Eco-Alpha Environmental and Engineering Services, Inc.

For more information visit https://eco-alpha.com/ 

SOURCE: Eco-Alpha Environmental and Engineering Services, © Copyright 2022 Eco-Alpha Environmental and Engineering Services, Inc. All rights reserved.

Photos provided courtesy of Michael Ramos.

Disclaimer

The Noah System is not connected to Eco-Alpha. The work completed and described in this article is solely the work of Michael Ramos and Noah System, Inc., not Eco-Alpha. Eco-Alpha celebrates the accomplishments of employees inside and outside of our organization.

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