Eco-Alpha Inspires: Scott Robertson

Scott Robertson

Eco-Alpha Engineer, K-12
Historian, Firefighter, Santa Claus

"We take pride in our work. We talk to each other about growing and doing our jobs right. Sharing that value is rewarding."

Who Is Scott?

For Scott, engineering isn’t just a profession; it’s in his blood. He’s a 5th generation Stationary Engineer who feels drawn to the tradition of the work. Scott describes the tradition that has been a part of his family: “As long as we have produced heat, engineering has been what we do. From the time we began moving ships, engineering has been necessary. He finds inspiration in his ability to learn and grow every day.” 

Scott had been on the waitlist to become a firefighter in Chicago and was working in a building that did not have a licensed engineer for two years. Although his responsibilities grew over time, he was still receiving his custodial pay. Scott shares the moment he decided to take the next step to formally learn the engineering trade:

“That was when my dad gave me my great grandfather’s diary. As time passed by, I found myself working on items that were out of my area of expertise and was getting overwhelmed with the prospect of not having all of the tools I needed to get the job done. I’d always wanted to be an engineer, but I didn’t understand a lot of what I was reading. I knew it was information I needed to learn.”

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A Desire to Learn More

Because Scott cared about the people inside the building, he always gave his best. Everyone had his cell phone number, and he’d told them they could call anytime if there was an issue. To meet his aspiration to become better at his job as well as to provide for his family, Scott needed more education. At the time, the course Scott would need to complete was $650. Financially, this would be a burden, and he didn’t know how he would make it work… especially right before Christmas. 

“A few days before the tuition deadline, I got called down to the auditorium in my building. They told me there was a spill that needed my attention. When I got to the room, I couldn’t find the spill anywhere. That was when I was called to the stage. After walking on stage, they handed me a check for $650 – exactly what I needed for the class. The care I gave to them made a difference to them, and they cared about me, too. They gave me such an amazing gift, and I won’t ever forget it. That human connection – that’s really what all of this is about.”

Scott signed up for the class the same day.

As he continued his journey to become a building engineer, Scott maintained an active schedule. In addition to dedicating time to his wife and daughter, he continued working as a custodian, delivering pizza at night, and volunteering for the 5-11 Club for the Chicago Fire Department which puts out some of the worst fires in city. 

Becoming An Engineer

Scott continued to read his great grandfather’s diary as he worked toward his licensure. In his classes, he heard many of the things that he read on the pages of his great grandfather’s diary. His investment in his own education continued to grow. He continued to attend classes and receive certifications until he received his licensure.

One hundred ten years to the day that his great grandfather was licensed with the City of Chicago, Scott was licensed as an Engineer.

Creating His Own Legacy

Since gaining his Stationary Engineer licensure, Scott has worked in some of the largest and highest rated hospitals in the city. He has also worked at some of the most well-known hotels in Chicago. In 2019, Scott received the opportunity to work as an engineer in the same type of building where he had worked as a custodian in. 

Scott describes how he uses his expertise as a Stationary Engineer to help in emergency situations:

“Nobody really knows what engineers do. When the fire department shows up, they’re not asking for the CEO or the president of the company. They’re asking for the engineer. When there is an emergency in the building, the people tending to the emergency want to talk to the person who can assist them in the building: the engineer. And I love it. I get to learn something new every single day!”

Always Staying Busy

When Scott isn’t engineering and studying, he enjoys researching his family’s history as engineers. Not only did his great grandfather (photographed above) who wrote the diary work as a Chief Engineer at the Wrigley Gum Factory in Chicago, his great-great grandfather also served as a Stationary Engineer at the Rosenbaum Grain Elevator.

His historical research doesn’t stop with his family. When he first started working at his current location, Scott noticed there were coal feeding boilers in the building. As the replacement process for those units began, Scott was determined to ensure that the history of those boilers was not forgotten. He painted one of the grates and hung it on the wall in the boiler room with the names of all those who worked on the boiler system. 

In addition to his passion for engineering, Scott takes pride and joy in dressing up as Santa for the kids – an activity he has done for 17 years. As he visits the hospitals and brings joy to others, Scott remembers the gift that was given to him that Christmas season so long ago.

Scott’s aspiration to grow and improve as an engineer has only continued to grow over the years. He is currently working toward a Masters Degree in Facilities Management. He hopes to be a Chief Engineer one day so he can support and inspire others.  

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 .

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

Photos provided courtesy of Scott Robertson


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?”


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.”


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 

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.


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.

Eco-Alpha Employee Spotlight:
Suneel Kumar, Chief Engineer

SACRAMENTO, CA | June 11, 2020 — Suneel Kumar became Eco-Alpha’s Chief Engineer in 2018. He joined our team with 18 years of experience as Chief Engineer, Director of Engineering, and Facilities Manager at numerous hotels in the San Francisco area. Suneel has always taken pride in maintaining a safe, efficient, and economical environment. 

Current Position: Chief Engineer

Education: City College of San Francisco 

In your current position, what are your roles and responsibilities?

As a Chief Engineer with Eco-Alpha, Suneel’s role is to implement all mechanical operations, maintenance, energy management and regulatory programs to meet quality standards and property operating objectives. 


Responsibilities include supervision, coordination, and training of engineering staff; management of relationships with contractors and tenants; oversight of compliance with city, state and federal safety and environmental codes and regulations; assistance with annual budget and oversight of administration of inventory control programs. 

What are your engineering interests? 

Suneel likes to work on activities that have to do with ideas and thinking, research, and development of solutions to problems. 

“Working with Eco-Alpha is like a dream come true, managing multiple office buildings at University Park Campus where I utilized my engineering and management background. Eco-Alpha has provided great training opportunities which has been a big success for my career in keeping up high performance buildings” – Suneel Kumar

Eco-Alpha Recognized as City of Sacramento Community Partner – Comstock’s Magazine



SACRAMENTO – Eco-Alpha Environmental and Engineering Services, Inc. featured in Comstock’s Magazine May 2019 Issue as a City of Sacramento Community Partner for vanguard, innovative, and sustainable environmental and engineering solutions to benefit all.

Established in 2013, Eco-Alpha Environmental and Engineering Services is headquartered in Sacramento with projects throughout California. The firm’s specialties are rooted in its founders’ expertise.

CEO Melanie Okoro, Ph.D., a former scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, guides the firm’s environmental projects, backed by 15 years of experience in the areas of environmental regulatory and permitting compliance. Former director of facilities for the Golden 1 Center, Eco-Alpha Co-Owner and President Uzoma Okoro’s experiences as a high- performance engineering professional is the foundation of the company’s engineering services, including consulting and facility operation and maintenance.

Eco-Alpha streamlines the regulatory and permitting compliance processes for environmental clients and employs stationary engineers to operate and maintain Class-A commercial buildings. The firm serves clients in the commercial, water, transportation, utilities, health care and government sectors. With a roster of clients including Brennan Properties, California Department of General Services, Vitalant and Kitchell, Eco-Alpha has doubled in contract size every year for the past three years and has more than 95 percent repeat clients.


The California Department of General Services recently enlisted Eco-Alpha to train engineering staff from Sacramento to Los Angeles via the firm’s custom High Performance Building Engineering Program (HPBEP). “Combining innovation with execution is the key to training the next generation of engineers,” says Uzoma. “We’re at the vanguard of Sacramento’s renaissance, expanding our methods beyond our company to benefit the clients’ we serve, our entire industries’ STEM workforce and to see Sacramento thrive,” says Melanie.

Eco-Alpha’s priority is to lift as it climbs, whether it’s training the next generation of STEM professionals, supporting academic institutions or charitable contributions that align with the firm’s values.

“We see challenges as opportunities, identifying problems to solve and pushing boundaries of service standards. That’s why we’ve grown every year we’ve been in business,” notes Uzoma. Melanie concludes, “We love being based in Sacramento and want to see our industries thrive here.”

Read more in the latest issue of Comstock’s Magazine.

About Eco-Alpha

Eco-Alpha’s environmental division helps clients streamline the environmental state and federal regulatory and permitting CEQA, NEPA, and ESA compliance processes. Eco-Alpha’s engineering division provides facilities support services and employs stationary engineers to operate and maintain Class-A commercial buildings. In 2017, we expanded our service offerings to meet the growing demands of the industries we serve. A key component of our service include workforce development training and general engineering project management for construction activities related to public work projects. Our firm serves client markets in the commercial, water, transportation, utilities, health care and government sectors. For more information visit