Member Spotlight: Dan Sorek
10 Minutes with Dan Sorek
Stacey: Thanks for making some time, Dan. What’s a typical work day like for you?
Dan: A little hectic. I spend the day keeping all the balls in the air. My day is spent managing contractors, payments to contractors from clients, managing design, being available to clients, and when necessary, answering clients on pending legislation, and more.
Stacey: What type of civil engineering do you do?
Dan: I work in underground construction. Just recently, I gave a talk to the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers and told them I’m like a cat - everything I design, I bury. I’m also currently the operator-in-charge for the City of Fennville, which will change once these new professionals take and pass exams.
Stacey: You work with water and sewer mains. This is in addition to routinely teaching water distribution with the Section. Why do you also choose to teach?
Dan: I like to share information. Share my experiences. I like to try to make sure people don’t make the same mistakes I did. I had some good mentors through my career, and they shared their expertise with me. I want to pass that on. We need more people in our industry and I want to see more people succeed. I have a passion for this. I’ve been giving presentations at conferences for 15 years and teaching distribution with the Section for a few years. In fact, my first presentation was through AWWA. It was at a conference on Mackinac Island, and I knew the way to visit the island was to participate and give a presentation.
Stacey: You’re a Michigan Tech grad. You never visited the island all those times you crossed the bridge?
Dan: I did visit in my youth. I used to own a boat and would take the boat to the island back in the day. Those visits were so fun. Yes, I used to drive by it all the time going to Houghton. I graduated from Tech in 1998.
Stacey: Speaking of that, you and I are from the same small West Michigan community. You’re very familiar with West Michigan.
Dan: Yes, I graduated from Manistee Catholic in 1993. I laugh when I think about the long bus rides to and from school. Lake County really is a beautiful part of the state.
Stacey: You always seem to have relevant industry advice to give young professionals in the water industry when they ask. How long have you been a member of AWWA?
Dan: I’ve been a member since 2005, so about 18 years or so. I’m also on the Advisory Board of Examiners for the State of Michigan, which issues water certifications.
Stacey: What led you to that involvement?
Dan: I had questions about the certifications and applications, and I wanted to be a part of positive change. We need to be a bigger part of it all.
Stacey: Do you have a favorite Section event?
Dan: I like MI-ACE. Have been attending for 15 years straight, sometimes even when it falls over my wedding anniversary. I also enjoy Joint Expo and Regional Meetings. Through the Section, I’ve built a network of knowledgeable people, and I really enjoy the camaraderie, the fellowship, and the professionalism that has come from the annual conference. I really appreciate how professional the conference is done, especially the last 10 years. It’s made a difference.