Lee D. McMullen

68BSCE, 72MS, 75PhD Hickerson 2004

L.D. McMullen, 68BSCE, 72MS, 75PhD, believes in achieving quality in all he does, whether hes guiding water management, providing educational leadership, or brainstorming innovative solutions. This skilled engineer applies the best of his University of Iowa experience—academic expertise and practical know-how—to all the challenges he tackles.

From his earliest days at the UI, the Cresco, Iowa, native distinguished himself as an able leader with a talent for the field of water management. While he was an undergraduate, McMullen worked as a plant operator and supervisor at the universitys water treatment plant, an operator at the Oakdale wastewater treatment plant, and a plant chemist at the Iowa City water pollution control plant. This diverse background prepared him for a position he took after graduation in 1968 as a sanitary engineer for the U.S. Public Health Service.

McMullen stayed in this role for two years and then returned to the UI to complete his masters and doctoral degrees, beginning a job as assistant professor in the College of Engineering in 1975. He remained at Iowa until 1978, when he made a career change, to the Des Moines Water Works, that would shape the rest of his professional life.

Though he began at the Des Moines Water Works as a design engineer, McMullen quickly rose through the ranks to become the plants CEO and general manager in 1986. Since then, he has expertly guided the citys water resources through times of both calm and crisis. When the infamous floods of 1993 hit the Midwest, McMullen skillfully restored the citys water supply through some remarkable engineering.

This kind of innovation has secured McMullens standing as a national leader in the arena of water resource management. He has been a consultant to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, has published numerous professional papers, and is a national speaker on the issues of water quality. He was a key developer of the Partnership for Safe Water, an initiative that the Environmental Protection Agency and large water utilities have adopted, and he now is working with planners and engineers in Cherkassy, Ukraine, to help that community solve its water-quality challenges.

McMullen does not just excel at water management; he also is a savvy educational leader. As a past president and former executive member of the UI Alumni Association Board of Directors, he chaired the boards finance committee and helped guide its strategic planning during six years of service. McMullen is a member of the UI Alumni Associations Old Capitol Club.

He also was a member and chair of the UI College of Engineering Advisory Board from 1990 to 1998 and was influential in persuading the state of Iowa to invest in the colleges facility renovation. In recognition of such accomplishments, the College of Engineering inducted him into its Distinguished Alumni Academy in 2000; he is one of only 43 UI alumni who have earned this honor.

Whether the challenges that face him have to do with education or water, L.D. McMullen is committed to giving it his best. The accomplished Iowa graduate has devoted his career—and his life—to ensuring that quality matters.

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