Robert Phillips, EI
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Academic Background

I am currently a Graduate Student and Research Assistant at the University of Toledo, pursuing a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree, with an environmental focus, which I am expected to obtain in 2016. I entered the University of Toledo Civil Engineering program in 2009 and graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree in the fall of 2013. During my undergraduate studies, I also participated in a study abroad program, AustraLearn , for a semester, when I studied at The University of Newcastle, Australia in 2011. My academic career has supplemented and strengthened my interest in the field of civil engineering, and has motivated me to participate in multiple research projects and in industry to support the field. My main focus has been on civil/environmental engineering and sustainability initiatives.

Research Interests

My research interests have focused on sustainability analyses of various alternatives in municipal and industrial practices. Primarily my research has focused on decentralized water supply systems (e.g., rainwater harvesting), innovative waste management practices (e.g., beneficial use of industrial byproducts) and recently in the mining of material resources used in the development of photovoltaic solar panels. Analyses have been performed using life-cycle sustainability assessment techniques to evaluate the economic, environmental and sociopolitical impacts of the previously mentioned topics. My ultimate research goal is to identify strategies for maintaining society’s high standards of living, while reducing our carbon footprint, decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels and other scarce resources, and minimizing the degradation of the carrying capacity of our land.

Research Experience

I joined the Sustainability Engineering Lab, University of Toledo as an undergraduate research participant in the spring of 2012. My research thus far has focused on the evaluation and effectiveness of rainwater harvesting systems corresponding to various building types and characteristics. Analyses have primarily came from a model developed at the University of Toledo, Economic and Environmental Analysis of Sanitation Technologies (EEAST) model, which quantifies financial and global warming implications of rainwater harvesting systems implemented in new construction phasing. As my research opportunities and experience develop, consistent with our team goals, I wish to analyze progressive and sustainable alternatives to society’s current inefficient energy distribution and sanitation infrastructures.
I joined the Landscape Ecology & Ecosystems Lab, University of Toledo as an undergraduate lab assistant in the spring of 2013, while working in collaboration with the Sustainability Engineering Lab. Our research goals are to account for land use impacts in life-cycle assessment by accounting for the change in carbon sequestration due to anthropogenic altering of the natural landscape.

Professional Work Experience

My research interests and professional goals have aligned well. While moving forward with my undergraduate studies I have been working for Hull & Associates, Inc., a civil and environmental engineering and consulting firm, which has market sectors in waste management, brownfield redevelopment, environmental, alternative energy, and shale oil and gas. Working in both professional and academic settings has allowed me to understand research based technologies as well as standard practice technologies and the correlation between the two.