Joe Popielarczyk: Leader in Project Management and Community Involvement
Joseph Popielarczyk, PE is an exemplary leader and project manager in Tighe & Bond’s water and wastewater business line. Joe specializes in civil engineering projects such as chemical feed systems, drinking water and sanitary sewer pumping stations, as well as sanitary sewer and drinking water collection and distribution system design. From inception to completion of these projects, Joe works closely with municipalities to manage potable water and wastewater improvement projects: tracking progress, managing the budget and outlining the scope of services for the client.
Joe is known throughout Tighe & Bond for his thoughtfulness, emphasis on teamwork, and his exceptional project management. His management of projects has positively impacted numerous communities in Western Massachusetts.
Joe is a leader both in the field and outside the office. He is heavily involved in industry associations such as the Western Massachusetts chapter of the American Water Works Association where he serves as the Educational Chair. In this role, he supports the education of members by coordinating presentations and training. He is a member of the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) Program Committee. For NEWWA conferences, Joe helps select presentations that focus on educational topics about the water industry. He also uses his expertise in engineering to give back to the City of Westfield by serving as the Chair of the Westfield Water Commission, hearing resident concerns, and approving water department projects and abatements in the best interest of the public alongside his fellow committee members.
Joe is a role model for young engineers on how to be an outstanding project manager. He is known among his colleagues as a leader who not only prioritizes the needs of clients but also forges strong connections with his project team members. Joe underscores the power of these relationships, noting they give him a chance to support the team’s success and provide guidance to individual engineers for their continued growth. He always stays multiple steps ahead of each stage of a project, understanding the gravity of his work as an engineer and its importance to communities throughout Western Massachusetts and the Northeast.
For example, Joe designed nearly $900,000 worth of improvements for the wastewater treatment plant servicing a city in Western Massachusetts. The original facility used chlorine gas to treat the wastewater flowing through the plant. While chlorine gas is an effective disinfectant, it is also very dangerous if leaked out of its container. As a result, the city maintained an emergency evacuation plan which involved surrounding neighborhoods including sections of the city’s downtown. The city wanted to take a proactive approach, prompting Joe to re-design the plant to use liquid sodium hypochlorite instead of chlorine gas to treat the wastewater and prevent any potential risk of a gas leak.
As a Western Massachusetts native who pursued a career in STEM, he knows the importance of having a mentor in the field. Joe regularly participates as a judge at science fairs for local high schools. He enjoys seeing the inventive ideas come to life and the interaction with the students gives him a chance to speak with them about the trajectory of their future STEM careers. Joe’s pride in achieving excellence on the job through collaboration and his innate drive to continue learning by keeping a pulse on the A/E/C industry is an example for his peers and younger engineers learning from him.
Joe Popielarczyk has been chosen by ENR New England as one of 2022’s Top Young Professionals and he has also been named to the BusinessWest 40 Under 40 Class of 2021.