Employee Profile: Raghu Vamshi, Waterborne’s Senior Geospatial Scientist
Environmental concern is at the heart of our work at Waterborne, and there are few better examples than the work of our Senior Geospatial Scientist, Raghu Vamshi. From his research in endangered species assessments, monitoring site selection and analysis of environmental fate of agricultural chemicals to evaluating down-the-drain chemicals and personal care products in surface waters, Raghu’s 15 years with Waterborne have certainly bolstered our ability to study, create, and apply solutions to environmental challenges. He has a passion for the environment, proud that his work gives him the ability to explore the world from his computer screen and provide solutions to local and international problems alike.
Raghu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and a Master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Texas Tech University. After graduate school, he spent three years as a GIS Analyst for Paradigm Alliance Inc. in Wichita, KS. There, he spatially analyzed socio-demographic information to help corporations select the best locations for new buildings, from shopping malls to banks. While the challenge and need for innovation of this role aligned with his tastes, Raghu had a goal to apply his knowledge to the agricultural industry with a stronger focus on the environmental impacts. In 2006, our paths aligned and Raghu took on a new role as a Project GIS Specialist at Waterborne, relocating from Kansas to Virginia to be in close proximity to our Leesburg, VA headquarters.
In his years with Waterborne, Raghu demonstrated dedication and innovation at every turn. His passion for the environmental work clearly aligns with his commitment to “enable those in decision-making roles to have robust tools and data to make better informed decisions.” Internally, that has meant sifting through databases of geographical and crop records to help narrow down the site selection process for field studies, both at the national and international level.
Externally, Raghu has been leading efforts in our personal care products work, targeting down-the-drain environmental fate of products ranging from shampoo to UV filters in suncreens. The US and many other countries have wastewater treatment mechanisms in place to remove or reduce these down-the-drain chemicals. However, countries that lack the appropriate wastewater treatment facilities often struggle to address the concerns of down-the-drain chemicals. In China and India for example, there are locations where products have been dumped by waste disposal or plumbing from millions of consumers with little to no means for filtration or chemical containment. Not only does this pose a significant human risk for drinking water pollution but there are also environmental contamination risks at play as well. Several key environmental questions come to mind…What is the environmental fate of disposed chemicals and the potential effects to plant and animal species? What can we do to stop that flow of pollution and remediate the contamination that has already happened? How far has the damage spread and how much further will it travel? Does the sewage from coasts float hundreds of miles away to damage coral reefs? These are the sort of questions that Raghu’s work helps to answer, acknowledging that the human use of personal care products must be supported by environmental impact assessments for the larger sustainability needs.
Raghu humbly works to make the world a better place for all of us, including his wife and two children. While he’s facing the same challenges as most parents during these unprecedented times, it’s pretty great to see how he lights up when talking about his family. We get to see a similar sense of passion and joy in his work at Waterborne. His demeanor and level of dedication clearly have made him a wonderful husband and father, but also a tremendous asset to Waterborne as a company. We all aim to match his enthusiasm in working more and more towards the global needs of our environment.