Jack started college at Northern Illinois University, but left after his sophomore year. Along with his future spouse, Rita, he transferred to Utah State University in Logan. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and working as a drinking water treatment plant operator in Salt Lake City, Jack went back to Logan to do research on infiltration and received a master’s degree in watershed hydrology. “My first consulting project, back in 1983, involved writing a FORTRAN program that was used to design a snow accumulation and melt plan to supply water for a coal mine near Kemmerer, Wyoming.”
His post-graduate school career included time as a mine reclamation hydrologist for the state of Utah, followed by an appointment to the governor’s staff as the Deputy Director of the High Level Nuclear Waste Office. In this latter role, one of Jack’s tasks involved reviewing several technical reports prepared by INTERA on three potential high-level nuclear waste repository sites in salt deposits in southeastern Utah. Jack and Rita’s two boys, Parker and Oliver, were born in Utah in the early 1980s. After receiving an offer for a similar position with the Yakima Indian Nation, the family moved to eastern Washington.
During a trip to Russia in 1989, Jack met Dr. Henk Haitjema, a Dutch engineer and professor of groundwater modeling. “Dr. Haitjema was a huge influence on me from the time we met. He was interested not only in theory, which for the most part was mathematics and hydraulics, but in solving real problems.” After writing several proposals for Dr. Haitjema, Jack received funding that enabled him to pursue a PhD in environmental science at Indiana University.
While earning his PhD, Jack started Wittman Hydro Planning Associates, a consulting firm focused on the application of analytic element models to groundwater supply and well field design. Wittman Hydro was acquired by Layne Christensen Company in 2008, and Jack served as Layne’s Director of Geosciences. In 2013, Jack joined INTERA. “I decided to shift gears and move away from water supply construction. INTERA afforded me the opportunity get back into groundwater modeling and design.”
In his spare time, Jack enjoys reading voraciously, watching baseball (go Cubs!), thinking and talking about politics, hanging out with his grandkids, and being home with Rita.
Dream Dinner Guest – Elon Musk
Hero – Rita
Biggest Influence – caffeine
Special Talent – the ability to fall asleep quickly once in bed
Secret Accomplishment(s) – 4 weeks in Azerbaijan
Favorite Movie – tie: Guardians of the Galaxy and Bagdad Cafe
Favorite Book – Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
Favorite Song – too many to list
Musician/Band you’d most like to see live - Pete Townsend
Favorite Vacation – Snowbank Lake, MN (annual escape)
If I had one wish, it would be – to live on a lake with a pier and a fishing boat
Place of birth – Belvidere, IL
Children – 2