Meet Kendra Sveum – A Women’s History Month Interview Feature

In celebration of Women’s History Month, VBC turns its attention to the remarkable women who are breaking barriers and driving innovation in industries often overlooked. We recently spoke with Kendra Sveum, Director of Water Reclamation, a pioneering figure in the biosolids industry. As a woman at the forefront of this vital sector, Kendra embodies resilience, expertise, and a commitment to sustainability. Join us as we delve into her journey, challenges, and contributions to the field, highlighting her invaluable role in shaping the future of environmental stewardship.

In an interview conducted with Kelly Noon, we are delighted to spotlight Kendra’s achievements in honor of Women’s History Month. Please continue reading to hear more about all the hard work and dedication she has contributed over the years.

What inspired you to pursue your career/profession, and how do you see it contributing to the advancement of women in your industry?

I think as most people I was really unaware of the water industry as a career until I was in college. I was studying Chemical Engineering and the Illinois Water Environment Association showed up at one of my classes with a presentation on their organization and what it was. Six months later I was the President of the first Student Chapter for IWEA at our school! I was specifically attracted to wastewater due to the mix of chemistry, biology, and the benefit to human health and society in a way that has really made my career extremely rewarding for me. 

    Can you share any experiences or challenges you’ve faced as a woman in your field, and how have you overcome them?

    I feel that I have been very lucky to have had many very supportive mentors in the advancement of my career. I can say that I have been supported by both men and women equally which I think is a testament to the water industry. Especially since I have moved to Virginia I have formed a strong network of female colleagues and mentors that truly make this area a better place. 

    In what ways do you believe your achievements or contributions have made a positive impact on other women or aspiring professionals?

    I am really enjoying this phase of my career where I am at a point of supporting and promoting others. I have had the opportunity to train many new engineers entering the industry and with my position at Loudoun Water I have seen the success at looking at peoples strongest skills and using them to their benefit.