If you were part of the Nelson Institute anytime in the past decade or so, chances are you’ve heard of — or perhaps attended — a Weston Roundtable Series lecture. But do you know who put the Weston in Weston Roundtable?
“Roy Weston was a true visionary,” says Larry Bove, president and CEO of Weston Solutions, Inc. “He was one of the first people who realized that making environmental choices was more than just fixing a problem; it was a societal issue. He truly merged the sciences into the engineering to create what we know today as the overall environmental practice.” Nelson’s Weston Roundtable Series is so named to honor Weston’s UW connection and environmental legacy.
Weston got his start at the UW, where he earned his degree in civil engineering in 1933. After completing graduate work at the University of Minnesota and New York University, he entered the workforce as an industrial pollution control engineer. At the time, this sort of work was uncharted territory as the U.S. hadn’t yet realized the importance of environmental responsibility. In 1957, Weston took matters into his own hands and founded Roy F. Weston, Inc. (now Weston Solutions).
The company started with a focus on industrial wastewater treatment, and as environmentalism boomed over the 1970s, so did Weston’s company. “Our company has evolved in many ways,” says Bove. Weston Solutions is a federal contractor for the Department of Defense, doing work like identifying and removing explosive materials, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, where they provide emergency response to events like oil spills or hurricanes, and more.
Weston and Bove’s tenures overlapped; Bove started his career as a project engineer in 1983; Weston was with his company until his retirement in 1991. Bove recently began exploring Weston’s trove of writings and presentations, which altogether, tell the story of an industry’s journey toward sustainable development — and how industry and academia worked together to turn sustainability from a concept to a curriculum. On October 20, Bove and Weston’s connection will come full circle as Bove comes to campus to present his own Weston Roundtable Series lecture, Sustainable Development: From Concept to Curriculum.
Weston Roundtable Series
The Weston Roundtable Series is designed to promote a robust understanding of sustainability science, engineering, and policy through weekly lectures co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Office of Sustainability. Lectures take place from 4:15–5:15 p.m. every Thursday at 1163 Mechanical Engineering Building.