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Environmental engineering grad transforms former landfills

Environmental engineering grad transforms former landfills

Waste360’s 40 Under 40 honoree Somshekhar Kundral helps make formerly contaminated sites safe for development.

August 30, 2021 at 11:00am

A native of India, Somshekhar (Som) Kundral witnessed industrial waste turning lakes in his hometown toxic. It was then that he decided to transition from a civil engineer to an environmental engineer.

Today, Kundral is an integral part of the design, construction and redevelopment of formerly contaminated properties — including former landfills and dumpsites in Florida. Kundral has also designed several gas management systems for industrial, residential and commercial properties.

As a senior project manager at SCS Engineers, the 2010 FIU environmental engineering grad helps clients transform former landfills and contaminated properties into a business park or an apartment complex.

“Investors and developers find these areas of land attractive because of their low purchase price when compared to pristine land,” Kundral says. “They tap into these properties for redevelopment, and then we help them address environmental concerns to make the property safe for the community.”

With redeveloping these areas comes new opportunities.

“We’re witnessing more e-commerce companies opening up warehouses. This creates new jobs. And so as businesses move in, our clients are consequently helping [Miami-Dade County] bring in millions of dollars in taxes,” Kundral says.

Kundral’s efforts, from overseeing new business developments to mentoring junior staff, have not gone unnoticed. One of the projects Kundral manages recently received honors from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida and the Environmental Business Journal 2020 Business Achievement Award. And due to his significant contributions in the environmental engineering industry, Daniel Dietch, project director at SCS Engineers, nominated Kundral for Waste360’s 40 Under 40 awards, which recognizes leaders under the age of 40 who are shaping the future of the waste and recycling industry.

“It was a privilege to nominate Som for this honor,” Dietch says. “Som serves our clients with distinction and supports and mentors our colleagues to develop their consulting acumen. He is a ‘bright light’ in our industry and personifies the ideal team player. It is gratifying that Waste360 shares our view of Som by recognizing him for this impressive recognition.”

The 2021 40 under 40 winners were celebrated at Waste360’s annual expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 29. Winners included academics, researchers, engineers and industry leaders.

Reflecting on his time at FIU, Kundral says: “Though I didn’t exactly know what type of career I wanted in environmental engineering, going to FIU was the best decision of my life.

“I was really thankful to receive a full scholarship, and my professors, Berrin Tansel and Shonali Laha, were crucial in helping me build connections to obtain internships.”

It was through an internship with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, working on a water treatment plant, that Kundral got hired by SCS Engineers. The rest is history.

“I’m humbled to be with SCS and be a part of their leadership team.”