Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Denny S. Parker

Denny S. Parker Ph.D., P.E., N.A.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Denny S. Parker received his Ph.D. (1970) degree, M.S. (1966) degree, and B.S. (1965) degree in Civil Engineering (with graduate school emphasis in Sanitary Engineering) from the University of California, Berkeley. For the past 45 years, he has been in a succession of increasingly senior positions with the environmental engineering firm Brown and Caldwell. Presently, he serves as Senior Vice President. Previously, he served as Director of Technology.

Dr. Parker is recognized internationally as a leading expert on wastewater treatment processes. This recognition began when he developed, as part of his Ph.D. research, a breakthrough improvement in the activated sludge process by incorporating a flocculation zone in the secondary clarification process, now an industry standard practice in North America.  The activated sludge process is now the most common wastewater process choice and his widely applied innovations include the classifying selector to eliminate nuisance foam, the BAR process for bioaugmentation of nitrification, and the biological contact process high-rate biological treatment for wet weather flows. Dr. Parker has developed innovative solutions for nutrient removal processes at large wastewater treatment plants in Washington D.C., St. Paul, MN, Sacramento, CA, Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, New York City, NY and for many other smaller plants. He is the author or co-author of more than 175 publications in both peer-reviewed and industrial journals.  He has also been an active volunteer in professional organizations, and is one of the original founders of the Water Environment Research Foundation.

Dr. Parker has received seven national awards and honors from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Water Environment Federation. In 2004, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Parker has maintained his involvement with Berkeley’s environmental engineering group.  In the 1970’s, he volunteered his time to help Professor David Jenkins start his award winning filament group. In the 1980’s, he served on a seminar organizing committee and led the creation of the David H. Caldwell Fellowship that supports graduate students in the Berkeley CEE program. Dr. Parker serves on an ad hoc alumni steering group that has developed a CEE environmental engineering alumni program that includes fellowship development. He recently endowed a fellowship with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society to support minority Berkeley CEE students pursuing graduate degrees in environmental and water resources