Erik Walega Recognized as 2023 ACEC Young Professional of the Year

RESPEC proudly announces that Rapid City-based engineer and geologist Erik Walega, PE, PG, has been named the 2023 Young Professional of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). This award recognizes the accomplishments of young engineers by highlighting their engineering contributions and the resulting impact on society. Erik’s prior distinction as the 2021 South Dakota Engineering Society’s/ACEC of South Dakota’s Young Engineer of the Year paved the way for this honor.  

Erik Walega, a Colorado native, is an alumnus of the Colorado School of Mines, where he earned his bachelor’s in geological engineering, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he graduated with a master’s in geology and geological engineering. He joined RESPEC in May 2021 as a member of RESPEC’s Mining & Energy business unit and provides hydrogeological analysis services, primarily for mining industry clients. Some of his notable work involves contributions to phosphate industry projects in Florida and potash industry projects in Saskatchewan, including the K1-K2 decommissioning project, which earned RESPEC and other team members the 2023 Exceptional Engineering/Geoscience Project Award from the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of Saskatchewan. 

In addition to his technical achievements, Erik remains an engaged member of his community. He has volunteered as a recreational youth soccer coach, leads youth groups and financial courses, and participates in blood donations, community festivals, and STEM-based outreach.  

“It’s an honor and a surprise to win. It’s certainly a result of the people who’ve taken risks on me and encouraged my pursuits,” said Erik. “I don’t deserve most of the credit; my mentors, supervisors, and the incredible people I have the privilege to work with deserve it.” 

Erik’s win marks the second time in 3 years that a RESPEC engineer has been recognized as ACEC’s Young Professional of the Year, following Brett Belzer’s win in 2021. Erik’s dedication to his work and community exemplifies RESPEC’s core values of Passion, Accountability, Caring, and Teamwork. He is an exemplary employee owner who continues to make a positive impact on the world.  

Please join RESPEC in congratulating Erik Walega!  

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