Profiles of Members of EPA's Asian-American and Pacific Islander Community: Hillol Ray
Hillol Ray, Civil and Environmental Engineer
Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division
Water Quality Enforcement Branch
Dallas, TX (EPA Region 6)
Where were you born?
What brought you to EPA?
During my formative years in India, I worked “hands-on” with Mother Teresa, and the “poorest of the poor” street children, who thrived with asthma and lung disease, in polluted environment of the slums. They did not have the safe water to drink, clean air to breathe, and uncontaminated soil around their playgrounds. Their deplorable conditions deeply touched my heart, and prompted me to work “hands on” with Mother Teresa. On the advice of Mother Teresa, I wanted to create an awareness about the environment, particularly on the issues of asthma and children’s health. So, upon my graduation in Civil/Sanitary Engineering, I was offered National Science Foundation fellowship, to conduct graduate research in Environmental Engineering at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND. I came to USA with only three dollars in my pocket and a briefcase. During my graduate research, I had the opportunity to work with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, along with the U.S. Department of Energy and several other federal and state offices. I was highly impressed with the type of work that EPA does to protect the public health and environment of our nation. I decided “This is it”, and joined EPA in July 1992.
What type of work do you do at EPA?
In July 1992, I was appointed as the Program Manager to oversee and coordinate the Drinking Water Quality Enforcement in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. From January 2011, I have been managing the enforcement activities, related to the Underground Injection Control program in Oklahoma and New Mexico. As part of my outreach activities, I get the opportunity to work very closely with industries, state and local enforcement agencies, as well as with the general public. Beside my professional technical work at EPA, I have composed and recited my own original poems about Earth Day, environmental pollution and solution, etc. in various EPA regions. My poems on environmental issues, dealt with by EPA and the United Nations, have been recognized people around the world. I have represented Region 6 in other EPA regions and been interviewed on TV and radio. In February 2018, I received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who of New Jersey, USA for my leadership in environmental engineering. Through my reading, writing, and speaking ability in four languages, my poems and articles on environmental issues have reached the Asian American and Pacific Islander and other communities for the past five decades.
What is your highest level of education? What was your major?
I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Sanitary Engineering from the University of Calcutta and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from North Dakota State University.
What message would you like to send other Asian Americans who are considering college or a career in environmental protection?
Undoubtedly EPA is a great place to work and to apply your knowledge and ingenuity of environmental science and engineering. As a member and part of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, I am excited about the grassroots initiatives, offered by the EPA, to safeguard the environment, and protect public health and sustainability for the citizens of United States and the world. I deeply appreciate the opportunity provided to me by the EPA to fulfill my dreams, and with patience and perseverance, you may have yours too.