Son Le, technology development manager for United Utilities, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the water industry.
Le, who came to England at the age of 13 as a Vietnam war orphan, is the world’s leading expert on acid phase anaerobic digestion processes — a form of waste treatment.
Over the past three years, Le was the driving force behind United Utilities’ five innovation projects fostered through the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP). The innovative KTP projects resulted in the development of a number of unique solutions to complex water and waste water operations.
Le was educated at Battle, East Sussex under the sponsorship of the Pestalozzi International Village Trust. He later graduated with an honours degree in chemical engineering from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne University and obtained his PhD from Swansea University College of Wales.
His current role at United Utilities involves evaluating and developing processes for the sustainable treatment of wastewater and recycling of biosolids.
Le lives in Davenham, Northwich with his wife, Rachel, and four children: Caroline (13), Victoria (11), Rebecca (10) and Christopher (8).
“The honour was totally unexpected but I feel extremely proud,” Le said. “My current role at United Utilities has given me the freedom to work on a variety of sustainable innovative processes in the water industry.”
He added, “There is great scope for knowledge transfer to help UK plc adapt and respond to the need for low-carbon solutions to the environmental challenges we face and to help reduce capital expenditure and running costs. In particular, the KTP projects that I have overseen have allowed me and my colleagues at United Utilities to develop solutions to many different water and waste water treatment issues, which will significantly help to drive the business forward. It has been a pleasure to work on such exciting projects and I;m grateful to many of my colleagues for their hard work and support.”