June 28th Declared “Bill Eyring Day” in Chicago
In CNT’s 34 years, we have very few retirements, but on June 28th CNT celebrated Senior Engineer Bill Eyring’s 17 years with CNT.
Bill Eyring’s long and productive relationship with CNT actually began in 1980 when he still worked at a consulting firm with architect Jonathan Boyer. CNT President, Scott Bernstein, was collaborating with the firm on a project to collect and recycle biomass from Chicago’s west side. The project never materialized, but the meetings formed the foundation for a rewarding working relationship between Bill and CNT that has now spanned more than three decades.
Bill eventually left the consulting firm and began working as an independent consultant for, among other clients, CNT. By 1989 Bill was a full-time staff member at CNT, working on projects such as the contract with Amoco Chemical to recycle plastic efficiently. In 1996, Jack Weinberg of GreenPeace approached Scott to find an environmentally-sensitive alternative to the hazardous chemicals, such as chlorine, used in dry cleaning. Scott procured funding for the research after writing a report for the USEPA and Bill was sent to London with a bag of stained clothing to meet with entrepreneur Richard Simon and test out an eco-friendly cleaning process known as wet-cleaning. The process was effective, and CNT began working with Simon to establish wet-cleaning at local businesses—like the Greener Cleaner on Chicago’s north side.
Bill left CNT shortly after the conclusion of the wet-cleaning project to resume his work as an independent consultant and to focus on his early research, begun in the 1970s, on water systems. Bill could not stay away from CNT forever, though, and in 2000 he spoke with then-CEO Bob Lieberman and, “convinced him to hire me for six months to get something going in the water program.” Bill’s initial projects within the newly established water program encompassed watershed planning in Chicago’s southern and southwestern suburbs. Bill helped draft report cards used by decision-makers to measure project progress in terms of water quality, preservation of open space, and community-government interaction.
The initial six months that Bill bargained for quickly turned into twelve years, and he is proud to have watched the fledgling water program expand into an established department with four full-time employees and several interns a year. “Green infrastructure,” an aspect of water research established by former Program Manager, Steve Wise, and expanded by current Program Manager, Harriet Festing, has generated funding for an increasing number of projects and has allowed the program to adopt a regional approach to water system management.
Although Bill will be spending more time improving the green infrastructure of his own yard in the upcoming years, he will remain a presence in the water program. He says, “it is fun to be involved in green infrastructure and field work,” and he hopes to continue, “working with folks in their yards.” He credits the young people in the office with keeping him from turning into a grouch, and he looks forward to spending his retirement in CNT’s positive atmosphere.
CNT salutes Bill and his dedication to greening the Chicago region and making it more sustainable and livable for all its residents. On June 28, we held a “Roast and Toast to Bill Eyring” at our building on Western Ave. Though the intense heat kept us from enjoying the native garden Bill helped to create, we enjoyed a roast and story-swapping inside, including a proclamation read by Barbara Moore, Executive Director of the Democratic Municipal Officials and wife of 49th Ward Alderman, Joe Moore, longtime collaborators with Bill, that the City Council of Chicago adopted, declaring June 28 “Bill Eyring Day” in Chicago.