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Omid Mohseni

Senior Water Resources Engineer

Omid with his wife and son

Omid Mohseni has always been fascinated by water. “Our lives depend on it, and at the same time, it can be so damaging,” he said. “We need water, but we also need to be protected from it. That makes it quite an interesting topic to study and tackle.”

As a college senior in Iran, Omid designed the foundation for a bridge at risk of being flooded. A year later, when a record (400 year) flood swept through, the bridge was submerged six feet under water—but it stood, while bridges around it crumbled. The experience inspired Omid to pursue a career in hydraulics.

That career has turned out to be a remarkable one. While pursuing his doctorate, Omid developed a simple stream-temperature model, now used by researchers worldwide for climate impact studies on fish habitat. In 2003, after an initial stint at Barr, he left to become associate director of applied research at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, the world-renowned research lab at the University of Minnesota. There, he led numerous physical-model studies on hydraulic structures and developed a laboratory testing method to assess the performance of hydrodynamic separators, which was later adopted by ASTM.

In 2008, Omid returned to a bigger, busier Barr. “The company grew from about 280 people to 420 during the time I was gone,” he recalled. “In many ways it was different, but the culture was maintained. I was happy to see that.” Barr’s unique, collaborative environment is important to Omid. “I don’t see other people here as coworkers,” he said. “I see them as my partners.”

A significant contribution Omid has made to Barr is SHSAM (Sizing Hydrodynamic Separators and Manholes), a computer program he developed that is used to predict the amount of suspended sediments removed from stormwater runoff by standard and hydrodynamic-separator sumps. The user-friendly software, pronounced “Shazam,” has been used by engineers across the globe and is available as a free download at www.barr.com/WhatsNew/SHSAM/SHSAMapp.asp.

When he’s not at Barr, Omid continues to serve as an adjunct professor at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Despite a busy schedule, he still makes time for fun and relaxation. In his free time, he enjoys dancing—primarily ballroom and salsa—and traveling anywhere he can scuba dive. His attitude toward life, though, is what keeps him positive and smiling. “I try not to be stressed,” he said. “There will always be the pressure of deadlines, but I try to enjoy my time at work and not get upset over the little things. Taking yourself too seriously is wrong.”