Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Robert D. Whitley

Robert D. Whitley P.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Robert Whitley received his M.S. degree (1965) and B.S.  degree (1964) in Civil Engineering, both from the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate school focus was in environmental engineering. After graduation, he worked for seven years at the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County and then with several consulting firms over the next eight years. In 1980, he formed Whitley Engineers, which in 1985 became Whitley Burchett & Associates. He held the position of President and Chairman of the Board from 1985 to 2017. In 2017, Whitley Burchett merged with and became part of West Yost Associates.

Over his more than 50-year career, Mr. Whitley has developed deep expertise and practice experience in the implementation of municipal wastewater and recycled-water programs. This expertise and experience spans engineering design, regulatory permit compliance, operational problem solving, financial planning, capital improvement planning, utility management, project management, and overall program management. He is also one of the founders of the WateReuse Association and the WateReuse Foundation. He has served as a member of the governing boards of both organizations. He is a member of the Contra Costa Council Board of Directors, a non-profit public policy advocacy organization of multi-interest public, private, and institutional employers. He was co-chair of the Council's Water Task Force that developed comprehensive policy principles for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Mr. Whitley received the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award from the California Water Environment Association (1971). He also received the Outstanding Task Force Chair (2012-2013) and Co-Chair (2014-2015) Awards from the East Bay Leadership Council, as well as Outstanding Service Awards (1993, 2001, 2002, and 2003) and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) from the WateReuse Association. He has served in leadership roles with the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, California Water Environment Association, Water Environment Association, East Bay Leadership Council, and WateReuse Association of California.

Mr. Whitley has been a long-term supporter of Berkeley CEE through service on committees and collaborative relationships with the faculty.  He had the vision for, and was one of six founding members of, the U.C. Berkeley Environmental Engineering Leadership Council. The formation of this Leadership Council is significant in that it represents the coming together of graduates of the Berkeley Environmental Engineering program to find positive ways of giving back to the program.