Joan Giuliani, Sweet Water’s newest board member, joined us in December. We sat down to get her take on the exciting projects happening in the Milwaukee area and her current role as Environmental Engineer at MillerCoors.
Sweet Water: What experiences lead you to your current position?
Giuliani: I moved to Milwaukee in 2002 for an environmental consulting job and then ended up to getting my masters in Environmental Engineering at MSOE. During that time an internship opened up at Miller Coors. I became an intern there while going to school and later was hired on full time. I’ve been the Environmental Engineer in the MillerCoors brewery since 2007.
S: What are some of the current projects you are most excited about?
G: Currently, I’m spending a lot of time on MillerCoors’ partnership with Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS). The goal is for our brewery to achieve the International Water Stewardship Standard and we’ve been working on that for a couple of years now. If we get it, our MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee will be the first brewery in the world to get certified. As environmental engineer, I’m also responsible for compliance reporting and some other projects that pop up at the end of the year.
S: In your opinion, what makes Milwaukee’s water quality challenges different from other parts of the Midwest and the United States as a whole?
G: From a brewing perspective, Milwaukee is extremely fortunate to be located right next to Lake Michigan and to have clean and abundant water. Three other MillerCoors breweries are located in water-stressed areas. This is an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s easy to overlook the importance of conservation when you have abundant freshwater resources and it’s hard to teach communities about the importance of protecting their water unless they feel like it’s in crisis. Other breweries we have in Texas and California already understand the importance of water conservation because they are feeling the lack of reliable freshwater so strongly right now. This contrast has opened my eyes in regards to Milwaukee’s main challenges because it’s easy to look at Lake Michigan and forget that we also have major quality and health-related issues to work on here that are just as important.
S: How do you feel that your work impacts the greater Milwaukee area?
G: MillerCoors' efforts to improve our water efficiency are pretty well known. We do our best to continue improving our water use and the way we engage with our community. Our work toward achieving the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard would be very exciting and would lift Milwaukee’s role in the international water community. In addition, I’d like to think that we have also been able to support other local organizations working on these issues through our community outreach and through events like Great Water Month. We’re always working to bring water quality issues to the front of people’s minds because without clean water, there is no beer!
Personally, my goal has always been to continue to learn from others and gain more regional connections. I want to partner more with local organizations that are already doing exciting work, whether that is outreach or education or research. I have been very impressed with our community’s efforts.
S: What are you hoping to bring to the Sweet Water board?
G: I really want to learn as much as possible. I’m hoping I will be able to learn how I, and how MillerCoors, can be more involved in the health of these watersheds and improve community resilience in the Milwaukee area. I look forward to sharing my experiences but mostly I’m hoping it will be an inspiring and educational experience for me.
S: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
G: Most of all, I love spending time with my two boys. They are honestly the light of my life. You have a really bad day at work and just seeing them and being around them is wonderful. They’re everything.