Almost everyone who first met Lee Badertscher had that moment, where they weren’t sure if Lee was angry, miffed, or otherwise unhappy to see them. Every engineer who has reported to their first day at LEE + RO remembers meeting Lee for the first time. It’s not until about two weeks later that you understand that he’s not angry at you or at all—it’s just the way he is. It didn’t take much longer to figure that he really did like you, and not longer still to understand that he really cared about you. This was a side of Lee that not everybody got to know, but those of us who were lucky enough to call him a colleague and mentor will always remember.
Lee’s résumé reads like the history of Water and Wastewater in California, 1992 to present. Over 29 years as a Civil/Electrical/I&C Engineer and Project Manager at LEE + RO, we relied on his toughness, his commitment, and his legendary work ethic to deliver project after project. From Point Loma’s Grit Improvement Project all the way up to the facultative lagoons at Copper Cove and back down to GWRS and the Secondary Effluent Pumps at Hyperion, Lee’s design fingerprints are widely dispersed throughout the entire state. Steve Ro recalls meeting Lee for the first time: