Q&A with Tony Orlando, Analytics Engineer I

November 1, 2023

We recently sat down with Analytics Engineer Tony Orlando to ask him a few questions about his work at The Freshwater Trust.

In two sentences, tell us what you do at The Freshwater Trust.

I develop and maintain components of our BasinScout Analytics system, support data pipelines for our decision support tools, and work on estimating costs for our various water quality trading programs. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer.

What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now?

Getting tools and systems built that facilitate on-the-ground work is the most important.

What’s something that’s happening at the organization right now that you are very excited about?

I’ve been here six years and have seen such an incredible amount of growth in our analytic tools, but also several new water quality trading programs/projects representing real restoration/conservation. The continued growth of our tools, the expansion in geography and application of our tools, and the potential to realize restoration/conservation at scale excites me.

What do you love about working for The Freshwater Trust?

In all parts of the organization, I believe there are incredible people who are committed to working on some really challenging, yet important, problems. On the Science and Analytics team, we have such a wide range of experiences and skills, and I’m routinely amazed, entertained, and inspired by the work of my colleagues.

Last book you read or movie you watched?

I’ve just finished “Deadeye Dick” by Kurt Vonnegut and watched “My Cousin Vinny” on an airplane.

Last place you traveled?

My home state of Michigan.

A quote you live by?

I recently heard a sentiment expressed on a podcast that was a pleasant reminder in our world of distractions.  “Your life is the sum of what you pay attention to, so choose wisely” – PJ Vogt

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years, I’ll have 8- and 10-year-old children, which is a surreal thing to be jotting down and complicates forecasting.

What’s the number one piece of advice you have for someone trying to get into this field?

My path to my current position has been quite non-linear, so my advice is general:

Stay curious and take advantage of opportunities to learn from your colleagues.

I’ve been quite fortunate to work with and learn from some incredible people, which has allowed me to find new things I enjoy along the way.