Jimmy Chih-Ming Kao, Ph.D., P.E., F.EWRI, Dist.M.ASCE, distinguished chair professor and director of the Institute of Environmental Engineering at National Sun Yat-Sen University, in Taiwan, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2023 class of distinguished members for his commendable and exemplary career as an educator and researcher, most notably for the development of innovative and sustainable technologies for water, soil, and groundwater remediation.

Kao’s contributions are also recognized worldwide in the areas of water quality modeling, watershed management, constructed wetlands design and operation, and wastewater treatment. He is one of the pioneers in site remediation technology and design, and his excellent research has caused a paradigm shift in remedial design from traditional whole-site cleanup to more practical and site-specific remedial approaches.   

He has held his current positions at NSYSU since 1997, and before that was a research fellow and project manager in the United States. Kao has managed many major research efforts, including development of innovative and effective remedial technologies for restoration of polluted environments. Between 1993 and 2023 his research in this aspect concerned the ever-increasing operation/maintenance cost for the aggressive remediation technologies.

Kao holds 47 approved patents, these among them: metal removal agent and soil treatment; biological treating agent with method of treating chlorinated hydrocarbon pollutant, and use of biological treatment agent in preparation of composition treating pollutant; and a bioreaction device for soil remediation. His record is further enriched by his five books (ASCE published) and 50 book chapters.  

He is an associate editor of ASCE’s Journal of Environmental Engineering and ASCE’s Journal of Hazardous and Toxic Waste. Among his other awards, he has received the Society’s Samuel Arnold Greeley Award, J. James R. Croes Medal, Rudolph Hering Medal, and State of the Art of Civil Engineering Award.

He is an Honorary International Member of AAEES (2019) and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA).

In his later work, Kao researched such topics as the technologies for the enhancement of aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation of chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons and the corresponding biodegradation mechanism. Results of his studies have fully demonstrated, e.g., that enhanced bioremediation is a promising technology to remediate groundwater contaminated with halogenated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons.

Kao is a master’s degree and doctoral degree alumnus of North Carolina State University, Department of Civil Engineering. His professional engineer registration is in North Carolina.