Robert R. Holmes named Civil Engineer of the Year

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On August 21, 2015

usgs logoDr. Robert R. Holmes, an adjunct professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology and a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, will receive the 2015 Government Civil Engineer of the Year award on Oct. 13 in New York.

Established by the Government Engineers Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the award recognizes distinguished civil engineers employed in public service for significant engineering contributions.

Holmes is the national flood hazard specialist and coordinator at the USGS headquarters, serving as the senior advisor on flood science and response. He has been with the USGS for nearly 28 years, having served in various positions including director of the USGS Illinois Water Science Center.

“Dr. Holmes is an established expert in the fields of sediment transport, river mechanics, hydraulics and modeling, and provides expertise in complex streamflow ratings,” said Shawnna Erter, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers in St. Louis. “He works across the nation both as an expert and as an instructor.”

Holmes also is active in academic education, serving as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006 and as an adjunct professor at Missouri S&T since 2008. The courses he has taught include environmental field methods, fluid mechanics and water resources engineering.

Holmes serves on numerous advisory committees, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, Environmental and Water Resources Institute, American Geophysical Union, International Hydrological Science Association and the American Water Resources Association.

He earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1987 and 1989, respectively. He also holds a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois.

“It was always clear to me that we were dealing with a special human being,” said Marcelo García, director at Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory and Holmes’ former professor at Illinois. “Looking back, I am very happy that I took him on as one of my graduate students.”

Holmes has contributed greatly to water resources engineering and flood hazards management at the USGS through his civic and humanitarian efforts in public service, say his USGS colleagues.

“Bob’s colleagues throughout the USGS and at several other agencies and organizations can attest to his dedication, leadership and energy,” said William Werkheiser, associate director for water at the USGS. “He continues to be a vital part of our team at the USGS and an important leader in the water science and engineering community.”

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