November 2012


Professor Daniel L. Thomas, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE is the Immediate Past-President of the ASCE’s Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) and Professor and Head of the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department at Oklahoma State University. He was Professor and Head of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) Department at Louisiana State University and the LSU Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge from March 2003 to June 2011.

Dr. Thomas was the Panel Manager for the NRI Watershed Processes and Water Resources Program in 2004-2005. Dan also served as the Panel Leader for the review of USDA-ARS five-year projects associated with drainage and irrigation and also served as the Technical Executive Committee Chair and member of the Governing Board for EWRI between 2006 and 2009 and was elected to Vice-President of EWRI in 2009. Dan received his B.S. in 1978 and M.E. (1980) degrees in Agricultural Engineering from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

In 2005, Dr. Thomas was inducted into the first class of Diplomates for AAWRE and in 2006 he became a Fellow of ASCE.  In this interview, Dan shares his thoughts with AAWRE on reflections of this past year as EWRI President, his career, his love of teaching, and his advice for leaders of tomorrow.

Most fun class to teach: Professionalism and Ethics. It’s nice to provide a foundation for upcoming engineers, including how to deal with ethical dilemmas.

Most fun research I worked on: Actually, it was a project that created the EASY Pan for irrigation scheduling. Working with outstanding folks to create a device that was easy to use and fully understood by the clientele was a joy. Practical applications have always been a primary interest in my research.