July 2019


Dr. Dennis D. Truax, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.ASCE is James T. White Endowed Chair, Department Head and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Mississippi State University. Starting his 40th year on the Mississippi State faculty, he is a licensed professional engineer and holds national certifications as an environmental engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineering and Scientists and as a water resources engineer by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. He was elected a Fellow of American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999 and Fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers in 2016. He is one of two Chi Epsilon Chapter Honor Members of the Mississippi State University Chapter and was recently recognized by the National Council of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Surveyors for his distinguished service to the engineering profession.

Dr. Truax earned a BSCE with a concentration in environmental and hydraulic engineering at Virginia Tech. He later earned a master of science in civil engineering and a doctor of philosophy in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. He has served on the Board of Direction of the American Society of Civil Engineers as a Director and Society Treasurer. He also holds, or has held, leadership positions with NSPE, NCEES, and ABET. He currently serves as President of the Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors and the Chair of the Onsite Wastewater Advisory Council for the Mississippi Department of Health.

Dennis was faculty advisor to the Mississippi State ASCE Student Chapter for 26 years. He is currently faculty advisor for the Mississippi State Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. This work led the chapter to install nine water wells in southern Zambia; bringing sustainable clean water to almost 10,000 people living in a region that goes without any precipitation for six or more month a year. The chapter is now working on a water supply development, transmission, and distribution system for Santa Teresita, a small community in the Andes of Ecuador.

During his academic career, he has published over 120 refereed and reference papers, reports and book or book chapters and has made over 180 paper or poster presentations. His externally‐funded research attracted over $13 million in funding focused principally of environmental and water resources engineering as related to modeling of surface waters and pollutant transport, evaluating watersheds and management practices, managing hazardous wastes, and optimizing water and wastewater treatment facilities.

Dr. Truax has consulted for local and international engineering firms, small municipalities and regional authorities, law firms, industry, and federal agencies. He has worked on environmental and water resource management systems throughout the United States as well as Argentina, Canada, China, Mexico, Romania, Tanzania, Turkey and Venezuela. Technically, he has helped design over 500 water and wastewater treatment plants world‐wide. He was project engineer for the design, permitting, contract management, and construction of a regional solids waste management system and has worked on almost a dozen county or regional solid waste management plans. He has performed numerous Environmental Assessments, supervised the clean‐up of several hazardous waste sites, and provided inspection for hazardous materials management systems.

In this feature, Dennis shares with AAWRE on his early influences, career path, future of civil engineering, his work with Engineers Without Borders and his love of flying.

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Following the signing of the EWB Partnership Agreement, the community representatives, NGO representatives, Peace Corp contact, and Dennis and team celebrated with dinner and group photos.