April 2022


Prof. Conrad G. Keyes, Jr., P.S., P.E., Sc.D., D.WRE (Ret.), Dist.M.ASCE, XE National Honor Member was born Carlsbad, New Mexico. He received a B.S from New Mexico A&MA, and a M.S and a Sc.D. from New Mexico State University, all in civil engineering. Dr. Keyes is a veteran honorably discharged from both active and inactive duty. He is a 1959 ROTC graduate and served on active duty from 1963 – 1965, and was at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, from 1964-1965.

Dr. Keyes began his career in education at New Mexico State University as an Assistant Professor in 1966. He was selected as the Department Head of Civil, Agricultural, and Geological Engineering at New Mexico State University (1979-1987). Research projects during 1965-1987 emphasized applied research and included topics such as the “Disposal of Brine by Solar Evaporation” and “Jemez Atmospheric Water Management” for the U.S. Department of Interior. Others projects included the “Navajo Indian Irrigation Project Environment Impact Studies” for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the “Feasibility of Nuclear Desalination of Ground Water in the Tularosa Basin” for Los Alamos National Laboratory. He served as the Executive Director of the North American Interstate Weather Modification Council from 1976 to 1987.

He served as the Principal Engineer of Planning, for the US International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) during 1989-1994. Responsible for planning of all projects along the 3,000 kilometer boundary related to computer services, environmental management, and water resources investigations between the two nations. Projects included new binational agreements to clean up the New River in California and Baja California, toxicity monitoring of the Rio Grande, industrial pretreatment in Tijuana and Nogales, and ground water monitoring in Ambos Nogales. Was involved with the creation of the NAFTA Border Environmental Cooperation Commission. Has served as Co-Chair on the Rio Grande Citizens Forum of the USIBWC.

Dr. Keyes served as the Branch Manager of Boyle Engineering Corporation’s El Paso Office as well as the Director of Water Resources Special Projects during 1995-1997. He was the Project Manager on the New Mexico-Texas Water Commission’s Conveyance and Aquifer Storage (now Sustainable Water Project) from 1995 to 1997.

Dr. Keyes has served as the Engineer Advisor to the Texas Rio Grande Compact Commissioner (1997-1999) and in 1987-1989. Dr. Keyes was responsible for the annual evaluation of water deliveries from Colorado to New Mexico and from New Mexico to Texas at Elephant Butte Reservoir. The projects within the Commission included the reevaluation of reservoirs in New Mexico and canals of the Middle Rio Grande Project in New Mexico and the Rio Grande Project that lies in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

He is a licensed professional engineer in New Mexico and Texas (retired). He also holds a professional surveyor license in New Mexico. He is a member of a number of professional and technical societies including the American Society of Civil Engineers, New Mexico Engineering Foundation, New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers, New Mexico Professional Surveyors, the New Mexico State University Academy of Civil Engineering, the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Weather Modification Association. Dr. Keyes was the founding President of the ASCE Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) and a former candidate for the ASCE National President-elect.

Dr. Keyes’ contributions and leadership have been widely recognized. Among the ASCE honors he has received include Water Resources Service to the Profession Award (1993), Irrigation and Drainage Outstanding Service Award (1993), Zone III Government Civil Engineer of the Year Award (1993), Royce J. Tipton Award (1994), EWRI Lifetime Achievement Award (2010) and the ASCE Distinguished Member. He was awarded the Outstanding Engineering Alumnus at NMSU (1988 & 1996) and NMSU Academy of CAGE Honorary Member (1996). Dr. Keyes was awarded the ASCE NM Section Distinguished Service Award in October 2000 and September 2008. He was initiated into Chi Epsilon at New Mexico State University in December 1974 and was elevated as a Chapter Honor Member in December 1987.

In this feature, Dr. Keyes shares with AAWRE on his upbringing, his love of civil engineering, teaching, service to the profession and his personal hobbies.