May 30, 2019

The American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) hosted its 15th annual Diplomates Induction ceremony at the EWRI's 20th Anniversary World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in Pittsburgh on May 20. AAWRE recognized and inducted the 2019 class of board certified Diplomate, Water Resources Engineers (D.WRE) and honored the 2019 AAWRE awards recipients. The ceremony included speakers EWRI President Kevin Nielsen, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE; ASCE President-Elect K.N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, AAWRE Past-President Roger T. Kilgore, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE and AAWRE President-Elect Vijay Singh, Sc.D., P.E., P.H., Hon.D.WRE, F.EWRI, Dist.M.ASCE.

The AAWRE hosts the AAWRE Induction ceremony annually to celebrate the new class of Diplomates, the awards recipients, and also give special recognitions to AAWRE leaders that have made significant contributions in efforts aligned with AAWRE’s mission and vision. The ceremony was sponsored by the Environmental & Water Resources Institute of ASCE and the Trinity River Authority of Texas.

Front row L to R: Derek Doughty, Vijay Singh, Pascale Champagne, Kevin Ward, Paul Boulos, Dennis Richards, Kevin Nielsen, Ray Walton, Ralph Wurbs. Second row L to R: Kay Whitlock, Jim Barton, Juneseok Lee, Gerald Blackler, Roger Kilgore, Gnaneswar Gude, Andy Yung. Photo by Jeff Callen.

The ceremony began with EWRI President Kevin Nielsen welcoming the audience. Mr. Nielsen remarked, "We at EWRI feel it is our duty to support AAWRE each year and during the annual Congress to help elevate the standards of the water resources engineering profession. I hope you will enjoy this special ceremony and event.”

ASCE President-Elect K.N. Gunalan provided an overview and historical context in ASCE launching the AAWRE as the pilot certification program to support professional post-licensure board certification and its significance: “AAWRE was the catalyst and the first pilot professional certification program started by ASCE in 2004 and since, there have been 2 additional professional certification Academies created by ASCE. Currently, ASCE’s board certification programs have granted nearly 1,300 Diplomate board certifications. My board certification is in geotechnical engineering and I believe post-license certifications are very important for the profession. I congratulate all of the honorees tonight.”

For the AAWRE awards recognition, AAWRE Past-President Roger Kilgore presented the Inaugural Outstanding Research & Innovation Award to Ralph Wurbs, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.D.WRE, F.ASCE for his significant contributions in water resources planning through research and development of the Water Rights Analysis Package modeling system (WRAP) and its use in the Texas Water Availability Modeling System. Dr. Wurbs addressed the audience, “I am honored to be the first recipient of this award. I want to thank many of the agencies and organizations that are utilizing the Texas Water Availability Modeling System.”

The 2019 AAWRE Outstanding Practitioner in Water Resources Engineering Award was presented to Ray Walton, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE for his significant contributions in water resources engineering and his work to advance the practice in the water resources profession. Dr. Walton remarked with humor, "I would like to say that this award is the culmination of a master plan for my career carefully conceived so many years ago.  However, the truth is that it has been a series of unplanned moves; a series of “OK, what’s next?”. In my career, I have strived to be “useful”. And I am very grateful to the many mentors and colleagues with whom I have worked along the way. I want to thank my colleagues that nominated me for this award and to my wife, Susan and my family."

Mr. Kilgore presented the 2019 AAWRE Service to the Academy Award to Kay Whitlock, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE for her outstanding and on-going contributions to the mission of the AAWRE. Ms. Whitlock addressed the audience, “I am very grateful for this award and honor. I want to thank my colleagues that nominated me for this award on my behalf. This profession is one that I have enjoyed serving, which has given me great joy.”

The awards recipients were presented with the award plaques by Dr. K.N. Gunalan and Dr. Vijay Singh.

AAWRE Past-President Kilgore stated regarding the new class of Diplomates being inducted, “We celebrate and congratulate these outstanding leaders and professional engineers who are making significant contributions to the water resources engineering profession and leading by example in furthering AAWRE's mission to improving the practice, elevating the standards and advancing the profession of civil engineering.”

AAWRE President Joe Manous, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.EWRI, F.ASCE stated, "“We extend our sincere congratulations to the recently credentialed Board Certified Water Resources Engineers, from 2018-2019; and recipients of the 2019 AAWRE Awards for Outstanding Practitioner in Water Resources Engineering, Dr. Ray Walton; Outstanding Research and Innovation, Dr. Ralph Wurbs; and Service to the Academy, Ms. Kay Whitlock, who are pictured above along with members of the AAWRE Board of Trustees following the 2019 Awards Ceremony in Pittsburg on 20 May 2019.”

For the Diplomate induction portion of the ceremony, Mr. Kilgore performed the roll call, as Dr. Gunalan, Dr. Singh and AAWRE Trustee Dennis Richards, P.E., D.WRE, F.EWRI, F.ASCE awarded each of the new inductees with certificates and lapel pins. Each inductee received an opportunity for a photo-op with the officers on stage.

Class 2019 Diplomate, Water Resources Engineers:

Adnan Alsaffar, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.EWRI – Engineering Consultant
Gerald Blackler, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE – Enginuity Engineering Solutions
Derek Doughty, P.E., CFM, D.WRE – Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc.
Paul J. Fleming, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE – Fleming Consulting Engineers
Kevin Flora, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE – California Department of Transportation
V. Gnansewar Gude, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE – Mississippi State University
Carter E. Hubbard, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE – Olsson Associates
Michael Konieczki, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE – David Ford Consulting Engineers
Eugene LeBoeuf, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE – Vanderbilt University
Juneseok Lee, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE – Manhattan College
Robert Leverington, Jr., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE – Leverington & Associates
Lee G. Mullon, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE – Geosyntech Consultants
Brett C. Phillips, Ph.D., CPEng., D.WRE, F.ASCE – Cardno NSW/ACT
Russell C. Reed, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE – DOWL Engineering
Dennis Truax, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.ASCE – Mississippi State University
David J. Watson, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE – Duke Energy
Andrew C. Yung, P.E., CFM, D.WRE – Walter P. Moore

To conclude the ceremony, AAWRE recognized Kevin Ward and the Trinity River Authority with a special plaque for their sponsorship of the AAWRE ceremony and honors dinner event. AAWRE Past-President Kilgore was also recognized with a special plaque for his leadership and service on the AAWRE Board of Trustees.

The ceremony was followed by a reception for all in attendance- as families and colleagues congratulated the new Diplomates. AAWRE plans to host the next annual Induction ceremony in Henderson, Nevada during the EWRI 2020 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in May 2020.