May 14, 2021

The American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) proudly announce Chris Dunn, P.E., D.WRE as the recipient of the AAWRE 2021 Outstanding Practitioner in Water Resources Engineering Award, for his outstanding contributions in the development of innovative advances in hydraulic and hydrologic (H&H) models.  Mr. Dunn is recognized for his leadership and vision in the development of innovative advances in H&H models, as a technical lead and a manager of technical experts.  His direction of technical specialists led to the development of HEC-RAS (River Analysis System) as the most widely used hydraulic modeling program in the world. His vision also led to the development of the HEC-WAT (Water Analysis Tool), which performs planning analysis while evaluating watersheds from a systems approach and adhering to risk and uncertainty principles.

Mr. Dunn has been the Director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center (CEIWR-HEC) since May 2006, leading a staff of 50, consisting primarily of hydrologic engineering and computer science specialists, and overseeing an annual budget of approximately $20 million. CEIWR-HEC's diverse program focuses on hydrologic and hydraulic engineering, planning analysis, and water management, encompassing software development, special projects, training, technology transfer, and technical assistance to USACE field offices, HQUSACE, other agencies, and other nations. Many of the software products produced by HEC have become industry standards within the water resources profession.

Mr. Dunn's technical specialties include: flood risk management and impact analysis; planning analysis; risk analysis, levee certification, river hydraulics, water surface profile modeling, stream stability and scour; surface water hydrology; storm water management, urban drainage design; watershed analysis; IWRM; soil erosion control; ecosystem restoration; and GIS; along with extensive teaching experience.

Mr. Dunn leads the Center in a wide range of domestic, interagency, and international projects and activities including reservoir and systems modeling in support to CENWD/CENWP on the Columbia River Treaty and to CESPN for the FIRO project on Lake Mendocino; technical assistance to CESAD/CESAM on the ACT/ACF update of water control manuals; water management model development and support of the nationwide CWMS implementation; reach-back technical assistance to USACE projects in Iraq and Afghanistan; training in numerous international locations; and, collaboration with the USGS and the NWS in the Integrated Water Resources Science and Services effort. Mr. Dunn is currently leading the transition of the HEC software development process embracing continuous integration and delivery methods and tools.

Previously, Mr. Dunn served five years as CEIWR-HEC's Chief of the Water Resource Systems Division leading the Center's development and application of Flood Damage Analysis, Ecosystem Restoration, and System Analysis software packages. Mr. Dunn served as project manager for CEIWR-HEC's work in support of CETAD on the Helmand Valley Water Management Plan for Afghanistan; and, in support of CEGRD as the team lead for data and water systems modeling for the Tigris and Euphrates River Basins in Iraq.

Mr. Dunn started his career in the Federal sector July 1986. For thirteen years, he served as a Regional Hydraulic Engineer with DOT's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  Mr. Dunn served in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region, specializing in urban hydrology; urban, highway and bridge hydraulics; and stream stability and erosion control. He taught dozens of H&H classes domestically and participated in international training in Honduras and Argentina.

In February 1999, Mr. Dunn began his career with USACE at CEIWR-HEC as a Senior Hydraulic Engineer in the Water Resource Systems Division, working on the Flood Impact Analysis (HEC-FIA) software and its incorporation into CWMS. Mr. Dunn also worked on the integration of HEC-FDA (Flood Damage Reduction Analysis) and HEC-FIA; and, served as CEIWR-HEC's Project Manager for the Center's role in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Comprehensive Study.

Chris holds Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Oregon and is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He is a founding Diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.

Chris stated: "Reviewing the list of those who previously received the AAWRE Outstanding Practitioner of the Year award only reinforces how flattered but humbled I am by the recognition. To be included with this list of water resources giants is truly incredible.  It is a great honor for sure and even though it is for the Outstanding Practitioner of the Year, I can’t help but think of it as a lifetime achievement award.  Maybe that just means I'm old?

Receiving this award also makes me think of Steve Stockton, Former Director of Civil Works for the US Army Corps of Engineers, when he was presented with one of his awards toward the end of his career with the Corps.  He said something to the effect of "While I may not totally deserve this award, I am going to accept it because in my roll I have accepted the responsibility/blame for a lot of things that I didn’t necessarily deserve so I might as well accept this award even though I have not been 100% responsible for these accomplishments either."   Like I said, I am paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

As the Director of the Corps’ Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), I have the honor and privilege of leading a world class organization filled with people who share my passion for water resources engineering.  Every day we try to make a difference by bringing state-of-the-art technologies to the state-of-the-practice, so the water resources professionals have access to high quality products.  Many of the products HEC has produced are industry standards and are used every day by people across the world and profession.  Therefore, when I heard that I received this award, I made sure to tell all at HEC that this award is really their award.  A lot of people at HEC have accomplished a lot and I am the beneficiary of their good works.  Somedays the sun just shines on you.  Today is one of those days for me.

I want to thank those that nominated me for this award, those that supported my nomination, and those that selected me for this award. This is an honor I didn’t see coming but one I will humbly accept for myself and all of us at HEC."

>To send a congratulatory note to Chris