April 24, 2015

Dr. William H. Espey, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE is the recipient of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) 2015 Outstanding Practitioner in Water Resources Engineering Award.  Dr. Espey is recognized for the outstanding practitioner award for his continuous notable contributions to the practice of water resources and environmental engineering. 

The Outstanding Practitioner Award was formally approved by the AAWRE Board of Trustees in October 2013.  AAWRE Outstanding Practitioner in Water Resources Engineering Award is established to recognize Diplomatse who have demonstrated a significant contribution to the disciplines of environmental or water resources engineering through engineering practice. 

Dr. Espey has an exemplary 50-year career as a researcher, consultant, educator, and mentor in the field of water resources engineering, having contributed notable advancements in urban watershed analysis, storm-water management, and hydraulic modeling.  Currently a senior vice president for RPS Espey, which is part of the RPS Group plc, Dr. Espey is a leading technical expert who developed new techniques of analyzing and solving water resources challenges.

An eminent practitioner, Dr. Espey has served on many boards, committees, and workgroups to craft policy, implement new laws, develop solutions to complex environmental impacts of public works projects, and guide engineering programs at institutions of higher learning.  Instrumental in founding ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) and also one of the founding members of the AAWRE, his work and teaching in the areas of water resources and oceanography demonstrate an overall understanding and high level of expertise in water quality, stream gaging, flood-water, urban runoff, tidal effects, biology in estuarine environs, and freshwater inflow requirements to bay systems.  The associated statistical analysis expertise has been also applied to many of these projects that form the base for regulatory rule-making.

In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Espey’s work has been instrumental in working on the waterways of Texas, including the Galveston Bay System with its converging rivers, the Houston Ship Channel, the Trinity River, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and the Highland Lakes. The impact can be seen along the Louisiana and Texas coasts, the Mississippi, and the Great Lakes. As a testament to his labor with the federal government, Espey was awarded the Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal in 2007, the third-highest honor within the Department of the Army given to individuals not employed by the military.  Because of his eminence in water resources, Dr. Espey holds appointments to several important committees, including the Lake Michigan Diversion Technical Committee, for which he was the committee’s first chair, a role that he continues to this day.

Dr. Espey also serves on the independent Technical Review panel for the USACE/FEMA Joint Texas Coastal Hurricane Surge Project, is chair of the Basin and Bay Expert Science Team (BBEST) mandated by Texas Senate Bill 3, and served on ASCE’s External Review Panel reviewing the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  Bill was elected as a Distinguished Member of ASCE in 2014, for his life-long contributions and achievements in engineering practice and research.  Dr. Espey will be recognized during AAWRE’s 11th Anniversary Ceremony on May 18 at the EWRI’s World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in Austin, Texas.

Bill reflects on his recognition:

“I thank the AAWRE and especially the Academy members who nominated me for this very prestigious award. I was privileged to be one of the founding members of the AAWRE in 2004 and was subsequently elected President in 2011.  The AAWRE provides leadership in professional goals that I embrace passionately that have evolved through many years of experience and challenges in my career.

Specifically AAWRE’s  goal to elevate the professional practice of Water Resource Engineering through advanced certifications, continuing education and ethical practices and supporting ASCE’s Policy 465 to “broaden and deepen the body of knowledge for practicing engineers and to elevate the standards in civil engineering”.

I have many people to thank for their support during my career, my family, especially my wife JoAnn, innumerable colleagues and mentors who inspired me and educated and trained me on how to be a civil engineer.

Thank you again for honoring me with this award. I always have and continue to strive to meet the highest standards in the engineering profession. Thank you for recognizing my efforts.”

To contact Dr. Espey:  [email protected]