USGS Civil Engineer Robert R. Holmes Wins 2015 ASCE Award

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Dr. Robert R. Holmes, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, will receive the 2015 Government Civil Engineer of the Year Award on October 13 in New York, NY for his outstanding accomplishments.

Dr. Robert R. Holmes, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, will receive the 2015 Government Civil Engineer of the Year Award on October 13 in New York, NY for his outstanding accomplishments.

The award was established by the Government Engineers Division at the American Society of Civil Engineers to recognize distinguished civil engineers employed in public service for significant engineering contributions as a practitioner in public service.

Currently, Holmes is the National Flood Hazard Specialist and Coordinator at the USGS Headquarters, serving as the senior advisor on flood science and response. He has been with the USGS for nearly 28 years, having served in various positions including director of the USGS Illinois Water Science Center.

“Dr. Holmes is an established expert in the fields of sediment transport, river mechanics, hydraulics and modeling, and provides expertise in complex streamflow ratings,” said Shawnna Erter, President at the American Society of Civil Engineers in St. Louis. “He works across the nation both as an expert and as an instructor.”

In addition to his work with the USGS, Holmes has been active in academic education. He has served as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006 and as an adjunct professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology since 2008. The courses he has taught include environmental field methods, fluid mechanics and water resources engineering.

Holmes is a committed figure in his community, serving on numerous advisory committees including the American Society of Civil Engineers, Environmental and Water Resources Institute, American Geophysical Union, International Hydrological Science Association, and the American Water Resources Association.

He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, and a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“It was always clear to me that we were dealing with a special human being,” said Marcelo García, director at Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory and Holmes’ former professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Looking back, I am very happy that I took him on as one of my graduate students.”

Holmes has contributed greatly to water resources engineering and flood hazards management at the USGS through his civic and humanitarian efforts in public service.

“Bob’s colleagues throughout the USGS and at several other agencies and organizations can attest to his dedication, leadership, and energy,” said William Werkheiser, Associate Director for Water at the USGS. “He continues to be a vital part of our team at the USGS and an important leader in the water science and engineering community.”