Bureau of Reclamation Names 2015 Engineer of the Year

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Awardee is recognized for significant research contributions to sediment transport

Bob Quint with Robert Hilldale.

Bob Quint, senior advisor, presents Reclamation's Engineer of the Year 2015 Award to Robert Hilldale, a civil engineer at Reclamation’s Technical Service Center in Denver, Colorado.

Through his important work and research, Robert has helped expand our knowledge of sediment movement. This is an important contribution to river restoration work across the West.

Robert Hilldale, a civil engineer at Reclamation's Technical Service Center in Denver, is Reclamation's Engineer of the Year for 2015. His achievements earned him a chance to compete as Reclamation's nominee for the 2015 Federal Engineer of the Year Award, sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers. Hilldale will represent Reclamation at the Society's awards luncheon held in Washington, D.C. today as part of activities commemorating National Engineers Week, February 22 through 28.

Reclamation recognizes Hilldale for his significant research contributions toward measuring the natural transport of gravel in rivers, which is a key component of sediment transport. He also led important research efforts for the Elwha River Restoration Project, near Port Angeles, Washington, the world's largest dam removal project.

"Effective management of sediment is an important part of river restoration activities, including projects such as the successful dam removal project on the Elwha River," Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "Through his important work and research, Robert has helped expand our knowledge of sediment movement. This is an important contribution to river restoration work across the West."

Among his many assigned duties, Hilldale has led a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency effort researching the use of hydrophones (underwater microphones) to measure moving particles in water and also led river restoration projects to improve aquatic habitat for endangered fish. As chair and member of the Federal Interagency Sedimentation Project, he promoted interagency research activities to develop indirect methods to measure sediment transport.

Hilldale also continues to distinguish himself academically. He earned an undergraduate scholarship to Washington State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and is a recipient of the John Roberson Thesis/Dissertation Award, which he received while pursuing his Master of Science in civil engineering. His journal publications about the Elwha River Restoration Project, installation of impact plates and gradual channel transition were featured in Geomorphology, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering and Journal of Engineering Mechanics.

Reclamation also would like to recognize its 2015 Engineer of the Year regional winners:

  •     James H. Bussell, supervisory electrical engineer at Grand Coulee, Washington (Pacific Northwest)
  •     Rufino Gonzalez, civil engineer, California (Mid-Pacific)
  •     William G. Jones, electrical engineer, Montana (Great Plains)
  •     Thomas Nichols, supervisory civil engineer, Nevada (Lower Colorado)
  •     Scott Winterton, supervisory engineer, Utah (Upper Colorado)

Each of the five regions and the Denver Office nominate one candidate for consideration as Reclamation's Engineer of the Year. The final selection represents Reclamation's nominee for the annual Federal Engineer of the Year Award.

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Sarah Webster
Bureau of Reclamation
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