Civil and environmental engineering alumnus receives Army Corps of Engineers award

While Calvin Creech was working on his Ph.D. at Wayne State University studying the Great Lakes, he was presented with a unique opportunity: the chance to work with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Brazil.

USACE had recently made an agreement with Brazil to help monitor and remove sediment on some of the country’s waterways to make them more navigable for larger ships. Sediment buildup in rivers can cause obstructions, making them very difficult or dangerous to travel.

Creech arrived in Brazil and became one of the engineers preparing the rivers for use. This included making the rivers deeper for barges to travel through. Creech was so motivated by his work in Brazil that he changed his thesis topic and finished his Ph.D. based on the research he conducted there.

Creech finished his thesis, “Sediment Yield and Sediment Transport Model to Support Navigation Planning in Northeast Brazil,” in December 2014.

He has now been named the USACE South Atlantic Division Engineer of the Year for the work he’s done in Brazil. He has also been selected by the National Society of Professional Engineers as a top 10- candidate for Federal Engineer of the Year.


 
Dr. Creech visits a dam on the Rio Doce, located downstream from a major dam failure in Brazil.

“I was thrilled to learn of Calvin's nomination for this national award,” said Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Professor Carol Miller. “He has developed into one of the most experienced sediment transport modelers in the world, and has applied his expertise to a wide variety of situations and locations. He is a unique hydraulic engineer.”

Miller, along with Shawn McElmurry (CEE), Mark Baskaran (WSU Department of Geology) and Dr. Jim Selegean (CEE and USACE) served on his dissertation committee.

Creech will head to Washington, D.C., on February 26 to receive his awards.