Civil engineering department honors donors, former and current students

The Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University hosted its annual banquet honoring recent donors of endowed scholarships or fellowships, recipients of former student awards and students who were awarded scholarships or fellowships on Nov. 3.

The department posthumously awarded Dewitt C. Greer ’23 the Distinguished Graduate Legacy Award and recognized three recipients of the Distinguished Graduate Award at the annual banquet. The legacy award was established in 2014 to honor remarkable former students whose life-long contributions and service have had immeasurable impact on the civil engineering profession and society. The inaugural recipient, H.B. “Pat” Zachry’s lifetime achievements serves as the benchmark against which future consideration of recipients are judged.

Greer -1Greer graduated with honors from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in 1923, earning a degree in civil engineering and a second lieutenant’s commission in the United States Army. Greer began his job at the Texas Department of Transportation as an instrument man laying out a highway system for Henderson County. In 1936, Greer moved to Austin and was appointed by State Highway Engineer Gibb Gilchrist, Greer’s mentor in highway administration, to head the department’s Division of Construction and Design.

Under Greer’s leadership, the department launched a massive program of highway development resulting in the Farm-to-Market system and a system of interstate highways. He expanded the Texas highway system from 22,207 to 72,945 miles. While viewed as a master road builder, his greater passion was roadway safety for which he earned a reputation for integrity.

Scholarships and grants were established by friends in his name at Texas A&M and The University of Texas at Austin, where he taught as a professor of engineering practice from 1968 until 1972. Greer then served as a member of the Texas Highways and Public Transportation Commission for 12 years. In 1969, Gov. Preston Smith appointed him chairman of that commission, a position he held from 1969 to 1972. When Greer retired in 1981, the state highway headquarters building in Austin was named after him. He died on Nov. 17, 1986 at his home in Austin and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

The distinguished graduate award was established to recognize and honor former students who have excelled in the civil engineering profession, highlighting their significant contributions and achievements. This year’s distinguished graduates were Fiona Allen ’82, George “Jed” Walker ’83, and Anthony “Tony” Boyd ’74.

Allen DGA 16Allen is currently the northern regional manager of the Trinity River Authority (TRA) of Texas where she is responsible for the wholesale water and wastewater services for nearly 1.5 million people in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and sponsorship of three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs. She took over this position in March 2011. The first 20 years of her career were with the City of Arlington. She worked her way up and in 2006 was named deputy city manager of capital investment, overseeing Public Works, Water Utilities and Environmental Services. In October 2009, she was named deputy city manager of economic development, overseeing Aviation, Convention Center, Planning & Development and the Economic Development office, with the duties of supervising Public Works and Water Utilities added in 2010. She retired from the City of Arlington in February 2011 and then joined TRA.

Walker DGA 16Walker serves as president and CEO of Walker Partners, LLC, a civil engineering and surveying firm that he started in 2004. With project experience spanning from municipal roadways to water and wastewater projects to residential subdivisions and site improvement projects, Walker has become an expert in virtually all aspects of his field. Walker is involved with the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, is a past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (Central Texas branch), serves as chairman of the Transportation Advisory Committee of the City of Waco, is a board member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, is a member of the Texas Floodplain Management Association, and is on the board of directors of the Waco Chamber of Commerce.

Boyd DGA 16Boyd joined Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN) in 1977 and serves as senior vice president and director of LAN’s Infrastructure Group. Under his direction, the group provides an array of civil engineering services such as municipal water and wastewater utilities and treatment. He is a leading authority in the field of program management, including involvement with the initial 7.5 of the now 22.9 mile Houston METRO’s Light Rail Transit System, as well as the Port of Houston Authority Bayport Terminal Phase I program. Boyd was appointed to the board of directors of the Science Engineering Fair of Houston and chairman of ASTM F17 Committee F17.62 Sewer Subcommittee.

The department also recognized those former students who established an endowment in the past year. Acknowledged for their recent gifts were G.W. Mitchell Construction, Denise ’76 & “Ken” Meyer ’75, LaRhea Nichols & “Ken” Riner ’82, Rachel & James Jones ’05, Melissa ’84 & John Lindner ’82, Barbara & “Bud” Neely ’74, Rebecca & “Jed” Walker ’83, Granite Construction, Patricia & Allan Hayes ’75, and Dr. Joseph E. Minor ‘59.

There were 216 undergraduate and graduate recipients of scholarships and fellowships for a total of $577,050. Most students attended the banquet giving them the opportunity to meet their donors and share in the evening.

“As one of our distinguished former students aptly stated at the banquet, the relationships developed while at Texas A&M can last a lifetime,” said Dr. Robin Autenrieth, head of the department. “Our banquet brings together former students and their classmates, and introduces them to students who wish to follow in their footsteps. It is an event where we appreciate the impressive accomplishments of our former students who inspire the next generation of civil engineers.”

For photos from the event, click here.  

Contributing author: Ryan Terry