On August 6, 2015, Thomas North, Senior Structural Engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Northwestern Division was awarded USACE Engineer of the Year.
His award was presented during a recognition ceremony held at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and was based on his service for development of design/inspection and inventory expertise of USACE hydraulic steel structures and bridges, advising the nation of St. Lucia on bridge design and advising USAID on incorporation (American Society of Civil Engineers) ASCE-7 seismic provisions for USAID Palestinian projects on the West Bank, Israel.
“There are many talented engineers equally as deserving of such an award, I am honored to be the one chosen to receive it,” said North.
North received his graduate and undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering, specializing in structural and hydraulic modeling, at the University of Kansas. He began his career as a bridge designer with the Kansas Department of Transportation.
North joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a structural engineer in 2001. Prior to joining USACE, he was employed as a structural engineer with Wallace Engineering in Kansas City, Missouri. Among the projects he worked on with Wallace Engineering was the structural design of the Experienced Music Project in downtown Seattle, Washington.
In his time with USACE, North has assisted with developing bridge safety standards and with rewriting and updating major seismic requirements for civil works buildings and structures that includes hydropower plants, spillways, outlet works and bridges.
North's current focus is to ensure USACE is on pace with its engineering standards, staying current with the latest codes and standards in structural design.
“Science is evolving at such a rapid pace. I’m tasked with helping to tie it all together and ensure we are using the best practices and addressing any concerns,” said North.
North also shares his expertise through collaborating with other engineers, agencies and countries.
Through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Interagency and International Support program, North recently participated in an assignment through USAID to inspect infrastructure and assess the seismic capacity and design of schools, roads and water projects in West Bank, Israel.
North has always felt it was important to promote the USACE engineering communities of practice for structural engineering through mentoring, funding and coordinating training to ensure engineers maintain essential technical competencies and to prepare future leaders. It is within this community of practice that he spotlights the value of collaboration with the Hydraulic Steel Structures, bridge and seismic design groups.
North says, “USACE engineers need to step-up as leaders to turn ideas into solutions, adapt innovation, influence governments and societies in a meaningful way, solve the problems of an aging infrastructure, promote sustainability and resilience, and meet current environmental needs.”