April 2, 2018

Kyle E. Schilling, P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.EWRI, Dist.M.ASCE, former director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources was honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) with the 2018 Outstanding Projects And Leaders (OPAL) award-winner in government on March 15 in Arlington, VA. The ASCE OPAL awards honor outstanding civil engineering leaders for their lifetime accomplishments Mr. Schilling and fellow 2018 OPAL winners were recognized at the OPAL Gala, in Arlington, VA.

Kyle (center) honored with OPAL Lifetime Achievement Award in Government with ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith (left) and ASCE President Kristina Swallow. Photo courtesy of ASCE.

Mr. Schilling served on the AAWRE Board of Trustees (2008-2011) and served as President of the Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) in 2006 and currently serves as the ASCE member on the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) Board of Trustees. He conducts professional peer reviews for various levels of U.S. and foreign governments in water resources research, water quality, and overall management practices, and is past chair and current active member of the ASCE Committee for Peer Review of Public Agencies. He also consults on complex water resources systems, policy, planning, operations, water supply, flood control, and integrated water resources management.

While at USACE-IWR, Schilling directed the merger planning for the three entities – Hydrologic Engineering Center, Davis, CA; Navigation Data Center, New Orleans; and IWR – that make up the present IWR structure. His leadership in upgrades and new techniques for water systems, operations, and planning models included demand forecasting and shared vision modeling that is now well accepted practice around the world. He developed and implemented an extended matrix-management team approach relying on an extensive network of academicians, consultant practitioners, professional associations, and in-house staff to more effectively conduct major national research and studies.

Mr. Schilling was a senior policy analyst and policy division chief before this. He identified emerging policy issues, determined and obtained expertise required to form capable teams, conducted initial studies, and identified follow-on activities, such as establishing a risk research program and studies to support establishment of the national wetlands mitigation banking program. Ten to 20 such policy studies were conducted per year, and his peer review and oversight methods ensured the validity of results. He personally led three presidential-level study initiatives, among them the 1977 White House Drought Study Group and the 1980 President’s Intergovernmental Water Policy Task Force Subcommittee on Urban Water Supply.

A member of numerous professional committees over the years, many with ASCE, and a proponent of multi objective planning and integrated water resources management combining engineering with social, environmental, and economic factors, he played an important role in Fragile Foundations: A Report on America’s Public Works, the forerunner to the ASCE Infrastructure Report Card. His advocacy of the civil engineering profession has been demonstrated also through personal mentorship and leadership in various areas. He was a member of FEMA’s Scientific Resolution Panel and a panelist for the Levee Analysis and Mapping Project and has lent his skills to international efforts involving CERF and NATO.

Mr. Schilling was the recipient of the ASCE-Zone II Government Engineer of the Year award in 1995, became a Friend of UCOWR in 1999, recipient of ASCE’s Julian Hines Award in 2000, ASCE-EWRI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and he was also bestowed ASCE’s Distinguished Member, the Society's highest honor given to an ASCE member.

Kyle reflected on his latest honor:

“As a person who has worked in state and local programs, as well as in several federal agency programs; I have the deepest respect for the values, capabilities and hard work of government engineers throughout our federal governmental system.

Consequently, I am extremely humbled, deeply moved and a little incredulous to have been selected for this high honor. I’m also thankful for all those involved in the nomination and selection process for the value they placed on my career’s work.”

>To send a congratulatory note to Kyle