2016 ASCE Tennessee Section Award Winners


Student Chapter/Club Member Award: Mr. Liam Weaver
The Student Chapter/Club Member Award was instituted by the Tennessee Section of ASCE in 2000. The Award may be made annually to a student chapter or club member of one of the ASCE student chapter/clubs in the Tennessee Section of ASCE, who has made definite contributions to the Society at the student chapter/club level.

Liam student from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville and was nominated by the Knoxville Branch. He has been involved with the student chapter of ASCE since 2014. After transferring to UT after his freshmen year, he helped start a chapter of Students Helping Honduras at UT. The first year at UT, he hoped to get one to two volunteers, and wound up getting 12. The group fundraised and traveled to Honduras and worked on sustainable projects such as tilapia ponds. One of Liam’s goals as the group went forward was to form a well-developed core group of leaders to continue on once he graduated. He graduated with his bachelor’s in Civil Engineering, with a 4.0 and a concentration in waters and environmental engineering in May, 2016.


Young Engineer Award: Mrs. Karen McKeehan
The Young Engineer Award was instituted by the Tennessee Section of ASCE in 1988. The Award may be made annually to a younger member of the Tennessee Section of ASCE who has made definite contributions to the Society at the National, Section, and/or Branch levels. A Young Engineer is one who is 35 years of age or less on February 1 in the year to the award.

Mrs. McKeehan is civil engineer with the City of Knoxville and was nominated by the Knoxville Branch. The recipient received her Bachelor of Science from Tennessee Technological University in Civil Engineering in 2004 and her Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 2006. She achieved engineering licensure in the State of Tennessee since 2010. She has been one of the major reasons for the success of the Younger Member Group (YMG) for the Knoxville Branch She has been instrumental in reaching out to different firms for sponsorships, etc. The YMG has had 15 – 20 members at each event. Her time and efforts have been invaluable to create the Knoxville Branch of the YMG. Her work with the City of Knoxville has led to increasing responsibilities, notably in 2013 being promoted to management of the pavement program which is Knoxville’s largest capital improvement project.


Government Engineer Award: Not awarded this year
Nominate someone for next year!


Peter G. Hoadley Award for Outstanding Engineering Educator: Dr. Jennifer Retherford
The Peter G. Hoadley Award for Outstanding Engineering Educator was instituted by the Tennessee Section of ASCE in 2004 with the designee being the first recipient. The Award may be made annually to an engineering educator member of the Tennessee Section of ASCE who has made definite contributions to the education process and to the Society at the National, Section, and/or Branch levels.

Dr. Retherford a lecturer at the University of Tennessee Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and was nominated by the Knoxville Branch. She received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University. During her relatively short tenure at UTK, she has taught different courses, written several journal publications, and recognized for her contributions by her peers. A partial list of notable awards and activities are as follows: UT office of Diversity Program Summer Pre-College Engineering Camp instructor, UT Smart Communities Initiative Faculty Advisory Team and Fellow, ASCE Excellence in Civil Engineering Educations Teaching Workshop Mentor, and in 2016 she received the UT College of Engineering Charles Edward Ferris Award. This most recent award was given in recognition of teaching and research contributing to advancement of technology beneficial to the community and region. This award was in recognition of her instruction in the engineering department’s senior capstone design course. Under her leadership the students made significant contributions to communities in the region. Beyond the classroom, she has mentored the ASCE student chapter with their steel bridge design. Another notable contribution has been her role as team leader for the student participation in the annual CANstruction competition, where students test their engineering and art skills by making structures out of canned goods. All canned goods used during the competition were donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.


Outstanding Engineering Project: First Tennessee Park in Nashville & Harriman Utility Board Water Loss program in Knoxville (tie)
The Outstanding Engineering Project Award was instituted by the Tennessee Section of ASCE in 1993 and is given for overall achievement so that the many civil engineers and others who have worked on the project are recognized. The project must be located in Tennessee. The owner of the project is the appropriate person/organization to accept the Award. The Award may be made annually to the engineering project that is considered to have made a definite contribution to the betterment of the citizens of Tennessee. The project must fall in the general category of civil engineering and must have been completed within the last two years prior to the year of the award.

First Tennessee Park in Nashville, Tennessee and was nominated by the Nashville Branch. The new home of the Nashville Sounds baseball team was completed in the spring of 2015, and is an engineering masterpiece incorporating numerous sustainable features including responsible site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Some examples include the green roof in the concession building in right field, rainwater harvesting, and a rain garden. Also, the park is located in the 100-year floodplain, but has been equipped with acrylic floor coverings, detachable floor boards, and raised floor outlets, and electrical switched. The site used 12,000 square feet of pervious pavers, to allow infiltration of surface water runoff. The project achieved USGBC LEED Silver accreditation due to its use of building automated Systems and Controls, HVAC Monitoring and Controls, Efficient lighting, low flow fixtures, and recycled materials. The Park, constructed on the same site where former Black and Minor League Baseball teams played from the turn of the century through 1963, seats over 10,000 fans in multi-use areas around the field. Over 80,000 cubic yards of soil was excavated and over 200 Caissons installed for the facility and includes a recessed field located ~12 feet below street grade. Although the structure is only 2 stories, it’s essentially a 4-story building in height. The Construction Team included Project Management by Gobbel Hays Partners Inc and Capital Project Solution’s, Design by Populous, and Hastings Architectural Associates, and Construction by Barton Malow Company and Bell & Associates Construction. The Lakeshore Park Abatement and Demolition Project was nominated by the Knoxville Branch. The institute operated between the years of 1886 and 2012, and closed after 126 years of service to its patients and the communities. The park has slowly developed around the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute in the past 20 years, as the State of Tennessee donated land piece by piece to the City of Knoxville. In 2012, the City acquired the remaining portions of the property from the state, comprising the 185 acres of rolling hills available for the park. When the state closed the doors of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute for the last time, the city began its mission to transform the campus into a world class park. The civil design elements of the abatement and demolition included establishing the scope of work for the site features and utilities demolition and designing the post-demolished condition by preparing a set of demolition drawings and specifications. Careful consideration was given to specify how the contractor should provide for public safety, since the city mandated that none of the park or greenways could be closed during demolition activities. After completion, the city has/is spending a total of $5 million on infrastructure, demolition and other improvements at Lakeshore Park. One of the planned park improvements outlined in the master plan was nearly quadrupling the length of the parks’ greenway from 2.25 miles to over 8 miles and a canoe/kayak launch and river walk. A permanent Farmer’s Market, amphitheater, and dog park are also planned. Many Tennessee design firms were involved with the project, including, Elizabeth Eason Architecture, QE2, Chad Stewart Associates, Shield Engineering, and Facility Systems Engineering. Johnson & Galyon was the project General Contractor.


The Harriman Utility Board Water Loss program, and was nominated by the Knoxville Branch. Harriman Utility Board’s (HUB) water distribution system covers 75 square miles of mostly mountainous terrain with over 200 miles of pipe. The current system consists of the original HUB system in downtown Harriman combined with two inherited systems in the rural areas surrounding Harriman. HUB has been experiencing water loss in their system which has been close to 50% in recent years and are working to reduce this amount. HUB applied for and received a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan for $1,800,000 to investigate their water system to find out where they are losing water and then address the problem. HUB contracted Cannon & Cannon, Inc. (CCI) to provide engineering services to assist with their Water Loss Program. HUB’s Water Loss Program is one of the early comprehensive Water Loss Programs in the country. Tennessee is one of only three states (CA and GA) to require utilities to submit AWWA water audits each year with regulatory metrics that must be met. As a leading utility in a leading state, CCI and HUB were asked to present a case study of HUB’s water loss program at the inaugural North American Water Loss Conference in Atlanta, GA in December 2015. HUB’s water loss program was one of eight programs nationwide to be presented and one of four in the small to medium utilities category. The water loss program benefits both HUB and its customers economically, socially, and environmentally. By controlling water loss HUB is able to increase efficiency and reduce waste. In the first complete year of operation, HUB conserved 90 million gallons of treated water that were lost in previous years. HUB also conserved the chemicals needed to treat 90 million gallons and the electricity required to treat and pump the water. These savings in water volume and energy input will allow HUB to keep costs, and therefore rates low, eliminate pollutants from the atmosphere, and avoid costly capacity upgrades to the treatment plant and distribution system. 


Daniel B. Barge, Jr. Award for Distinguished Service: Ms. Nancy Roberts
The Daniel B. Barge, Jr. Award for Distinguished Service was instituted by the Tennessee Section of ASCE in 1988 with the designee being the first recipient. The Award may be made annually to an engineer member of the Tennessee Section of ASCE who has made definite contributions to the Society at the National, Section, and/or Branch levels.

Ms. Roberts is currently a Teaching Associate at the Univ. of Tennessee Knoxville, and was nominated by the Knoxville Branch. She received her BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Louisville. She is involved in many different engineering organizations, and has made significant contributions to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and other engineering organizations throughout her career. Ms. Roberts’ engineering career spanned 35 years, and encompassed many different projects as both a geotechnical and civil engineer and a project manager. Her contributions to ASCE have been steady and significant. She has served as a Branch officer many years, including as Branch President in 1990. She was active in the Section level and served as Tennessee Section President in 1994. In the early 1990’s she served as a Tennessee Section delegate for the then District 9 of ASCE. At the University of Tennessee, Dr. Chris Cox, Head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, has noted that Ms. Roberts has taught over 750 students in the discipline of Civil Engineering, as well as supported the local ASCE chapter in a number of positions. He highly recommended her for this award. Ms. Roberts’ contributions to ASCE have included serving at the Branch and Section, and District (now Regional) levels. She has served in many officer and committee positions, achieving the office of President of both the Knoxville Branch and the Tennessee Section. She has taught undergraduate classes in geotechnical and materials engineering as well as soils and structural laboratories in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee since 2006. Ms. Roberts is a member of the Knoxville Association of Women Executives, an organization that provides executive women with opportunities to grow professionally including networking, building relationships, personal and professional development, mentoring, and leadership. Each year, KAWE recognizes a Notable Woman and awards a scholarship to support women pursuing professional degrees. She is also a part of the Knoxville Chapter of 100 Women Who Care, an organization that supports the local community by pooling resources to help fund projects and programs.


Past Section Award Winners