Kentucky’s 2010 Civil Engineer Professional Recognition Award

Linda Bridwell, PE

Linda Bridwell, Kentucky American Water’s director of water quality and environmental compliance, has received the 2010 Robert M. Gillim Professional Recognition Award presented by the Kentucky Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which recognizes Bridwell for her service to civil engineering in the Commonwealth. She is the first female to receive the honor, which has been awarded annually since 1966.

Bridwell, a native of Lexington and graduate of Lafayette High School, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in business administration from Xavier University and is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

She joined Kentucky American Water’s engineering team in 1989 and soon was working on plans to address Central Kentucky’s water supply deficit. She was promoted to lead the company’s engineering department in 1995 and became widely recognized within the company and the state as an expert on the region’s water supply issue.

Her efforts to resolve that increasingly worsening issue continued tirelessly for more than 20 years as selecting a solution became more and more complex. During that time Bridwell served as the company’s water supply representative on numerous local, regional and state committees. In recent years, she led the project team that designed and constructed the solution approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission in 2008: a new 20 million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant in Owen County, Ky., connected to Kentucky American Water’s existing Central Kentucky distribution system by a 31-mile, 42-inch diameter underground pipeline from Owen County through Franklin and Scott counties to Fayette County.

Under Bridwell’s direction the project was designed in 12 months, which is considered an ambitious schedule by those in the industry. Similarly, construction of the $164 million project was completed in September 2010 – just 25 months after it started – on time and on budget. The project’s 31-mile pipeline was constructed along rural roadways through four counties, which presented many challenges, such as operating very large equipment in narrow corridors, boring through rocky hillsides, making adjustments as the team worked around historically and environmentally significant areas, and acquiring more than 100 easements, all of which were obtained through agreements with property owners.

Bridwell is a past president of the Kentucky Society of the American Society of Civil Engineers, director of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers, has served as an adjunct professor in the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Kentucky, is a member of the American Water Works Association and is a member of the Industrial Advisory Committee for the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Kentucky. Since 2004 she has served as a board member of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, which was created in 1988 to provide the mechanism for funding the construction of local public works projects in the Commonwealth. She is also president of the Central Christian Church Childcare Center Board of Directors and has been a past board member of Bluegrass Tomorrow, Hospice of the Bluegrass, the Delta Gamma House Corporation and worked with the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Lexington Affiliate. She was named one of Central Kentucky’s leading businesswomen by Business Lexington earlier this year.

She is the daughter of John and Charlene Bridwell. Her father and her two sisters, Diane Zimmerman and Nancy Albright, are also civil engineers. Mr. Bridwell received the Robert M. Gillim Professional Recognition Award in 1990.

Bridwell and her young daughter, Katie, reside in Lexington.