Johannes Joost “Joe” DeVries, Internationally Recognized Hydrologic Engineer, dies at age 77

BY 
January 14, 2014

Johannes Joost “Joe” DeVries, PhD, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE, a world-renowned hydrologic engineer and highly esteemed professor, whose civil engineering career spanned 50 years in the fields of hydraulic engineering, irrigation system analysis, and hydrology, passed away on December 7 at the age of 77. Internationally recognized, DeVries’ consultant work literally spanned the globe and included irrigation canal modeling projects in India for the United Nations, the World Bank, and the government of Gujarat. He studied flooding problems in the Rio Mendoza in Argentina and was a consultant to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization’s program for improvement of flood forecasting techniques in New Delhi, India. Most recently, he consulted for a U.S. Agency for International Development project in Morocco involving training and engineering studies to improve an existing irrigation project. Born June 18, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois, DeVries received a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from Calvin College in 1960, and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Michigan in 1959 and 1961, respectively. Upon graduation, DeVries was employed as an associate engineer in the Aqueduct Design Branch by the California Department of Water Resources. In 1972 DeVries was hired as a research engineer and engineer-in-charge of the J. Amorocho Hydraulics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), where in 1978 he earned his Ph.D. At UC Davis he held concurrent appointments as northern regional coordinator, associate director of the Water Resources Center, and lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. In addition, from 1978 to 1993, DeVries taught courses at UC Davis in the fields of hydraulics, hydrology, open-channel flow, and irrigation principles and practices. From 1978 to 1981, DeVries also had an engineering appointment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hydrologic Engineering Center. After leaving UC Davis in 1993, DeVries worked as a consulting engineer with various private engineering firms and state and federal agencies before in 2012, becoming principal engineer with Sacramento, California-headquartered, David Ford Consulting Engineers, Inc. Author of over 50 refereed papers, and co-author of numerous books and several book chapters, DeVries served as associate editor of ASCE’s Journal of Engineering. Among his distinguished honors and accolades were an award for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Service from the University Extension of the University of California in 1987 and one in 2006 from the California Extreme Precipitation Symposium in recognition of his “lifetime of service as a teacher, advisor, and mentor to your colleagues who work to minimize the adverse impacts of extreme precipitation in California.”

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