Daniel L. Thomas, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, is the recipient of the Royce J. Tipton Award for substantial contributions to the advancement of irrigation and drainage practices, improvement of water quality, and instrumentation for data acquisition through research, extension, teaching, service, and leadership, especially within the southeastern United States.
Professor and head of the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department at Oklahoma State University, Thomas has made significant research, extension, and teaching contributions to the profession on the topics of drainage, irrigation, water quality, and instrumentation for data acquisition related to irrigation and drainage.
Immediate past-president of ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI), perhaps Thomas’ greatest contribution to irrigation and drainage may well lie in the hundreds of students and participants to whom he has taught engineering ethics through formal courses, workshops, and short courses at technical conferences such as EWRI and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He has trained hundreds of students in landscape and turf irrigation, hydrology/irrigation fundamentals, irrigation system technology, instrumentation, and theory of drainage– saturated flow. Many of his students, both undergraduate and graduate, have gone on to productive careers related to irrigation and drainage.
Inducted into the first class of Diplomates for the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers in 2006, Thomas was previously professor and head of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) Department at Louisiana State University and the LSU Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge from March 2003 to June 2011.
Panel manager for the NRI (National Research Initiative) Watershed Processes and Water Resources Program in 2004-2005, Thomas also served as the panel leader for the review of USDA-ARS (United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service) 5-year projects associated with drainage and irrigation.
Within EWRI, he served as chair of the Technical Executive Committee and member of the Governing Board for EWRI between 2006 and 2009. Thomas was elected vice-president of the institute in 2009.