Former USACE Leader Earns 2018 OPAL Award

January 25, 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, has been honored by ASCE as the 2018 Outstanding Projects And Leaders award-winner in government.

The ASCE OPAL awards honor outstanding civil engineering leaders for their lifetime accomplishments. This year’s OPAL winners will be honored at the 2018 OPAL Gala, March 15, in Arlington, VA.

Schilling currently serves as the ASCE member on the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists Board of Trustees. He is a past president of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, past vice chair of EWRI’s Technical Executive Committee, and past Board of Trustees member of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.



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 practioners, professional associations, and in-house staff to more effectively conduct major national research and studies.

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 multiobjective 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 additionally through personal mentorship and leadership in a plethora of forums. 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.

Schilling is a Board Certified Diplomate of both AAEES and AAWRE. He was the recipient of the ASCE-Zone II Government Engineer of the Year award in 1995, became a Friend of UCOWR in 1999, and was given ASCE’s Julian Hines Award in 2000, all before receiving the ASCE-EWRI Lifetime Achievement Award 10 years later.

He earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Penn State in 1963 and did graduate study at the University of Nebraska.

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