Paul Rechard’s career developed through federal, state, interstate, academic organizations and finally, private enterprise. In 1949, he began as an employee of the Bureau of Reclamation as a water resource engineer, moved on to become director of Water Resources for the Wyoming Natural Resource Board and Interstate Streams Commissioner for the State in 1954, and after working for the passage of legislation authorizing the Upper Colorado River Storage Projects, became principal hydraulic engineer for the Upper Colorado River Commission in 1958. When Congress passed legislation in 1963, to establish water research programs in each state, UW called upon Paul to establish and direct the Wyoming Water Resource Research Institute (WRRI) and to be professor of civil engineering. While at UW, WRRI support grew to nearly two million dollars of grant money annually from the federal government and private industry.
As a professor, Paul taught hydrology and established a graduate interdisciplinary degree program in water resources to foster dialogue among engineers, biologists, geologists, and environmentalists, such that each discipline would have knowledge of the others and thus discussions could grow from a common base of knowledge.
In 1980, Paul resigned from UW and co-founded the engineering consulting firm Western Water Consultants (WWC). During Paul’s tenure as president of WWC, the organization grew to an engineering and environmental consulting firm employing approximately 60 people in Wyoming.
At the time of Paul’s retirement in 2001, WWC was the largest Wyoming based engineering consulting firm with offices in Laramie, Sheridan, and Casper. To the extent possible, the firm employed graduates of UW with degrees in civil, agricultural, chemical, and electrical engineering as well as geology, range management, and accounting.
In 2007, Paul established the Mary Lou and Paul A. Rechard Endowed Fellowship in Civil Engineering for Water Resources to support a student seeking a graduate degree in civil engineering water resources in memory of his wife Mary Lou Rechard. Along with Mary Lou, Paul has been an active alumnus, donor, and friend of the college since his graduation.