College of Engineering and Applied Science to Induct Three Into Hall of Fame
On September 18, the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science will
honor Albert “Boots” Nelson, Paul A. Rechard, and H. David Reed as the
newest inductees of the College Hall of Fame. All of these individuals
are deserving of the highest honor the College bestows and will join 38
other alumni from the College that have entered the Hall of Fame since
The College Hall of Fame was established in 1997 to recognize outstanding graduates who have distinguished themselves nationally or internationally through their professional achievements and leadership in engineering. By honoring these individuals, we celebrate their dedication to the profession of engineering,” said Dean Rob Ettema of the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Albert L. “Boots” Nelson was born of ranching parents in Jackson,
Wyoming in 1933. In 1951, after graduating from Jackson/Wilson High
School, he enrolled at UW in the College of Engineering and Applied
Science. Boots’ education was interrupted by military service during
which he served as a ski and outdoor survival instructor in the Army
Mountain Training Command. In 1956, Boots and his fiancée Bev were
married and they returned to Laramie to complete his degree program.
While in college, Boots worked part time at Banner Associates, a Laramie engineering firm. The experience molded his career. Leaving Banner in 1962, he became a field engineer for Questar in Vernal, Utah. In 1964, he founded Nelson Engineering with offices in Green River and Jackson. Growing into one of the top engineering firms in the State of Wyoming, Nelson Engineering also opened offices in Idaho.
Boots served as Director and then President of ACEC Wyoming and was also active in the Wyoming Engineering Society (WES) where he served as president. In 1993, one of his projects was named WES project of the year and it went to a national ACEC competition, an event he became involved with shortly after his participation. The ACEC Engineering Excellence Award Ceremony is known as the “Oscar Awards of Engineering.” The program, judging, and award ceremony is managed by the ACEC-EEA Committee. Boots served on that committee for the next ten years, and was chairman for two of those years. He is the first ACEC Wyoming member to be named a Fellow of ACEC.
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
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.
Raised in Billings, Montana, H. David “Dave” Reed
earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from UW. Upon graduation in
1964, he joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
in Houston, TX, becoming a mission controller responsible for tracking
and trajectory dynamics. In this capacity he was the Flight Dynamics
Officer for Apollo Flights 5 and 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14. He was the prime
flight dynamics officer for Apollo 13 and was a joint recipient of the
Presidential Medal of Freedom as a result of his contributions in the
safe return of the crew. Reed was responsible for developing pin-point
landing techniques which made focused lunar research possible. The
Apollo 14 crew named a crater on the moon for Dave in recognition of his
many contributions to the Apollo program.
Joining the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1971, he pioneered the introduction of integrated satellite communication systems, radio frequency identity tags and GPS positioning in the enforcement of UN sanctions against Serbia/Montenegro. Traveling world-wide in support of the multiple Government agencies, he employed these technologies in Bosnia, Haiti, Mogadishu, Somalia, S. Korea, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Dave who holds multiple patents retired in 1999, earned his MBA and then started a small manufacturing company. He remains active in community service and is a frequently sought to speak about his experiences.