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The University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science on Saturday, Sept. 18, will honor Albert "Boots" Nelson of Jackson, Paul A. Rechard of Laramie and Billings, Mont. native H. David Reed of as the newest inductees of the College Hall of Fame.
They will discuss relevant issues affecting their areas of engineering, Friday, Sept. 17, at 3:30 p.m. Room 129 of the UW Classroom Building.
They join 38 other alumni from the college that have entered the Hall of Fame since its creation 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," says Dean Rob Ettema.
Nelson enrolled at UW in 1951 after graduating from Jackson/Wilson High School. His 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, he and his wife, Bev, returned to Laramie to complete his degree program.
While in college, Nelson worked part time at Banner Associates, a Laramie engineering firm. 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.
Nelson served as director and then president of ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) 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. He is the first Wyoming member to be named an ACEC fellow.
Rechard's career developed through government and academic organizations and finally, private enterprise. In 1949, he began a water resource engineer of the Bureau of Reclamation, moved on to become director of Water Resources for the Wyoming Natural Resource Board and Interstate Streams commissioner for the state in 1954. After working for the passage of legislation authorizing the Upper Colorado River Storage Projects, he became principal hydraulic engineer for the Upper Colorado River Commission in 1958.
When Congress in 1963 passed legislation to establish water research programs in each state, UW asked Rechard 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 $2 million of grant money annually from the federal government and private industry.
At UW, Professor Rechard taught hydrology and established a graduate interdisciplinary degree program in water resources to foster dialogue among engineers, biologists, geologists, and environmentalists. In 1980, he resigned from UW and co-founded the engineering consulting firm Western Water Consultants (WWC). During Paul's tenure as WWC president, the organization grew to an engineering and environmental consulting firm employing approximately 60 people in Wyoming.
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, Texas, becoming a mission controller responsible for tracking and trajectory dynamics. He was the flight dynamics officer for six Apollo Flights and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew. The Apollo 14 crew named a crater on the moon for Reed to recognize his many contributions to the Apollo program.
Joining the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1971, he introduced integrated satellite communication systems, radio frequency identity tags and GPS positioning in the enforcement of United Nations sanctions' against Serbia/Montenegro. Traveling worldwide in support of the multiple government agencies, he employed these technologies in Bosnia, Haiti, Mogadishu, Somalia, South Korea and the Arabian Peninsula.
Holding multiple patents, Reed retired in 1999, earned his M.B.A. a degree, then started a small manufacturing company. He remains active in community service and is a frequently sought to speak about his experiences.