Grayford Payne, Deputy Commissioner Policy, Administration and Budget, and Ryan Nichols, Adviser for Water and Science, present Anna Hoag, P.E., with the 2019 Engineer of the Year Award.


Washington, D.C. — The Bureau of Reclamation named Anna Hoag, P.E., as its 2019 Engineer of the Year. The National Society of Professional Engineers also recognized Hoag as a 2019 NSPE Federal Engineer of the Year Agency winner.

“Anna embodies our core values of professional excellence, safety and respect,” said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “Her significant engineering contributions throughout 2018 have enhanced public safety and optimized new water supplies throughout the West.”

Under a new bureau pilot operations program, she developed a sophisticated hydraulic model to calculate a statistical range of reservoir yields using tree ring data, garnering recognition by Reclamation and its customers. Hoag also set aside time to participate in inspections of Reclamation dams and water conveyance infrastructure to ensure she maintained an understanding of Reclamation’s facilities.

In addition, she contributed to a high-profile planning investigation, where she modeled solutions to optimize operations of a diversion dam and canal to enhance water availability, potentially saving Reclamation customers tens of millions of dollars. She was also a critical team member for hydraulic modeling, design and cost estimating of a state-of-the-art project to remove contaminants from treated wastewater effluent for water reuse, which attracted international attention.

Reclamation also recognized its regional 2019 Engineer of the Year award winners:

Michael Toff Knutson, P.E., Hydraulic Engineer- Team Leader, Pacific Northwest Region — Knutson has served as the lead hydraulic engineer for the River Systems Restoration Group in the Pacific Northwest Region for nine years. He specializes in river restoration for salmon recovery and has served as the engineer of record for multiple award-winning river restoration projects. He has authored and reviewed technical design guidance documents for river restoration and is a well-respected expert and mentor in the industry.

Knutson led two award-winning projects in recent years that were recognized at the national level — the Oxbow Project on the John Day River and the West Fork Confluence Project on the Yankee Fork River. He is a collaborative and inter-disciplinary designer. He works with large, diverse groups of stakeholders to come to consensus resulting in some of the best restoration projects in the industry.

Julie Bader, Electrical Engineer, Mid-Pacific Region — Bader is the senior licensed electrical designer within the Mid-Pacific Region and provides signatory approval on all electrical designs. When Reclamation’s Technical Service Center had a very high workload, she ensured several key projects were completed on-time. Her expertise and ability to produce a high-volume of work has been a tremendous asset for the region. Additionally, Julie has provided exceptional oversight to less experienced engineers.

Rodney J. Barthel, Structural Engineer- Technical Specialist, Technical Service Center — Barthel has been a senior level structural engineer for Reclamation for three decades. He coordinates structural designs on numerous projects in various stages of the design, including construction support. In addition to being one the technical leads in the functional and structural design of pumping plants, Barthel is the Reclamation Technical Service Center’s expert in switchyard structural /civil designs.

Barthel was instrumental in implementing the Reclamation Building Seismic Safety Program throughout eight years before accepting a position with the Reclamation Plant Structural Group. He served as the Denver based Technical Services Center team leader managing two high profile multi-disciplinary design teams for projects such as Black Canyon Powerplant 3rd Unit and the Arkansas Valley Conduit Pipeline.

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