Nick Contreras Receives USSD’s Exceptional Young Professional Award
For his contributions to advocacy and education in the dams industry and his collaborative spirit, Gannett Fleming Structural Designer Nick Contreras, EI, received the 2023 U.S. Society on Dams (USSD) Exceptional Young Professional Award. This honorable recognition celebrates the remarkable industry-wide contributions of young professionals who exemplify the goals of USSD.
Contreras graduated in 2017 from Colorado State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and hitting the ground running. “Nick demonstrated technical excellence from the start,” says Gannett Fleming Chief Civil/Structural Engineer Guy Lund, PE.
Deemed a technical resource and significant contributor to the team by his colleagues, Contreras proactively volunteers to provide training on topics he is passionate about and shares information gleaned from projects. He presented his first paper during a technical session at the 2022 USSD Annual Conference, which fostered many beneficial follow-up conversations with attendees.
Contreras is an exemplary advocate for dams and levees in society. He partnered with the former chief dam safety branch engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources to develop the dams portion of the 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for Colorado’s Infrastructure. The donation of Contreras’ time and talents helped bring awareness to the condition of dams in Colorado.
A co-presenter of an INSIGHTS webcast, which reached a national audience, Contreras discussed instrumentation monitoring (specifically piezometers) and its applicability to structural evaluations. INSIGHTS is Gannett Fleming’s virtual learning series that covers a variety of infrastructure-related subjects and provides professional credits to participants.
Gannett Fleming Vice President Dean Durkee, PhD, PE, Peng, notes that Nick embodies the spirit of teamwork in all projects in which he participates.
“One can always count on him to do thorough and excellent work and ask questions – leaving no stone unturned,” says Durkee. “Nick strives for great communication with his team members and clients to ensure that work products are delivered as promised and done to the level of excellence expected within Gannett Fleming. He speaks up when there are areas of concern, ensuring dam safety is not overlooked.”
In addition to being an exceptional young professional and rising star in the dams and levees engineering industry, Contreras’ colleagues describe him as a man of great character and integrity. Indeed, Contreras believes the team’s success is critical, and he lives by the phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”