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David Curtis ’72 B.S. Agricultural Engineering

Posted: December 10, 2013

A 1972 graduate in Agricultural Engineering, Curtis is vice president for WEST Consultants Inc., which is a water resources consulting firm with offices in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Maryland.

A Ph.D. recipient in Water Resources from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Curtis has been on the leading edge of hydrometeorological and flood risk management services since 1975. He has designed, developed and implemented award-winning flood-monitoring systems around the world. His efforts led to the nation's first statewide system, the Connecticut Statewide Flood Warning System.

In 1993, Curtis began applying new weather information technologies, such as radar-rainfall estimates, to hydrologic analysis and modeling. He is pioneering methodologies to determine the spatial properties of individual storm cells using large, calibrated radar-rainfall data sets. The results are leading to new hydrologic design standards at locations across the United States. 

Curtis serves on the California Department of Water Resources Climate Change Technical Advisory Group.  He also served on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Climate Change Team that evaluated California's Central Valley flood system performance, system resiliency, flood forecasting and levee stability challenges in the face of climate change. He is the current president of the National Hydrologic Warning Council.

In June 1989, Curtis accepted the Computerworld/Smithsonian Award for Innovative Uses of Information Technology in the Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment category. He also received the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for Superior Service for the development and implementation of the Norwich, Conn., flood-warning system.