LEAWOOD, KS, February 17, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Willis Dean Skinner with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Mr. Skinner celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Having retired from an exemplary tenure as a professional engineer, Mr. Skinner was asked what most influenced his decision to become an engineer. As a sixth grader, Mr. Skinner had the opportunity to tour a local water treatment plant, along with his classmates, which taught him how chemical treatment could render muddy river water into fresh drinking water. He decided he wanted to do that. Before the year was over, he enrolled in a correspondence course at the Chicago Technical College, to study architectural drafting. He soon obtained a drafting certificate before starting high school. Ultimately, he was accepted to Kansas State University where he attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1955. At that time he was commissioned into the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Reserves as a Second Lieutenant. He served on active duty from 1957-1958, achieving the rank of First Lieutenant.
During three of his college years, Mr. Skinner worked part-time after classes in the University's Asphalt Research Laboratory under the tutelage of Professor John W. Shupe, director of the laboratory. Mr. Skinner's duties were to conduct various tests on asphalt binder, asphalt concrete specimens, report test results with findings and recommendations. For three summers, Mr. Skinner worked for the Soil Conservation Service in pre-engineering positions. Tasks included surveying for crop land terraces and pond dams, calculating construction quantities and preparing map layouts of planned and finished works. While these efforts provided needed income, they also gave him a foundation and appreciation of nature's resources.
Upon graduation, he joined Black and Veatch, now one of the largest engineering, procurement, construction, and consulting engineering firms in the United States. As a civil engineer, Mr. Skinner worked with design teams on large water treatment plants for the cities of Kansas City, Missouri; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Paul, Minnesota; Washington DC; Colorado Springs, Colorado and Wichita, Kansas, and many smaller cities across the country. Capping off his sixth grade dream, Mr. Skinner completed a three year overseas assignment to design a new 320 million gallons per day direct filtration water treatment plant for the city of Bogota, Colombia. At that time it was the largest water treatment plant of its type in the world. Mr. Skinner's project experience includes the full range of studies and designs for water facilities including watershed health impoundments, wells, pumping stations, transmission pipelines, distribution systems and storage reservoirs. His experience includes similar projects on the wastewater side of the industry.
Projects of unique character include:
• a lime sludge recalcining plant for the city of St. Paul Minnesota, coupled with a filter back-wash water recovery facility. The recalcining process produced two products: lime (CaO) for softening process and carbon dioxide (C02) for pH adjustment in the finished water product. The filter back-wash water was recycled to the raw water entry point on a continuous basis.
• two mined-land reclamation projects covering several thousand acres of coal strip-mined properties in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri. Before reclamation, the acidic runoff from these properties reached a pH as low as 3.5, a disastrous level for downstream riparian areas. Successful restoration resulted in raising the effluent pH towards neutral value of7.5.
• an Interstate ramp bridge having a downward slope, with horizontal and vertical curves spanning two rail mainline tracks and three lanes of interstate highway. Part of the uniqueness lay in the necessity to computer-design the box-girder structure and prepare complete fabrication and construction drawings, also fully by computer. In the late 1980's this was leading edge technology and performance.
In 1981, Mr. Skinner was admitted into the Partnership and was assigned to the Boston office for three years, then to Cairo, Egypt for a two year period as Project Director of the multimillion dollar Greater Cairo Wastewater Project. The project included the rehabilitation of the vast existing collection system and the construction of new environmentally sound wastewater facilities for collection, treatment, and final disposal of treatment by-products.
In other overseas work, Mr. Skinner traveled to more than 40 countries and six of the seven continents.
Projects involving major sewerage works included:
• Izmir, Turkey
• Egyptian canal cities of Port Saied, Ismailia, and Suez
• Valparaiso, Chile
• Monterrey, Mexico
• Victoria, Republic of Seychelles
Projects pertaining to water systems include:
• Cairo, Egypt- water authority reorganization
• Lusaka, Zambia -system rehabilitation and new works
In 1986, Mr. Skinner returned from Cairo to the Kansas City office, later becoming a senior partner of Black and Veatch. He was also appointed as Executive Vice President of Black and Veatch International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Partnership.
Upon retirement in 1997, Mr. Skinner began providing pro bono engineering advisory services to public and private clients, assisting in both civil and environmental aspects of the field. He finds great personal reward in contributing to the community at large.
To remain aware of developments in his industry, Mr. Skinner maintains his professional licenses, and his affiliation with a number of pertinent organizations; to wit, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Water Works Association, and the Water Environment Federation.
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