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2015 YEOY: Brian Mark Crookston, PhD, PE

Crookston formal 2x2_5 300dpi_croppedFamily is the top priority in Brian’s life. He recently celebrated his 12th wedding anniversary with his sweetheart Kelsi. He is the proud father of four children. His most favorite family pastimes are reading to his kids, outdoor activities, and cooking together.

Brian’s sentiment is that “the privilege to work is a gift, the power to work is a blessing, the love of work is success” (D. McKay). Brian joined Schnabel Engineering in 2011 after working for six years as a Post-doctoral Researcher and Research Assistant at the Utah Water Research Laboratory (UWRL). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia; he obtained his EIT in Utah. At Schnabel, Brian’s primary role is a hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) technical resource for the design and analyses for dam projects company-wide. He performs advanced hydraulic modeling of rivers, hydraulic structures, and pipelines using various numerical tools, including three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics. Brian has played a key role in numerous projects, including multi-million dollar projects serving communities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia.

Brian is internationally recognized for his expertise in labyrinth weirs. He developed the current state-of-practice hydraulic design method that is widely used by design engineers in the USA and worldwide. For example, Brian’s research was significant in the hydraulic design of Isabella Dam Auxiliary Spillway by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A labyrinth weir is a unique, highly reliable, site-adaptive, and cost-effective spillway with advantageous hydraulic characteristics for the rehabilitation of water infrastructure. It is commonly considered in dam rehabilitation where increased spillway capacity, reservoir storage, and flood control are project requirements.

Brian recognizes the need to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners: actively participating in research and teaching at Universities. He is affiliated with the following professional organizations and serves on the following committees:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers (11 years)
  • Association of State Dam Safety Officials (9 years)
  • Engineers without Borders (6 years)
  • Environmental and Water Resources Institute of ASCE (6 years)
    • Hydraulics Committee
  • International Association for Hydro-Environmental Engineering and Research (6 years)
    • Hydraulic Structures Committee
  • United States Society on Dams (8 years)
    • Hydraulics of Dams Committee
    • Spillways Subcommittee
    • Young Professionals Committee

Brian was instrumental in securing the 6th International Symposium on Hydraulic Structures, to be held in Portland, Oregon in 2016. This is a prestigious and highly successful series with the published papers from the 5th Symposium reaching nearly 13,000 downloads in the past 6 months. He has previously participated in ten scientific and organizing committees. He has been a speaker at 12 technical conferences held in North America, Europe, and Australia, and been a co-speaker at a training webinar for the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, the Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. He is currently developing online content of labyrinth spillways for the National Performance of Dams Program by Stanford University. While attending University, he was an ASCE student chapter officer. He was also a member of Engineers without Borders where he assisted in developing potable water systems for agrarian communities in northern Peru.

Brain’s research interests include physical and numerical modeling of open-channel flows, hydraulic structures, ecohydraulics, and sedimentation. He has authored 33 technical documents (academic journal articles, technical articles, a federal report) and is a contributing author for an upcoming International Congress of Large Dams Bulletin on Spillway Hydraulics, an honor typically reserved for professionals several decades his senior. He has served as a Master’s Thesis committee member for three students focused on spillway hydraulics at Utah State University (USU), and advised an additional five Master’s and PhD students. Currently, he is a committee member for a PhD student at the Université of Liège, Belgium, researching acoustic vibrations of spillways. Recently, Brian volunteered as a co-instructor for a Water Resources Capstone course at Villanova University (Spring 2014) and an independent study on experimental hydraulics at Lehigh University (Spring 2013). Previously, he taught graduate and undergraduate courses at USU, including Hydraulic Structures Design, Hydraulic Design of Closed Conduits, Fluid Mechanics, Engineering Hydraulics, and a Dynamics Engineering Recitation.

While working at the UWRL, Brian completed his Ph.D. in Water Engineering, Master’s degree in Hydraulics, and Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at USU. He was a National CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Nominee for his research on labyrinth weirs. He received a Ph.D. Remission Award from 2007 to 2010, Research Assistantships from 2005 to 2010, A United States Society of Dams scholarship in 2008, a Dee Hansen Scholarship, a Learning Assistance Scholarship, and was on the National Dean’s List and Golden Key International Society. As an undergraduate, he was team Captain for the USU Steel Bridge team that was the ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge Rocky Mountain Regional Competition Champions.

Brian is deeply committed to religious, humanitarian, and civic activities. He volunteered as an LDS missionary for two years in Argentina when he was 19. Currently, Brian volunteers six to ten hours every week at his local church. He can be found performing live translations of sermons into Spanish for congregation members, delivering food and humanitarian supplies to families, making home visits, organizing charity projects or social events, teaching classes, performing secretarial services, or cleaning the church building. Following the devastation in New York after Hurricane Sandy, Brian participated in the Mormon Helping Hands program that assisted victims over a period of several months. He helped remove trash, mud, debris, and flood-damaged portions of homes so that repairs could begin. Brian is also an Eagle Scout and for the past three years has volunteered at the Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 80 in West Chester, PA, helping with cub activities, merit badges, and Eagle Service Projects. He is currently participating in an Eagle Service Project transcribing thousands of tombstone inscriptions from cemeteries in Chester County to assist in genealogical record preservation. Finally, Brian founded the Schnabel Running Club where he enjoys participating in local charitable running events with co-workers.